Must the tabernacle be visible in a Catholic church?


#1

Yesterday I attended a funeral Mass at a church that I had never been to previously. I could be wrong, but I am 95% certain that there wasn't a tabernacle inside the church -- at least not one that I could see, that is. It is permissible for a Catholic church to have a tabernacle that is not visible to those attending Mass? Is it common not to be able to see the tabernacle when attending Mass? Thanks.


#2

Some larger churches I've visited have had the tabernacle in a side chapel, all the better for private prayer. however,in most smaller churches I would expect the tabernacle to be in sight of the main body of the church.


#3

Our parish is average to larger sized, but the tabernacle is not visible. It is behind the altar and where the priest sits (the elevated area) and is hidden by a sort of decorative wall. However, there is a hanging tabernacle candle lit to let everyone know our Lord Jesus Christ is there! :)


#4

[quote="Irish_Cabbie, post:1, topic:299440"]
Yesterday I attended a funeral Mass at a church that I had never been to previously. I could be wrong, but I am 95% certain that there wasn't a tabernacle inside the church -- at least not one that I could see, that is. It is permissible for a Catholic church to have a tabernacle that is not visible to those attending Mass? Is it common not to be able to see the tabernacle when attending Mass? Thanks.

[/quote]

I think the phrase is that it has to be "in a place of importance" or something like that but the "place of importance" is kind of up to the pastor's/bishop's discretion. There's a parish nearby where the tabernacle is in the chapel which is next to the church. I was a little confused when I first went there because the first thing I do when I come in is look for the red light so I know where to genuflect to. Now if I go there I know to bow to the altar.


#5

Redemptionis Sacramentum says:

According to the structure of each church building and in accordance with legitimate local customs, the Most Holy Sacrament is to be reserved in a tabernacle in a part of the church that is noble, prominent, readily visible, and adorned in a dignified manner

Note "readily visible". However, there is a practical issue that often occurs. There is only supposed to be one tabernacle in each Church. If the parish has regular adoration, or perpetual adoration, they often have an adoration chapel rather than holding adoration in the main part of the Church. In that case, the tabernacle may be in the adoration chapel for the security of the Blessed Sacrament.


#6

[quote="Corki, post:5, topic:299440"]
Redemptionis Sacramentum says:

According to the structure of each church building and in accordance with legitimate local customs, the Most Holy Sacrament is to be reserved in a tabernacle in a part of the church that is noble, prominent, readily visible, and adorned in a dignified manner

Note "readily visible". However, there is a practical issue that often occurs. There is only supposed to be one tabernacle in each Church. If the parish has regular adoration, or perpetual adoration, they often have an adoration chapel rather than holding adoration in the main part of the Church. In that case, the tabernacle may be in the adoration chapel for the security of the Blessed Sacrament.

[/quote]

Yes... "The church" is left undefined. A reservation chapel or adoration chapel might be a prominent feature of the the greater structure known as "the church" but not be visible from some/most/all parts of the nave of "the church". And I imagine in some cases it is more that the adoration chapel is a readily visible part of the "the church" campus.


#7

Also, especially in the larger cathedrals of Europe, the tabernacle is in a side chapel because there are so many tourists, that most of the time, it would not be dignified to keep it out in the main sanctuary.


#8

[quote="Irish_Cabbie, post:1, topic:299440"]
Yesterday I attended a funeral Mass at a church that I had never been to previously. I could be wrong, but I am 95% certain that there wasn't a tabernacle inside the church -- at least not one that I could see, that is. It is permissible for a Catholic church to have a tabernacle that is not visible to those attending Mass? Is it common not to be able to see the tabernacle when attending Mass? Thanks.

[/quote]

Since you had not been to the church before, and since you were there for a funeral, it is perfectly possible that you simply missed the tabernacle. It may have been embedded in a part of the reredros, or in an adoration chapel. Why don't you ask? The family that attends that church will know if there is a special story surounding the tabernacle.


#9

In most Benedictine monasteries the tabernacle is in a side chapel.


#10

[quote="philial, post:2, topic:299440"]
Some larger churches I've visited have had the tabernacle in a side chapel, all the better for private prayer. however,in most smaller churches I would expect the tabernacle to be in sight of the main body of the church.

[/quote]

That is how it is supposed to be.


#11

[quote="philial, post:2, topic:299440"]
Some larger churches I've visited have had the tabernacle in a side chapel, all the better for private prayer. however,in most smaller churches I would expect the tabernacle to be in sight of the main body of the church.

[/quote]

That's the way my Parish is.


#12

[quote="garn9173, post:11, topic:299440"]
That's the way my Parish is.

[/quote]

Mine too.

I must admit I'm curious what people consider a "large church". My parish church could easily hold a thousand people but I think the posted fire regulations sign has a slightly smaller number.


#13

[quote="SMHW, post:12, topic:299440"]
Mine too.

I must admit I'm curious what people consider a "large church". My parish church could easily hold a thousand people but I think the posted fire regulations sign has a slightly smaller number.

[/quote]

I have no idea what the occupancy rate of my church is, but with over 2,400 families, the Parish is the second biggest in the Diocese.

I'm guessing though the occupancy rate is rather high as it's an "in the round" church with the altar in the middle and pews stretching from wall to wall on either side.


#14

The intention is not primarily about the size. It’s more about maintaining reverence for the Eucharist. If a church is a major tourist attraction, then it should have a separate tabernacle. Cathedrals are a bit different, due to the pontifical ceremonies, but that applies for regular churches.


#15

Yes; to my knowledge, no church is allowed to have an invisible tabernacle.


#16

[quote="japhy, post:15, topic:299440"]
Yes; to my knowledge, no church is allowed to have an invisible tabernacle.

[/quote]

:D You never know... If the Blessed Sacrament could still be seen so as to allow for adoration then perhaps invisible tabernacles could become all the rage.


#17

Being old fashion I'm still divided over this topic issue especially when your home parish has the Holy Sacred Presence of Christ Jesus our Lord in the Tabernacle just a very short distance from the Holy Altar off to the side but still remaining on the Sanctuary.

I've been in newer big parishes looking for sight of the Tabernacle to genuflect to but not to be seen and hidden from sight.
Other parishes with separate Chapels not attached to the Church itself but short distance away on Church property.

I kinda ask myself why genuflect in a Church when the Holy Presence within the Tabernacle is nowhere to be seen or adored upon entering the Church. This really bothers me.

Yes I've read the Church laws on this... adoremus.org/98-01_elliott.htm

Regardless it still doesn't change how I feel about it.

The Church has certainly come a long way in architecture from 52 years ago.

"They have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid Him"
adoremus.org/7-899Tabernacle.html


#18

One important reason that I have not seen in this thread is due to the increasing expense of energy, both to heat the huge church and keep it air conditioned. The newer churches have annexed chapels so that smaller congregations celebrating funerals or daily mass attendees may use the chapel rather than heat the entire building for so few people. A local church in my diocese has a side chapel that faces the main altar. The pews are very unique! For daily mass, they adjust to face the chapel altar and tabernacle, but for the main liturgies on Sunday or holydays, the backs reverse in a special slot so the person is seated facing the main altar. The kneelers are rather unique also, and the way they are attached allows them to be used for either direction. Very clever!


#19

[quote="garn9173, post:13, topic:299440"]
I have no idea what the occupancy rate of my church is, but with over 2,400 families, the Parish is the second biggest in the Diocese.

I'm guessing though the occupancy rate is rather high as it's an "in the round" church with the altar in the middle and pews stretching from wall to wall on either side.

[/quote]

Our biggest parish has over 10,000 families! Crazy


#20

[quote="anp1215, post:19, topic:299440"]
Our biggest parish has over 10,000 families! Crazy

[/quote]

Holy cow and here I thought the distribut! Most of my Diocese as expected given I'm in Iowa, is mostly rural as is all of the other 3 Diocese's in the state.


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