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May I kneel as soon as I receive Communion?

Clarification of IGMR & US Adaptation

Following is an excerpt from the bishops' discussion of the "American adaptations" concerning the US adaptation of IGMR 43.2, which states: "they may kneel or sit during the period of religious silence after Communion". (IGMR = Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani, regulations for Mass for the new Roman Missal.)

NB - Extensive portions of the bishops' discussion of the "American adaptations" and the extent of a bishop's authority to change liturgical norms, (in June and November 2001) appear in March 2003 Adoremus Bulletin. To go to complete article CLICK HERE.

In the November 14, 2001 discussion, transcribed from Adoremus audiotapes of this session of the bishops' meeting, Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput asks for clarification of an amendment offered by Bishop Edward Clark (auxiliary Los Angeles) proposing that the people stand until all have received Communion.

Archbishop Oscar Lipscomb, of Mobile, then chairman of the Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy, responds that this is not the intention of the adaptation, as accepted by the BCL.

Following this excerpt is IGMR 43, 2 & 3, as adapted for the United States, and in effect since March 2002.


Archbishop Charles Chaput: Archbishop Lipscomb, [accepted amendment] number 3: it's not my amendment, it's Bishop Clark's. But it says there that it has been accepted or subsumed into [amendment] 2; but I don't think it really has been. Because in number 2 it says "The faithful may kneel or sit during the period of religious silence after Communion". And Bishop Clark is suggesting that no one sit or kneel till everyone receives, so it really isn't-- I mean-- it's kind of ignoring the question. For clarity I would just ask, I wanted to know, why does the Committee think it really is answering his question with the wording of number 2?

Archbishop Oscar Lipscomb: Well, I - "They may kneel or sit following the reception of Holy Communion", and instead say: "They should sit during the readings before the Gospel", and so forth, "and if this seems helpful, they may sit or kneel during the period of religious silence after Communion".

Archbishop Chaput: And what Bishop Clark is suggesting is that nobody sit or kneel until everybody receives; and then they can. So they're not really the same issue it seems.

Archbishop Lipscomb: Well, again, if that was the bishop's intention I don't think we would accept that as practice for the United States - until everybody goes to Communion then you either sit or kneel, that everybody remains standing until then. I just don't think that follows the practice of most of our churches in the United States.

Archbishop Chaput: See, I agree with you, but I thought this was confusing so I was just asking for a clarification. So the period of silence can begin as soon as you receive, if you want to go back and sit down, or kneel.

Archbishop Lipscomb: You can sit down, or you can kneel - or you can stand. That's included previously.

Archbishop Chaput: Okay, thank you.

Archbishop Lipscomb: We thought the bishop's point was about standing: that they be permitted to stand. And the standing is permitted in the preceding paragraph [43.1] where it deals with posture. And standing is the general rule for the universal Church.

NOTE: Archbishop Lipscomb's comment above was made before the official Latin version of the IGMR was released in March 2002. In the final version, the Holy See added a clause to §43 on posture, stating explicitly that where kneeling is the custom, it is "laudably retained".


Revised Adaptations to the General Instruction of the Roman Missal
by the USCCB November 2001, approved March 2002


This adaptation will be inserted at number 43, paragraph 2:

They should sit during the readings before the Gospel reading and during the responsorial psalm, for the homily and the preparation of the gifts, and, if this seems helpful, they may kneel or sit during the period of religious silence after Communion.

This adaptation will be inserted at number 43, paragraph 3:

In the dioceses of the United States of America, they should kneel beginning after the singing or recitation of the Sanctus until after the Amen of the Eucharistic Prayer, except when prevented on ocassion by reasons of health, lack of space, the large number of people present, or some other good reason. Those who do not kneel ought to make a profound bow when the priest genuflects after the consecration. The faithful kneel after the Agnus Dei unless the Diocesan Bishop determines otherwise.

(Bold type indicates US adaptations of the Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani, regulations for Mass for the new Roman Missal.)


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