Placement of the Tabernacle

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Angle_Girl

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What do you think of a parish that is building a new church and have put the tabernacle in the back of the church, in a small chaple, next to the Reconciliation Chaple?
 
Not a problem at all. If you go to Italy into Churches that date back as early as the 5th and 6th century, there is not tabernacle in the rear of the sanctary. Infact there are many side chapels which many have their own tabernacle. Adoration chapels when done right are very good.

-Ted

P.S. What do you mean by the back of the church?
 
I personaly am a fan of the tabernacle being right behind the altar, but thats just me. You can do it in many ways as longs as the reverence is maintained.
 
When we enter a Catholic Church, we are there to pray in the presence of our Lord in the Holy Eucharist. We do this within the context of the Mass or in Adoration outside of the Mass. Since the Eucharist is the center of our Catholic prayer, shouldn’t it be the Center of the Church itself? It seems that the most appropriate place for the tabernacle is front and center of the altar so that all who enter might reverently approach Our Lord. It is difficult to enter a Catholic Church where the tabernacle is nowhere to be found. In what direction should I genuflect? Further, without Our Lord’s presence in the Church proper, it seems that reverence for the holy place we have entered is lost. Having the tabernacle in plain view reminds us all of the sacredness of the place we have entered as well as the reason we have come in the first place. An adoration chapel is wonderful. Why not use it for perpetual adoration? In this way, Our Lord can be adored in the chapel and still maintain His place of honor on the altar.
 
Catholic Mom 1,

Tabernacles were not always present, it was a development. If you are in my age group, yeah we grew up with American Churches designed in a cookie cutter pattern. A very good pattern may I add, However, I have been in very old Churches in Spain and Italy and the first thing I do in those very old and ancient places is head for the side chapels.

These adorations chapels annoyed me in the begining, however I now have grown fond of them if they are close to sanctuary. The setting is much more private serene and humbling to be able to pray without other eyes on me. I can concentrate better.

-Ted
 
Its my understanding that the Church allows side chapels or placing the Tabernacle on the side altar if its placed their in a dignified manner (in other words: not hidden in some corner).

I’m not fond of it myself; I prefer Christ to be at the center of the main sanctuary so that the congregation outside of Mass can focus totally on Him…Rather then having to go to a side chapel and having a chair placed in the center of the main.

Having the Tabernacle at the center of the Sanctuary: just my preference that I have come to love and prefer 🙂

Miguel.
 
Domini Canis:
Not a problem at all. If you go to Italy into Churches that date back as early as the 5th and 6th century, there is not tabernacle in the rear of the sanctary. Infact there are many side chapels which many have their own tabernacle. .
Arguments like this from antiquity aren’t very good ones, and have been used to justify any and all liturgial deviations that we find today in our parishes. Primitivism is actually a very Protestant way of thinking, not Catholic.

I don’t see why we need to disregard thousands of years of developed tradition. We’ve seen the fruits of mispalced tabernacles. Even if the Church today allows it, I don’t see why any sound, tradition-minded priest would put the tabernacle anywhere but on the altar.

(Except in cathedrals, of course, where the bishop’s chair has typically been the focus.)
 
Catholic Mom 1:
Since the Eucharist is the center of our Catholic prayer, shouldn’t it be the Center of the Church itself? It seems that the most appropriate place for the tabernacle is front and center of the altar so that all who enter might reverently approach Our Lord.
Catholic Mom,

You are quite correct that the Eucharist should be the center of our worship.

But during the Mass itself, the focus should be on several things. During the Liturgy of the Word, we should focus on God’s presence in His Word.

During the Liturgy of the Eucharist, the focus is properly on the Sacrifice present on the Altar itself.

In either case, the placement of the Tabernacle is secondary to the Mass itself.

The Center of our Worship outside of Mass itself is rightly centered on the Real Presence in the Tabernacle, or Exposed in pious Adoration. How this is best facilitated is up to the parish pastor. The key is that the True Presence be readily available to the faithful. Sometimes this is best done by having the Tabernacle on the main altar. Sometimes it is best done in a side chapel that might be more convient to the faithful outside of Mass.
 
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DominvsVobiscvm:
Arguments like this from antiquity aren’t very good ones, and have been used to justify any and all liturgial deviations that we find today in our parishes. Primitivism is actually a very Protestant way of thinking, not Catholic.

I don’t see why we need to disregard thousands of years of developed tradition. We’ve seen the fruits of mispalced tabernacles. Even if the Church today allows it, I don’t see why any sound, tradition-minded priest would put the tabernacle anywhere but on the altar.

(Except in cathedrals, of course, where the bishop’s chair has typically been the focus.)
And likewise to foist American Catholic Church Architecture as the definative norm is to ignore thousands of years of tradition.

To claim that the new modern parishes look like their 5th 6th or even 12th century counterparts is bizzare.

We are talking about the tabernacle. Not the communion rail holy water fonts and kneelers. And don’t get me started on kneelers. Pews and kneelers are for the lazy 😉 Standing and kneeling on travertine is far more tradtional. :cool:
You can ask our eastern brothers.

The tabelnacle is recent and those in my age group are very comfrotable with it in the center of the sanctuary, that is where is was when we grew up, however, a nice side chapel is certainly welcome and in many cases a better idea. If you think having one in the center of the the sanctuary is the panacea, well go ahead and amuse yourself.

-Ted
 
There is nothing “technically wrong” with that placement. Although it seems that it’s being done for the wrong reasons. A side chapel specifically built to house the tabernacle should be very suitable especially if it is ornately decorated and not only reflects the sanctity of the Eucharist but helps draw your attention and devotion to it. It is very common for large cathedrals to have the tabernacle in a side chapel. The problem is the modern side chapels actually work as de-emphasis of the Eucharist instead of empathizing it. If the Eucharist is the “life of the Church” then the placement of the tabernacle that houses it should be in a suitable place that reflects that, well so you would think.

Here is the official word from the GRIM.

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,
a. 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);
b. 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.
316. 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
  1. In no way should all the other things prescribed by law concerning the reservation of the Most Holy Eucharist be forgotten.131
 
My church now has two tabernacles, because our poor pastor got beat up so much about it. We have a church in the half round, with a very nice chapel on one side; the tabernacle sits high on a pedestal behind the altar used for daily Mass.
But no, people weren’t satisfied, so now we have a second tabernacle in the main church, and Peripatetic Jesus. The Eucharists from the previous Mass are moved in, Sunday morning before the first Mass, and reserved there between the two Masses; at the end of Communion of the second Mass, they are then removed to the main tabernacle in the side chapel.
And the second tabernacle (in the main church) loooks like it was put together by a not very competent iron worker, and it sits on a wooden stand that looks like it was cobbled together by a well meaning wood butcher. And it would be hilarious, if it wasn’t so sad, to see all the many people who genuflect when leaving the second Mass; to what I am not sure…
Are we better off? I am not inclined to think so, but that’s just my opinion.
Primitivism? Did you read the documents of Vatican II?
Oh, and by the way, my parish has 24 hour adoration, so it’s not like we’re part of the loonies.
Christ is present in the gathered congregation. He is present in the Word. And finaly He is in a most significant way present at the Consecration. I don’t need a second tabernacle to have Christ present, and would prefer to go back to the way we were before.
 
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DominvsVobiscvm:
Arguments like this from antiquity aren’t very good ones, and have been used to justify any and all liturgial deviations that we find today in our parishes. Primitivism is actually a very Protestant way of thinking, not Catholic.
Some thoughts:
  1. All that is lawful is not beneficial.
  2. “Leges sine moribus vanae.”
  3. Perhaps it is useful to look to the East?
 
Catholic Mom 1:
When we enter a Catholic Church, we are there to pray in the presence of our Lord in the Holy Eucharist. We do this within the context of the Mass or in Adoration outside of the Mass. Since the Eucharist is the center of our Catholic prayer, shouldn’t it be the Center of the Church itself? It seems that the most appropriate place for the tabernacle is front and center of the altar so that all who enter might reverently approach Our Lord. It is difficult to enter a Catholic Church where the tabernacle is nowhere to be found. In what direction should I genuflect? Further, without Our Lord’s presence in the Church proper, it seems that reverence for the holy place we have entered is lost. Having the tabernacle in plain view reminds us all of the sacredness of the place we have entered as well as the reason we have come in the first place. An adoration chapel is wonderful. Why not use it for perpetual adoration? In this way, Our Lord can be adored in the chapel and still maintain His place of honor on the altar.
Hi Catholic Mom, Angie Girl & All,
In the post-Vatican Era, this is a good topic. It is easier to adore our Lord when the tabernacle is behind the altar. We are to genuflect before the tabernacle where ever it is, but I’ve also heard that you are still supposed to genufect in front of the “main” altar, which is supposed to have blessed relics in it. Also here in the USA, we tend to make changes without explanation and understanding of the original reason. There are Catholic Churches, which have proper, respectful altars for the tabernacle that aren’t behind the main altar. But there are those that don’t, where you might miss the tabernacle if you don’t look for it. I think some churches have moved the tabernacle into side chapels because their members have seen it in their travels to Rome and elsewhere. My understanding is that in Rome in these high-traffic tourist chuches have moved the tabernacle to chapels, so that our Lord in the Eucharist be properly respected and adored. My feeling is that the tabernacle should be in our churches with a big red candle (as done traditionally) so we can find it. Also, the GRIM quote was a good one and is similar to cannon law on tabernacles.
-davemcher5
 
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davemcher5:
Hi Catholic Mom, Angie Girl & All,
In the post-Vatican Era, this is a good topic. It is easier to adore our Lord when the tabernacle is behind the altar. We are to genuflect before the tabernacle where ever it is, but I’ve also heard that you are still supposed to genufect in front of the “main” altar, which is supposed to have blessed relics in it. -davemcher5
I thought we were to give a profound bow to the Altar because it is a symbol of Christ but to genuflect before the Tabernacle because of the Real Presence?
 
If a tabernacle is not situated in the front of the church behind the altar, I’ve always genuflected to wherever it is located, to indicate my reverece before Chirst in the Eucharist.

[Side note:
Does bowing to relics seem like relic worshipping? Or is it showing reverence to the relics of the Saints :confused: ??]
 
I heard a program on Sacred Heart Catholic Radio the other day here in Washington. The official position is that you bow to the altar if it is alone in the church, but if the tabernacle is behind the altar then you genuflect. In the same light you always genuflect to the tabernacle, unless of course you are carrying things then you might want to bow to aviod droping them. 😉
 
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Peg:
I thought we were to give a profound bow to the Altar because it is a symbol of Christ but to genuflect before the Tabernacle because of the Real Presence?
I will stand corrected! But I will have to look that up when I have more time. - davemcher5
 
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bemmel:
If a tabernacle is not situated in the front of the church behind the altar, I’ve always genuflected to wherever it is located, to indicate my reverece before Chirst in the Eucharist.

[Side note:
Does bowing to relics seem like relic worshipping? Or is it showing reverence to the relics of the Saints :confused: ??]
The Catholic Church does allow for the veneration of relics and other sacred objects. There is more detailed info in the catechism and canon law, but I’ll see if I can get you more information later.
Thanks-davemcher5
 
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