Kneeling to receive -- pride or reverence? HELP.

I’d like your thoughts to help me make a personal decision:

It was recently suggested to me in the confessional that the reason I insist on kneeling at the O.F. Mass is my personal pride.
I’ve struggled with this thought but it’s not simple, in my mind at least.

I was an Anglican until the tender young age of 38. We always knelt to receive.
When I married a Roman Catholic I started attending Mass. The priest and his assistant welcomed me to receive – I stood for the first time in my life.
However, when I decided to convert I did so at a TLM parish. I stayed there until my health made it too difficult to travel.
Since returning to my local OF parish I’ve continued the practise of kneeling to receive on the tongue.
Or so I hope. Maybe I’m too darn proud to do things the modern way. :confused:

That seems like a lot of info but I hope it helps anybody who has thoughts on this.

I’d just like to get different ideas to help me in this serious matter.

Confusedly yours, RWS

You are kneeling in Awe before the King and Creator of the Universe.

Nothing Wrong with that!

Keep it up!

I don’t know you well enough, but just based on what you posted, I don’t think you are doing it out of pride at all. It seems like you’ve spent most of your life kneeling to receive prior and even after your conversion. I would say that you are doing it out of reverence.

Was the priest who suggested that you were doing it out of pride know you intimately enough to make that assumption? If not, then I personally don’t believe there is much credence to place on the suggestion even if it was meant well. At the same time, sometimes these things are good to get you or any of us to really think about why we do things a certain way - especially if the person does know you very well. Or maybe the priest just wanted you to think about it and be sure that you weren’t doing it out of pride.

But just by how you are worried about this kind of tells me that you are doing it with utmost sincerity and reverence and no pride.

Anyway, those are my thoughts. God Bless!

Two things:

  1. Receiving on the tongue is supposed to be the norm in the Roman Rite. Receiving in the hand is by indult only.

  2. There are official documents that say that the communicant may kneel or stand and is not to be denied communion on the grounds of the posture taken.

I don’t know why the issue of posture would come up in confession, since this in itself is not a sin.

As an Eastern Christian, I’m used to receiving standing for the last few decades of my life. When I go to the OF or EF, I receive standing and on the tongue, because this is simply what I’ve been doing.

(I have no personal objection to receiving kneeling. My problem is arthritis and blood pressure issues and I can’t get back up.)

It might be well, simply to avoid singularizing yourself, to receive standing at your present parish, but you are perfectly within your rights to kneel.

I KNEW my question was missing something:

This came up after he expressed his concern about me refusing to receive on the hand. (Our Bishop had Swine flu concerns.)
He was astounded that someone could refuse Jesus. I actually knelt there and told him that I couldn’t do it. His comment: "It has to been done YOUR WAY – that’s pride."
I never have been comfortable with unconsecrated hands handling Jesus. So Jesus was offered to me and I refused.
I see his point and what brought his concerns to the fore.
I’m really doubting myself now.

I grew up in the pre-Vatican II era, when Mass was very solemn and holy. People were very reverent and respectful of the Most Blessed Sacrament. We went to the Communion rail and knelt to receive the Host on the tongue. All that seems to have gone out the window with the implementation of changes after V-II, whether this was done appropriately or not.

Personally, I believe this has caused a lot of Catholics to lose the sense of the Holy and Mystic and REAL presence of God in the Most Blessed Eucharist. There is talking, laughing, applauding, and other behavioral aspects I find irreverent and distracting.

However, I follow the mandates of the Holy Father and the Magisterium, which tell me it continues to be the same Mass and Presence of Jesus. I go along with the practice of standing during during much of the Mass and the very little amount of kneeling in my particular church. I lament many of the changes, but know that God continues to bless His Church, regardless of my emotions about it. I, too, was told that my stance should mirror that of the rest of the people, though I like to kneel after receiving Communion. The congregation stands until all have received and the Sacrament is again placed in the tabernacle. During Communion, there is loud, guitar and rock-style singing, and I find that most distracting, keeping me from the quiet and prayerful time with the Lord Whom I have within my very being.

Again, it continues to be the same God, the same Church, the same Sacrament. I offer God the suffering this causes me, and pray that our Holy Father Benedict XVI will make some changes back to the spiritual and quiet beauty which blessed us in years past.

I receive Communion standing and on the tongue, but make a reverent bow just before receiving the Host. I’ve seen people kneel just before or during reception. I just think that no one should be offended that some people are just more traditional than others, after all, this is the Catholic, Universal Church, encompassing all peoples and all cultures.

You are being reverent in your behavior, I believe, but if you examine yourself and find that you are doing it for “show” at times, well, you’ll know what to do.

May God bless you abundantly and keep you in the hollow of His hand.:thumbsup:


Ok… I do see his point, but again I can also see where you are coming from based on your past. I understand how difficult it would be to change like that immediately considering how you’ve done things and believed things a certain way for years.

Did the Bishop forbid the distribution of the Eucharist on the tongue while the Swine flu outbreak was around?

I can see how you would be concerned about your other religious/spiritual practices because of this concern which was brought up. Again, I don’t know you well enough… your choice to refuse the Eucharist in the hand could be pride, but it also could just be a sincere belief that you are truly not worthy to receive in the hands because they are unconsecrated. It could be just very difficult for you to feel right and good enough to touch it with your hands. During my own spiritual journey, I only receive on the tongue as well because of that same belief. But at the same time, if the Bishop does forbid everyone to receive on the tongue and only on the hand, personally for myself, I’d have to trust that it is ok for me to touch the Eucharist with my hands and receive Him. Also, was he accusing you of pride outright or was he asking you to ask yourself if you were doing it because of your pride. If it was the second, then I think he was doing it right to help you think about it deeply without assuming that he knew what was in your heart, because really, what do most people know about our inner most thoughts and beliefs? There are only a handful, if that, who truly know. And even they don’t know them completely.

In terms of you only receiving kneeling, I still think that is a totally different situation. It’s still very good that you are contemplating all of this to be sure that it isn’t pride, but to me, I think you are doing it because of your beliefs and not because of pride.


It is you’re mind

You’re intellect

You’re freewill

That combine to form you’re conscience, with you are Gravely responsible to do.

It is You’re God, the God who Created you, died for you, rose from the dead for you, and the God who daily endures those who have us “do it our way.” Nuff said?

You’re obligation is to do what you understand Jesus Christ would have you do. As an FYI, did you know that World Wide the norm is still to receive Jesus on the tongue?

Do what is right friend. Don’t flaunt it, humbly do it!

Love and prayers’

Here’s my thoughts on this, since you asked:

I do believe that it is proper to remain standing to receive Holy Communion, but no-one has the right to prohibit you from receiving Holy Communion because you prefer to kneel. After reading your post, I do not believe that the reason you want to continue to kneel is because of your pride so ease your mind and try not to worry about it. It is my opinion that you are doing nothing wrong by continuing to receive Communion on the tongue.

Occassionally, I have had a confessor who was not the best listener. I just keep in mind that it is Jesus whom I confess to. It is Jesus who forgives and absolves me from my sins and it is the Holy Spirit that counsels me through the words and actions of this imperfect human being. And I say (another) prayer for my confessor. It is good to pray for the priest who will hear your confession before you confess, too.

I disagree with you about not wanting to receive Jesus from unconsecrated hands. Jesus humbles Himself to come to us through those unconsecrated hands. So I will not refuse to accept Him from the hands of an EMHC. But I can understand the desire of those who prefer to receive Holy Communion from the priest. And I believe that you should have that choice if you so desire.

These are just my thoughts.

I am going to say it is probably a little of both. Since you are aware of the prideful aspect of it, try just a couple of times to receive standing and on the tongue. If you find you are compelled to do so otherwise and must go back to kneeling and on the tongue then I would say you have conquered the prideful aspect of this and have done the “obedient” thing. You will also see that some of this might be just habit, it is the way you have always done it and you just can’t see how there is reverence in standing - know that our Eastern Brethren, the Orthodox in communion with us have always stood to receive and they have always received both the body and the blood on the tongue - given to them by their Priest from a spoon. They stand throughout their Divine Liturgy.

I know our Bishop requested no hand holding, no hand shaking and to please try in the hand during the worst part of the swine flu “pandemic” (being in New Mexico you would think we would have had a lot more cases than we had in the long term) but that is a different subject entirely.

Another suggestion, actually I highly suggest this, is to make an appointment with the priest who told you it was your pride and find out more of why he thought so. It might help you in understanding fuller what that was all about.

Brenda V.

Ok, so the way I see it boils down to this.

We aren’t talking about the fact that you have a *preference *for kneeling and receiving on the tongue, but rather the fact that you *refuse * assent to the Church’s teaching on the matter.

The Church teaches that we *may *receive standing (that it is the norm in the US), and that we *may *receive on the hand (i.e., there is nothing theologically prohibiting it).

The US Bishops have set the norm for standing-- but you *refuse *(even though you can’t be refused Communion, there is still an act of rejecting the US norms) And, when the Bishop asked everyone to receive on the hand for a couple of weekends, you *actively *refused.

So, if the Church teaches it’s not wrong, and the Church has authority over us to make the rules of posture and asks us to be obedient to them, as yourself why you refuse. Is it because you are convinced that the Church is wrong and you are right?

Don’t get caught up in whether or not it’s technically allowed or whether or not it’s “better” or “worse,” but focus on the fact that the Church teaches it is *not wrong *to stand and it is *not wrong *to receive in the hand. Are you willing to submit to the Church’s assessment of this matter?

If not, I’d say this *could *boil down to pride.

I am a convert from the Episcopal Church who also knelt (but received in the hand) my whole life until I converted as an adult. I have no issue standing to receive when that is the norm in that particular parish, I also have no problem receiving kneeling as I often did when attending a OF Mass at a church that had an altar rail (we also received on the tongue at that Mass).

I would not make a scene at mass in order to get my way, that… to me… does seem prideful.

At which point, said priest is in violation of canon law.

Yes, you are in doing it out of pride and habit, but not disobediently so.

Let your bishop know your concerns on the matter.

I can’t judge you or your thoughts, but refusing to receive the Eucharist in the hand when the Bishop has mandated that it be given this way just because YOU have determined (against Church teaching) that unconsecrated hands should not be touching the Eucharist, certainly can give the appearance of pride, and that is probably what precipitated the priest’s remark. Are you willing to submit to Church authority in the matter, or do you place your personal preference and comfort level above it? Ask yourself that question and you may be able to determine if it is pride or not. Only you can determine that.

In your original post you said that you “insist” in kneeling. The common definition of insisting is that you are demanding things be done your way. That does sound like a prideful issue to me. St John Climicus tells us that we when submit in obedience to our superiors (in your case your priest and your bishop), we are protected from doing wrong by God’s joy in our obedience. Since the church has stated that to receive standing or in the hand is acceptable, then you should submit to your bishop’s/priest’s specific request. I am sure that now that the swine flu concerns are waning, your bishop will no longer require communion in the hand.

How do you detect that he is doing it out of pride? Perhaps he did act out of pride. God knows, but it is not for us to say. I have no reason to doubt that he kneels “FOR THE KING OF THE UNIVERSE” as he has said.

I don’t know you, so I can’t comment.

It comes down to that. I know that when I begin receiving I want to receive kneeling. However, no one at my parish kneels except for one older gentleman who also prays the rosary during Mass.

For me, I’m going to ask my pastor, and I’m going to tell him that for me it’s both. I know I have a pride issue with looking pious but I also genuinely want to show reverence. If no one could see me and everyone did it like I did then I’d know it wasn’t a pride issue, and I’d behave that way anyway, but since the way I behave in Mass and hope to behave in Mass is out of the ordinary in my diocese and much of the country it becomes a pride issue.

It’s quite unfortunate.

So, I’m going to ask my pastor which he wants me to do, and I will submit to that. I figure that way everyone should be happy and the pride issue is conquered.

For you, I know you don’t think it’s a pride issue, but just try to consider that it could be.

A few years ago I read that the Vatican actually gets tired of receiving complaints about the faithful not being allowed to kneel, or being pressured to stand. The rubrics state that it is the communicants choice as to how they wish to receive.

One question that concerns me–why are you coming to an online message board to ask people you don’t know about something that is impossible for us to determine because we don’t know you either?

Wouldn’t it be better to ask friends who know you and who you can trust to give you an honest answer?

If I knew you as a friend, I would be able to determine whether or not you are prideful based on how you live all of your life, not just your life during Holy Communion.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that I think you came to this message board because you knew that many people would say what you want to hear. You did not go to real people in your parish because you are afraid that they will agree with priest.

I’m thinking that perhaps you don’t have any friends in your parish. And that concerns me. I’m not saying you have to be the winner of the Popular Parishioner trophy, but you should have at least one or two Christian friends who know you well, who hold you accountable, and pray for you, even as you do the same for them.

And if you don’t have any friends that you can go to for advice and help, it makes me wonder if the reason is…you are proud and hold yourself above all others.

Forgive me if my speculations are way off. But you did ask for HELP, and this is my input.

I think converts tend to be prideful…as a lot…
Your response really spoke to me, not sure about the original poster, but they nailed it for me. Thanks.

UGH!!! I can’t stand this debate any longer, yes the Church is infallible, but you have to ask, who represents the Church as a whole? One priest? One Bishop? One Pope? You know there are debates on the papal line that have legitimate arguments and there are very devoted Catholics who believe that Vatican II ruined a whole lot of things and was not originally meant to do so. Holy Communion should not be received by the hand plain and simple it is sad that most of America has taken this modern ideal and ran with it. “Contemporary ism” has invaded the Catholic Church in America and in my humble opinion it should be put to a stop. Starting with these new mass ideas.

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