Saturday, February 10, 2007



Redemptionis Sacramentum
April, 2004

On certain matters to be observed or to be avoided
regarding the Most Holy Eucharist

[90.] “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”.

[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”. 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.

[92.] Although each of the faithful always has the right to receive Holy Communion on the tongue, at his choice,[178] if any communicant should wish to receive the Sacrament in the hand, in areas where the Bishops’ Conference with the recognitio of the Apostolic See has given permission, the sacred host is to be administered to him or her. However, special care should be taken to ensure that the host is consumed by the communicant in the presence of the minister, so that no one goes away carrying the Eucharistic species in his hand. If there is a risk of profanation, then Holy Communion should not be given in the hand to the faithful.


"Why would it be at least as reverential as kneeling to stand during the act of receiving communion? Give some reasons why standing is a proper posture for adoration and sacramental participation."

The interesting thing about us Catholics is that we have a tendency to get wrapped up in the small stuff and forget the 12 articles of the Apostles Creed!
We somehow enjoy picking the neck bones clean more readily than we regale ourselves with the nice tender fillet. Because we are a ritualistic, liturgical community, we find it easy and even appealing to make sure that all the detals fall into place. In our desire to accomplish perfection in the religious details that clutter our brains and our hearts, we fall into some rather humorus contradictory behaviors. The Burning Question of the week is one that causes some of these anomalies to strike those of us with a sense of humor.

Some of us insist on receiving communion kneeling. So we kneel for communion under the species of bread, then we move on and receive communion under the species of wine in the standing position. Strange isn't it that we should treat the same Sacred Reality two different ways in the space of a few seconds?

What about the altar servers and ministers who bow or genuflect when the are crossing the line of sight of the tabernacle (even diagonally) when they are facing it, but omit the reverence gesture when they are walking in a direction generally away from it?

Have you ever asked yourself why someone would genuflect immediately after receiving the Sacred Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, before walking away from the immediate area of communion?

Have you ever asked yourself why the priest doesn't genuflect every time he crosses the direct line of sight of the tabernacle? Does he know something that we don't?

I don't know how many of you cruise the Internet to satisfy your thirst for religious information. I can tell you that I spend a lot of time on the religious area of the Internet. It is so crammed with Catholics asking , commenting , discussing , arguing and opining about the small stuff, like this question, while the essentials stay locked in the closet. We here at strive to rescue the faithful from this purgatory of devotional detail and aim to elucidate the true Catholic Life Style to the world. Therefore, our exposé about why standing for communion is a very reverential posture.

The reason why the Church has included standing as a reverential posture is because that is what it is in many countries of the world. It is also a posture of maturity and and indicates acceptance of such by the leaders of the community. Standing is the equivalent of the coming-of-age privilege that is given to young people who are admitted to the main table for dinner. Standing is therefore the posture of the believer who has been fully initiaited into the
community of the Catholic Faithful, the People if the New Covenant, the Subjects in the Kingdom of God, the Ambassadors of the Good News and the Participants in the Offering of the Lamb of God. Yes, standing is the posture of the Priests, Prophets and Kings of the New Terstament, the Baptized Disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, such As we.

The Apostles Creed says, "I believe in the Communion of Saints...Life everlasting..." We say that because we are Baptized; we are the temples of God, We are His Prophets, his Kings and His Priests. Of what good are we on our knees? It's like trying to keep our nose to the grindstone, our ear to the ground and our eye on the horizon all at once. Once we're in that position, how do we get anything done?

Kneeling is a sign of abject dependence. It is a sign of a loss of freedom and self-determination. It was demanded of the sharecroppers by the feudal lords who forgot that human beings are blessed with freedom by their creator. Think about it, would the People of God have prospered for these thousands of years if they spent their time on their knees? Look at what Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Isaiah, Judith, Ruth, David, Daniel, the Maccabee Boys, John the Baptist, Peter, Paul, James and John, Ignatius, Chrystostom, Francis and Mother Theresa and Maximillian Kolbe did. They didn't do that on their knees. Do you think that Moses was kneeling down when he was arguing with Yahweh? Do you think that Sarah was kneeling down when she
laughed at being able to bear a child at her age? Do you think that Jonah was kneeling down when he was yelling at Yahweh on the beach of Nineveh?

Finally, the disciples were not kneeling when they were told "whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life and I will raise him up on the last day." (John 6;54) You know that they were standing because many of them walked away. The commissioning of the apostles in Matthew 28 had to be given to people at the ready, not to people on their knees.

Jesus conquered sin by his life, death and resurrection. We are called to do the same. We, as His disciples are called to conquer actual, post resurrection sin in ourselves and in the world by our life, death and eventual resurrection. By giving us the suggestion that we communicate with the True Presence of our Lord and Master on our feet, humbly ready and willing to go forth and exercise our discipleship, by following His mandate, the Church is telling us where Her mind is on this matter. To defy the well communicated mind of the Church as mandated by the national conference of bishops, based at least in part on the theology elucidated above is to place oneself above the teaching office of the ordained hierarchy. Since the charism of teaching is a sacramental grace of the Ordination to the office of Bishop, I leave it up to you to decide whether or not it is sinful to defy the decrees of an entire national college of bishops.

This is not a trivial detail.
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