Vatican 2 Difficulties

This afternoon I bought a volume containing the Vatican II Conciliar and Post-Conciliar documents. As I was perusing it, I noticed one thing in particular that troubles me.
In the document “Instruction on the Worship of the Eucharistic Mystery” (S.C.R., *Eucharisticum Mysterium, *25 May, 1967), paragraph #53 The Blessed Sacrament Chapel, states,

The place in a church or oratory where the Blessed Sacrament is reserved in the tabernacle should be truly prominent. It ought to be suitable for private prayer so that the faithful may easily and fruitfully, by private devotion also, continue to honor our Lord in this sacrament. It is therefore recommended that, as far as possible, the tabernacle be placed in a chapel distinct from the middle or central part of the church, above all in those churches where marriages and funerals take place frequently, and in places which are much visited for their artistic or historical treasures.

So . . . that would seem to indicate that the tabernacle should not be in the middle of the sanctuary, behind the altar.
However, *the very next paragraph, *#54. The Tabernacle in the Middle of the Altar or in Some Other Part of the Church states,

The Blessed Sacrament should be reserved in a solid, inviolable tabernacle in the middle of the main altar or on a side altar, but in a truly prominent place. Alternatively, according to legitimate customs and in individual cases to be decided by the local ordinary, it may be placed in some other part of the church which is really worthy and properly equipped. Mass may be celebrated facing the people even though there is a tabernacle on the altar, provided this is small yet adequate.

THIS seems to indicate that the tabernacle SHOULD be in the middle, behind (or on) the altar. So which is it–in the middle of the church, or in another part of the church?? I’m sure I’m misunderstanding this, but how? IMO, JESUS should be in the very center, right behind the altar! Unless it is a big cathedral or something, not in some chapel (which usually turns out to be a closet in an obscure part of the church that people will walk right past without paying attention). And He definitely shouldn’t be put in some side altar. I mean, shouldn’t our attention be directed towards our Eucharistic Lord who is in the tabernacle. This is God we’re talking about–you’d think He should have pride of place in His own house.
To paraphrase Mother Angelica, it’s like if you went to someone’s house and asked where their husband was, and they said “Oh, he lives in the garage.” When I enter a church, I want to know where JESUS is. Why do they hide the tabernacle and put some chair up there? Who wants to look at a chair?
Now I know this thread is lengthy, but one more thing–I need help understanding Vatican II. Soo. . . is there a difference between the “Lumen Gentium” type documents and the disciplinary type document such as I cited above? And what is the difference?

:rotfl::rotfl::rotfl:

The first quote seams to apply to where within the main body of the Chruch the tabernacle should be located, the second to apply to its placement withinin that location . :whacky: But I’m just taking that how I see it, from the context you have posted.

[quote=Trelow]The first quote seams to apply to where within the main body of the Chruch the tabernacle should be located, the second to apply to its placement withinin that location . :whacky: But I’m just taking that how I see it, from the context you have posted.
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Possibly, but would the sanctuary (where the tabernacle belongs, IMHO) be considered the “Blessed Sacrament Chapel”? My own parish has one of those old marble high altars with the tabernacle surmounted on it. It’s like walking into a throne room, and there is Christ the King seated upon his humble yet glorious throne, in the most blessed sacrament! I also recently attended Mass at a beautiful, old church (or at least it was beautiful until Vatican II got to it). The magnificient high altar had long since been jackhammered away, to be replaced with a lovely vase of flowers on a stand. Anyway, during the Mass I was looking around the church, trying to find Jesus. *“They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” :crying: *Finally, I saw where they have hidden my Lord–they have placed him off on a side altar (where the St. Joseph altar is supposed to be), so that a vase of flowers might take his place! The reason I didn’t notice it before was because the folksy guitar campfire music band and “choir” (if it can even be called that) was making their profane cacophony in front of the tabernacle, blocking it from view.
So, so sad. :frowning:

It seems to me that the hope was for frequent adoration of the Blessed Sacament, whether in a monstrance or reposed in the tabernacle. This could not be done efficiently if there were constant distractions from weddings, funerals, tourists looking inside an historic church building, etc.

Yet, most of the churches to which I have been with a “hidden” tabernacle in a side or separated chapel do not have a constant flux of people for weddings, funerals, sightseeing, etc.

IMO, this Council recommendation was too thoroughly applied.

I have a couple of comments. First, to the comment to the effect “wht have you done with my Lord” I immediately thought about the teaching "where two or three are gathered together…"This brings me to the other points. In the Mass we encounter the presence of Christ in both the Eucharist and in the Word ( which is why we have the Liturgies of the Word and Eucharist). I can see the reasoning for a seperate area for the reposit of the Eucharist to emphasize the unique and real presence of Christ whose reality shouldn’t be destracted from nor become a distraction thus the need for a seperate area.Also, it’s been my experience that the seperate areas for the Eucharist have been done tastefully and with reverance. For me, I believe the important thing is to understand the different nature of worship in private adoration and worship as a communal expression (The Eucharist Liturgy) and the need for our Churches to reflect and augment this distinction emphasising the importance of both.

I think if a separate chapel is to be used, the most appropriate architectural means to accomplish this is to have the chapel directly behind the main body of the church. The tabernacle, with two doors, is prominently located front and center in each.

This is in accord with the rules of having only one tabernacle, yet it also meets the seemingly contradictory recommendations from the Council.

I have seen this in at least two different parishes.

[quote=TOME]I have a couple of comments. First, to the comment to the effect “wht have you done with my Lord” I immediately thought about the teaching "where two or three are gathered together…"This brings me to the other points. In the Mass we encounter the presence of Christ in both the Eucharist and in the Word ( which is why we have the Liturgies of the Word and Eucharist). I can see the reasoning for a seperate area for the reposit of the Eucharist to emphasize the unique and real presence of Christ whose reality shouldn’t be destracted from nor become a distraction thus the need for a seperate area.Also, it’s been my experience that the seperate areas for the Eucharist have been done tastefully and with reverance. For me, I believe the important thing is to understand the different nature of worship in private adoration and worship as a communal expression (The Eucharist Liturgy) and the need for our Churches to reflect and augment this distinction emphasising the importance of both.
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Christ is present in a spiritual sense during the Liturgy of the Word. But He is really and truly in the Sacrament of the Altar, the Holy Eucharist. In Protestant churches, you will notice, the pulpit is in the middle so that attention can be drawn to it. Protestants do not believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. To them, the sermon is central to their worship. In Catholic Churches, though, you will notice that the focal point is the altar where the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass takes place. It is a meal, but more importantly it is a sacrifice–the sacrifice on the cross at Calvary made present to us. Since Jesus is really present in the Eucharist, why shouldn’t he be the center of our focus? And it’s been MY experience that separate areas for the Eucharist have been created to detract attention from the Eucharist, in places where people may walk casually past, carrying on conversations, not knowing (or caring) that they are in the presence of Almighty God.

There doesn’t need to be a “balance” between the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. That’s not what the Mass is. The Mass is the sacrifice at calvary- one sacrifice re-presented every time Mass is celebrated. The scriptures lead up to the Eucharist. They are important, but they aren’t equal.

Paragraph #53 would not apply to 99%of parish churches. It is intended to suggest that when many people wish to pray with Christ present in the Eucharist a location should be provided so that the hundreds and hundreds of visitors, the many weddings and funerals that take place every day will not disturb them.

Paragraph #54 would apply to most local parish churches.

First, I need to begin by saying I’m not questioning anyone’s belief
and devotion rooted in their Love for Our Lord’s Presence in the Eucharist. However, that being said, I find that in this present discussion one essential element not being clearly articulated. That is the primary reason for the existence of the buildings we call Church. In my opinion, the essential reason for a church’s existence is to provide a central location for the celebration of the Liturgy of the Eucharist which is the essential Sacrament of the liturgical life of the Church Universal Church and Local Church. Nothing, therefore, should be a distraction, no matter how noble it may be, from the Liturgy of the Eucharist. “The Mass” is the primary reason for the existence of a “Church”, all else is secondary.

[quote=m134e5]There doesn’t need to be a “balance” between the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. That’s not what the Mass is. The Mass is the sacrifice at calvary- one sacrifice re-presented every time Mass is celebrated. The scriptures lead up to the Eucharist. They are important, but they aren’t equal.
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Amen, could not agree more.

I have a question about the question of balance between the Word and Eucharist, are not both essential parts of the Mass? If not then why have the Liturgy of the Word?

Anima Christi,

Br. Rich SFO is correct. (For the other posters, you can find the full text of the document at

adoremus.org/eucharisticummysterium.html

Paragraph 53 holds for places like cathedrals and basilicas, where the tabernacle should be in some prominent place off to the side where the faithful can pray without being disturbed by the trampling of tourists or the frequent weddings and funerals. But most churches are not big enough to have side chapels or side altars.

Paragraph 54 doesn’t contradict Paragraph 53 at all. It says that the tabernacle should be on the main altar or on a side altar (the latter including Paragraph 53). Both paragraphs emphasize that the place should be “truly prominent.”

  • Liberian

[quote=m134e5]There doesn’t need to be a “balance” between the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. That’s not what the Mass is. The Mass is the sacrifice at calvary- one sacrifice re-presented every time Mass is celebrated. The scriptures lead up to the Eucharist. They are important, but they aren’t equal.
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The Mass is a Sacrament - as as well as a Sacrifice.

It is both, equally - not one, more than the other.

Both elements of the Liturgy are necessary - Christ is encountered in both. In one, He speaks - in the other, He is encountered personally. He is not active but silent - nor silent but active: He speaks and is active.

To have the Sacrifice without the Word in Scripture, is to have as mutilated a Liturgy as to have the Word in Scripture without the Sacrifice. ##

[quote=Gottle of Geer]## The Mass is a Sacrament - as as well as a Sacrifice.

It is both, equally - not one, more than the other.

Both elements of the Liturgy are necessary - Christ is encountered in both. In one, He speaks - in the other, He is encountered personally. He is not active but silent - nor silent but active: He speaks and is active.

To have the Sacrifice without the Word in Scripture, is to have as mutilated a Liturgy as to have the Word in Scripture without the Sacrifice. ##
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Your first statement is true- the Mass is both a Sacrament and a sacrifice- the Sacrament is the Eucharist (the word is NOT the Sacrament), the sacrifice is the sacrifice at calvary re-presented on the altar at Mass in an unbloody manner.

While Jesus is present in the Word, as well as in the people gathered for the Mass, the Eucharist is a more substantial presence, because the bread and wine once consecrated are no longer bread and wine- they are the true Body and Blood of Jesus. You cannot get any more substantial then that this side of heaven.

I agree- the liturgy of the word must be a part of the liturgy, but that doesn’t mean that the time spent on the liturgy of the word must equal the time spent on the liturgy of the Eucharist.

As I said before, the liturgy of the Word is a prefiguration of the liturgy of the Eucharist, and while it is important, should lead into the liturgy of the Eucharist, not be a distinct part- where it would feel complete (from a presentational perspective) if the liturgy of the Eucharist were left out altogether.

[quote=Anima Christi]! The reason I didn’t notice it before was because the folksy guitar campfire music band and “choir” (if it can even be called that) was making their profane cacophony in front of the tabernacle, blocking it from view.
So, so sad. :frowning:
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this is completely forbidden. wherever the tabernacle is placed it must be visible and accessible at all times, positioned with reverence and dignity, as described in both documents cited above. advise your bishop to rectify this abuse.

the first document cited makes the point that in Churches where placing the tabernacle behind the main altar would not induce constant reverence for the Blessed Sacrament a special chapel should be built, close to the sanctuary, but able to be separate from distractions of tourists or other activities which would hinder those there to pray and adore. Shrines, cathedrals, churches of historic interest are good examples.

the second document makes the same point but addresses abuses which arose after the renovation of churches, such as you describe here, where the tabernacle had been actually hidden or been made inaccessible, placed in a location not conducive to reverence and adoration. I visited one lovely church in Ohio where the tabernacle was hidden behind one of the wooden panels, and you would never have located it without a guide, no red candle, no sign, nothing. I only happened to notice after Mass one day when the EM went to replace the ciborium.

I think much of what has been said in this thread reflects how after Vatican II advantage was taken of the greater freedom to subvert Catholic doctrine while appearing to be Catholic.

If one studies the history of the Church one is immediately struck by the fact that many of the so-called “innovations” of the Church were intoduced to safeguard the faith. The creed for example was introduced at the time of the Arian heresy to prevent Arians from being able to abuse the Catholic mass.

What has happened since Vatican II is an indication of the naivete of the Bishops in assuming that the faith of the people was strong enough to not require external aids. In reality what we have seen happen is the entrance of outright heresy and blasphemy into the Church not at the behest of Vatican II but because Vatican II removed many of those safeguards.

The issue of the Tabernacle (an I might add standing to receive the Sacred Host) is an example. The presence of the tabernacle and the surrounding rituals were all designed to reinforce the belief in the Real Presence. Now while these rituals do not of themselves create this belief they do remind us constantly of the Church’s teaching. When you remove the Tabernacle to a side place (Some of thses can hardly be called Chapels) you minimise the Real Presence and as we have seen (and as has been commented upon elsewhere) the effect has been to reduce Catholic belief in that Presence.

IMO the intent of the first instruction was to create a space for devotion in large busy churches but has been used to “protestantise smaller parish churches”. Likewise the equality of the Liturgy of the Word and Liturgy of the Eucharist has become an excuse to minimise the Sacrament by shifting altars to the side.

In the “bad old days” the world was pronounced at the altar giving it equal prominence and in my large church we had a Gospel procession to emphasise the Gospel. Was not word and sacrament equal then?

The danger to the Church in this day is that those who wish to deny the faith the Church has held for 2000 years can do so using the documents of Vatican II as anyone who has tried to argue with a modernist will quickly discover. This does not mean Vatican II was heretical but that it failed to safeguard the deposit of faith. And if any proof is needed ask in your local parish how many believe the bread and wine is really the physical Jesus Christ and be prepared to be shocked by the replies.

[quote=Anima Christi]This afternoon I bought a volume containing the Vatican II Conciliar and Post-Conciliar documents.
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Could you tell me who publishes this book and the title? I have been looking for something like this, and haven’t been able to find anything. Thanks in advance.

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