Key Vatican officials have dismissed suggestions of an impending change to the practice of receiving Communion while standing despite four dozen people receiving the Eucharist on the tongue while kneeling from Pope Benedict on the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ.
Catholic News Service reports Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments Archbishop Albert Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige Don says "there are no new norms coming" that would change the Vatican's 1969 decision that local bishops could allow their faithful to receive the Eucharist in their hands while standing.
He also says "there is no discussion" about insisting those who receive Communion from the Pope do so kneeling or that they receive it on the tongue rather than in their hands.
"But the gesture of the Holy Father is to be appreciated. It brings out in a better way the fact we adore the Lord whom we receive" in the Eucharist, Archbishop Ranjith said.
"It was a special occasion and I hope this practice spreads."
As the Pope prepared to distribute Communion, two ushers placed a kneeler in front of the altar on the St John Latern basilica steps and the chosen communicants, lay people, nuns, seminarians, priests and children, all knelt and received on the tongue.
Generally at papal Masses those receiving Communion from the Pope stand and the majority choose to receive on the tongue.
In a preface to a January book about the beauty of receiving the Eucharist on the tongue while kneeling, Archbishop Ranjith had said he thought it was time for the Catholic Church to reconsider its decision to allow the faithful to receive Communion in the hand.
Master of Papal Liturgical Ceremonies Monsignor Guido Marini, says the decision "was a solution adopted for the feast of Corpus Domini", but as for the future, "we'll see."
Vatican: Receiving Eucharist kneeling may not be permanent change (Catholic News Service, 25/5/08)