From a reader…
I’ll ask the question up front: Is it illicit to celebrate the Ordinary Form while using a communion rail? If not, would use of a rail while celebrating the OF preclude reception of Communion in the hand, or while standing? Would it be verboten for a communicant to kneel at the rail, but receive in the hand? (I know… why would anyone want to do THAT?)
Yes, it is licit to celebrate the Ordinary Form and also to distribute Communion at a Communion rail.
The Church’s law guarantees the right of the faithful to kneel to receive. In most places the bishops of the region have (regrettably) also permitted Communion in the hand for the Ordinary Form. A Communion rail is a richly symbolic element of church’s communicative dimension through architecture and ornament. It is also practical: it affords help to people who are a bit older or who have difficulty kneeling and rising.
It seems that those distributing Communion at an Ordinary Form cannot refuse to distribute to those who wish to receive either directly on the tongue or (sadly) in the hand. So, were a person at an Ordinary Form Mass to kneel at the rail and yet want to receive in the hand, they should not – under ordinary circumstances – be denied.
However, the Church’s law in Redemptionis Sacramentum warns several times about avoiding the danger of profanation of the Eucharist. If there is danger of profanation by distributing Communion in the hand (perhaps because of the nature and composition, the integrity of the Hosts), then Communion should not, must not, be distributed in the hand. Prudence and sound judgment should be exercised, along with lots of catechesis and explanations.