Altar rails are making a comeback and with their return so is reverence. It is becoming more common these days to see the installation of rails as an integral component of liturgical reform and church architecture. From dioceses as diverse as Charlotte, North Carolina to Madison, Wisconsin the rail has returned.
To be clear, there was never a requirement to remove altar rails (also called communion rails) in the years following the Second Vatican Council. However, there were many in the Church who aggressively sought to remove that which was considered traditional and sacred. Gone were the high altars, beautiful Catholic statuary, and of course, altar rails.
A liturgically misguided attempt at egalitarianism ruled the post-conciliar landscape, one which challenged the very distinction between sanctuary and nave. Overtones of anticlericalism were pervasive, as was a new type of Catholic worship, one intentionally structured for ecumenical purposes.
By their very presence…
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