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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, in what direction should I genuflect–toward the tabernacle or toward the altar?


The tabernacle may be placed anywhere in the church provided certain conditions are met. The 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 that is distinguished, conspicuous, beautifully decorated, and suitable for prayer (CIC 938).

Concerning genuflecting, the General Instruction of the Roman Missal instructs:

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 74).



  1. Tom Rafferty Reply

    Seriously, and respectfully, this is nothing more than rearranging the chairs on the Titanic. To understand where I am coming from, I invite you to peruse my blog. With respect, thanks for your attention. 🙂

  2. Ed Lim Reply

    Seriously, the word “respect” that you used is not appropriate but rather disrespect when you likened the tabernacle with the Titanic.

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