Objects on the tabernacle

Hello, everyone. This is my first post here and I need some fast feedback.

I’m trying to keep a group of people from placing a painting on top of the tabernacle in our chapel. They place it there when they go into the chapel to pray. It does not cover the tabernacle, put it is sitting directly on top of it, leaned against the wall. I believe the only thing to be placed on the tabernacle is a veil.

I’ve looked in the COCL, the Catechism, Sacrosanctum Concilium, Redeptionis Sancramentum and Eucharisticum Mysterium, but to no avail. I’ve found many passages that *could *apply, but nothing definitive.


This is from the Catholic Encyclopedia:
“A number of decisions have been given by the Sacred Congregation of Rites regarding the tabernacle. According to these, to mention the more important decisions, relics and pictures are not to be displayed for veneration either on or before the tabernacle (“Decreta auth.”, nos. 2613, 2906).”

I tried to find the text of “Decreta auth.”, but was unsuccessful. :frowning:

The full reference is Decreta auth. Cong. S. Rit., II (Rome, 1898). Good luck!

“Decreta auth.” is the Sacrorum Rituum Congregationis Decreta Authentica, the authentic decrees of the Congregation of Sacred Rites, which existed from 1588 to 1969. Through the miracle of Google Books, you can read it. Here is (the relevant part) of no. 2613. My Latin is rusty, but question 6 (“An toleranda vel eliminanda …”) asks:

Whether is to be tolerated or eliminated the custom, which today grows stronger, of placing relics of the Saints and painted images upon the Tabernacle, in which the Most August Sacrament is preserved, such that the very Tabernacle serves as a pedestal?

The answer is provided below:

To 6. ‘The asserted custom is an abuse such that it is to be eliminated altogether.’

Number 2906 is here, but since the translation takes me a while (don’t worry, working through the Latin is good for me!) and you wanted a quick answer, I’ll post this now and do 2906 next.

Definitely NOT !

As promised, here’s number 2906:

Well cognizant of the law done by General Decree, put forth March 31, 1821, in response to the sixth [question], by which it is forbidden to place either images or relics of the Saints upon a Tabernacle where is stored the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist, R. D. [Reverend Doctor?] Paulus Antonius Marchi, Canon of the Cathedral of Sant’Angelo in Vado, most humbly besought of the Congregation of Sacred Rites, that at least in front of the door of the same Tabernacle could be placed some relic of a Saint …

Here I’m not getting the precise grammar, so take the following as a slightly freer translation:

… on the day when the feast of the Saint is honored afresh, especially when by immemorial tradition vigil is kept over this.
And the Congregation of Sacred Rites, this day, . . . having considered everything, and chiefly the decree in una Congregationis Montis Coronae of January 22, 1701, in answer to doubt * 10, by which it is prohibited to place and keep either a vase of flowers or any similar thing before the aforesaid door of the Tabernacle, writing back opined, “It is not allowed; and the asserted custom [is] an abuse such that it is to be eliminated.”*
Hope this helps –

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