Faith/Spirituality Forum: tabernacle in church

tabernacle in church QUESTION from Teresa on November 12, 2002 In our diocese any new church are not permitted to have the tabernacle in the main church.It can only be in a side chapel. Our pastor said this is based on a false interpretation if vatican 2, but the devil is behind it because he wants to take Jesus out of the church.
Old church's that have a tabernacle in the church are\allowed to keep it, but our church is remodeling and the bishop won't approve the plan unless the tabernacle is not there. Our pastor plan to have the church designed so it will be easy to move the tabernacle back in if this rule is changed. My question is what in Vatican 2 are they basing removing the tabernacle from the church and how can we refute it? God Bless Teresa
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on November 19, 2002 Dear Teresa:
Canon Law 938 states that the tabernacle is to be 'placed in a part of the Church that is prominent, conspicuous, beautifully decorated and suitable for prayer'.
The desire of the Church is to facilitate Eucharistic devotion. But in doing so the tabernacle must still be PROMINENTLY placed, CONSPICUOUSLY placed, and placed in a location of honor.
In the Instruction from the Sacred Congregation of Rites (now called the Sacred Congregation for Divine Liturgy), called Eucharisticum Mysterium (Instruction on the Worship of the Eucharistic Mystery), we find at paragrah 53:

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 The place in a church or oratory where the Blessed Sacrament is reserved in the tabernacle should be truly prominent. 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.

What I think is the obvious intent and mind of the Council Fathers is that Eucharistic Adoration and devotion is so important and so necessary for the people that the tabernacle should be placed in a location that facilitates that devotion.
The above cited Instruction gives an example of when that may be needed, when marriages and funerals take place frequently and in places which are much visited for their artistic or historical treasures.
Obviously, if a particular parish has constant marraiges, funerals, or tourist it will be difficult for people to meditate and pray before the Sacrament.
But, not all Churches have this sort of traffic to warrant this.
And in any event, when the Tabernacle is moved it must STILL be in a prominent and conspicuous place.
Here is an analysis of the these provisions: click here
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