Fr. Z, are there some sorts of specified rubrics for the celebration of Mass in the Extraordinary Form if the tabernacle is off on the side, in what might be termed a side chapel, but is still visible from the pews all the way on the left?
I ask on the basis that the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception has the tabernacle in a chapel on the side, though this seems to be not an identical case. [Separated by an ambulatory aisle and, hence, not morally present in to the sanctuary.]
Is there hopes for having a TLM without having to have the tabernacle repositioned? (This seems to be a bit of a hang-up point on trying to bring the TLM to the parish, and the pastor has told me that it would be immensely expensive to move.)
Given what you wrote, this is no problem whatsoever. There are no special rubrics.
First, if the tabernacle is for some reason not in the center, but in a side chapel, then the Blessed Sacrament is not “present”, even though the chapel might be visible from some parts of the church.
For example, at the great church of the FSSP in Rome, the traditional parish of the City SS. Trinità dei Pellegrini, when there is a bishop as celebrant, the Blessed Sacrament is quite properly removed from the main tabernacle at the altar in the sanctuary, to a tabernacle at one of the side altars, half way up the nave of the church. Those congregants who would pass before that tabernacle would want to pay their respects to the Eucharistic Lord, but the action in the sanctuary goes on as usual, that is, without the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. At Communion time, one of the priests goes with servers to the side chapel altar and retrieves the Eucharist for distribution. They process back to the sanctuary with the ombrellino over the priest with the ciboria.
The TLM does not require the presence of the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle. As a matter of fact, for many hundreds of years Holy Mass was celebrated daily by thousands upon thousands of priests at side altars of churches. Moreover, even as priests celebrated privately at their side altars, it could be that the Blessed Sacrament was in the tabernacle at the main altar and that Mass was also, simultaneously, at the main altar. That is often the state of affairs when I have said Mass in the afternoon at SS. Trinità dei Pellegrini.
No, this is not a problem.
If the tabernacle is not in the center, you can have the Traditional Latin Mass with no problem at all. Anyone going close to where the tabernacle is, however, should reverence the Eucharistic Lord, but it sounds as if that’s not a problem in what you described.