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Frequently Asked Questions

Q. 1. I noticed that in every Catholic Church, where the Holy Eucharist is present in the Tabernacle, such representing the Presence of Jesus, a red lamp is burning. Does the Church have a rule regarding this red lamp? Does it have to be a candle or can it be an electrical lamp?

A. 1. According to the "General Instruction of the Roman Missal," Latin Text, Vatican, 2008, # 316, "In accordance with traditional custom, near the tabernacle a special lamp, fueled by oil or wax, should shine permanently to indicate the presence of Christ and honour it." [130 Cf. Code of Canon Law, can. 940; Sacred Congregation of Rites, Instruction, Eucharisticum mysterium, 25 May 1967, no. 57: Acta Apostolicae Sedis 59 (1967), p. 569; Rituale Romanum, De sacra Communione et de cultu mysterii eucharistici extra Missam, editio typica, 1973, no. 11.]

An electrical lamp on the Altar beside the Tabernacle is not acceptable. In 2015, I informed the Pastor of the French Canadian Church, Sts Martyrs Canadiens, in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, that their practice of lighting a lamp beside the Tabernable was not acceptable because it opposed the Canon Law. A year later, nothing has changed.

Code of Canon Law # 940 "A special lamp which indicates and honors the presence of Christ is to shine continuously before a tabernacle in which the Most Holy Eucharist is reserved."

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