QUAERITUR: Not genuflecting during Novus Ordo Mass when crossing tabernacle

From a reader:

Could you comment on part of GIRM #274, specifically:
"If, however, the tabernacle with the Most Blessed Sacrament is present in the sanctuary, the priest, the deacon, and the other ministers genuflect when they approach the altar and when they deaprt from it, but not during the celebration of Mass itself."
I know that this is a change in the 2002 GIRM, and I really have a hard time with it.  I don’t mean to be scrupulous, but I always feel conflicted about it when serving.  If I don’t genuflect (as is what used to be done, even in the previous Novus Ordo GIRM), I feel as though I am being irreverent.  Christ is present in the tabernacle whether Mass is going on or not.  However, if I do genuflect, then I feel as though I am being disobedient.
What should be my attitude in approaching this directive?

There is a real tension here.

First, this idea that we don’t genuflect to the Blessed Sacrament when passing before it in the sanctuary during Mass stemmed from a desire to emphasize the sacred action going on at the moment.  As a result all sorts of changes were proposed, for example, only distributing Hosts consecrated at that Mass rather than any reserved from another Mass.

While I don’t have any problem with the idea that we should stress the sacred action hic et nunc, which is an important dimension of true active participation in a fuller sense, there are some practical considerations.

You know… sometimes these high falutin’ ideas don’t take into consideration what is a matter of common sense. 

The fact is that we do see the tabernacle there and we know that the Blessed Sacrament is in there and we actually believe that this is God present in our midst.

Ignoring any of these things, from some goal of stressing the here and now seems to me problematic.  What occurs to the one who watches people troop back and forth across the sanctuary and ignored the Blessed Sacrament is… well…. perhaps just shy of scandal.  I suspect that it would undermine the respect people have for the Eucharist if they constantly seen their Eucharistic Ministers and servers, et al., ignoring the Lord.

Funny thing: Liberals always ask you to ignore the evidence of your senses.

Anyway… while this is one of those rubrics I think could be happy broken without much fuss, it is nevertheless important that we who desire that the liturgy always and everywhere be celebrated according to the rules should ouselves obey them.

The texts of the translations are dreadful.  That doesn’t mean we should just change them according to our own lights.  I am right about what I write on the prayers in WDTPRS and the lame-duck ICEL texts are jsut wrong.  But I don’t therefore change the texts.  The same goes for rubrics.  The genuflection thing is in the Novus Ordo now.  So be it.   I admit that I forget from time to time, since I don’t say the Novus Ordo all that often these days and the genuflections are by now hard wired into me.

You know…. I know about all the fancy ideas about emphasizing the immediate sacred action blah blah blah but it is just wrong not to genuflect, isn’t it?

I think people are smart enough to handle the idea that we can reverence the Blessed Sacrament in a tabernacle by genuflecting and not lose track of the fact that they are at Mass and there will be a consecration.

After all, people have for centuries been able to see that during the distribution of Holy Communion Jesus is all over the place in the church. 

And yet their heads don’t, in fact, explode.


So, friend, I have a hard time with that rubric also.  I understand the idea behind it, but I think there are other important dimensions the egg-headed desk liturgists didn’t consider when they implemented their pet theories in the revised rubrics.

What should your attitude be?   At least strive for resigned obedience and the patience to be consistent with the others who are serving there.

Also, you might pray for a greater return of the older form of Holy Mass where these sllly things do not vex us so.

BTW… I think every faithful and reverent genuflection and act of faith helps to Save The World and everytime people ignore the Lord or are irreverent weakens us all. 

Remember: Pope Benedict hopes that there will be a positive influence of the one use on the other.  We might start by geting rid of these sorts of things so that the newer Mass will be in greater continuity with our tradition… in which we genuflect as we pass before the Blessed Sacrament wherever and whenever because we believe It is God, Our Lord Jesus Christ, sacramentally and truly with us.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in ASK FATHER Question Box. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Padre Steve says:

    Thanks for this post! You always have excellent insight and well thought out answers! Keep up the great work and God bless you!

  2. Jim says:

    Father et al.,

    I am curious, and perhaps you have addressed this before elsewhere, how is a priest to “say the black and do the red” and yet at the same time celebrate mass ad orientem? I am wholeheartedly in favor of the latter, in fact I think it is more important that the poor English translations. Nevertheless, how do the two square up?


  3. Fr Paul McDonald says:

    My solution is to try to never pass between the altar and the tabernacle. Crossing on the apse or “people’s” side of the altar, a bow to the altar will include the tabernacle and fulfill obedience to the rubrics also.

  4. jim: That isn’t really the topic here, but this is easy. The rubrics actually assume that the priest is facing ad orientem. It is really the NORMAL way to say Mass. There is nothing to square.

  5. Frankly, if the choice had to be made between obeisance to the 2002 rubric in the novus ordo Missal, and due reverence to the Blessed Sacrament (i.e. genuflection), then I would have to choose the latter over the former.

  6. Brendan says:

    When serving in the New Mass, I always genuflect to the Tabernacle when the priest kisses the Altar at the beginning of Mass. I guess I was just taught this way and it is instinct now. Is it wrong to do this?

  7. Recently a local parish had a perpetual adoration mission in which the visiting priest genuflected before our centrally located tabernacle each of the numerous times he crossed between it and the free-standing altar — for instance, in going back and forth between the ambo and ministers’ chairs.

    Instead of bowing to the altar in accordance with the rules, thereby incidentally showing his backside to the Most Blessed Sacrament each time he did so.

    People remarked that this visible action preached his intended message of adoration of the Real Presence much more powerfully than any of the eloquent words he preached during the mission.

    Would it have been better if — in obedience to rules designed to minimize recognition of the Real Presence — his actions had effectively denied the words he preached?

  8. Jack says:

    This is the type of behavior that contributes to the decreased belief in the Real Presence. It isn’t intentional, it just chips away a little at a time. We see the result of it in the beliefs and attendence in the Church. God forgive us.

  9. Fr. BJ says:

    The priests/deacon/servers on the EWTN televised Mass genuflect every time they pass the tabernacle, even in the middle of Mass.

  10. Geoffrey says:

    I think we need to re-teach the whole custom of genuflecting. I see so many people… priests, servers, lectors, extraordinary ministers of Eucharist, faithful, etc…. who only bow… or do nothing at all.

  11. Matthew says:

    This is a bit off topic but…

    At our parish, the tabernacle is off to the side, but still in the sanctuary. So, according to GIRM # 274, we should be genuflecting at least at the beginning and end of Mass, correct? The tabernacle being on the side of the sanctuary is not an excuse to not genuflect, correct?

  12. Michael says:

    Father Z.
    I haven’t seen the rubrics, but if they do not explicitly forbid the genuflection, I would always genuflect. [If you are not a priest, deacon, server, etc., then it doesn’t make a difference to you, except as a spectator. And the rubrics is pretty clear. Read it.] The rubrics should be interpreted as a minimum necessary, but for an act, which increases a devotion there can be no limits so long as it is really devotion.

    All this I would say to a priest if he were to argue with me; and if necessary I would ask him to refer the matter to the bishop. Should the bishop agree with the priest I would refer he matter to Rome, and in he meantime I would do it my way.

  13. Central Valley Catholic says:

    Mass of not, this nonsense is present in almost every church in the diocese of Fresno, Ca. The response from the Bishop? Silence. Holy Father help us.

  14. Maureen says:

    We have a centrally located altar and a tabernacle off to the side. Some people totally forget either bowing to the one or genuflecting to the other. The EMHCs were apparently told not to genuflect in front of the tabernacle if they pass it on their way up, and also not to bow to the altar when they come up to the sanctuary or go down again. This looks more than a little cruddy, especially since the lectors are rigorously instructed to bow profoundly, both going and coming.

    I think part of the problem is the very elderly folks who are EMHCs, and the fear that they might trip or not be able to bow; but it still looks cruddy.

    The saddest bit was this year at First Communion. The kids were instructed to process right through the sanctuary in two lines, but they were also instructed not to bow to the altar either coming or going. This pretty much destroyed the ceremoniousness of the procession, besides being a pretty cruddy example to the kids.

    I try to always remember to bow and genuflect. This gets to be pretty repetitive when I’m sent to fetch things before church when I’m cantoring, because if you want to change numbers or grab microphones you end up passing back and forth in front of both the tabernacle and the altar several times. (Also, it’s a bit tricky to genuflect while holding a microphone or other large object, but not impossible. If it’s too big, you can set it down to genuflect, then pick it up again.)

    The real trick is not to bob too much or move too fast. (Chesterton has a great line about how, if you’re doing something formal, you’d better do it formally. There’s no point doing it halfway.)

  15. Central Valley Catholic says:

    My prior post should have been Mass or not. I have addressed this in my diocese only to be ignored. It is sad to see or hear of this happening anywhere in the world, but at least I know I do not suffer alone.

  16. toomey says:

    At a parish church that I sometimes attend, there is a priest who, well, let’s just say he has embraced the spirit of Vatical II. The server at that Mass, the same person every week, crosses centerline of the altar like he is going to catch a bus. The Tabernacle is off to the side, though still in the Sanctuary. A while back, another priest was brought in to say some Sunday Masses. This priest also says the TLM, though he may only do so in private as he is not a pastor, and my understanding is that only pastors in my archdiocese may say the TLM in public. Anyway, at his first Mass, this same server scooted past centerline of the altar, and I noticed the priest glared at him. The following Sunday, with this same new priest saying Mass, the server walked slowly, and gave some quite reverent bows as he crossed centerline. I would hate to lose this new priest, but I think (as do others I have talked to) that he would make a wonderful bishop.

  17. Ben of the Bayou says:

    Father Z.,

    Speaking of rubrics (this is only slightly off topic but very interesting), [But not the topic… right?] the NLM has a translation of an opinion about the laws relating to Summorum Pontificum, published in a journal of Canon Law somehow connected with the German Bishop’s Conference. You and the readers here may find it very interesting. In particular, this canonist gives the opinion that EMHC and female altar servers are not allowed at UA Masses.


  18. Susan Peterson says:

    One place where I sometimes attend daily mass, the mass is said in a chapel which is a room without pews; there are folding chairs around the outside of the room. The altar is not on a dais or in any way separated from the rest of the room. At the sign of peace, everyone there hugs everyone else. There is a general milling about, and it doesn’t stop until each one of the 20 or so people hugs each of the others. The priest participates in this the same as all the people do. Meanwhile, the Blessed Sacrament sits on the altar unacknowledged. People pass by on both sides of the altar with never a nod. I find this distressing I stopped going behind the altar as I felt that there should be some sense of a sacred space. But there wasn’t really anything else I felt I could do. I wanted to get down on the rug and kneel before Our Lord and ignore the melee, but that would be taken as the behavior of one who falsely chooses a ritual formality over expressions of love, and probably also of one who was not quite sane. Is there any possible way to behave in this situation? I have to say that this group of people are indeed very loving to each other and engage in many works of mercy to others in the parish and the community. They have come to daily mass early in the morning for years and years, and they stay afterwards one day a week to study the readings for the following Sunday. One cannot say that they are bad people or even that they do not love our Lord. That only makes it harder to behave in any way which would seem to reproach how they behave. I imagine they would say that Our Lord would only approve of their showing love for each other and would not be demanding attention for Himself instead. I think we need to show Him worship because of who we are and Who He is, for our sake more than for His, but it is not easy to say this to them.
    Any words of advice?

  19. Many years ago, when Our Lady of Walsingham was using a fairly traditional chapel in Houston, a former seminarian came to a Sunday Mass, and commented on the Blessed Sacrament being reserved centrally in the Sanctuary. Not that he was in any way against it – but he complained about regular Catholics genuflecting in and out of their pews in parishes where our Lord wasn’t in the room – that they were doing things without knowing why they were doing them, and that was a bad sign. My response was that Christ being housed down the hallway was a temporary architectural abaration, and would some day be reversed. Would he rather need to reteach all Catholics, thus further confusing them, having already once telling them NOT to genuflect in and out of the pews? He did not have a further response.

  20. I don’t like this rubric, but I follow it, and what I instruct servers to do is according to the rubrics. It is simply not my place to ignore it, let alone teach others to do so. That said, I wouldn’t make an issue of any server who genuflected.

  21. sacredosinaeternum says:

    Thanks for the post, Fr. Z. I totally agree with you. While the rubric is bad and needs to be changed, we have no right to disobey it. All of us are guardians of the Sacred Mysteries, and their master. There is a slippery slope involved. Just because we do not agree wit the rubric, we cannot do what we want. If that was the case, there may be other things that we do not like, and then choose to disobey those rubrics as well. Let us pray for a true and genuine reform of the Sacred Liturgy, but not take those matters into our own hands. Two quotes from Popes to ponder in regard to this question:

    Pope John Paul II wrote, “Priests who faithfully celebrate Mass according to the liturgical norms, and communities which conform to those norms, quietly but eloquently demonstrate their love for the Church.” (Ecclesia de Eucharistia, 52) This can be expanded to all who serve the Sacred Liturgy as well.

    Pope Benedict XVI says, “Emphasizing the importance of the ars celebrandi also leads to an appreciation of the value of the liturgical norms.” (Sacramentum Caritatis, 40)

  22. sacredosinaeternum says:

    sorry in the last post, I meant “NOT their master”. We are guardians and servants of the Sacred Liturgy

  23. I think I read this somewhere, in Bp. Elliot’s the Modern Ceremonies of the Roman Rite, that if you pass in a right line during Mass, it’s genuflecting, if not it’s bow.

    That being said, my priest friend always genuflects in front of the Tabernacle when passing it. I do the same when I serve the NO. (I’m so used to serving the TLM, the rubrics are drilled within me)

    I just wish the last part of t274 was deleted

  24. JD Carriere says:

    This isn’t so hard. The same goes for the question a few posts above about receiving on the tongue when acting as an Extraordinary Groper of the Sacred Species. Don’t serve the new Mass. Don’t be an Extraordinary Minister. We needn’t participate in their little schemes. They can only foist so much on us through obedience.

  25. I dealt with this issue once at a parish where I was a reader, and was told — not asked, told — to simply bow before entering the sanctuary. I wrote someone about it, and got this REALLY LONG answer which supported what I was told.

    But that doesn’t quite solve things, you see. After all, these were the same bozos who expected me to leave my pew and go to the altar to shake hands with the priest for the sign of peace (a directive which I politely ignored).

    There’s a problem when we change one part of the law, without taking into consideration the whole of the law. The normative reverence before the Blessed Sacrament in the Latin church remains genuflection. To restrict something that a higher authority allows violates the nature of ecclesiastical law, not to mention common sense. You can say all you want about how someone can do this or that, but it really doesn’t take away from my point.

    I’m not saying the rubric doesn’t say what people here says it does. I am saying that to have such a disharmonious directive creates confusion among the faithful, even priests. A young altar server who is sincere in his devotion, shouldn’t have to consult a canon lawyer or rubricist every time he approaches the altar. I fear this kind of lawmaking conjures up that scenario. For that matter, I shouldn’t have to deal with it either.

    It’s what I’m learning to appreciate about the Traditional Mass. Everything works. Everything makes sense. Nothing is left to the imagination (or some cock-and-bull committee).

  26. Fr Smith says:

    I have reconciled myself to breaking this ridiculous rubric without any scruple for this reason: how many priests at Mass go to the tabernacle during Mass, open the tabernacle to get hosts out, and what do they do? They genuflect! Technically, this is praeter laegem. But we all do it. Does any priest who reads this blog open the tabernacle during Mass and then bow before the Sacrament? No. Why? Because it is Jesus, you say. The rationalism which says that if Jesus is in the tabernacle, we must bow except at the beginning and the end of Mass, but if the door is open then we genuflect is absolutely mind-boggling. There is no reason for this rubric. And a law based on an obvious swipe at recta ratio is no law at all. I am sure some of the brethren will judge me as exercising private judgement on this one, but since there no sin is attached anymore to the breaking of rubrics in the New Rite, then am I really disobedient for genuflecting toward the tabernacle when I pass in front of it for my homily?

  27. Fr Smith says:

    Sorry, my last post was perhaps a bit too emotional, but I was just upbraided for this by my pastor as an egregious violation of the rubrics of the Ordinary Form, in a parish where routinely occur things so bizarre that I can’t even begin to describe them. It just seems to me that being legalistically rubrical in a rite designed intentionally to free the Church from supposedly legalistic rubricism is rather odd. We all do things in the New Rite praeter legem. GIRM 73 seems to presume that the Missal, the chalice and everything needed for Mass should be brought to the altar at the moment of the procession of the gifts and GIRM 306 says it specifically. But how many priests who read this blog routinely say Mass on ferial days, if not on Sundays, with the Missal and the chalice already on the altar from the beginning of the Mass? We do it not because we are disobedient but because it is just practical common sense for a daily Mass. It seems to me that the only people in the Church concerned with conformity to the rubrics of the Novus Ordo are Anglophones who want to ensure obedience to a rite whose principles are opposed to the very nature of rubricism, namely that there be a system of consistent ways of doing a thing which can be reasonably observed by everyone everywhere (like the Extraordinary Form). Has anyone read Bugnini’s book? Is it not more reasonable to state the obvious that the New Rite is a very fluid kind of thing and trying to pretend that it can have its own ceremonial a la Fortescue is really rather a waste of time? Oh, and has anyone ever paid close attention to Ratzinger, Arinze and company saying Mass? Many Catholics are insistent that the tabernacle be in the center of the church, but, having separated the altar and the tabernacle (didn’t Pius XII tell us a long time ago this would create problems?), we now have celebrants who turn their backs to the Sacrament and celebrate Mass as if the tabernacle were not there anyway so as to face the people, which, as a close reading of the rubrics reveals, assumes that we are not facing the people anyway. Would it not then be proper to say that it is praeter legem to say Mass facing the people and therefore saying Mass facing the people is a disobedient violation of the rubrics? We have to be careful when we accuse our priests of disobedience when they do things which seem to violate the letter of the law of the Novus Ordo. When we begin to scratch beneath the surface at all that entails, all of us are in glass houses and none of us can afford to throw stones, I fear.

  28. michigancatholic says:

    JD’s right. I’ve learned a few things in my 20+ years as a convert.

    If you don’t like how something’s going, don’t sign up to be tortured over it.

    Pretty simple, really.

  29. michigancatholic says:

    PS, priests have a much more difficult way to go, I realize. My previous comment was directed at laypeople, who have it much easier with respect to these issues.

    Laypeople can simply refuse to be used abusively. And they should.

  30. Fr. BJ says:

    Oh, and has anyone ever paid close attention to Ratzinger, Arinze and company saying Mass?

    I know. Pope Benedict technically breaks a number of rubrics (such as the hand motions at the preface dialogue). On the matter of the preface dialogue I follow what he does (which is essentially according to the rubric of the EF), since he is the Legislator therefore it must be OK to follow his lead. Right?!

  31. Kradcliffe says:

    I am maybe alone in being a bit relieved to hear/read this. I am a reader at Mass and I go up with the other reader to the dias/pulpit. We both pause at the bottom step and bow to the altar, then go up. That always bothered me and I felt funny about it, but I didn’t want to do anything that might upset other people. (On occasions when I was the only reader, I would genuflect.) Now, I know that we are not doing anything wrong by bowing and I don’t have to wonder if I’m in the wrong to go along with it. I do think it’s a shame that we don’t genuflect when we approach and depart, though.

  32. Fr. BJ says:

    Once Holy Communion is over, I genuflect to the tabernacle if I pass by it. For example, in one parish that I served in as a deacon, I would repose the Blessed Sacrament after communion, and then go over to the credence table on the opposite side of the sanctuary from the chairs to purify the sacred vessels. Upon finishing and going back to the chairs on the other side, I would genuflect while passing the tabernacle.

    This only makes sense to me, even following the apparently underlying logic behind the Novus Ordo rubric that we bow to the altar since the emphasis during Mass is on it and not on the already reserved Sacrament. By that point in the Mass, the emphasis on the altar is finished. So following the logic of the Rite itself, if I am thinking about it properly, it makes sense to genuflect at that point whenever passing the tabernacle.

  33. Aumgn says:


    I’m not so sure …

    The rubric directs a bow when passing the tabernacle during a liturgy to those who have *already* knelt when entering the sanctuary. As a lay reader you’ll be entering into the sanctuary from a pew and so, ideally, should kneel. You would also kneel when leaving the sanctuary to return to your pew.

    The ‘application’ of this rubric would seem to apply only to servers (who should have knelt already when entering the sanctuary) passing back and forth on their duties, and the priest on his way to and from the ambo for the gospel/sermon.

  34. When in doubt, genuflect, my little way of remembering what to do, haha.

  35. Fr. A says:

    Hermeneutic of continuity or hermeneutic of rupture?

    I am a man and a priest; He is my God. I always genuflect when passing the tabernacle regardless. It’s what we Catholics have been doing for hundreds and hundreds of years.

  36. Rubricarius says:

    The rubric in question does had a continuity with the rubrics for the Old Roman rite.

    In the Old Rite for example at Low Mass the celebrant does not genuflect to the tabernacle when he comes from the epistle side to intone the Gloria at the centre; he does not genuflect to the tabernacle when he says Munda cor meum etc or when moving to the Gospel side, he does not genuflect when he returns to the centre for the Creed and so on.

    Do the proponents of adding a genuflection in the Ordinary Form add them in the EF?

  37. Rubricarius says:

    Apologies for my typo. I meant to say “does have” not “does had”.

  38. Daniel Canaris says:

    I seem to remember reading that in the old Dominican rite it was also the custom not to genuflect during Mass to the Blessed Sacrament, but only bow. Is this correct?

    That said, I know that it is the custom of Opus Dei to place a triptych or in some places even a rood screen in front of the tabernacle so the priest doesn’t have his back to Our Lord. Perhaps this custom can be implemented more widely?

  39. Kradcliffe says:

    Aumgn: Can I genuflect when leaving and entering the pew, then? I really don’t want to genuflect up in front of the altar while the other reader bows. I am afraid of upsetting someone or appearing as if I think I’m holier than they are. (The priests probably already think I’m a bit of a nutter) but, of course, I don’t want to do anything to offend God, either.

  40. Maureen says:

    At my old church, readers used to genuflect every time they went in or out of the pews, but that was in the seventies and eighties — before this rule change. (And btw, I wish somebody had instructed us in my new church that there had been a rule change. I just assumed that our pastor or archbishop had gotten some bright idea of their own, and so did everybody else I know. I actually feel quite relieved to know that we’re being obedient, even if it’s still a pretty lame rule.)

    I have seen readers genuflect at some parishes, but at my parish we were instructed not to genuflect when going in and out. I’d do whatever you’re told, if somebody tells you something; and if they don’t tell you anything, I’d say you can do whatever you want. (I understand that aypeople have tons more allowed to them, because canon law assumes we’re not really up on canon law.) :)

  41. jas says:

    Thank you Rubricarius for adding to this discussion that … “In the Old Rite for example at Low Mass the celebrant does not genuflect to the tabernacle when he comes from the epistle side to intone the Gloria at the centre; he does not genuflect to the tabernacle when he says Munda cor meum etc or when moving to the Gospel side, he does not genuflect when he returns to the centre for the Creed and so on. Do the proponents of adding a genuflection in the Ordinary Form add them in the EF?”

    Father Z appears to completely overlook this and what I believe are other obvious contradictions to the point he appears to be trying to make when he states …

    “The genuflection thing is in the Novus Ordo now. So be it. I admit that I forget from time to time, since I don’t say the Novus Ordo all that often these days and the genuflections are by now hard wired into me.

    “You know…. I know about all the fancy ideas about emphasizing the immediate sacred action blah blah blah but it is just wrong not to genuflect, isn’t it?

    “I think people are smart enough to handle the idea that we can reverence the Blessed Sacrament in a tabernacle by genuflecting and not lose track of the fact that they are at Mass and there will be a consecration.

    “After all, people have for centuries been able to see that during the distribution of Holy Communion Jesus is all over the place in the church.

    “And yet their heads don’t, in fact, explode.”

    These missing genuflections in the EF are also “hard wired” in but nevertheless beg some additional questions … and understanding … in this discussion.

  42. sacredosinaeternum says:

    Frankly, I am astonished with the comments of some priests who deliberately choose to disobey the rubrics of Holy Mass, even if, to them, it seems the right thing to do. Isn’t this what the liberals and dissenters do as well??? Read again the quote from Pope John Paul II, “Priests who faithfully celebrate Mass according to the liturgical norms, and communities which conform to those norms, quietly but eloquently demonstrate their love for the Church.” (Ecclesia de Eucharistia, 52) Get that?? QUIETLY but ELOQUENTLY demonstrate their LOVE FOR THE CHURCH. If you love the Church and Her Sacred Liturgy, celebrate the Sacred Mysteries as She says to do. Not according to your own ideas or desires. One day, we pray, Holy Mass in the Ordinary Form will be reformed, and we will worship God in faithful continuity with the ages. But that reform will not come if priests do not love the Church. And priests do not love the Church who do not faithfully celebrate Mass according to the liturgical norms.

  43. dcs says:

    These missing genuflections in the EF

    I think the difference is that in the case of a traditional Low Mass the priest does not leave the altar so he is not really crossing in front of the tabernacle as he would if he is moving from the sedilla to the ambo.

  44. christoph says:

    Should we point out that John Paul II, as much as we loved him, the author of EE 52, also broke rubrics and things from his own documents all over the place? I spent years in Rome going to numerous papal liturgies and could provide a list. Not to point anything out against him, but to point out that he didn\’t seem to think doing certain things would mean he was not faithful to the Church. What about the fact that between documents, there are discrepancies and problems between understanding the rubrics? Until the New Rite is reformed in such a way as to eliminate the discrepancies, we are left with a difficult situation indeed. I think we should give the priests a break.

  45. leo says:

    I have never served Mass without genuflecting when passing the tabernacle while spending a short spell in seminary i remain eternally grateful that i left befor having to serve wearing an alb and not genuflecting . Also I have never served benediction without double genuflecting again in seminary the priests would single genuflect when exposing the host but when they returned during the Holy Hour they double genuflecting . Thanks be to God that I have had the grace to serve the good and faithful priests of the Holy Name Manchester.

  46. Fr. BJ says:

    Sacerdos… Frankly, I am astonished

    But what about the fact that the popes themselves have habitually broken rubrics? One would think that Pope Benedict, of all people, would be a stickler with the rubrics, especially given his obvious program of setting a public example of how the liturgy should be done. Yet he routinely breaks certain rubrics, or even adds things that are not called for in the rubrics (such as incense prayers).

  47. Martin_B says:

    There are some things to put straight:

    1.) The rubric does only pertain to mass and not to other kinds of worship, like the above mentioned adoration,
    2.) it is only for those ministers, servers ,etc., which are in the sanctuary and therefor have made their reverence by genuflecting towards the tabernacle during the entrance procession and
    3.) it only tells not to genuflect while moving within the sanctuary. You still have to genuflect when leaving or re-entering the sanctuary.

    I have therefor always told our servers to
    -) genuflect towards a visible tabernacle upon entering a church,
    -) always genuflect when entering or leaving a sanctuary with a tabernacle therein,
    -) genuflect when crossing before a tabernacle outside of mass,
    -) stop an bow when crossing before a tabernacle during mass.

    With the latter we don’t violate the rubrics while still upholding a special reverence to the lord present in the tabernacle especialy through stopping in front of him and thereby acknowledging him.

  48. Clinton says:

    Martin B, your post is the voice of reason. I agree with Fr. Z. — rubrics aren’t merely elective, even if we think that some are flawed.
    Your solution, Martin, strikes me as the best way to “do the red” while maintaining due reverence. Well played, sir.

  49. Fr. A says:

    Frankly, I’m astonished by laymen and priests who are so quick to jump on priests who simply genuflect to our Lord and God, present in the tabernacle of the altar. In my parish, I celebrate both forms of the Roman rite, my _Novus Ordo_ Mass is celebrated _ad Deum_, and has been for many years.

    The argument about the extraordinary form isn’t valid. When the priest is at the footpace, he doesn’t genuflect except at the elevations, when he uncovers the chalice after, after the prep. prayers, etc.; otherwise, he bows (beofore the Gospel, when taking the chalice from the altar, etc. When the priest is on the footpace during the _Novus Ordo_, he also doesn’t genuflect when moving back and forth. The altar boys, on the other hand, who are in the sanctuary, do genuflect. The priest, in the extraordinary form, when he bows up at the footpace after reading the Gospel, before he goes to the pulpit, goes to the floor, genuflects, and proceeds to the pulpit for the sermon. When he comes back, he gives the biretta back to the altar boy, genuflects, and then goes back up the footpace. So, you can’t really say the priest doesn’t genuflect in the extraordinary form.

    For those in parishes where they don’t genuflect, have you noticed that the laymen just give a little nod of the head when passing in front of the tabernacle, regardless of the situation? We need _more_ signs of reverence toward the Blessed Sacrament in a day and age when there is so little belief in His Presence, not _less_.

    Mind the splinter in your own eye…

  50. leo says:

    either we genuflect or not at all i cant understand how during the Mass you are to pretend the Blessed Sacrament is not there , better to remove the Sacrament altogther .Sometimes its easy to feel that no one else cares about the Blessed Sacrament at all , in England the noise and talking before and after Mass is unbelivable , any reference to the Sacrament in any sermon will only be to refute traditional devotion Corpus Christi is now a feast of reminding us like schoolchildren that Jesus is in everyone we meet etc…I find it impossible to arrange school retreats which have anything to do with the real prescence . I belive any decent human being should treat others with respect for we Catholics it should be aligned to our respect to our creator

  51. Fr. A says:

    Of course, I meant, “Mind the _plank_ in your own eye.”

    Leo, of course, they have removed the tabernacle in many, many churches. That was a great idea too, wasn’t it? No, it really wasn’t. People forgot about Our Lord and forgot about reverence.

  52. Matthew W. I. Dunn says:

    Fr. Z says:

    The rubrics actually assume that the priest is facing ad orientem. It is really the NORMAL way to say Mass. There is nothing to square.

    Not in the most recent edition of the GIRM it isn’t:

    299. The altar should be built apart from the wall, in such a way that it is possible to walk around it easily and that Mass can be celebrated at it facing the people, which is desirable wherever possible.

    So, it is the Church’s “desire” that celebration ad populum be the norm. I don’t agree with it; I just point out when Fr. Z is wrong.

  53. Matthew: That is a mistranslation of GIRM 299, which I have written about many times.

    Try here.

    The actual translation:

    The main altar should be built separated from the wall, which is useful wherever it is possible, so that it can be easily walked around and a celebration toward the people can be carried out.

    On 25 September 2000 the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments issued a clarification (Prot. No. 2036/00/L) regarding #299 in the new Latin GIRM.

Comments are closed.