Posture at communion and reconciliation

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: I have been hearing that some priests are re-installing communion rails, and distributing the Eucharist as if before Vatican II.

Now while I have certain theological reasons why this ought not be done, my main reason is more practical and pastoral: when a new pastor is assigned and he goes into that church, if he decides not to distribute Communion like 99% of American parishes do, might he experience great opposition? I find this unnecessarily problematic. Could local bishops mandate that Communion be distributed in a more uniform manner?

I know a local priest who is reconverting his reconciliation room back into a kneel-down-anonmyous-only mode. I suppose he can do that, but once again: he is rather permanently restricting the next priest from celebrating the sacrament with the face-to-face option.

I do wish our bishops would not let this get out of hand. It’s damaging, in my opinion. 


A: Here’s an earlier post on posture at communion: I still maintain that pastors asking people to use communion rails are not in compliance with the Vatican-approved position of the USCCB (GIRM 160). It isn’t just a parochial or diocesan matter. This has already been determined by the conference.

Regarding reconciliation rooms, you are right on both points. A priest may require a penitent to confess anonymously, even if the penitent requests face-to-face. But the priest who removes the option from his church is making it difficult for other priests who want to respond favorably to a penitent’s legitimate request.