Last week there was a girl in the Communion line who knelt down before the priest to recieve the Eucharist on her tongue. The priest told her to “Stand up!” which she did, and then he gave her the Eucharist. I thought her kneeling was a beautiful sign of reverence, but the priest didn’t seem very pleased. Is there something wrong with what she did?
The current General Instruction of the Roman Missal states:
The norm established for the dioceses of the United States of America is that holy Communion is to be received standing, unless an individual member of the faithful wishes to receive Communion while kneeling (GIRM 160).
The communicant was free to kneel if she wished, and the priest was wrong to tell her to stand. It is important to remember though that one of the reasons some have objected to individual kneeling for Communion in liturgies during which this is uncommon and urged the faithful to adopt whichever permissible form of reverence is observed in the local parish is precisely to avoid occasions such as this, where one person kneels, another objects, and the observing congregants are either confused about the proper form of reverence or made susceptible to scandal. The focus during Communion should be on the Lord who is present in the Eucharist, and not on who among the congregants is making the most beautiful signs of reverence.