Q: Recently, a bishop in our region announced that the posture in his diocese after the Agnus Dei would go from standing, which they had been doing, to kneeling. I realize that GIRM #43 gives the bishop the authority to determine this posture. My question has to do with part of his rationale, which he’s published in the diocesan paper and included in his statement announcing the decision. He has stated, in part, that by asking the faithful to kneel at this place, he is “returning to the universal norm,” practiced by the rest of the Church. My understanding is that it is NOT a universal norm to kneel here, but rather a posture allowed in the United States; that by kneeling here, the dioceses of the United States are the exception to what is happening in other countries. If I had access to the Latin edition of the Missal, I could look to see what exactly IS the universal norm for posture here. That is, if the sentence, “The faithful kneel after the Agnus Dei…” is one of the postures covered by the sentence, “In the dioceses of the United States of America…” I’ve always assumed that it is.
A: You are correct: the universal norm is for standing after the Lamb of God. Americans kneel unless the bishop permits standing. Personally, I like the idea of having the assembly retain the standing posture after the Lamb of God and through the distribution of communion. It lends unity to the action of communion. It improves the singing. It just looks polite to remain standing while others receive.