In reference to recent letters it appears there has been a revival and push for implementation of the 1978 US document Environment and Art in Catholic Worship. Helen Hull Hitchcock, editor of the liturgical journal, Adoremus Bulletin, points out that this document "was not issued by the US National Conference of Catholic Bishops, nor was it ever submitted to the Bishops Conference for approval. Its level of authority, therefore, is just above that of private opinion."
She adds: "Hundreds, perhaps thousands of Catholic churches have suffered - or are in the process of or are scheduled for - similar renovation, or more accurately, - iconoclasm."
These remarks unfortunately apply many times over in Queensland, where the desecration of beautiful churches has caused many to leave them because they were no longer recognisable as Catholic; some have even stopped the practice of their Faith.
Catholics sense the strength and presence of Christ Himself in the tabernacle, visible in the centre of the sanctuary, waiting and welcoming. In many churches, however, He has now been denied our adoration, as we prepare ourselves for the great Sacrifice about to take place.
The encyclical Mysterium Fidei, written by Pope Paul VI during the Second Vatican Council, states "liturgical laws prescribe that the Blessed Sacrament be kept in churches with the greatest honour and in the most distinguished position". This is where the tabernacle has always been, but now, Christ present in the tabernacle has been moved to some inconspicuous place, or, worse still, taken out of the church (in some cases).
For those parishes under threat, I recommend you read from the following publications: The Spirit of the Liturgy by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Ceremonies of the Modern Roman Rite (appendix 9) by Msgr Peter Elliott and Ugly as Sin by Michael S. Rose.
Please pray that we retain our Catholic heritage and tradition handed down to us over 1500 years of devotion and liturgical practice. The re- ordering of our Catholic churches is not mandated by Vatican II and has no basis in official Catholic Church practice.
Msgr Peter Elliott writes in his book Ceremonies of the Modern Roman Rite: "To avoid the arid effects of liturgical rationalism and to promote prayer and reverence, let the Eucharist be restored to the truly pre-eminent position in every church. Where this has happened the response of the faithful has been a resurgence of devotion to our Eucharistic Lord ...".