From a reader:
Is it a rule that the priest is the only one in the sanctuary during the consecration?
No, there is no such rule.
Surely the deacons (subdeacons) and other servers must be there near to the altar, within the sanctuary. The proper place of clergy is also within the sanctuary, even if they are not serving.
However, there is another point the question stresses. Should the sanctuary be reduced to a place just like every other place in the church?
NO! Quod Deus avertat!
The clergy in the sanctuary, who are “in choir” vest in special garb befitting their rank, and servers wear clerical garb because they substitute for clergy. Should there be a gaggle of lay people in street clothes in the sanctuary?
NO! Extra omnes!
The church architectural form helps us understand Christ’s will for the Church with a hierarchical structure. The church has a nave, a place for the baptized, and the church has a sanctuary, the place where the priest/mediator is in his role as Head of the Body (the congregation). Should that distinction be blurred and the roles of clergy and laity muddled, should the dignity of lay people be denigrated by forcing them into the priest’s domain?
In short, no, there is no such rule.