I was recently told by someone a pastor has the authority to decide if the congregration may or may not bow at Mass when receiving the Blessed Sacrament? I thought the Bishop makes such directives?
Can. 214 The Christian faithful have the right to worship God according to the prescripts of their own rite approved by the legitimate pastors of the Church and to follow their own form of spiritual life so long as it is consonant with the doctrine of the Church.
Can. 846 §1. In celebrating the sacraments the liturgical books approved by competent authority are to be observed faithfully; accordingly, no one is to add, omit, or alter anything in them on one’s own authority.
Reception of communion is regulated by the General Instruction of the Roman Missal:
- …When receiving Holy Communion, the communicant bows his or her head before the Sacrament as a gesture of reverence and receives the Body of the Lord from the minister…
The bow of the head before receiving is not presented as optional. It is stated directly and clearly. So, not only does the pastor not have authority to remove it from the Mass but to discourage the faithful from doing so is actually a violation of their right to worship.