Altar Rails?

Discussion in 'Church and Parish Life' started by Tuxedo America, Oct 5, 2017.

  1. Tuxedo America

    Tuxedo America New Member

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    This seems like an appropriate place to pose this question. What do you all think of altar rails? I remember them clearly from my "Episcopalian" days, and I have developed a deep appreciation for them since returning to Christianity. Unfortunately, all two of the Catholic churches I've been to since then haven't had them, so I think I'm either unlucky, or they are being phased out.
     
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  2. PotterMcKinney

    PotterMcKinney Active Member Typist Anglican

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    I think it's important to kneel for communion, so I like altar rails. If everybody insists on moving the altar off the walls, I at least want altar rails.
     
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  3. Aidan

    Aidan Well-Known Member

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    In the Novus Ordo, altar rails and kneeling for communion have been phased out as receiving communion in the hand became the latest aberration. The altar became derailed along with the church !
     
  4. Aidan

    Aidan Well-Known Member

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    Never knew that Anglicans also had altar attached to wall. Did the vicar also stand ad orientem?
     
  5. Peteprint

    Peteprint Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I love altar rails. I have taken communion by spoon in my Orthodox days, as well as standing during Novus Ordo RC masses, and nothing comes close to kneeling at the altar rail for me.
     
  6. Aidan

    Aidan Well-Known Member

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    Were you practising Novus Ordo when you received? If not, you shouldn't allow yourself to receive Pete
     
  7. Peteprint

    Peteprint Well-Known Member Anglican

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    At the time, Aidan, I was still technically Eastern Orthodox; the RCC will commune Orthodox who are "properly disposed."

    "Catholic ministers may licitly administer the sacraments of penance, Eucharist and anointing of the sick to members of the oriental churches which do not have full Communion with the Catholic Church, if they ask on their own for the sacraments and are properly disposed. This holds also for members of other churches, which in the judgment of the Apostolic See are in the same condition as the oriental churches as far as these sacraments are concerned" (CIC 844 ยง 3).
     
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  8. Shane R

    Shane R Active Member

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    My jurisdiction trains clergy exclusively in the ad orientem posture.

    You may also find it interesting that ad orientem celebration is nearly universal in the US Ordinariate. In fact, I was reading a paper by Bp. Lopes about the new Missal for the Ordinariates and he addressed the question of how that liturgy is intended to be celebrated. Ad orientem is normative and proper.
     
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  9. Philip Barrington

    Philip Barrington Well-Known Member

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    I grew up in a parish where the clergyman celebrated Holy Communion standing at the North End of the altar. There was some prevailing argument for that which I can not remember, but I think it may have been an ancient rubric.

    The Table at the Communion time having a fair white linen cloth upon it, shall stand in the body of the Church, or in the Chancel, where Morning and Evening Prayer are appointed to be said. And the Priest standing at the north side of the Table shall say the Lord's Prayer with the Collect following, the people kneeling.
    (introductory rubrics 1662 Order for the Administration of the Holy Communion)​

    The prevailing practice of the Diocese I live in is to take the westward position where possible, and where not to take the Eastward position. That having been said there is an array of practice in the Province, and recently I saw someone celebrate in the West by South West Position which was novel, but hardly instructive.

    The advantages of ad orientem (Eastward) is that everyone of looking forward - to God, to the light coming from the east - and it speaks powerfully of the unity of the whole Body of Christ whilst make some clear statements of Transcendence.

    The Westward position speaks more affable of the community, sharing round the table of the Lord the Supper of the Lord with an strong overtone of immanence.

    I don't especially think anything is right or wrong (save perhaps for West by South West) but it is important that we think about what we are doing and why. It may be that to makes sense - given physical limitations - to use both positions, and continue the dialogue between transcendence and immanence, yes and even talk about it with the people that they may be informed participants in the Holy Sacrament.
     
  10. PotterMcKinney

    PotterMcKinney Active Member Typist Anglican

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    He did, yes. I was under the impression that the altar was supposed to be against the wall and the anaphora said facing east until it changed more or less with the RCC, but that may not be true. In any case, they really want to take the altar off the wall, but it's actually more a part of the wall, so it would be very, very costly to do and the vestry doesn't want to deal with it. So, with much grumbling from everyone that isn't me, it stays.
     
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  11. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member Anglican

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    yes in many
     
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  12. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    It is one of the most "Anglican" things that people kneel at the altar rail. Even in a low church environment I've literally never seen anyone receive Holy Communion standing. And there was no movement for wreckovation or destruction of the altars and rails in the 70s and 80s, leaving Anglican churches with stately altar rails, it's great..
     
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  13. Shane R

    Shane R Active Member

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  14. Aidan

    Aidan Well-Known Member

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    Very similar to our chapel
     
  15. Ide

    Ide Active Member

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    Nearly all Anglican churches I have been to have altar rails. I was genuinely surprised to visit a Roman Catholic church with my friend and see no altar rail. She told me they are removing many of them from the churches when they remodel them, which surprised me.

    I kneel for the Eucharistic prayers and always want to kneel when receiving communion. I love the Eucharist so much that I want to show as much respect as I can when receiving. I think kneeling when taking communion is a beautiful practice- I'm very happy this is preserved in many Episcopal churches. Praying with the entire body is so important and it is hard to feel proud when on one's knees.

    At the Anglican parish I've been visiting, there is no altar rail so people take communion standing. It's a very small space and not built for an altar rail (not built as Anglican church either), so that's understandable. I don't care for it, but what can I do? Does anyone know if you can one request to take communion kneeling if there is no altar rail? I believe that it should be permitted as kneeling is the correct position in which to receive communion.

    I found this blog post interesting- any thoughts? Hopefully it is accurate

     
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  16. Shane R

    Shane R Active Member

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    Absolutely. However, prepare to highly confuse the 'eucharist ministers' if the parish is using them (no altar rail and eucharistic ministers seem to go hand in hand). They are not accustomed to someone diverging from the routine. At this point, I must commend one LT Amora (Filipino Roman Catholic) of the US Navy, who was a chaplain on my only ship -I have never seen a ship with altar rails- who worked seamlessly through those who received standing and those who chose to kneel; those who extended their hands and those who received on the tongue.

    If you are still visiting ACNA churches, you should speak to the celebrant about your concerns. Unfortunately, many of their clergy think kneeling is rather Romish or old-fashioned or something. You could throw the whole service in disarray if you broke ranks to kneel at some of their parishes.
     
  17. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I've never seen an ACNA church in which the people do not kneel for Holy Communion, so I don't know what you're talking about.

    Actually, standing for communion IS Romish, since 97-98% of RCC Churches demand that you stand, even in conservative RCC parishes. So again, I have no idea where you're getting these ideas from, if indeed you're getting them from somewhere.
     
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  18. Ide

    Ide Active Member

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    Actually, the church I've been visiting is ACNA. They stand for communion. I believe the church they are in now was originally from a different denomination, so the set up is not meant for altar rails at this time. I've thought about asking the priest about it, but I didn't want to create a commotion as I'm really just a guest at the parish. I honestly do not feel comfortable standing for communion, it doesn't feel reverent enough for me.

    I would say this church falls more on the low church/ evangelical scale if I had to choose. There is communion at each service, but each priest seems to have their own approach and it is hard to get a single vision of what the church style is at this time. I visited two other ACNA churches in different states and they both keeled at communion.
     
  19. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    This is us :yes:

    WilliamWhiteCommunion.jpg
     
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  20. Shane R

    Shane R Active Member

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    I weary of your refusal to believe what other people have seen and experienced in your denomination. Must I remind you again that I spent nearly two years among your churches -in Texas- in two different dioceses? Three Streams Anglican (CANA-West) did not, does not, and likely never will kneel - nor was their brand new building equipped for that provision. C4SO, well, if we are being honest we both know what they are about. Kneeling is not monolithic across ACNA.
     

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