Vatican says flexibility allowed on posture after Communion
The Vatican's top liturgy official has said the church's liturgical norms for posture at Mass do not forbid Catholics from sitting or kneeling when they return to their place after Communion.
The ruling from Cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, was published in the July issue of the newsletter of the US bishops' Committee on Liturgy.
It said the issue arose when some US bishops, seeking to implement the church's new General Instruction of the Roman Missal, directed that those who have already received Communion should remain standing until everyone has received, and then may kneel or sit during the period of silence following Communion.
Responding to what the bishops' Secretariat for Liturgy called "numerous inquiries" on the subject, committee chairman Cardinal Francis George of Chicago sent the congregation a dubium, or formal question seeking a clarification of the law.
Many communicants in US parishes customarily kneel or sit in prayer or meditation immediately upon returning to their place, but the newsletter said a strict reading of the new general instruction would seem to indicate that standing is the posture to be taken by all until the Communion rite is finished.
According to the newsletter, Cardinal Arinze's response, received in June, said that the relevant norms were intended "to ensure within broad limits a certain uniformity of posture" but at the same time "to not regulate posture rigidly in such a way that those who wish to kneel or sit would no longer be free."
Posture during communion has not been reported as an issue in other countries including Australia.
Catholic News Service
New rules for taking communion issued (Chicago Sun-Times)
US Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Liturgy
18 Jul 2003