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Receiving Communion on the tongue and knees
Question from Lana on 10/27/2012:

Could you please give me any insights on receiving on one's tongue and knees? A few years ago I felt compelled to receive in this manner. It is sometimes embarrassing and hurtful when a priest is rude to while distributing Communion because he doesn't like me to receive in thus manner. Yet, for myself, it is the most appropriate way to receive my Lord. To me, it is the most respectful and humble way to approach my Lord. I also feel God may be using me to show people to approach him with more reverence. I also believe that I can make up a little for others' total lack of reverence and for those who never think of Jesus.

Answer by Catholic Answers on 10/30/2012:


Regarding Communion on the tongue, that is the universal discipline for receiving Communion in the Latin church. In places where there is a dispensation to do so, communicants may choose to receive Communion in the hand but are not required to do so. Regarding kneeling, the current General Instruction of the Roman Missal states:

The norm established for the dioceses of the United States of America is that holy Communion is to be received standing, unless an individual member of the faithful wishes to receive Communion while kneeling (GIRM 160).

Basically, this means that you are free to kneel and receive Communion on the tongue if you wish. A priest should not be rude to you for doing so.

That said, I'd like to draw your attention to something. While you use disclaimers like "for myself" and "to me" when discussing your choice to kneel and receive Communion on the tongue, you also stated that you think God "may be using [you] to show people to approach him with more reverence." You indicate that you believe others' have a "total lack of reverence" and "never think of Jesus," but the only evidence offered for such conclusions is that they do not receive Communion in the manner that you do.

Humility is first and foremost a virtue cultivated in the heart. Humility can be indicated by someone dropping to the knees in front of Jesus in the Eucharist if that person is doing so purely from gratitude for the great gift Christ gives to us in the Eucharist. But when the intent instead is to draw everyone's attention to the act of kneeling and to show how much better it is presumed to be to kneel (even though standing is the normative posture for receiving Communion at Mass given by the Church in approved liturgical rubrics), then perhaps the act might not be as humble as is supposed.

Michelle Arnold
Catholic Answers


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