Skip to content

To tabernacle or not to tabernacle

By Hugh J. McNichol
Op/Ed

In regards to your question regarding the disposition of "reserved" Eucharist vs. "fresh" Eucharist, there are always multiple schools of thought.

A great liturgist (Rev. Msgr John Miller @Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia educated me. He clearly was of the proper indication that Eucharist should not be distributed from the tabernacle. The purpose of reservation of the Blessed Sacrament in our Churches dates to apostolic times. The purpose however is very clear, to distribute communion to those that are sick and dying (Viaticum), and for private adoration.

Some of the liturgical changes of Vatican II developed tabernacle areas that were outside of the altar area proper. Other churches never moved the tabernacle from its pre Vat.II position.

It is now apparent that the pre Vat.II position is preferred in the United States. I have actually seen very modern churches that have been horribly converted into pre Vat. 2 design. I have also seen horrible mutilations of preVat.2 churches to the modern design as well. Both conversions I suppose have their correct place and followers.

The use of Eucharist from the tabernacle seems to forget the distinction between the ACTIONS of the Eucharistic liturgy...that is actually happening during Mass. It intertwines...the PASSIVE activity of Eucharistic worship, which is private prayer and devotion (as indicated for the purpose of the tabernacle.)

It seems that in an era where we can precisely give facts, figures and demographics on parishes and people attending Eucharist; we could accurately count the people in Church and prepare an appropriate amount for the liturgy. It would be a nice thing to restore the usher's duties to what they really were in the ancient church...that of porter. The porter was the (Male) minister of hospitality of the primitive Church, as well as the first group of liturgical bouncers (if the crowd got out of hand, or the Romans found the liturgy. They prepared the Eucharistic species and arranged the event. for orderly fashion. If there were an appropriate "count" of Eucharistic bread to be used there would be no need to go to the tabernacle. If there was some amount of Eucharist left...within reason. The priest, deacon, or acolyte present could consume it.

The most fitting method of preparing the correct amount of Eucharistic species is in my mind.... using large hosts that are broken into pieces at the appropriate "Lamb of God". Theologically I think it reflects great significance of how all of us as Catholics share in the theological "breaking of self" in our giving of self to each other, to God and to the Church. One thought as well...it is ok to run short at communion. Just start breaking the hosts so people can all share in the Eucharist that is present. When I studied philosophy and theology in preparation for my priest career (which never happened), I left as an instituted Acolyte...in many situations if you could see you were running short of Eucharist. We began to break the species and distribute "half or a quarter of the host. I think this is an excellent manner to participate in "the Breaking of the Bread" and teach a great theological message...Christ is present in ALL and in PART of the Eucharistic species. It is not possible to receive "less of Jesus" just because the host is smaller. Unfortunately as in McDonald we have gotten in "biggy" sizing Eucharist portions to reflect the appropriate amount of sacramental grace we receive.

Additionally it actually makes me cringe when I hear any type of description of "meal" as the primary description of the Eucharist.

Our concept in 21 century of a meal ranges from a drive through fast food place, to a diner, to a wedding.or whatever. A meal in the ancient world was "life saving" and special. Not because you "gathered together" to share....but because it was the time where you prepared and shared your most precious resources with others...for survival. As well...with the development of the MEAL...we neglect to remember that while Eucharist is a sort of meal.... is it most explicitly the reenactment of Jesus Christ's sacrifice on Calvary. Jesus Christ died on the cross so we his followers could share in the glory of the Father's life. Personally, I have always thought the constant "meal, meal, meal" push was an organized attempt by some "liberal Church leaders" to lessen the understanding of "Real Presence, and make us more in line with protestant teachings of Eucharist...Christ present only in the assembly at Eucharist.

Thankfully the liberal theologians are not as heard.

Personally I am quite disturbed by the fact that my parish has 100 Eucharistic ministers that distribute communion, while the 3 priests and two deacons never darken the Church unless they are the principal celebrants.

Perhaps it is time to have ONLY Bishops, priests, deacons and acolytes distribute communion.

What is the big rush...to process people through communion as if they were going through a "Jack in the box" for Eucharistic reception? It is really the intrusion of the secular and no mystical world...breaking through the transcendence of our religious beliefs. Again, the misnomer of American democratic ideals...everybody has to have equal status and share all of the jobs. Well the right to distribute Eucharist belongs ONLY to the Bishop then his priests and deacons. It would make sense that in order to attract vocations we would emphasize the critically important role of "Minister of Eucharist" brings through the Imposition of Hands through Holy Orders. I think all priests and future priests would have a great incentive if they believe their job was THE most important in the parish...representatives of Jesus, acting in persona Christi.

Finally, the more restrictive use of non-ordained and non-instituted ministers for Eucharist would re affirm and strengthen our belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Eucharist is not wonder bread, served at the meal.... it is the Bread of Life served for eternal redemption and life.

Contact

TriNet
http://www.trinettc.com DE, US
Hugh McNichol - author, 302 6339348

Email

hugh.mcnichol@trinettc.com

Keywords

tabernacle

More Catholic PRWire

Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718

A Recession Antidote
Randy Hain

Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

The Why of Jesus' Death: A Pauline Perspective
Jerom Paul

A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell

My Dad
JoMarie Grinkiewicz

Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell

Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Catholic Online

Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Catholic Online

Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
Catholic Online

State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Catholic Online

Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
Catholic Online

2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Catholic Online

Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Catholic Online

Franchising to Evangelize
Catholic Online

Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Catholic Online

Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Catholic Online

Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Catholic Online

Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Catholic Online

Full Circle
Robert Gieb

Three words to a deeper faith
Paul Sposite

Relections for Lent 2009
chris anthony

Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell

World Food Program Director on Lent
Catholic Online

Moral Clarity
DAN SHEA

Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Catholic Online

A Prayer for Monaco: Remembering the Faith Legacy of Prince Rainier III & Princess Grace and Contemplating the Moral Challenges of Prince Albert II
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe

Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Sally Connolly

Glimpse of Me
Sarah Reinhard

The 3 stages of life
Michele Szekely

Sex and the Married Woman
Cheryl Dickow

A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Cheryl Dickow

Modernity & Morality
Dan Shea

Just a Minute
Sarah Reinhard

Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Hugh McNichol

Edging God Out
Paul Sposite

Burying a St. Joseph Statue
Cheryl Dickow

George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Catholic Online

Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell

Action Changes Things: Teaching our Kids about Community Service
Lisa Hendey

Easter... A Way of Life
Paul Spoisite

Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Hugh McNichol

Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Hugh McNichol

Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Catholic Online

Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Catholic Online

Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Catholic Online

Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Catholic Online

Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Catholic Online

Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
Catholic Online

Holy Saturday...anticipation!
Hugh McNichol

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Information
Learn about Catholic world

Catholic Online
Inform - Inspire - Ignite

Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained

Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need

Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online

Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye

Daily Reading
Today's bible reading

Lent / Easter
Death & resurrection of Jesus

Advent / Christmas
Birth of Jesus

Rest of Catholic Online
All Catholic world we offer

Services
Products and services we offer

Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books

The California Network
Inspiring streaming service

Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on catholic.org

Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel

Catholic Online Singles
Safe, secure Catholic dating

The California Studios
World-class post production service

Education
Learn the Catholic way

Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all

Student Classes
K-12 & Adult Education Classes

Catholic Online MasterClass
Learn from experts

School Teachers
Teacher lesson plans & resources

Catholic Media Missionaries
The New Evangelization

Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education

Socials
Connect with us online

Catholic Online on Facebook
Catholic social network

Catholic Online on Twitter
Catholic Tweets

Catholic Online on YouTube
Enjoy our videos

Catholic Online on Instagram
Shared Catholic moments

Catholic Online on Pinterest
Catholic ideas style inspiration

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.