In a wonderful sign of a slow return to liturgical tradition, they are coming back, as this article from the Catholic News Agency reports.
“Why are Catholic churches/parishes bringing back communion rails?
“Not all Catholic churches are bringing back communion rails, nor are many, but – it is evident - some are. Broadly speaking, we are watching the pendulum of liturgical reform – which was accelerated by the Second Vatican Council – swing back in the other direction, with the approval and encouragement of our Holy Father Benedict XVI, and in response to a true “sensus fidelium” (the public opinion of the faithful), who yearn for a greater reverence for the Holy Eucharist. It has been noted by some commentators that receiving Holy Communion kneeling and on the tongue is more in keeping with the liturgical tradition of the Church. I think it’s pointless to ask if it’s more reverent, because what counts most is to be in a state of grace and prepared with fervent desires to be united to Christ.
“For some time the Pope and many others concerned with the Liturgy have been calling for a “hermeneutic of continuity” with respect to liturgical reform, understanding that treasures which have been passed down to us through the ages should not be discarded rashly.
“For the record, according to Church documents currently in effect which regulate such things – the Code of Canon Law, the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, the U.S. Bishop’s church architecture document “Built of Living Stones” – communion rails are not mentioned, so there is neither prohibition nor mandate to have communion rails.”