Eucharisticum Mysterium 34: Receiving Communion

They looked at it in ’67: how to receive Communion. The Consilium says it’s pretty much up to the pastor: kneeling or standing, but pick one for the sign of family unity:

34. a. 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. The faithful should willingly follow the manner of reception indicated by the pastors so that communion may truly be a sign of familial union among those who share in the same table of the Lord.

b. 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. This should be done at a designated moment and place, so as not to interfere with the coming and going of the other communicants.

And even back in ’67, a gesture of reverence before receiving, not after, was indicated. I see a variety of practices, including people who will bow before receiving, then sign themselves as they look at the cross afterward. Little familial unity there.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Eucharisticum Mysterium, Liturgy, post-conciliar liturgy documents. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Eucharisticum Mysterium 34: Receiving Communion

  1. Jeff Pinyan says:

    “In accordance with the custom of the Church, the faithful may receive communion either kneeling or standing.” Was this the first document since Sacrosanctum Concilium to mention standing to receive Holy Communion? I’m aware there was a custom LONG AGO whereby Communion was received standing, but the tradition of the Roman Rite has been receiving kneeling, for centuries.

    Is this the first document that gave the permission?

  2. Liam says:

    IIRC, the preconciliar missals did not regulate the gesture/postures of the people in the pews (as opposed to the servers who were their proxies, as it were), which was almost entirely governed by local custom rather than rubrics. This is the beginning of providing rubrics for the people.

  3. Jeff Pinyan says:

    So where, then, in the custom of the Roman Rite at that time, was Communion received standing?

  4. Liam says:

    I don’t know, but the text of instruction quoted is predicated on the knowledge that there were places where it was a custom before 1967.

    I don’t believe in making a shibboleth out of the posture issue, one way or the other, as that runs contrary to one of the intended fruits of the sacrament.

  5. Jeff Pinyan says:

    The reason I bring it up is because I’ve heard the standing is an “indult”, but I’ve found no such evidence of that. Rather than an indult, it appears that either standing or kneeling is an acceptable mode of reception, but that each Conference should decide on one to be the “norm” for that Conference.

    What I mean is, is kneeling a “universal norm”, just as receiving on the tongue is? I have a feeling it is because of the responses from the CCDDS about not refusing Communion to one who wishes to receive kneeling.

  6. Liam says:

    Well, a minister of communion cannot refuse to administer communion to someone who is kneeling. That’s a universal norm.

  7. Liam says:

    I should clarify – refuse simply because they are kneeling….

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