Tabernacle and Wine

Should the tabernacle be off to the side as I have seen it in many churches, or should it be in the center, as God is above/at the center of everything? Should white or red wine be used?
Thanks, littleflower

  1. In accordance with the structure of each church and legitimate local customs, the Most Blessed Sacrament should be reserved in a tabernacle in a part of the church that is truly noble, prominent, readily visible, beautifully decorated, and suitable for prayer.125
  1. It is more in keeping with the meaning of the sign that the tabernacle in which the Most Holy Eucharist is reserved not be on an altar on which Mass is celebrated.128

Consequently, it is preferable that the tabernacle be located, according to the judgment of the Diocesan Bishop,

*]Either in the sanctuary, apart from the altar of celebration, in a form and place more appropriate, not excluding on an old altar no longer used for celebration (cf. above, no. 303);
*]Or even in some chapel suitable for the faithful’s private adoration and prayer129 and which is organically connected to the church and readily visible to the Christian faithful.

So the tabernacle should be readily visible.

In our parish for years it was tucked against a wall in the sanctuary and kind of overshadowed by the credence table, banners, etc. It was moved a few years ago to the right of the altar and much more forward. It became prominent in the sanctuary.

Now it’s been moved to behind the altar and, I don’t care how much people think that’s the greatest thing since sliced bread, it’s nowhere near as visible as it was to the right of the altar.

As for wine, red, white or rosé may be used as long as it’s unadulterated grape wine.

Alright, thank you. Just wondering, since my college’s and boyfriend’s churches have the tabernacle to the side in a separate place, and in mine it has always been right behind the alter we use for mass, though we use the alter it is on for Tridentine mass. Since I grew up with this, I had always thought it to be traditional and right, but if the Church says we should keep it to the side, as long as it is in the view of the people, I will be faithful to her.

But, other than having it a separate place for prayer, why would she want it this way?

Also, the reason I’m asking this is because the priest then is usually behind the alter, and at the forefront of it, and is this right? It just seemed rude when (at my boyfriend’s church) the alter boys faced the priest at a point in the mass, kneeling to him, not God right behind them! Also, they faced a wall after they came back from communion-is that ok?

The only time the tabernacle should be at an altar other than the high altar is in the Cathedral because it impedes the ceremonies, where the bishop has to sit with his back to the tabernacle for much of the ordination ceremonies, etc. This seems to be an argument for keeping the tabernacle somewhere else when the Mass is said facing the people, since the priest would have his back to the tabernacle the entire time. The solution seems to be obvious. Return to saying Mass ad orientem, which Cardinal Ratzinger’s works, if they were adamant about anything, were certainly adamant about the Mass facing the people being an innovation that makes no sense liturgically and leads to a man-centred worship.

There aren’t really specific rubrics for the minor servers of the Mass, though they should follow the general rubrics prescribed for the ministers. The practice of kneeling before the celebrant (e.g., at the imposition of incense) and genuflecting to him rather than bowing are proper to an ordinary who has the use of pontificals (usually the diocesan bishop), though I’ve heard of this happening in the Novus Ordo for simple priests. I wouldn’t be qualified to speak about whether it is permitted in the new rite or not. It seems a bit over-the-top for a simple priest, though. There isn’t anything wrong with reverencing the bishop with a genuflection, though, even in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament reserved in the tabernacle, it doesn’t seem. When the Blessed Sacrament is exposed for public adoration, all signs of reverence of this nature are omitted (bowing to ministers or servers, genuflecting to the bishop, kissing the celebrant’s hand, etc.) except for those that are intimately tied to the act (e.g., bowing before incensing someone or giving the kiss of peace or kissing the celebrant’s hand when the deacon hands him the chalice at the offertory).

That’s not what I was saying. Our tabernacle IS at the high alter, used in tridentine right, and we have an alter in front of this as well.
The servers did not bow/genuflect to him, and this was not a bishop. Only kneeling next to (but facing) him.

I need some further education:

  1. Is this referring to the OF only? When I attend the EF the tabernacle appears to be right on the altar of sacrifice. I haven’t been there for a number of months, so maybe it is actually placed just behind the actual altar. According to my memory it looks as if it is right on the altar.

  2. “… with the meaning of the sign …”
    Ummmm What is the meaning of what sign? (I think maybe I’m a little confused at this late hour.)

That document assumes a poor theology. Pius XII explained in Mediator Dei why it is entirely coherent (and even better) for the tabernacle to be on the altar.

Well that document was the latest edition of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, so I don’t know about poor theology.

The GIRM applies to the OF only, and that particular item would seem to apply only for versus populum, where having the tabernacle in the center of the altar would obscure just about everything, including the celebrant’s face. (Not a bad idea, although ad ad orientem is far preferable, but I digress.)

The location of the tabernacle is, of course, not an issue at all for the EF or, for that matter, the OF if done ad orientem. Even where there is a solid, free-standing altar, (instead of a fixed altar), it is possible to position the tabernacle at the back center.

BTW, assuming that the altar you mentioned is fixed, it’s most likely that the tabernacle is on a gradine or shelf slightly above (and perhaps behind) the altar.

That Christ not be present sacramentally on the altar on which Mass is celebrated until the Consecration.

Pope Pius XII spoke about the connection between the altar and the tabernacle in 1956.

A mere 11 years later, the Sacred Congregation of Rites reversed this position, saying:
In the celebration of Mass the principal modes of Christ’s presence to his Church emerge clearly one after the other: first he is seen to be present in the assembly of the faithful gathered in his name; then in his word, with the reading and explanation of Scripture; also in the person of the minister; finally, in a singular way under the eucharistic elements. Consequently, on the grounds of the sign value, it is more in keeping with the nature of the celebration that, through reservation of the sacrament in the tabernacle, Christ not be present eucharistically from the beginning on the altar where Mass is celebrated. That presence is the effect of the consecration and should appear as such. (Eucharisticum Mysterium 55)
The idea, I suppose, is that it is potentially confusing to the faithful for Christ to be present sacramentally on the altar before the Consecration.

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