Unfortunately, in the attempt to “do the right thing” liturgical values and priorities are not being respected.
Rita's rant is based upon this:
The guidelines that Archbishop Blair, head of the USCCB Committee on Divine Worship, has offered to bishops of the United States are taken from the Dominican House of Studies in Washington DC. They state that their preferred option is that Communion should be distributed after Mass, rather than at the Communion Rite.
Here is her rant with my comment on the rant in "red."
The reform of the liturgy corrected this anomalous situation, (Communion after Mass) which diverged from the roots and normative vision of liturgy. Communion distribution at the Communion Rite has become standard practice. It was not an insignificant change. The shift contributed to a renewed sense of Eucharist as a sacred meal shared by a community of faith, an action in the heart of the liturgy.
(I do not think offering Communion after Mass was ever normative prior to the reform of the liturgy. Perhaps some were given Communion before Mass or after Mass if they were in the choir, but that was only in case of need and the difficulty of the person coming to Communion. So this idea that it was common prior to Vatican II with the "unreformed" Mass is false.
But the ideology that the Communion Rite makes the Mass a sacred meal shared by a comunity of faith, is the real ideology here. She does not want to state what the dogma of the Mass in the EF or OF is, that it is a Sacrifice first. The Communion Rite, in both, is a Sacred Banquet for those who discern they are in a state of grace and free to receive Holy Communion.)
There is another reason advanced for this recommendation too. They preferred to offer Communion after Mass so that no one would feel that he or she has to receive. Although it’s fine to be sensitive to people’s feelings, it seems to me that this is a peculiar expectation. Here you have a Eucharistic ritual that culminates in the sharing of the Body and Blood of Christ. The meal aspect of Eucharist not an add-on; it’s hard wired into the service. Many Catholics are going to brave coming to Mass during a pandemic precisely out of a desire to receive Communion. So the solution is that you put Communion outside of Mass so that they will not feel they have to receive? These people are adults. They’re not on the hook. If they don’t want to receive, they can simply stay in their places at Communion time.
(I agree with Rita that it is unnecessary to move the Communion of the laity after Mass. It makes no sense in either the OF or EF Mass as a result of the pandemic. The bishops are at fault collectively for not emphasizing in normal times that no one should be receiving Holy Communion simply because they are at Mass. They should not receive Holy Communion if they are in a state of mortal sin, if they are not in full communion with the church and if they simply don't believe that Holy Communion is the Risen Lord, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. The reception of Holy Communion by the celebrant is what "culminates the sharing of the Body and Blood of Christ, not the reception of the same by the laity! Rita says that "Many people brave coming to Mass during a pandemic precisely out of a desire to receive Communion." I get that, but they should want to come to Mass because it brings forward in a "glorified way" the One Sacrifice of Christ for our eternal salvation. That "unbloody" Sacrifice completed by the Priest's reception of the Oblation/Holocaust is what brings salvation, not the reception of Holy Communion by the laity. This post-Vatican II practice that every lay person receive Holy Communion simply because they came to Mass misses the point of the Mass even if the laity don't receive Holy Communion.)
Spatially Separating the Priest’s Host from the Hosts Consecrated for the Faithful
These guidelines also recommend putting the hosts of the faithful on a separate corporal on the side of the altar, and only having the priest’s host in front of him at the consecration.
Now, this may be good epidemiology, but liturgically it seems to me not only inappropriate but even somewhat scandalous because this arrangement visually suggests that there are two quite separate sacrifices on the altar, the priest’s and everyone else’s.
(This is another "spirit of Vatican II" myth and ideology that the priest's host needs to be with the congregation's hosts because there is one Sacrifice not two and it makes the priest's host more important than the laity's host.
I succumbed to this ideology due to my seminary training in the 1970's and scoffed that the priest's host wasn't presented to the priest at the offertory procession. But the priest's host is to be larger and it is usually separated in the traditional Mass from the ciborium hosts of the laity because for the validity of the Sacrifice, the priest must consume the Holocaust consecrated at that Mass. The laity's host can be from the tabernacle although the OF GIRM recommends, does not mandate, that they should receive hosts consecrated at the Mass they attend.
But if the laity's host is away from the priest toward the side of the altar in order that the spread of coronavirus germs, if the priest has the virus and does not know it, does not make the laity's Host a different sacrifice. Even if they receive from the tabernacle, there is only one Sacrifice, because the Mass and receiving Holy Communion is eternal. Every Mass is the One Sacrifice of Christ, not multiple sacrifices because eternity just is,not was or will be, it just is!!!
But Rita, to bring caution to the spread of droplets to the laity's host, the simple use of the lid on the ciborium or a pall that is removed only for the consecration and then immediate replaced is the solution, which is the rubric, by the way, of the EF Mass.
What Rita does for us is to show how impoverished the "spirit of Vatican II' ideologies about the Mass is, especially as it pertains to the laity's Holy Communion.
However, I do agree with Rita that many of the suggestions of the bishops, especially Holy Communion to the laity after Mass is just plain unnecessary. Why not just have them come for Holy Communion outside the Church apart from Mass. Let's get back to normal when the laity are in the reopened church building.
Finally, and thanks be to God, the bishops are allowing for Holy Communion on the tongue or the hand. Bishops, please know that when the communicant is kneeling for either form of receiving, it is easier not to touch their hands or tongue when both are slightly below the priest distributing.
We also need to eliminate the number of extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion who normally don't give the Host to the laity and when they do so do so in a less secure manner than the official ministers of Holy Communion, priests and deacons.)