Tabernacle location?

Today my daughter was told during mass at a local southern California Catholic Church that the Vatican has asked all Churches to place the Tabernacle behind the altar. She noticed that the Tabernacle was moved from the side chapel to behind the altar. The priest stated that our Bishop is asking all Churches to do this until further clarification. I can’t find any info on this. Anyone hear about this? Any links regarding this matter? This is big news to me. I went to mass there this evening and saw the Tabernacle behind the altar. I also noticed the doors to the side chapel are being redone. Thought maybe they moved the Tabernacle because of construction. But she says the priest was clear.

This is very interesting!!:smiley:

To be honest, I think the Tabernacles should never have been moved from behind the Altar to begin with. I used to go to a parish where the Tabernacle was in a side chapel. Only the priest, myself, and a few of the other young men ever acknowledged it except for the EMHC who went to fetch the ciborium. It was also the only parish which had its Tabernacle stolen in the area in years - if not for the first time.

My current parish has a place specifically designed for the Tabernacle behind the altar - just below the main crucifix. That place is occupied by a bunch of flowers while our Lord waits upon a side altar that is never used but was clearly once used for Low Masses in the usus antiquior. I usually enter in the side door closest to the Tabernacle, so I can genuflect towards our Lord as I enter the church.

Our Lord is the center of our faith, so why isn’t He front and center in our parishes? I don’t know. This is just one of the questions I have that have not been answered to my satisfaction.

It’s just that there are a lot of Catholics who don’t consider Our Lord in the Eucharist the center of their faith.

That is something I fail to conceive. I know it’s true, but how? I just can’t fathom that - how does a Catholic not consider our Eucharistic Lord the center of their faith? Once I came to believe that Christ was truly present in the Eucharist, I longed for Him so much that, at one point, it started almost hurting. When I cannot receive, I nearly weep, if I do not outright weep - unless, as this Sunday, I knew I could not receive because I did not keep the fast (we had guests for breakfast and I’m the only regular Mass goer) and so did my post-communion prayer (the Litany of Humility) as an act of Spiritual Communion. I do not receive if I perceive even a venial sin on my soul.

I reformed my entire worldview - all of my beliefs, all of my preferences, because I wanted the Eucharist. I was a pro-Marxist, pro-choice anti-Religionist before I came to believe, and after I was convinced, I forced myself to change all of those. It was the Eucharist that convinced me of Mary, of the Saints, of the Papacy, of the sanctity of life. I wish I could go to Adoration more often than I can - but I am frequently expected at home after Mass. I simply cannot conceive of how a Catholic (sometimes even a non-Catholic Christian and then I remember a few important details regarding them) can place anything other than the Eucharist in the center of their religious existence.

That’s something I wonder, too. It must be that they know that He’s there in the Eucharist, but they just don’t feel it, since faith is not about “knowing”, but “feeling”. We’ll just have to pray for them, so they can see the Eucharist as it really is: God himself.

The Place for the Reservation of the Most Holy Eucharist

  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]

The one tabernacle should be immovable, be made of solid and inviolable material that is not transparent, and be locked in such a way that the danger of profanation is prevented to the greatest extent possible.[126] Moreover, it is appropriate that, before it is put into liturgical use, it be blessed according to the rite described in the Roman Ritual.[127]

  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. no. 303);

Or even in some chapel suitable for the faithful’s private adoration and prayer[129] and organically connected to the church and readily visible to the Christian faithful.

  1. In accordance with traditional custom, near the tabernacle a special lamp, fueled by oil or wax, should be kept alight to indicate and honor the presence of Christ.[130]

  2. In no way should all the other things prescribed by law concerning the reservation of the Most Holy Eucharist be forgotten.[131]

I don’t begrudge any church or diocese that decides to put the tabernacle in a place other than the main alter. Unfortunately, I have only seen one church that placed it in a “truly noble” place. It was still out of the way, but it was in a nice chapel.

One problem I have with not placing the tabernacle on the high alter is that, when it is there, people don’t respect the presence of the Lord and fail to genuflect. When that happens, it’s a short trip to not believing in the real presence.
Second, I’ve been to weddings at other churches. They don’t have the Eucharist, but that have an alter looking thing at the head of the church. It looks very much like some Catholic Churches when there is no tabernacle;, flowers and candles with seasonal decorations. Sometime it looks more like a church when you compare them to the old churches that removed their high alters like here in Minneapolis where the Bishop ordered it.

I think this confuses a lot of Catholics and they tend to forget what a church is for. For them, Mass becomes just a worship service and a boring one at that. Why not go to a church that has a nice alter (which must represent God, right?), has a band playing, isn’t boring and you only have to go when you want.

My personal opinion is that I want the Blessed Sacrament in the center. I want to genuflect, kneel and adore.

Emphasis mine

Please read this response by Br. JR from another thread on the same topic.

This is something that has been debated over & over here at CAF. There is no “right” or “wrong” answer, and at least in the US and according to the GIRM, it is ultimately up to the Bishop to decide.

Link doesn’t work. (http:// is doubled)

Sorry! :o

Here it is.

I would suggest that anyone interested in this topic, do an advanced search of the forums for the information that Br. JReducation has posted on this topic. You will find a wealth of information in the thread I posted a link to.

The answer that Br. JR gave is very informative (I think the second half of my sentence is redundant actually :D)

I actually like what Br. JR calls the monastic tradition, the separate chapel. I go to the Cathedral to pray and it’s nice to go into a smaller side-area (open side-chapel?) where the tabernacle is.

There’s only 1 thing for me to focus on. It’s intimate, you feel nice and close to Jesus. I understand when people talk about the Tabernacle behind the alter, but to be honest it’s not a place where I’d really go to just pray. That’s just me.

My daughter indicated this was something recent from the Vatican that was conveyed to our Bishop. Our Bishop seemed to be only moving the Tabernacle because of the Vatican’s wishes. He also indicated the Bishops were following orders and hoped to resolve the issue of returning the Tabernacle back to the chapel or side area. I was just wondering if anyone knew about this “new” developement. This was not meant to be a discussion.

I have not heard of any “directive” coming from the Vatican regarding the placement of the tabernacle, and I am sure that if there was such a document, you would have found someone here at CAF who had it available.:cool:

I believe that the Bishop has some leeway in how he does things in his diocese are far as how the Chruch is laid out, funishings, etc. It could be that, if you have a new Bishop, the directive is his.

Our church has a special alcove just off the right side of the main altar set at about a 45 degree angle wherein the tabernacle is located. It is brightly lit and respectfully decorated. It can be viewed from most everywhere in the church except the extreme right seats and balconies. The church was built in 1929 with renovations performed in the 60’s. I’m not sure if the alcove is original or came later. It would be awesome if it were located behind the altar (which features a baldachin). But as long as it’s near the altar and visible to most everyone I won’t complain. We sit on the left side so we can genuflect and see it easily.

We have a nice photo tour of the church: At the bottom of that page is another link describing some of the architectural features. Although the church structure is octagonal the main pews are linear, not in the round or angled. There are alcoved pews that are angled.

Aren’t bishops sometimes told thing in ad limina visits before documents are published?

Yes, but usually people in the know leak that info before the documents are finished. How do you think Rocco over at Whispers in the Loggia gets so many scoops?

To be honest, I think the Tabernacles should never have been moved from behind the Altar to begin with a My parish has a it behind the alter with brass crucifix on top with small canoipe above it . genuflecting towards our Lord as I enter the church.
Our Lord is the center of our faith, so why isn’t He front and center in our parishes? I don’t know. Our Lord is the center of our faith, so why isn’t He front and center in our parishes? I don’t know. This is just one of the questions I have that have not been answered to my satisfaction.

My parish

This is an old thread on a topic that has been beaten to death. Please do a search first.

The fact is that there are many traditions within the Church and many permissible locations for the tabernacle. There is nothing scandalous about tabernacles in a side chapel (it’s a common arrangement in Benedictine monasteries) and even St. Peter’s in Rome has that arrangement. As long as the chapel is a fitting location for it there’s nothing wrong with it being there.

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