Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Are We Still Required to Genuflect?

Picture courtesy of Conception Abbey

Not that we should be monitoring how others behave in church but have you noticed that some folks walk right passed the Blessed Sacrament without genuflecting? Maybe some feel that the Church has done away with the rules on genuflecting.

My friend NASCAR enthusiast and writer
Becca shared this one.

Q: Are we no longer required to genuflect toward the tabernacle when
we enter and leave the church? My priest doesn't even genuflect during Mass anymore. Is genuflection a thing of the past, a pre-Vatican II
pious superstition?

A: If you can find the tabernacle (not always easy these days), you are
expected to genuflect (reverently touching one knee to the floor)
toward it upon entering and leaving the church and whenever you pass in front of the Blessed Sacrament.

Some incorrectly bow toward the tabernacle instead of genuflecting. A profound bow, a bow of the body from the waist, is made toward the altar if there is no tabernacle with the Blessed Sacrament.

As to the priest's actions during Mass, the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (n. 233) states, "Three genuflections are made during Mass: after the showing of the Eucharistic bread, after the showing of the chalice, and before Communion. If there is a tabernacle with the
Blessed Sacrament in the sanctuary, a genuflection is made before and after Mass and whenever anyone passes in front of the Blessed Sacrament." Someone needs to let your priest know that at least three genuflections are required during Mass.

The failure of many to genuflect is a reflection of the loss of belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. If one doesn't believe Jesus is truly present, why make a sign of reverence? But we do, so its but proper to genuflect, as to the presence of Royalty. Did you know that people are "required" to do this in the presence of present day Queen Elizabeth? What more for God?

-adapted from
Catholic Answers


Rosemary Bogdan said...

It is so very sad that many no longer recognize Jesus' radical gift of self in the Eucharist, the source and the summit of the Christian life... (I hope I haven't printed this comment twice. It looks like it didn't go through the first time.)

Moneybags said...

Good post.

General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM 2003):

274. A genuflection, made by bending the right knee to the ground, signifies adoration, and therefore it is reserved for the Most Blessed Sacrament, as well as for the Holy Cross from the solemn adoration during the liturgical celebration on Good Friday until the beginning of the Easter Vigil.

275. A bow signifies reverence and honor shown to the persons themselves or to the signs that represent them. There are two kinds of bows: a bow of the head and a bow of the body.

A) A bow of the head is made when the three Divine Persons are named together and at the names of Jesus, of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and of the Saint in whose honor Mass is being celebrated.
B) A bow of the body, that is to say a profound bow, is made to the altar; during the prayers Munda cor meum (Almighty God, cleanse my heart) and In spiritu humilitatis (Lord God, we ask you to receive); in the Creed at the words Et incarnatus est (by the power of the Holy Spirit . . . made man); in the Roman Canon at the words Supplices te rogamus (Almighty God, we pray that your angel). The same kind of bow is made by the deacon when he asks for a blessing before the proclamation of the Gospel. In addition, the priest bows slightly as he speaks the words of the Lord at the consecration.

Also, please remember to genuflect by touching both knees to the ground before entering the pew when the Holy Eucharistic is visible on the altar in Adoration. This will also occur if you arrive at Mass after the Consecration. In these two cases touch both knees to the ground, make the sign of the Cross, and bow.

Esther said...

Rosemary, our pastor told us that 60% of Catholic do not believe in the Real Presence. That surprised me a little because I thought it was 75%.

Mahalo for this. I am glad you mentioned going down on two knees when facing The Blessed Sacrament exposed in the Montrance. Recently, I heard or read that genuflecting with one knee sufficed. I didn't think that was right so I continued to go down on two knees. But I'm glad to know that I wasn't mistaken.