Location of the tabernacle

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner


Q:  If the pastor and parishioners desire to locate the tabernacle in the worship space rather than a side chapel, should it be placed to the side or to the center against a back wall?  I have an understanding of church history and practice in this regard, however, I am most interested in liturgical theology in the spirit of Vatican II.

A:  I think the more important question is, “How are you using the tabernacle?” If people receive communion from it at every mass, you are defeating the purpose of the altar. See my book, Whose Mass Is It? for more on this topic. The location of the tabernacle in the center of the back wall draws attention to it, but we build churches for the celebration of the mass, and the altar should be what catches the eye, and the place from which the people are fed.