Why stand during Communion in the US?

I found the following in the GIRM as published by the US Bishops:

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. (GIRM 159.)

Can someone clue me in, what are the “reasons for this norm?”

John Hiner

For one, there’s nothing wrong with standing. We stand for liturgical prayer, we stand to hear the Gospel.
Secondly, my personal guess would be that it helps keep the flow of the communion line. Otherwise communion would take twice as long.

I too have wondered what the reasons for the norm are.

Watch what Cardinal Arinze said about this:

youtube.com/watch?v=EcZhjmYn1K8&feature=related
youtube.com/watch?v=Cc0g3UMRtMM&feature=related

Also, read Redemptionis Sacramentum:

[91.] In distributing Holy Communion it is to be remembered that “sacred ministers may not deny the sacraments to those who seek them in a reasonable manner, are rightly disposed, and are not prohibited by law from receiving them”.[177] Hence any baptized Catholic who is not prevented by law must be admitted to Holy Communion. Therefore, 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.

jboss

I would tend to agree with NewEnglandPries that the flow of the line has a lot to do with it. I think the old chestnut about uniformity of posture may come into play here as well.

So does anyone ever stand to receive at papal masses?

Don’t the early canons forbid kneeling on Sundays altogether?

The only ones who kneel at Masses in St. Peter’s are those receiving from the Pope. All others stand.

I know in the Eastern traditions there’s something like that, I’m not sure about the Latin tradition. IIRC, the Eastern Catholic Churches don’t kneel at all during the Easter season.

Frankly; I always suspected that expediency somehow played a role in distributing communion to the faithful if you go by the rational that holy communion would take twice as long

Immediately after Vatican II it seems that a major mindset change perceived by the clergy in how furnishings in the vicinity of the sanctuary had to be removed entirely. One being the High Altar with the beautiful Tabernacle being replaced elsewhere away from the altar. I can never fathom why Altar Rails with kneelers in many parishes in United States, Canada and elsewhere were complete removed or destroyed. Was it too much to humble oneself kneeling at the foot of the Holy Sanctuary to receive the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord?

That was always my thinking about why we stand now. Once the alter rails were taken away there was no where for every one to kneel.

There are those (like me) that need a bit of support to get to the ground and back up again. If you get enough of us standing in the aisle trying to get up and down holy communion would take an hour by itself. And you know Catholics can’t be in the church for more than an hour at a time. :wink:

It’s amazing how some Catholics want Communion over as quickly as possible. When I pass by fast food restaurant lines I think of them. People don’t mind waiting in line to get a coffee or hamburger, but they demand the line to receive the Blessed Sacrament flow as quickly as possible.

The Communion line at the EF I attend where kneeling is mandatory moves just as well as the OF where most people stand. Kneeling is a sign of reverence, we kneel before our Lord. Scripture tell us, “every knee shall bend”. Jesus knelt to pray. Why are we so bold as to stand before Him?

The norm for reception of Communion in the Church is on tongue while kneeling. It only became the norm in the US because of rebellion. Pope Paul VI ruled against it yet it went on anyway. Receiving in hand while standing is something Luther wanted.

:thumbsup: Exactly!!!

Some years back when I served with Bishop Basil (Essey) of the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America, Sayidna made this prostration after the consecration though it was a Sunday. When I asked him about it, he said this was normative and that a prostration at this time did not violate the canon against kneeling on Sunday because that canon forbade penitential kneeling on Sundays, not the adoration of Christ in the Sacrament. (source)

I don’t know them. The door to change occurred, I believe, in 1967, when this was written in the instruction Eucharisticum Mysterium:
34a. In accordance with the custom of the Church, Communion may be received by the faithful either kneeling or standing. One or the other way is to be chosen, according to the decision of the episcopal conference, bearing in mind all the circumstances, above all the number of the faithful and the arrangement of the churches. The faithful should willingly adopt the method indicated by their pastors, so that Communion may truly be a sign of the brotherly union of all those who share in the same table of the Lord.
I don’t know what “custom of the Church” of standing to receive Holy Communion existed at the time in the Roman Rite… but there you have it. :shrug:

Apples and oranges. There’s a rhythm and flow to liturgy. I don’t think people are looking for Mass to be “as quick as possible” but rather to flow smoothly and prayerfully. For example, let’s say a priest decided to pray in silence for 30 minutes following communion. If someone finds that to be an inappropriate length does that mean that they want a “fast food Mass”?
I find it amazing how judgmental we all can be when someone else’s concept of liturgy doesn’t meet our own.

The Communion line at the EF I attend where kneeling is mandatory moves just as well as the OF where most people stand. Kneeling is a sign of reverence, we kneel before our Lord. Scripture tell us, “every knee shall bend”. Jesus knelt to pray. Why are we so bold as to stand before Him?

We’re “so bold” because God can make us worthy to stand before Him, as Eucharistic Prayer II says, “We thank you for counting us worthy to stand in your presence and serve you.”

The norm for reception of Communion in the Church is on tongue while kneeling. It only became the norm in the US because of rebellion. Pope Paul VI ruled against it yet it went on anyway. Receiving in hand while standing is something Luther wanted.

Its time to give this argument a rest. It is what it is. All the complaining won’t do a thing about anything. Its the normal liturgical practice in the US for a variety of reasons. Throwing around words like “rebellion” is unfair and unChristian to those who who reverently and faithfully receive in the hand while standing each week.

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