7 June 2010

More Mascall: Where should the Tabenacle be?

"There are a good many Anglicans ... who would prefer that the Sacrament was kept in some quiet and secluded corner of the church where it would not be exposed to the attention of the casual visitor and where the devout worshipper would be free from disturbance. It seems to me that this attitude, however well-meant, is fundamentally mistaken ...For the fundamental facts about the Blessed Sacrament are its publicity and its centrality. It is not a hidden treasure, hidden away in a corner to be the object of devotion of the abnormally pious; it is the gift of Christ to his body the Church. The method of reservation ... whereby the consecrated elements are placed in a safe in the church wall and removed from association with the altar, seems calculated to encourage almost wrong view of the reserved Sacrament that is conceivable. Could anything be more likely to detach the reserved Sacrament from its organic connection with the Church's liturgy ... ? It is therefore, I would suggest, most desireable that the Blessed Sacrament should normally be reserved in as central a place as possible, upon the high altar of the church, and that regularly some form of public devotion to the Eucharistic Presence should be held, if possible when the main body of the congregation is assembled ...

"In the full rite of Benediction ... the blessing of the people with the Sacred Host as the climax of the service reminds them inescapably of the fact that, in our relation with God, it is he, and not we, who is the primary agent and who takes rthe initiative."


Christian said...

This is an interesting point, though I might point out that Pugin was
in favour of reserving the Blessed Sacrament in a special chapel as
opposed to on the High Altar as this was more medieval. I am no great
medievalist but this might be what motivates a certain type of
Anglo-Cath to keep the Blessed Sacrament in its own chapel.

Naturally, in accordance with unbroken ancient practice and the
requirements of the pontifical liturgy, I oppose any attempt to place
the tabernacle on the High Altar of a Cathedral Church.

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Eugenie Roth said...

A big "fat" THANK YOU for this precious post from Germany!

The Sibyl said...

The Holy Houses of Germany, I grant you, are more elaborate than many of the English Aumbreys that have survived the Reformation but it is undeniably part of the Catholic tradition.

Nicht so schnell!

Fr Terry said...

Dr Mascall regarded the regulation in the proposed 1928 Book that the Sacrament not be reserved immediately behind or above the altar as the nadir of the proposals.The GIRM says that the Sacrament should be reserved in parte ecclesiae pernobili,conspicua,decore ornata et ad orationem apta.It might be in the presbtery ,not excluding the old High Altar if another altar for mass versus populum has been erected or etiam in aliquo sacello. The private chapel option is evidently now less favoured than it was;but it seems a sound principle that the Sacrament should not be on the altar from the beginning of theliturgy but appears as the fruit of Consecration.

Eugenie Roth said...

@ The Sibyl
... go to Germany and see the newly built Churches ...

Some of them look really strange ...

What ist not so schnell? ((-;