From a reader…
My parish is looking into daily Eucharistic exposition. Our tabernacle is located in a small chapel away from the altar of sacrifice and the current plan is to have exposition take place in the monstrance located inside of the tabernacle with the door open. The ciborium will also remain in this tabernacle. Is it permissible for both exposition and reservation to take place in the same tabernacle?
Thank you for your wonderful blog, I read it every day with a cup of Mystic Monk!
Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament by opening the tabernacle doors was a relatively common form of “simple exposition” prior to the Second Vatican Council. It was more common in some women’s religious communities where the Superior was sometimes given permission to open the tabernacle for adoration, but not to place the Blessed Sacrament in a monstrance.
I’m not aware of this being done in any parish setting, but there may be anecdotes.
The current rubrics on Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament presume that the Eucharist (either in a monstrance, or simply a ciborium) will be placed on an altar. If a priest or deacon is not present, an acolyte or, in exceptional circumstances, another layperson specifically designated for this task, may expose the Blessed Sacrament (if not done by a priest or a deacon, there should be no incensation of the Blessed Sacrament at the time of exposition). The rubrics do not speak of exposition by simple opening of the tabernacle doors. Yet, they similarly do not forbid it. This could be an acceptable practice – though exposition on the altar is preferable.