Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

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Genuflecting Before Communion (part 2)

December 20th, 2010, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

In a previous post, I posted an audio clip about genuflecting before communion and in another previous post I asked for input on why liturgical rubrics matter.  Our good friend, Rich Leonardi suggested the book “Liturgical Question Box” by Peter J. Elliot.  I ordered the book and it is fantastic.  I’d highly recommend it.  If one of our priest readers would like a copy, send me an email and I will personally mail you a copy.  W/out further delay here’s the relevant snippet:

“I see some people genuflecting before they receive Communion.  Is this the right practice?”

At present, this reverence before Communion cannot be insisted upon, but it is a good practice because some sign of reverence is “strongly recommended” (Eucharisticum mysterium, no. 4; Inaestimabile donum, no. 1, citing the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, nos. 244, c, 246 b and 247 b).  But it is to be made in such a way that it does not disrupt the procession of those going to receieve Holy Communion.  Those who choose to do this should make the reverence as soon as they are behind the person who is about to receive Commuinion.  This will avoid a possible collision with another communicant or making the priest wait while they genuflect.  Because they are aware of these possibliities, some people bow reverently rather than genuflecting.

more snippets can be found at google books.

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5 Responses to “Genuflecting Before Communion (part 2)”

  1. avatar Abaccio says:

    Kneeling…on the tongue…from the consecrated hands of a priest. Unlike Queen Sofia of Spain, I’d rather kneel before God.

    When I am asked “Why do you kneel?” I can only respond “Simply because it is impractical to receive fully prostrate!”

    So far, I’ve never had a priest give me a hard time for doing this. I have had two priests throw fits over receiving STANDING on the tongue, and one throw a fit over GENUFLECTING.

    It’s really great that they’re such sticklers for the rubrics…neither of them felt the need to dress properly for Mass…

    I once asked a priest why he wore his stole over his chasuble when this was clearly NOT the way he was instructed to vest. He explained, condescendingly, that if I looked carefully, I’d notice that his chasuble was DESIGNED for the stole to be worn over it. He didn’t seem to understand when I asked, “So you bought this simply so you’d have an excuse to defy Holy Mother Church?” Knowing the fellow, I have no doubt of that intention. Half the time, he found the wearing of anything but a stole to be unnecessary, and sat down for the consecration.

    As I always say, if you cannot trust someone with something small, you cannot trust him with something big. I’ve yet to meet a priest who can’t dress himself properly that also is theologically in line with Holy Mother Church.

  2. avatar PhilQ says:

    “This will avoid a possible collision with another communicant or making the priest wait while they genuflect. Because they are aware of these possibliities, some people bow reverently rather than genuflecting.”

    And then again, others bow reverently rather than genuflecting because Eucharisticum Mysterium and the universal GIRM state that the gesture of reverence to be made is to be determined by the Conference of Bishops, not by the individual communicant based on his own preferences, and the U.S. bishops have ordered that “When receiving Holy Communion, the communicant bows his or her head before the Sacrament as a gesture of reverence.”

  3. avatar benanderson says:

    Abaccio,
    I just read the section on vestments. Yes, you are most correct about the requirement to wear the chasuble over the stole and NOT vise-versa. It’s funny, you might not think these details are a big deal until you become informed. To remain in ignorance, though, I don’t believe is an excuse for such priests.

  4. avatar Anonymous says:

    There you go again PhilQ! It REALLY does bother you when people genuflect. WOW! When it’s your time to meet the Lord, what are you going to do? Are you going to stand there in front of Him with your hands in your pocket and just bow to him?

  5. I think it is important to encourage your parish priest or visiting priest by thanking them and telling them when they have given a good homily or have been doing a good job of practicing the liturgy of the mass in beautiful and appropriate ways.

    A Sacred Hearts Father shared with a group of us the most inappropriate liturgical procession into a church on Easter Sunday in the mid 1990’s, after he had come from the Southwest. He told us that he was in the congregation of a very large church (with a wide center aisle)on Easter Sunday Morning when the pastor (a priest)rode down the aisle in a Volkswagon beetle with the roof cut open, dressed as the Easter Bunny, and letting off balloons. He found out that priest was notorious for his extensively planned, outlandish entrance processions. The pastor priest stated he was trying to appeal to the children.

    I am not in favor of cell phone use in church during mass, but if I saw something like that as an entrance procession, I would be clicking pictures of it on my cell phone to send to the Bishop or other appropriate media. I would also be encouraging anyone that has film footage capacity on their cell phone to capture it.

    After hearing that, it makes it easier to acknowledge and appreciate everything that goes right.


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