Friday, August 25, 2017
SHOULD THE TABERNACLE BE EMPTIED PRIOR TO THE CELEBRATION OF THE HOLY SACRIFICE OF THE MASS?
To this day, I believe it was a horrible mistake to remove the tabernacle from the center of the Church's sanctuary to the side or a separate chapel. But I understood the theological reason for doing so but it was done in a horrible way. The appropriate reason, though, was that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass not only brings forward in a unbloody way the Sacrifice of the Cross, but also "confects" the Most Holy Eucharist. Thus during Mass, the Faithful should anticipate this miraculous confecting of the Most Blessed Sacrament and not praying before the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle prior to the event on the altar at that particular Mass.
The celebrant and con-celebrant priests of the Mass may never receive Hosts "confected" at a previous Mass and the current GIRM of the Ordinary Form Missal states that it is proper (but not mandated) for the laity to receive Holy Communion "confected" at the Mass they attend, but this has nothing to do with the validity of the Mass or the ratification of the Holy Sacrifice which is accomplished by the celebrant alone receiving the Oblations, and under both Forms of Bread and Wine.
Rather than remove the tabernacle, from the vicinity of the Altar of Sacrifice, would it have been better simply to have had a second tabernacle in a separate small chapel away from the altar of sacrifice and the sight of the people? Five minutes before Mass begins there would be a simple, but solemn transfer of the Most Blessed Sacrament to this out of sight second tabernacle?
A screen or drapery that would hide the tabernacle during the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass could accomplish the same purpose and more easily. Of course Hosts from the hidden tabernacle would be retrieved only in the case of necessity and then after Holy Communion the "in sight" tabernacle would have the Most Blessed Sacrament enclosed.
In fact, this was/is the liturgical law of the EF Pontifical High Mass with a bishop celebrant as proven by this recent photograph of an empty tabernacle during the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass: