Is the tabernacle always supposed to be in the center of the sanctuary?


Full Question

Is the tabernacle always supposed to be in the center of the sanctuary? If it's not in good view from where I sit at Mass, in what direction should I genuflect—towards the crucifix or altar at the center?

Answer

The tabernacle may be placed about anywhere in the church provided certain conditions are met. Code of Canon Law states, "The tabernacle in which the Most Holy Eucharist is reserved is to be situated in some part of the church or oratory which is distinguished, conspicuous, beautifully decorated, and suitable for prayer" (CIC 938 §2).

Concerning genuflecting, the General Instruction of the Roman Missal states,

If… the tabernacle with the Most Blessed Sacrament is present in the sanctuary, the priest, the deacon, and the other ministers genuflect when they approach the altar and when they depart from it, but not during the celebration of Mass itself. Otherwise all who pass before the Most Blessed Sacrament genuflect, unless they are moving in procession. (GIRM 274)


Jim Blackburn