I remember the fuss when the revised instructions first came out in 2003. Cardinal Arinze, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, provided clarification. If you prefer to kneel, then kneel.
Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I., Chairman of the Bishops Committee on the Liturgy, received the following clarification concerning the right interpretation of the “General Instruction of the Roman Missal” on the posture of the faithful from their own reception of Communion until the period of sacred silence after all Communions have been received (at which time they may sit or kneel as they prefer).
Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
5 June 2003
Prot. n. 855/03/L
Dubium: In many places, the faithful are accustomed to kneeling or sitting in personal prayer upon returning to their places after having individually received Holy Communion during Mass. Is it the intention of the Missale Romanum, editio typica tertia, to forbid this practice?
Responsum: Negative, et ad mentem. The mens is that the prescription of the Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani, no. 43, is intended, on one hand, to ensure within broad limits a certain uniformity of posture within the congregation for the various parts of the celebration of the Holy Mass, and on the other, to not regulate posture rigidly in such a way that those who wish to kneel or sit would no longer be free.
Francis Cardinal Arinze
He went into more detail here, on kneeling and several other topics. I’ve quoted the part about kneeling.:
“Catholic Familyland” Summer Conference
Cardinal Francis Arinze
**Does everybody have to stand until the last person has received Holy Communion? **
There is no rule from Rome that everybody must stand during Holy Communion. There is no such rule from Rome. So, after people have received Communion, they can stand, they can kneel, they can sit. But a bishop in his diocese or bishops in a country could say that they recommend standing or kneeling. They could. It is not a law from Rome. They could – but not impose it. Perhaps they could propose. But those who want to sit or kneel or stand should be left reasonable freedom.
**Is that the same thing with the consecration? Can they kneel during the consecration? **
A bit different there. The rule from Rome would sanction where the bishops said, “in our country we want people to kneel throughout the consecration”. From our office in Rome we will support that. So it is a bit different. But sometimes during the consecration – suppose it is open-air or it rained and it is muddy – you could not kneel there. But in the normal church it is possible to kneel.
And that’s the normal thing: to kneel during the consecration – and even, as in this country, to kneel from the beginning – just before consecration – right down to just before the Our Father. And that is okay. Where a particular person cannot kneel – you have arthritis or you are a mother holding a baby – that is understood.