Tabernacle: Where they keep Jesus locked up, so he doesn’t escape.

See: “What’s Jesus Doing in There?”

This Week’s Ask Alice: Does a person need to be ordained in order to access the tabernacle?

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She’ll answer as many questions as possible,
right here, every Thursday.

Email responses will also be provided, as time permits.

Nancy writes: Our priest recently told us that only ordained hands were allowed in the tabernacle. The person must be an acolyte, deacon, or priest. No extraordinary ministers allowed. Is this true? Thank you.

Alice Answers: The tabernacle is a secure reservoir for the Blessed Sacrament. It is not used as a part of the Mass. There are no iron clad rules regarding whose hands are allowed inside the tabernacle.

Touching the interior of the tabernacle is a matter based on protocol and common sense. During Mass, the celebrant, con-celebrating priest and deacon (ordained men) are at the altar, so protocol and logistics suggest that ordained hands would open and close the tabernacle during the Liturgy of the Eucharist. However, extenuating circumstances, such as a disabled celebrant without a deacon assistant, might necessitate (with the priest’s approval) the use of the hands of an extraordinary minister or layperson.

Properly authorized extraordinary ministers often remove the Blessed Sacrament from the tabernacle during Eucharistic Adoration or when preparing to bring the Holy Eucharist to hospitalized or home-bound persons.

Directives regarding access to the tabernacle may vary from one diocese to another, according to the jurisdiction of the local ordinary (bishop). For example: A bishop or priest might prudently decide to restrict the laity from access to the tabernacle in a church that’s located in a high crime area, or in a community with a large population of non-Christians.

In Christ’s Love,

Alice

Why do Catholics genuflect and kneel in church, and why don’t Protestants?

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Q: Why do Catholics genuflect and kneel in church, and why don’t Protestants?

A: Jesus Christ is truly and substantially present, body, blood, soul and divinity, in the tabernacle of every Catholic Church, the world over.

Even if he wasn’t, the altar upon which the bread and wine is transformed into his body and blood is there, and it has been made holy by his divine presence.

 Either of the above is good enough reason for genuflecting.

Protestants: 1) Do not have the priestly authority to transform bread and wine into Jesus. 2) Usually claim that it can’t be done, anyway. 3) Have no altar that has been made holy by the real presence of Christ.

Romans 14:11  For it is written: As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me and every tongue shall confess to God.

Catholics and the Holy Eucharist

Catholics and the Holy Eucharist

A few days back, I responded to a comment made by a protestant fellow who complained about people who go to Church on Sunday, yet don’t seem to follow through during the rest of the week.

“How can they possibly ‘know’ God, if they don’t follow him, 7 days a week?”

Knowing full well what my friend actually meant, I couldn’t help responding that Catholics who regularly attend Mass and receive Holy Communion “know” God better than any protestant ever could, simply because they regularly receive the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ in the most intimate and personal manner possible … and it doesn’t get any better than that, this side of heaven.

Of course, I got an email from him that basically said, “You mean to tell me that a Catholic who regularly receives communion is likely to fare better than somebody like Billy Graham, who studies the Bible all the time and preaches all around the world?

( … And all this time I though protestants didn’t believe in salvation by works! … )

My reply went something like this:

The eucharist IS Jesus. Jesus IS the eucharist.

The eternal one who is enthroned at the right hand of the Father in heaven is the same one who is tabernacled in my flesh, and who indwells my immortal soul.

Anybody who attempts to live a fully Christian life without properly covering both of these human dimensions is going to have a real tough time of it.

Catholics know this, because Jesus in the eucharist is the source and the very center of our existence.

Meanwhile, you protestant guys are out there thumping Bibles to 50,000 different tunes, while relying on a symbolic form of purely spiritual communion.

The two are only very remotely comparable.

Until Jesus comes again in glory at the end of the age, the authentic holy eucharist (not mere crackers and grape juice) constitutes the closest and most intimate relationship with God that any living human can have.

That’s where the real power is.

That’s the true test of faith.

Jesus said so … and the double “amen” means he wasn’t kidding.

John 6:53  Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen, I say unto you: except you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you.
John 6:54  He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day.
John 6:55  For my flesh is meat indeed: and my blood is drink indeed.
John 6:56  He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood abideth in me: and I in him.
John 6:57  As the living Father hath sent me and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, the same also shall live by me.

Link to a study of the Eucharist in the Catholic Catechism