INQUIRY TOPICS > Mass, Liturgy, Liturgical Calendar, Blessed Objects

Why can't the exposed Blessed Sacrament be left alone?

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It's a little tricky making sure there are 2 adorers for every hour of every day, 24/7, so that the Lord is never left alone.  I'm just wondering why He can't be left alone when exposed but can when in the Tabernacle?  Also, I've heard that He can only be reposed 2 times in 24 hours.  Why is that??

Again, I'm just curious....


David W. Emery:
The difference, Jill, is that at Adoration the host is in a monstrance, exposed to view for a specific purpose: adoration/devotion. If there is no one attending, the devotion should not be "taking place," because in fact it is not occurring. This is uncanonical negligence. The repose of the Sacrament in the tabernacle is just that: repose. This is why the tabernacle is closed and locked.

In real life, there are necessary exceptions to the rule of never leaving the Lord alone. In my locale, there is only one 24/7 perpetual adoration chapel. A few other parishes have the adoration devotion, but only for a few hours each week or month. I belong to the 24/7 group, and for most of the night hours (mine is pre-dawn) there is only one adorer assigned. In this situation, if a person gets sick or needs to go to the bathroom, he does what he has to do, returning as and when he can.

--- Quote ---I've heard that He can only be reposed 2 times in 24 hours. Why is that?
--- End quote ---

I am not familiar with this rule. Presumably it has to do with excessive handling of our Lord.

I am aware of a few isolated chapels where the Blessed Sacrament resides in a monstrance within a tabernacle. A person can obtain the key from the office, open the door to adore and close it before leaving if no one else is there. If several people come in at different, non-overlapping times, the door can be opened and closed several times in the course of a day. But here, the host and the monstrance are never touched, so it is a different circumstance.


Oh, that's interesting.  I mentioned something similar to what you mentioned to our Adoration organizer and she gave me the 2 in 24 rule I mentioned.  What I'd heard was being done in another parish was that the monstrance was located within a clear plastic box (I may not have this exactly right) and when the last person was leaving, they could draw a curtain which would "hide" the monstrance.  I can't picture it perfectly, but I'm sure you could imagine something along these lines.  Would the monstrance have to be in a Tabernacle in order to be reposed?

And still, (I feel like a 3 year old asking), but why can the reposed Sacrament be alone, but not the exposed Sacrament?

David W. Emery:
Yes, I'm aware of the curtain arrangement, too. In fact, I think it's more common than the one I mentioned above. Either way, it's secure but available for viewing through glass.

--- Quote ---And still, (I feel like a 3 year old asking), but why can the reposed Sacrament be alone, but not the exposed Sacrament?
--- End quote ---

Because the monstrance is designed specifically to expose the Sacrament for adoration, while the tabernacle is designed specifically to lock the Sacrament away for safe keeping. These are canonical functions, not just different containers. Note also that, in the monstrance, the host is not secure and can simply be carried away or violated, but the tabernacle, by law, has a lock, and the box itself is securely attached to an immovable object such as an altar.


Therese Z:
I am one of the coordinators of Adoration at my parish, and I've never heard the "2 in 24" rule. It would be difficult, if in a regular parish setting, you had 24 hour Adoration once a week on a Friday, let's say, starting after daily Mass, but then there's a a funeral Mass in the morning (reposed during the mass), and a wedding Mass in the evening (reposed during the mass). Nobody has ever worried about that - we just make sure the Sacrament is reposed and exposed properly and reverently, and the Adorers are free to go during those hours.



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