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I was talking to a friend relating a story about a church I went to while visiting Sarasota where the Tabernacle was off to the side. When I said this he responds "that's the way it used to be".  I thought that was odd because this gent is in his early 60s.  I thought his answer was odd because If you asked me "how did it used to be?" I would have responded in the opposite.

My question is when exactly did they start to move the tabernacle? Was it right after Vatican II? Or was it just newer churches that were built after Vatican II? Who made those decisions?

Also the celebrant's seat  was directly behind the altar. It was a very weird to me.

I always assumed moving the tabernacle was a post Vatican 2 thing, although I'm not sure of the purpose.

(06-29-2016, 12:10 PM)AugustineNYC Wrote: [ -> ]Also the celebrant's seat  was directly behind the altar. It was a very weird to me.

That's weird to me too.  I've never seen that before; it's always been off to the side.
In the churches I've seen that predate VII, the tabernacle is usually located above/behind an altar.  Now, it can be a side altar rather than the main altar in a church.  In fact, I do believe that the norm was to have it at a side altar where the faithful could pray quietly, even if a larger event were occurring in the main part of the church.  The site should be beautiful and suitable to prayer.  In Europe, the churches I've seen usually have several side altars with beautiful devotional art, relics and the like on display.  It is more customary to have the tabernacle at such a side altar in larger churches (at least according to what I've seen).  Smaller chapels usually have the tabernacle above/behind the main altar.  Then again, in France (where the majority of my experience on this matter comes from) these chapels are usually private now a days and are not permitted to house the Blessed Sacrament on any kind of permanent basis. 

In the south of France, "rogue" priests sneak off to these smaller chapels to celebrate mass for small communities of faithful who usually maintain the aging chapels with private funds through real community effort.  For example, the bishop of Nice refuses to allow priests to hold mass at these chapels on a regular basis, preferring to have larger congregations at the bigger churches.  But every once in a while and especially on specific feast days, one can convince some priests to slip away from their usual duties to celebrate mass in these private chapels that have been essentially abandoned by the diocese.  The priests seem to have a better understanding of the role of these small chapels in the faith of the community than the bishop does.  The chapel near my parents' house is owned by the community and maintained those who live nearby.  There is an aquifer that runs beneath and around it.  The chapel must be maintained to keep the water from damaging the structure.  A new roof was put on and the building painted and resealed - all with donations of the small cluster of villas that are located around the site.  The pews are ancient, there is no room for music so all hymns are sung without accompaniment, the missals available are (I think) cast offs from the diocese.  But when the people come together, it is one of my favorite places to attend mass. 
CaptCrunch73 Wrote:From the Catholic Encyclopedia, This answered surprised me, I actually learned me something new....

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14424a.htm

Tabernacle

(TABERNACULUM).

Tabernacle signified in the Middle Ages sometimes a ciborium-altar, a structure resting on pillars and covered with a baldachino that was set over an altar, sometimes an ostensory or monstrance, a tower-shaped vessel for preserving and exhibiting relics and the Blessed Sacrament; sometimes, lastly, like today, it was the name of the vessel holding the pyx.

That is, at the present time in ecclesiastical usage it is only the name for the receptacle or case placed upon the table of the high altar or of another altar in which the vessels containing the Blessed Sacrament, as the ciborium, monstrance, custodia, are kept. As a rule, in cathedrals and monastic churches it is not set upon the high altar but upon a side altar, or the altar of a special sacramentary chapel; this is to be done both on account of the reverence due the Holy Sacrament and to avoid impeding the course of the ceremonies in solemn functions at the high altar. On the other hand it is generally to be placed upon the high altar in parish churches as the most befitting position ("Cærem. ep.", I, xii, No. 8; "Rit. rom.", tit. IV, i, no. 6; S.C. Episc., 10 February, 1579).

A number of decisions have been given by the Sacred Congregation of Rites regarding the tabernacle. According to these, to mention the more important decisions, relics and pictures are not to be displayed for veneration either on or before the tabernacle ("Decreta auth.", nos. 2613, 2906). Neither is it permissible to place a vase of flowers in such manner before the door of the tabernacle as to conceal it (no. 2067). The interior of the tabernacle must either be gilded or covered with white silk (no. 4035, ad 4); but the exterior is to be equipped with a mantle-like hanging, that must be either always white or is to be changed according to the colour of the day; this hanging is called the canopeum (no. 3520; cf. "Rit. rom., loc. cit.). A benediction of the tabernacle is customary but is not prescribed.

History

In the Middle Ages there was no uniform custom in regard to the place where the Blessed Sacrament was kept. The Fourth Lateran Council and many provincial and diocesan synods held in the Middle Ages require only that the Host be kept in a secure, well-fastened receptacle. At the most they demand that it be put in a clean, conspicuous place. Only a few synods designate the spot more closely, as the Synods of Cologne (1281) and of Münster (1279) which commanded that it was to be kept above the altar and protected by locking with a key. In general, four main methods of preserving the Blessed Sacrament may be distinguished in medieval times:

    in a cabinet in the sacristy, a custom that is connected with early Christian usage;
    in a cupboard in the wall of the choir or in a projection from one of the walls which was constructed like a tower, was called Sacrament-House, and sometimes reached up to the vaulting;
    in a dove or pyx, surrounded by a cover or receptacle and generally surmounted by a small baldachino, which hung over the altar by a chain or cord;
    lastly, upon the altar table, either in the pyx alone or in a receptacle similar to a tabernacle, or in a small cupboard arranged in the reredos or predella of the altar.

This last method is mentioned in the "Admonitio synodalis" of the ninth century by Regino of Prüm (d. 915), later by Durandus, and in the regulations issued by the Synods of Trier and Münster already mentioned. Reredoses containing cupboards to hold the Blessed Sacrament can be proved to have existed as early as the fourteenth century, as, for instance, the altar of St. Clara in the Cologne cathedral, although they were not numerous until the end of the medieval period. The high altar dating from 1424 in the Church of St. Martin at Landshut, Bavaria, is an example of the combination of reredos and Sacrament-House. From the sixteenth century it became gradually, although slowly, more customary to preserve the Blessed Sacrament in a receptacle that rose above the altar table. This was the case above all at Rome, where the custom first came into use, and in Italy in general, influenced largely by the good example set by St. Charles Borromeo. The change came very slowly in France, where even in the eighteenth century it was still customary in many cathedrals to suspend the Blessed Sacrament over the altar, and also in Belgium and Germany, where the custom of using the Sacrament-House was maintained in many places until after the middle of the nineteenth century, when the decision of the Sacred Congregation of Rites of 21 August, 1863, put an end to the employment of such receptacles.

Here's what the prevailing canon law stated up until the new code in 1983:

Canon 1268 of the 1917 Code of Canon Law:

§1. The most holy Eucharist cannot be kept continually, that is, habitually, except on only one altar of the church.

§2. It shall be kept in the most excellent and the most noble place of the church and therefore regularly on the major altar unless it seems that the veneration and cult of such a sacrament is more convenient and decent elsewhere, observing the prescriptions of liturgical law, which pertain to the final days of the great week.

§3. But in cathedral churches or in collegial or conventual ones in which choral functions are conducted at the main altar, lest ecclesiastical officials be impeded, it is opportune that the most holy Eucharist not regularly be kept at the major altar but in another chapel or altar.

§4. Let rectors of churches take care that the altar in which the most holy Sacrament is reserved be decorated above all the others so that by this appearance the faithful be moved to greater piety and devotion.
(06-29-2016, 03:47 PM)ermy_law Wrote: [ -> ]Here's what the prevailing canon law stated up until the new code in 1983:

Canon 1268 of the 1917 Code of Canon Law:

§1. The most holy Eucharist cannot be kept continually, that is, habitually, except on only one altar of the church.

§2. It shall be kept in the most excellent and the most noble place of the church and therefore regularly on the major altar unless it seems that the veneration and cult of such a sacrament is more convenient and decent elsewhere, observing the prescriptions of liturgical law, which pertain to the final days of the great week.

§3. But in cathedral churches or in collegial or conventual ones in which choral functions are conducted at the main altar, lest ecclesiastical officials be impeded, it is opportune that the most holy Eucharist not regularly be kept at the major altar but in another chapel or altar.

§4. Let rectors of churches take care that the altar in which the most holy Sacrament is reserved be decorated above all the others so that by this appearance the faithful be moved to greater piety and devotion.

Thus the custom that in most churches, before Vatican II, the Blessed Sacrament was reserved at the main altar. This is also of practical concern, since the priest could not leave the altar during the Mass (which is why, for instance, the priest gives the nuptial blessing after the Pater noster from the altar).

However in major shrines, cathedrals, chapels of monastics/regulars, or seminaries, there was typically a chapel especially for the Blessed Sacrament. This is the practice, for instance, in Rome. At at least several of the Papal Basilicas, the tabernacle has always been in a separate chapel. This is why, for instance, the rubrics for a Pontifical Mass assume the bishop will bow at the altar with his mitre, and not genuflect, since if Canon Law were followed, the Blessed Sacrament would not be present at the altar.

As regards the sedilia (priest's bench), it was always typically on the Epistle side perpendicular to the altar. The bishop's throne would be on the Gospel side.
Having been an Altar Boy in the pre Vatican II Church, I can attest that the Catholic Altar was most often in this form:

[Image: Traditional_Mass2.jpg]

The Tabernacle was the most prominent item in the Church, sitting above all, often including the celebrant, who said Mass in front of the Tabernacle and facing it. Some large Churches, Basilicas or Cathedrals, had side chapels where the Eucharist was in Tabernacle and the faithful could pray there and not be interrupted by Choir practice or other, non-ecclesiastical ceremonies or activities going on in the main Church Sanctuary. Many had the Tabernacle only in the main Church, since architectures varied.

Here's another Glorious example of a Pre-Vatican II altar:

[Image: SI%20Altar.JPG]

and here's an example of aCommunion Rail in proper use and celebrants all in their proper places:

[Image: 3697064941_9ca0b78289_b.jpg]


Today, there has been a trend to place the Tabernacle in its rightful place, center in the Sacristy and above all else in the Church. A place of respect due to Our King! Not off in a closet somewhere or off to one side, how disgraceful.
I noticed online somewhere that the tabernacle should not be movable but firmly affixed.  Is this correct?  If so, I know of at least one church with a problem . . .
the last cathedral i went to in richmond it had an altar and tabernacle on each side, and a large open space in the middle. i guess like the shrine basilica in DC.

i think the off to the side was only for large churches and not our small parishes.

its a way to move the tabernacle from center view to the side cause "thats what the early church did"  post V2 thinking.





(06-29-2016, 01:07 PM)Fontevrault Wrote: [ -> ]The chapel near my parents' house is owned by the community and maintained those who live nearby.  There is an aquifer that runs beneath and around it.  The chapel must be maintained to keep the water from damaging the structure.  A new roof was put on and the building painted and resealed - all with donations of the small cluster of villas that are located around the site.  The pews are ancient, there is no room for music so all hymns are sung without accompaniment, the missals available are (I think) cast offs from the diocese.  But when the people come together, it is one of my favorite places to attend mass.

Sounds beautiful.  Thank you all for the information.  The parish I was in was pretty small. As I think of it the pipes for the organ were behind the celebrant and the crucifix was on a sort of beam in front of that.
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