I was always under the impression that reverence dictated that, unless compelled by infirmity (which is, of course, an entirely legitimate reason), one should never turn one’s back on the Sanctissimum, or sit down before It.
And yet I constantly seem to have that belief challenged by people I either know, or at least have good reason to believe, are pious, devout, and reverent.
At Mass (EF) yesterday, for instance I was surprised to notice that several people – including those sitting in front of me, who were clearly knowledgeable and devout – sat between the ‘Domine non sum dignus’ and going up to make their Communion; and then again sat – rather than knelt – down as soon as they got back to their places.
Similarly, one would assume that anyone who will get up in the middle of the night to spend the small hours at Quarant ’Ore must be at least reasonably devoted to the Blessed Sacrament : and yet when I went to one a few weeks ago, several of those present were sitting, rather than kneeling.
Again, I have seen notably well-trained servers turning their backs on the Most Holy – indeed, I have even seen priests do so – during the course of the Mass.
I can’t believe that they’re all wrong; so it clearly must be me. I just wish I understood what the rules really are – and why.