Kneeling after the Lamb of God

The 2002 General Instruction on the Roman Missal provides in paragraph 43 for the various postures of the people during the Mass. This universal liturgical law states that "the people should stand ... from the prayer over the gifts to the end of the Mass, except at the places indicated later in this paragraph." The indicated places are the Consecration, "when they kneel," and during the period of reflection after Communion, when they may "kneel, stand or sit" (Congregation for Divine Worship, Notitiae 10, p.407).

This same paragraph allows each national bishops' conference "to adapt the actions and postures ... to the customs of the people." The American bishops have done this, codifying the Tridentine practice, which has existed as an American custom under the 1970 Missal, of kneeling down after the Agnus Dei. In the American adaptation of the General Instruction to the 3rd edition of the Roman Missal (2002), it therefore states,

43 ... The faithful kneel after the Agnus Dei unless the Diocesan Bishop determines otherwise.

Thus, the norm for the United States continues the practice of kneeling down after the Agnus Dei, unless a bishop establishes, for his entire diocese, the practice of remaining standing. There is no faculty for individual parishes to do this, establishing a patchwork of practices within a single diocese.

For those who wish to kneel, where the norm is standing, the right to do so has been secured by the Holy See. Please see Kneeling in the Mass.

Answered by Colin B. Donovan, STL

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