Is there any Official Church Document which states that no one, including children are not allowed around the altar during the Our Father? I can only find paragraph 162 from the GIRM. I mentioned this to our bishop and he told me that this specific paragraph only applies to the extraordinary ministers of the Holy Eucharist. He said children are allowed up as long it is done with reverance!? Our priest allows the children up around the altar, (We do not allow our kids because we believe it to be improper for many reasons, not to list due to space) but our priest has never instructed the children to show reverence by genuflection to the Blessed Sacrament or bowing when passing in front of the altar, etc. Can you help me out with any Church Document or statement besides the GIRM?? Thanks.
Only the presiding celebrant remains at the altar during the liturgy of the Eucharist. The Holy See says the following:
“In liturgical celebrations each one, minister or layperson, who has an office to perform, should do all of, but only, those parts which pertain to that office by the nature of the rite and the principles of liturgy” [Sacrosanctum Concilium art.29].
“During the liturgy of the Eucharist, only the presiding celebrant remains at the altar. The assembly of the faithful take their place in the Church outside the “presbyterium,” which is reserved for the celebrant or concelebrants and altar ministers.” [Notitiae 17 (1981) 61]
It should be noted that the Church makes no exceptions to this rule, nor are any special dispensations given. “No one, whether lector, extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, deacon, priest, bishop, or even a national conference of bishops, is able to authorize changes in the liturgy that conflict with what has been approved by the Holy See” (Mass Confusion pg. 25). Canon 846 says: “The liturgical books approved by the competent authority are to be faithfully observed in the celebration of the sacraments; therefore, no one on personal authority may add, remove, or change anything in them.”
If you need further counsel on this issue, I recommend you contact The St. Joseph Foundation, 11107 Wurzbach Suite 601B · San Antonio, Texas 78230-2570 Telephone: (210) 697-0717