Votive candles

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: The tabernacle in our church is located  to the left of the Sanctuary in a separate space.  We have electric votive candles  and kneelers there. Is it appropriate to have  candles there?  I have not seen this set up in other churches. Thanks.


A: I know of no legislation governing the placement of votive candles. They are items for popular piety.

Your question is about votive candles near a tabernacle. The custom is to place them near other religious objects – images of saints, for example. I guess you could look at it this way: The parish can make a little money through the sale of candles that are optional for devotional purposes. But everyone should have access to devotion at the tabernacle. So perhaps the tabernacle lamp doubles as the community’s votive candle.

Just guessing since I haven’t seen anything on this.

BTW, the USCCB’s “Built of Living Stones” says, “Electrical lights as a substitute for candles are not permitted” (93).