I am unsure if this is the proper forum for this question, but here goes:
Oftentimes at parishes I notice that the Blessed Sacrament is removed from the tabernacle so that a non-liturgical function (e.g. a concert or a Christmas pageant) may take place in the sanctuary. I am told that removing the Blessed Sacrament essentially turns the church into just a building (as opposed to a sacred space), thus justifying the non-liturgical use of the space.
My current understanding is that this is permissible when the non-liturgical function is at least of a Catholic character (e.g. an Advent concert), rather than a secular usage (e.g. a secular music concert).
However even in the case of a Christmas pageant, or something of the sort, there are certain aspects that still irk me at times. As an example, I saw one Christmas pageant in a church sanctuary where in one scene, a grown man dressed up like a donkey prances up and down the sanctuary steps, around the altar, all while making loud, goofy "Hee-Haw!" noises and singing a ridiculous song.
Even if it was in the context of a Christmas pageant, is such behavior ever acceptable in front of the very altar where Christ's sacrifice at Calvary is made present? If not, then what are the parameters for behavior in the sanctuary?
I think it boils down to this: At a certain point, a line needs to be drawn between the sacred and the profane. I tend to think that the sanctuary is still a sacred place even if our Blessed Lord is taken away from it, and therefore, any extra-liturgical events should at least bear a solemn tone, fit for the sacred space where Holy Mass is offered.
Any thoughts? Please correct me if I have made any errors. I would also be very interested to see what the Church Fathers or any of the popes have said in regards to this issue. Thank you for reading, and have a merry Christmas!