More Cracks in the Vatican-II Dam?

[I know, I know. V-II didn’t mandate shoving Our Lord in a side closet, but why did it become a ubiquitous practice?]

At area Catholic churches, the tabernacle, ‘Christ’s dwelling place,’ moves to center stage [Wisconsin State Journal, Dec. 24]

ASHTON — Like centuries of Catholic priests before him, the Rev. Tait Schroeder consecrated the communion bread at a midday Mass last week, turning it into what the denomination’s faithful believe is the actual body of Jesus Christ.

After offering the sacramental bread — referred to as the Eucharistic host — to parishioners, Schroeder walked the unused portion to an ornate, safe-like box behind him at the front of the sanctuary.

In this secure shrine, called a tabernacle, the host would dwell until needed for the next Mass, available all the while for the faithful to pray before it or for Schroeder to take it to home-bound parishioners.

As Christians around the world mark the birth of Christ in Bethlehem this Christmas season, many Madison-area Catholics are learning more about the profound role of the tabernacle in their parishes. Madison Catholic Bishop Robert Morlino has directed priests to move the tabernacle to a prominent spot at the center of the sanctuary at all diocesan churches.

The directive was announced at an annual gathering of priests in September and could affect about half of the 134 worship sites in the diocese, although no exact count is available, said Patrick Gorman, director of the diocesan office of worship, which coordinates liturgical matters for the bishop and will be leading the effort.

… Gorman said the bishop’s intent is to place more emphasis and reverence on the Lord’s presence at the Eucharist, the term used by Roman Catholics for communion.

[more at link]

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2 comments on “More Cracks in the Vatican-II Dam?

  1. Great! That makes two bishops (Thomas Paprocki is the other) who actually believe in the Real Presence. Career suicide for both, of course.

  2. Also Bishop Jenky in Peoria in 2010:

    After consultation with my Presbyteral Council, I am … asking that those few parish churches and chapels where the tabernacle is not in the direct center at the back of the sanctuary, that these spaces be redesigned in such a way that the Reserved Sacrament would be placed at the center. In some cases, this change can be easily achieved, but given financial and design restraints, plans for redesign may be submitted to the Office of Divine Worship at any time during the next five years.

    I would also like to remind everyone in our Diocese that at Mass, in accord with the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, the Tabernacle should only be reverenced at the beginning and end of the liturgy or when the Sacrament is being taken from or returned to the Tabernacle. At all other moments and movements in the liturgy it is the Altar of Sacrifice that is to be reverenced.

    Most Reverend Daniel R. Jenky, C.S.C.

    Full letter is here.

    As well as the late Bishop D’Arcy in South Bend in 2009:

    Bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend John M. D’Arcy has issued new norms on the placement of the tabernacle in churches, aiming to end controversy on the topic.

    The bishop described the new norms and the reasons for them in a July 19 letter posted on the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend website and addressed to priests, deacons, religious, and all the faithful.

    “The presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament is at the center of our faith and of the devotional life of our Catholic people,” his letter began.

    Saying tabernacle placement has become “a source of controversy,” he said the Eucharist should always be “a means of unity and communion, and never of division.”

    “The place of the tabernacle in our church should reflect our faith in the real presence of Christ, and should always be guided by church documents,” Bishop D’Arcy continued.

    In his experience, people have always desired the tabernacle to be “central and visible” and find it “confusing” when it is not.

    The norms state that the tabernacle should be “prominently located in the sanctuary of the church, along the central axis behind the main altar … at an elevated, open location in the apse area, or in another central place in the sanctuary that is equally conspicuous.”

    If a high altar with a tabernacle remains in place, the norms add, “it is appropriate to continue using this noble structure for the reservation of the Blessed Sacrament.”

    The norms are to applied to all future construction or restoration projects, and in churches where the tabernacle is not centrally located a consultation should begin to determine how to do so.

    “I urge all priests to follow these norms carefully and completely, and most importantly — to foster devotion to the Blessed Sacrament.” his letter concluded.

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