From a reader:
Our parish has a beautiful altar rail with red velvet cushions. It is
used at the Latin Mass (celebrated once a month). Many have asked our
priest about the use of altar rail at all Masses. Pastor asked (2009)
for approval from Bishop. Bishop stated that he couldn’t allow one
parish to do this…have to be whole diocese. Does Bishop need to
approve this? Or just Pastor? How should we lovingly approach our
priest with this again?
I don’t think that asking permissions is the way to proceed. It seems to me that were people simply to begin to use the altar rail, and were the priest simply to give people at the rail Holy Communion, that would be a perfectly acceptable approach.
Work it out with the priest, … unless the priest used the issue of asking permission as a way of dodging your request. As I said, work it out with the priest between yourselves. As a group, after Mass, invite Father out to breakfast and give him the pitch.
People have the right to kneel to receive. Altar rails are convenient for that purpose. Just use it.
People who want to receive “conga line” style can still do so. The priest will distribute Communion to them as well. I suspect that after a while, things will sort themselves out irenically and with some patience.