Genuflection Question
  • priorstf
    Posts: 460
    Next week we will be celebrating a lay-run Vespers service in the midst of all-day Adoration and Exposition. Can anybody cite the official rubrics for genuflection while approaching the altar or crossing in front of it towards the ambo? Several of us recall a time when it was actually both knees down kneel/bow as opposed to a single knee genuflection but don't find it documented anywhere.

    Thanks.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,100
    Hmmm... perhaps reframing your question might help you. Should we bend one knee or two knees when passing before He who was crucified for all of our sins and is King and Lord of the entire universe? Then again, if one is totally without sin, one knee would probably do it.
  • priorstf
    Posts: 460
    Heh - a good way to phrase it, Francis, but the same should be considered when He is present in the tabernacle too. Fact is that we'll have several people passing in front of the exposed Body of Christ (i.e., cantor, readers, lay chair, etc.) and would like to know the appropriate Church rubrics. We don't want it to be a case of "with sin ... with sin ... oh right - without sin!"
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,100
    lol - yes. I personally genuflect (one knee) in front of the tabernacle, and full genuflection (two knees) in front of the exposed host, or an open tabernacle (as my wife has kindly pointed out - - I didn't know that one myself!) I stand corrected on my kneelings!
  • Jan
    Posts: 242
    Pre-Vat II it was always 2 knees and bend at the waist when genuflecting before the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament & one knee genuflection before the tabernacle. (Don't know what the rubric are after Vat II).
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,100
    I don't know what the rubrics are after Vatican II, but we still have the same God from Vatican I.
  • G
    Posts: 1,386
    I am fairly certain that the rubrics now only require a single genuflection, will try to find a citation.
    That said, I have noticed that of those who actually ATTEND Exposition and Benediction, virtually all fall to both knees.
    I think it is fine for all of us to be more reverent than is called for, but not to try to impose it on others, in matters such as this, head covering, length of fast, etc.(although if I had children I'd certainly "impose" it on them...:o))

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
  • G
    Posts: 1,386
    Sorry, I now see from the date on this that your Exposition and Vespers is probably already past.

    FFR, the '93 document , the Order for the Solemn Exposition of the Holy Eucharist, in para. 9 states, "Genuflection in the presence of the blessed sacrament, whether reserved in the tabernacle or exposed for public adoration, is on one knee."
    A Vatican document , Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharist Outside Mass para. 84 says the same.

    Then- Monsignor Peter J. Elliott, in Ceremonies of the Modern Roman Rite wrote this:

    The 'double genuflection' is still required in some countries before the Blessed Sacrament exposed. Those who make it kneel briefly on both knees and incline the head reverently, hands joined as usual.

    Many people still make the double genuflection out of devotion to Our Lord in the Eucharist. Pastoral sensitivity indicates that they need not be 'corrected.' However, those in the sanctuary should observe the policy of the episcopal conference.


    But I like this: The man who learns to believe learns also to kneel, and a faith or a liturgy no longer familiar with kneeling would be sick at the core. (J. Ratzinger, The Spirit of the Liturgy, p. 194)
  • Jan
    Posts: 242
    Bravo. Score another one for Ratzinger.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,100
    I like the story about our Archbishop who went chasing after an anomaly in our diocese years ago.

    There was a pastor who was having kneelers removed in his church since they were 'worn out'. He justified not putting them back with the excuse of cost. The Archbishop made one visit to the church and upon walking through on tour with the pastor he simply asked, 'do you have a problem with your knees?'. Without delay, the pastor had an instant change of mind and had the kneelers re-installed.
  • priorstf
    Posts: 460
    Thanks for the followups on this. Our pastor confirmed that one knee is the appropriate method for genuflection. The reasoning behind this is that Christ is just as physically present when in the tabernacle as when in exposition. But he also said the a two-knee genuflection is perfectly suitable and should never be corrected. And the Vespers service was quite a success!