The following comes from a January 8 Catholic News Agency article by Mary Rezac:

When Bishop Robert Morlino arrived as the new bishop for the Diocese of Madison, Wisconsin in 2003, he began quietly encouraging priests to promote more reverence towards the Blessed Sacrament – through more adoration, more reverent Masses, and moving tabernacles back to the center of churches.

Now, he’s made it official. Bishop Morlino has asked his priests to make sure every tabernacle is moved to the center of each church behind the altar by 2018.

In the wake of Vatican II, many churches in Madison and throughout the United States relocated their tabernacles either to the side of sanctuaries or to their own side chapels. The idea at the time, was that this created a separate, quiet space which would encourage more people to spend time in adoration, Patrick Gorman, director of the Office of Worship for the Madison diocese, told CNA.

“The chapel kind of got divorced from the worship space of the church and kind of got put aside for a separate thing almost,” said Gorman.

Even before Bishop Morlino told his priests of the three year plan to move the tabernacles, he had asked several years ago that every new church built in the diocese place the tabernacle in the center behind the altar.

Many priests were also preferring to move tabernacles to the center of their parishes on their own initiative, so it was a direction in which the diocese was already heading, Gorman said.

“The idea is we’re going to put Christ in the most central place in the Church because that’s the position he has in the Church, in the body of Christ,” he added. “Of course Jesus Christ himself is in it, therefore standing at the head of our church.”