Kneeling to Receive?

Is it okay to kneel to receive the the Host? I get on both knees and then receive on the tongue. Is this proper/allowable or should I be standing?

My understanding is that

  1. Receiving on the tongue remains the norm in the Roman rite. Standing is by indult.

  2. Kneeling may be done. (I don’t know if standing is by indult or by rubric.)

However, kneeling might not be practical in all places. And if you are likely to trip up people behind you, it’s not thoughtful.

My problem is not kneeling, but getting back up.

Yes, you may kneel to receive. From what I can find in Church documents, the permission to receiving standing is just as universal (and not by indult) as the permission to receive kneeling. (This is not the case with receiving in the hand, which is only permitted by an indult which is extended only to certain countries. Receiving on the tongue is the universal norm, receiving in the hand is an exception to that norm only allowed by indult.)

I also wish to bring to your attention that when receiving Communion while standing, one is expected to make a sign of reverence (in the US, this is a bow of the head); but when receiving Communion while kneeling, no additional sign of reverence is required.

Here are some quotes from Church documents (in chronological order) which state that the faithful are universally permitted to receiving kneeling (or standing) in the Roman Rite.

“In accordance with the custom of the Church, the faithful may receive communion either kneeling or standing. One or the other practice is to be chosen according to the norms laid down by the conference of bishops and in view of the various circumstances, above all the arrangement of the churches and the number of the communicants. … When the faithful communicate kneeling, no other sign of reverence toward the most holy sacrament is required, because the kneeling itself expresses adoration. When they receive communion standing, it is strongly recommended that, approaching in line, they make a sign of reverence before receiving the sacrament.” (Eucharisticum Mysterium n. 34, 25 May 1967)

“The norm for reception of Holy Communion in the dioceses of the United States is standing. Communicants should not be denied Holy Communion because they kneel. Rather, such instances should be addressed pastorally, by providing the faithful with proper catechesis on the reasons for this norm. When receiving Holy Communion [standing], the communicant bows his or her head before the Sacrament as a gesture of reverence and receives the Body of the Lord from the minister.” (US GIRM n. 160, 2002)

“Even where the Congregation has approved of legislation denoting standing as the posture for Holy Communion, in accordance with the adaptations permitted to the Conferences of Bishops by the Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani n. 160, paragraph 2, it has done so with the stipulation that communicants who choose to kneel are not to be denied Holy Communion on these grounds.” (Prot. n. 1322/02/L; 1 July 2002)

“‘The faithful should receive Communion kneeling or standing, as the Conference of Bishops will have determined’, with its acts having received the recognitio of the Apostolic See. ‘However, if they receive Communion standing, it is recommended that they give due reverence before the reception of the Sacrament, as set forth in the same norms’. … it is not licit to deny Holy Communion to any of Christ’s faithful solely on the grounds, for example, that the person wishes to receive the Eucharist kneeling or standing.” (Redemptionis Sacramentum nn. 90-91, 25 March 2004)

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