Redemptionis Sacramentum 129-130

Chapter VI (RS 129-145) concerns “The Reservation of the  Most Hholy Eucharist and Eucharistic Worship Outside Mass.” We covered that rite on this site well over five years ago. The Reservation of the Most Holy Eucharist is treated in the first of three subsections in this chapter (RS 129-133). Let’s dive in and read:

[129.] “The celebration of the Eucharist in the Sacrifice of the Mass is truly the origin and end of the worship given to the Eucharist outside the Mass. Furthermore the sacred species are reserved after Mass principally so that the faithful who cannot be present at Mass, above all the sick and those advanced in age, may be united by sacramental Communion to Christ and his Sacrifice which is offered in the Mass.”[Eucharistiae sacramentum (1973)] In addition, this reservation also permits the practice of adoring this great Sacrament and offering it the worship due to God. Accordingly, forms of adoration that are not only private but also public and communitarian in nature, as established or approved by the Church herself, must be greatly promoted.[Cf. Eucharistiae sacramentum]

The CDWDS presents the first option, as it were: the Eucharist is reserved for those who cannot come to the celebration of Mass. Over the centuries, adoration of both a private and public nature have developed. And there are indeed rites celebrated publicly for this purpose.

[130.] “According to the structure of each church building and in accordance with legitimate local customs, the Most Holy Sacrament is to be reserved in a tabernacle in a part of the church that is noble, prominent, readily visible, and adorned in a dignified manner” and furthermore “suitable for prayer” by reason of the quietness of the location, the space available in front of the tabernacle, and also the supply of benches or seats and kneelers.[Cf. Eucharisticum mysterium 54; Inter Oecumenici 95; GIRM 314] In addition, diligent attention should be paid to all the prescriptions of the liturgical books and to the norm of law, [Cf. Dominicae Cenae 3; Eucharisticum mysterium 53; Code of Canon Law 938 § 2; HCWEOM Introduction 9; GIRM 314-317] especially as regards the avoidance of the danger of profanation. [Cf. Code of Canon Law 938 §§ 3-5]

Tabernacle location is one of the flashpoints for postconciliar liturgy and devotion. Small chapels in the US were magnified on a larger scale, and tabernacles were placed on distant high altars in large churches only to work against the intimacy of the Lord who invites all believers to prayer.

On the other hand, renovations in many parishes were not conducted well, and much unnecessary bitterness was dredged up by moving or “hiding” the reserved Sacrament.

Today, there is perhaps a small swell of recovering the ideal of a separate chapel for prayer, especially for long periods, or even the practice “perpetual” adoration. This is a good development, as is any recovery of prayer outside of a “doing” mentality (doing a rosary or doing the Mass, etc.).

Overall, we won’t see too many concerns in this Chapter, but feel free to discuss as the Spirit moves you.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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