Most of us good Catholic boys and girls remember when, after the singing of the Agnus Dei ("Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world..."), we would kneel. When the reformed liturgy was promulgated, however, it was left to the territorial bodies of bishops to determine at what point the faithful would kneel -- except for the Consecration, where kneeling remains the universal gesture. Still, many of the faithful would kneel in preparation for Communion, and no one made much of it. Then one bishop, then another, and still another, decided he had to show who was the boss, albeit in the most inconsequential way possible. Making people stand after the Agnus Dei was the ticket. Those catechism-touting, rosary-slinging ninnies, they'll fall right into line like the good little sheep they are... right?
Things haven't always gone according to plan. Not in the little parish of St Mary's by the Sea, in Huntington Beach, California, in the Diocese of Orange, presided over by the Most Reverend Tod D Brown. His appointed lackey, Father Martin Tran, is attempting to force this point on a heretofore traditional parish, in the hopes of bringing them into the feelin'-groovy-spirit-of-Vatican-II era. How does he do this? By warning his spiritual charges that kneeling at the wrong time "is clearly rebellion, grave disobedience and mortal sin."
The local authorities have been such insensitive clods about the whole thing (among other things, for those who have followed developments there), that it is easy to forget that... they're right.
The current universal norm after the Agnus Dei is for the faithful to kneel, "unless the Diocesan Bishop determines otherwise." Well, in Orange County, he has. So why not comply?
There is a saying that goes, when someone lies to you, the lie itself matters less, than that you no longer know whether to believe them. In this instance, if you jerk people around enough about how Vatican II says this and the Church says that, when it clearly is not so, you can just kiss your credibility goodbye -- not to mention any practical authority that goes along with it. Then one day, when you issue a directive, and give all sorts of rationale that clearly offends the pious sensibilities of those whom you serve... well, at some point people might just decide for themselves that they've been jerked around long enough.
And down by the sea, they have. Presumedly, the ranks of the pious are going straight into the Abyss for kneeling in the Eucharistic presence of Our Lord.
Maybe they'll be in good company.
[UPDATE 1: For the record, when I'm at a Mass where everybody stands at the Consecration, I kneel. Anybody tries anything funny, and they'll be on their own knees soon enough.]
[UPDATE 2: Jimmy Akin elaborates on the side of clarity.]