Saw a GREAT thing at Mass this morning


Anglicans and Episcopals still have altar rails


That’s sad that we Catholics don’t have them anymore.


It’s acceptable everywhere.


Not if doing it will disrupt the service.



“The norm for reception of Holy Communion in the dioceses of the United States is standing. Communicants should not be denied Holy Communion because they kneel. Rather, such instances should be addressed pastorally, by providing the faithful with proper catechesis on the reasons for this norm.” (GIRM 160)


She was a visitor and she was the very last one in the communion line so she didn’t disturb anybody. It was beautiful to see.


If its not the norm any more for Catholics to receive at the altar rail, how is it sad?

Its not the norm for baptists or pentecostals to receive at an altar rail, so they usually don’t have them either


Our son does the kneeling thing. Not anything he learned from Mom and Dad.


Methodist have them too…at least the one my grandparents attended.


My wife’s home church in New London, Ct St Joseph’s has Altar Rails. But they have not been used for the intended purpose for at least the 34 years I’ve been married.


I think that’s common with Methodists- when John Kerry ran for president 13 years ago, they took a pic of the candidate receiving communion in a Methodist church.


Matter of fact, the only church I have ever been too that the Altar Rail is used is the one underground day chapel at the shrine of the most blessed sacrament in Hanceville, Alabama. We try to take a Quarterly visit there.


They must me really heavy and built in- are they old school marble which makes them really impractical to move w/o causing damage elsewhere?


Yes, they are made of Marble. IMMOVABLE…The whole interior is Marble. except the pews…

Even the steps outside and the tiles are marble. Really Beautiful and old school as you say.


It is interesting that you sort this as an"orthodox" belief. The bishops of the United States, in the letter titled "The Reception Of Holy Communion At Mass: stated the following: "Finally, the fact that the Communion Procession is a profoundly religious action tells us something about the way in which we should participate in this procession. We are the Body of Christ, moving forward to receive the Christ who makes us one with himself and with one another. Our procession should move with dignity; our bearing should be that of those who know they have been redeemed by Christ and are coming to receive their God!

The General Instruction asks each country’s Conference of Bishops to determine the posture to be used for the reception of Communion and the act of reverence to be made by each person as he or she receives Communion. In the United States, the body of Bishops determined that Communion should be received standing, and that a bow is the act of reverence made by those receiving. These norms may require some adjustment on the part of those who have been used to other practices, however the significance of unity in posture and gesture as a symbol of our unity as members of the one body of Christ should be the governing factor in our own actions."

I sincerely doubt that the bishops of the United sStates, in a joint statement, have made an unorthodox remark, and I further doubt thaeir request and the reasoning behind it is unorthodox.

I fond your characterization to be particularly disturbing, as I was taught in my youth (and I was born in 1946) that putting aside my desires/wishes/emotions and submitting to the request of the bishop was first and foremost an act of humility and obedience.


you make a valid point. I rescind my comment.


How would this be any “better” or “more reverent” if she would have profoundly bowed and then received while standing?


I have a nice story to relate about altar rails. A large Catholic church about 50 miles from me still has its altar railings. They are granite and it would have ruined the sanctuary to bust them out. What was missing were the three “entry gates” and the knee padding for the steps. Sadly for years you could see the glue residue and screw holes where the pads were once located.

A number of years ago a new pastor arrived. He told one of the (volunteer) maintenance guys that “we’re going to have to do something about that altar rail. We’re going to have to restore it.” Apparently the maintenance crew took that as carte blanche to restore things. The gates are the originals, which had been stashed away. They were stripped (they are made of steel), beautifully powder-coated and then hand pinstriped. They look…well, just gorgeous. The new pads are made out of Connolly Leather from England. The same leather that was once used in Rolls Royces. The granite railing itself received a good polishing from a cemetery headstone company. The whole project was a great success and cost very little – mostly donations.

Yet some people still whined about it.


It was VERY reverent and so nice to see one so young do this.


For the record, here’s what the USCCB said in 2012:
No. 160 of the GIRM states clearly there that the “norm” established for the United States for reception of Holy Communion is standing. In the 2003 GIRM, it stated that no one should be refused Communion if they kneel, but that afterward they should be properly catechized. In the current edition, the exhortation to catechesis is removed and the exception to the norm of standing is left to the discretion of the faithful: “unless an individual member of the faithful wishes to receive Communion while kneeling.” The Instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum, no. 91, is then cited.
Source: BCDW Newsletter, January 2012
We have a right to kneel, and the Bishops instruction to “catechize” people who kneel to receive was removed.

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