Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tabernacle Placement: Why is He there?

Notice this photo in my blog post yesterday?

See that wooden box near the image of Our Lady, Mediatrix of All Grace?

Yup. That is the tabernacle.

Which brings me to a perpetual rant of mine.

Why is the tabernacle being placed on the side???

Sacrosanctum Concilium decreed that (emphasis and comment mine, of course, Z Style!
128. Along with the revision of the liturgical books, as laid down in Art. 25, there is to be an early revision of the canons and ecclesiastical statutes which govern the provision of material things involved in sacred worship. These laws refer especially to the worthy and well planned construction of sacred buildings, the shape and construction of altars, the nobility, placing, and safety of the Eucharistic tabernacle, the dignity and suitability of the baptistery, [if your church still has a baptistry!] the proper ordering of sacred images, embellishments, and vestments. Laws which seem less suited to the reformed liturgy are to be brought into harmony with it, or else abolished; and any which are helpful are to be retained if already in use, or introduced where they are lacking.

 In a letter after the Council, the Cardinal Prefect of the Concilium wrote:
Whatever the solution chosen .... the greatest care should be devoted to the dignity of the tabernacle. If the local Ordinary agrees to its location away from the altar, the place should be truly worthy and prominent, so that the tabernacle is readily visible and is not hidden by the priest during the celebration of the Mass. In a word, the location should make it possible for the tabernacle to serve unmistakably as a sign and to give a sense of the Savior's presence in the midst of his people. (Letter of Cardinal Lecaro to the Bishops, 30 June 1965, Concilium for Implementing the Decree on the Liturgy of the Second Vatican Council)
 Take note of the words nobility, used for a King, dignity, truly worthy and prominent have been used to describe the place where the tabernacle should be since the altar, after the liturgical reform, was made freestanding and the tabernacle was separated from the altar.

Reminder was also given so as not to place the tabernacle that it would be covered by the priest during Mass.  So, it means that the tabernacle should be at the center!

The Code of Canon Law specifically addressed and codified these issues  in 1983.

    Canon 938
    º1. The Most Holy Eucharist is to be reserved regularly in only one tabernacle of a church or oratory.
    º2. The tabernacle in which the Most Holy Eucharist is reserved should be placed in a part of the church that is prominent, conspicuous, beautifully decorated, and suitable for prayer.

Take note.  It should be prominent, conspicuous...

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us that:

    1183   The tabernacle is to be situated "in churches in a most worthy place with the greatest honor." The dignity, placing, and security of the Eucharistic tabernacle should foster adoration before the Lord really present in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar.
Common denominator?




Now, here is the killer question.

Why is the tabernacle placed on the side like that on the photo?

Is the side altar or side of the main sanctuary the place of greatest honor, prominence, dignity in the entire church or chapel?

This is the Throne of Room of the British Monarch.

The throne is not at the side!

This is the throne room of Monaco.  Same thing!

The president of the United States when addressing Congress speaks at the center podium.  Hmmm...because it is the place of honor and prominence!  Imagine if presidents speak from the side like he is addressing a town meeting or conference!

Well, even the anti-Catholic Masons know that the place of honor is at the center!  Look where the Grand Master of the Lodge is seated!

Now, let us go back to the first photo above.

Why is the tabernacle on the side while the crucifix is at the center???


Is the presence of Christ in the crucifix the same as that in the tabernacle???


The whole Christ is really, truly, and substantially present in the Holy Eucharist.

His presence in the Blessed Sacrament cannot be compared or even equaled to His presence in His images or even in the Bible!


Is that the place of honor nowadays?

I invite you dear TPC readers....

Send photos of churches or chapels with tabernacles either on the side or at the center of the sanctuary and let us all commend priests who give the Lord His place of honor in the church or chapel, and call the attention of priests who seem to care more about getting the place of honor rather than giving it to the Lord.

1 comment:

  1. Ahe. Maybe some GULP would like to visit Sta. Rita de Casia Parish in Guiginto, Bulacan. You will surely see how fashionable that parish and its parish priest. :)))