Page 7, 1st January 2000

1st January 2000
Page 7
Page 7, 1st January 2000 — Placing the tabernacle: what are vve to believe?

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Organisations: Congress
Locations: Seville, Sheffield


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Placing the tabernacle: what are vve to believe?

From Rev. Edwin Gordon Sir, Pope John Paul II in the Eucharist Congress in Seville, June 1993 at which I was present, spoke of the Holy Eucharist first of all as sacrifice and then as food for the journey and fmally as abiding presence, Emmanuel, God with us. Of course, as Mgr Boylan quoting Vatican Council says "the liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed at the same time it is the fount from which all the Church's power flows (art. 10)" but what is the liturgy if not the Holy Eucharist?

The Holy Father spoke of the Eucharist as "the beating heart of the Church" that is to say "the fount from which all the Church's power flows".

The Holy Father referred to the Venerable Don Manuel Gonzales, known as the Bishop of the Abandoned Tabernacle, as follows: "He, Don Manuel, strove to remind everyone of Jesus' presence in the tabernacle to which we sometimes respond so poorly. By his words and example he never ceased to repeat that in the tabernacle of each Church we possess a shining beacon through contact with which our lives may be illuminated and transformed. It is important for us to live and teach others how to live the total mystery of the Eucharist, The sacrament of sacrifice, of the banquet and of the abiding presence of Jesus Christ the Saviour".

It would seem from this that the Holy Father does indeed agree with Father Barret's words that "The Council taught that the Eucharist is the summit and source of the Christian life and that Christ is present singularly and really in the Eucharistic elements."

Pope John Paul went on to quote from the Catholic Catechism "To deepen faith in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist the Church is aware of the meaning of silent adoration of the Lord present under the Eucharistic species". He went on to insist, saying: "If only this form of adoration of the Eucharist might take root!"

The position of the tabernacle in the Church has for the last 30 years or more been the subject of controversy, possibly as the result of some doubtful translations. In this uncertainty perhaps it would be beneficial to see how the Vicar of Christ himself has dealt with it. In the Pope's private oratory, which can accommodate a consid erable number of people, the tabernacle is in the centre and the Pope says Mass with his back to the people facing the tabernacle. There would be no difficulty in putting the Tabernacle in the corner of the oratory so as not to distract from the liturgical celebration of the Mass, but it seems that the Holy Father does not consider the tabernacle as a distraction.

Of course in a cathedral or large church it might well be more devotional to have a special Chapel of Adoration, but this would not seem to be the case in a small or medium size church. Indeed Cardinal Hume in the evening of his life expressed the view that one of the reasons for the diminishing of devotion to the Blessed Sacrament was the removal of the tabernacle from the centre.

If we want rekindle the faith in the hearts of the people we would do well to take to heart the words of St John Fisher, "If anyone should attentively consider the progress, the decline and the reformation of life which have been the cause of decline and on the other hand faithful worship and devout frequentation of this sacrament have wonderfully contributed to progress and reform".

Yours faithfully, EDWIN GORDON Nympsfield, Gloucestershire.

From Rev Peter McGuire Sir, in the recent correspondence, those opposed to the placing of the tabernacle in "a special chapel" seem reluctant to quote the descriptive words which immediately follow this phrase in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM). The strong recommendation is that the place of reservation "be well suited for private prayer, apart from the nave" (GIRM 276). That seems eminently clear to me.

Yours faithfully, PETER McGUIRE Sheffield.

From Mrs Helen Niedzwiecki Sir, with regards to the letter of the Rev. Mgr. Anthony B Boylan, published in The Catholic Herald (December 10), concerning the location of the tabernacle, I wish I add some comments in support very clear and well documente euplanation given in the previot issue on this matter by Father Barret (Doubts and Querie: December 3).

First of all, the reader's que: tan refers to the location of tt Libernacle with the Blessed Sad.! nent, not to the Mass itself as celebration of the Eucharist. It obvious that Nass is supreme, if summit of worship and all celu brations.

However, outside the Mass if Blessed Sacrament has a singuls importance because it is the res ad substantial presence of Jest Grist which has always bee reserved for itorship, adoratio aud for the sick. Without it, th church, to mater how beautifu rith with gold and art, will b empty arid likea museum. Common seuse dictates that th most eminent place for God is di curare of the sanctuary. I al surprised that Revd. A.B. Boyla lus such di objrction while Cano Loy froni 1981 explains clearl about the relervation of th Hissed Sacrament (Can 938 par 2) I wonder where the idea moving the tuernacle from th cetre of he sactuary, to situate oft one icle ()even outside th clurch, cune imm? Was it rea1! dispirit of Vatan Council II an alright imerpotation of its dock mats? I doubthis.

tstead of hreasing the fait aid glory to Gd, the removal th tabernaclefrom the centr bright *out lisorientation ari ccfusion People— if I all — genuflet beore th forrer location of th talimach (whe the location t whch it his bee removed is ofte merited). Sureli, this was not th

r r

illationf theCouncil. i I) is intrestig as well that Mt tries to b more importar tho God them is no objectioi buf any itteret is rode to giv Gl proninens in HEis Churct it oaren1y rims with oppositio fru sorm ur ecclesiastiec: aulorities.

lay I fnishuy letter with m den for he ner millennium th ()Cord Jesuslill be allowed t beiaced iacic the centre of th °itch aid in ror livcs.

'ours flithfuly, q-ENNIEZWIECKI I.m-thanpton

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