A friend from my parish writes:
Aquinas walked miles to get a copy of a book by Chrysostom. I just summoned up hundreds of pages of text by pressing a few buttons. And they claim modernism isn’t unalloyed goodness!
Here is a fairly detailed summary of the 2000 GIRM (being implemented now after three years): http://www.usccb.org/liturgy/innews/062000.htm
Here is a list of the American amendments to the GIRM: http://www.usccb.org/liturgy/girm/fil2.htm
And a summary of the current American rules: http://www.usccb.org/liturgy/innews/092002.htm
The 1975 GIRM and the 2000 GIRM both mandate standing from “Pray, brethren, that our sacrifice….” until the end of mass, except that kneeling is required during the consecration. But the 1975 GIRM allowed local ordinaries to permit kneeling during the Eucharistic Prayer and during communion, whereas the 2000 GIRM only makes this concession during the Eucharistic Prayer.
In both 1975 and 2003, the American bishops mandated kneeling during all the times that the GIRM said it was optional. In 1975, this meant kneeling during the prayer and communion. In 2003, this will mean kneeling during the prayer (and optionally when the priest sits down after communion has been distributed).
Also, the Vatican explicitly forbids a priest from denying communion to someone because they kneel.
I have no theoretical objections to any of these postures. And I don’t share the alarmist attitude of some conservatives (e.g., http://www.ncregister.com/Register_News/093002kne.htm).
However, I like kneeling because I can put my head down and close my eyes and pray. When I am standing, I have my eyes open and am aware of everyone around me. I have some fear that this will prevent me from communing with our Lord as I would like to. Or am I missing the whole point — do our church leaders want me to be focusing on my fellow parisioners during communion, and only focusing on the Lord during private adoration? If so, will there be occasional masses where personal prayer is permitted after communion?
The USCCB website and Archbishop Brunett’s letter say kneeling will be allowed while the priest is seated after all communion has been distributed. But that’s usually a pretty short amount of time.
Your point about alarmism is well taken. I know there’s going to be a certain percentage of people out there who are going to become apoplectic about these liturgical changes. For myself, I can pray standing or sitting. It don’t make much nevermind with me. What’s much more distracting to my prayers is people freaking out over liturgical changes. Look at it this way: if you have your choice between being gassed at Auschwitz or freezing to death at Kolyma, or being jailed for conversion in Saudi Arabia, versus having to stand after communion, I’d say that the latter is a rather light cross to bear (if it’s even a cross at all). Find something else to worry about. Life is too short.