I was out, browsing a local antique store, searching for radioactive glass, when suddenly, the heavens parted, a light came down, and there it was. The part about it being there is even true. If yer Catholic, you probably recognize it as a Tabernacle. It’s basically where Jesus lives, in between masses. I guess that makes it kinda like Jesus’ dressing room. It’s common for priests to consecrate a whole pile of eucharists, perhaps far more than necessary for the next mass. Maybe there’s a later mass, and they don’t want to make more. Maybe the later mass is not actually led by a priest, and doesn’t have the power to trans-substantiate the Jesus, as only priests can. When you’re Catholic, that’s some literal shit. That’s *real* Jesus, in the flesh. Stale, flavorless, unleavened flesh.
Jesus happens to be a pretty important dude, so you can’t just cover him in saran wrap and throw him in the fridge with the common clergy’s lunch. It’s disrespectful. According to the Vatican, you’ve gotta store him in a locked container, so the riffraff don’t defile Jesus. To be fair, that’s probably wise. You know as well as I do the kind of shit that goes on in the company refrigerator. Just imagine what those abandoned lunches turned into before refrigeration was invented. That’s where yer tabernacle comes into play. A priest would prepare the wafers, and imbue them with Jesusness prior to the mass, then place them inside the Tabernacle, where they would remain unsullied(unlike the altar boys who were charged with carrying it), until they were ready to be used. The tabernacle itself would then be carried to wherever necessary. I’m reasonably sure nothing other than communion wafers and wine, both consecrated and non-consecrated ever go in here. It’s pretty much a Jesus Only room, except sometimes not exactly when the wafers and wine haven’t yet been turned into Jesus.
During the mass, the tabernacle would sit on an altar of its own, separate from the altar the priest is using to conduct the Mass. Prior to Vatican II, the Tabernacle was actually the focal point of the Mass. Humility dictated that everyone pay attention to Jesus, rather than the priest. It would have been prideful to have the congregation watch him. Post Vatican II, it was decided that the Altar, where all the action is happening should be the focal point instead, so the tabernacle got shunted off to the a different altar on the side. That makes sense to me. You’d want the focus to be on where the action is, right? It’d be pretty silly to have this big production while the audience is all staring at Jesus’ warm-up room, waiting for him to come out. At least that’s my limited understanding after a few minutes of googling. I vaguely remember seeing something that looked about the same shape as this one in my baptized, but otherwise non-catholic youth, probably when forced to go to church while fanatical grandma was in town.
So, what do you figure these things cost? Well, brand new, one such as this would sell for in the neighborhood of $8500. Now, I’m sure they don’t exactly sell a lot of these by volume, so I can see them being a little on the pricey side, but there’s no fucking way in hell this thing is worth anywhere near $8500. It’s nice and all, but it’s not THAT nice. The reason they cost so much probably has more to do with the relative wealth of the customer than it does with the inherent value of the object.
Imagine you were going to open up a Catholic Franchise, and you needed to fill your new religious establishment with the all the trappings of Catholicism. Sure, you can skimp on the chairs for the break-room, but you can’t really cheap out on the box you’re gonna keep Jesus in. Churches are going to buy the fanciest, purtiest box they can, because lets face it, nothing is too good for Jesus. You don’t want some cheap-ass Chinese-made, likely poisonous, tabneracle from Walmart, do you? A company that sells religious supplies is gonna figure it out pretty quick, churches only buy one or two of these, and they can afford to pay quite a bit for them. Sometimes just charging more for something creates the perception of increased value.
I paid $225. I figured it’s probably not the kind of item that other churches would purchase “used”, so I didn’t think it would be worth much more than that, but Ebay apparently disagrees. The going price for one approximately equivalent seems to be right around $1000-1500. It should give you an idea how much money there is to be made in the religion racket. Salvation is a pretty lucrative business. Unfortunately, I have no idea what church it came out of originally, which is a bit of a shame since it would make for a neater story and probably increase its value.
I guess I’m gonna use it for its intended purpose — storing booze and cookies. That Jesus sure can hold his liquor. I could do that too if I was made of bread.