Question from LizS on 4/5/2008:
Is it a matter of cannon law that we now queue in such a fashion, or just one of choice for each parish? I do find it lacking in reverence, especially as our priest is prone to hurrying us through as quick as possible. My mother is Anglican and they kneel still, and they dont even believe in the true presence. Also I dont feel it gives out the right message to anyone who may be in doubt about this belief, particularly as it seems that people are permitted to dress casually too Thanks
Answer by Rev. Mark J. Gantley, JCL on 4/7/2008:
I agree that the time of Holy Communion has turned into a hurried irreverent process. In my personal opinion, I believe that it was a mistake to get away from using the altar rail for the reception of Holy Communion. Even if a person received standing and in the hands, if the priest or minister moved instead of the person having to move, perhaps the reception of Holy Communion wouldn't be so rushed, people wouldn't be walking away as they are putting the host in their mouth, etc. If one was kneeling or standing at the altar rail and the priest/minister moved, I would think that one would be more likely not feel rushed to move away until after the host was already in one's mouth.
I would note that when receiving Holy Communion in the hand, it is required by the liturgical norms to put the host into one's mouth BEFORE beginning to walk away (i.e., in front of the priest/minister).
I think that the issue of casual dress is somewhat influenced by culture and climate. I am currently working in the Diocese of Honolulu, and here an aloha shirt is considered formal attire. I have seen people who were very devout and reverent when receiving Holy Communion who were dressed rather casually. With attire, I think the bigger issue is one of modesty. Again, however, having served as a priest in the cold and wet northeast, in the hot and dry Nevada desert, and now in the tropics, respectful and reverent attire varies greatly. What is immodest seems consistent.