Et homo factus est and Kyrie


From the apparent numbers of people who continue to merely slouch through the Credo in my area, you’d think it “feels weird” to bow?


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It’s a prohibition. The Council Fathers aren’t condemning it as anathema, but they’re still laying down a rule. Of course, it is no longer in force in the Latin Church.

Not really. It depends. In Greece I heard that is indeed respected even if it is not imposed. Usually strict rules are for monasteries.
It is more a recommendation than obligation to stand rather than kneel or stand. Many people kneel sometimes at church on Sundays and older people sit. People kneel even when it is clearly that we should not, like when the Scripture is being read and the priest begins by saying “let us stand and take notice…” and that is when many people feel especially moved and pious and even the older ladies struggle to kneel. But it’s pretty obvious that is the exact moment when, even if you are kneeling or sitting, you should be standing at that time.

Don’t we just bow when we only have an altar and genuflect when Jesus is Present in the tabernacle?
Maybe the people who wrote the OF thought that bowing has more significance than that.
Why do we bow in the west? I mean, why is bowing and not kneeling in the credo more proper? Why? I just don’t get why we needed to stop kneeling. Why stop kneeling at Et homo factus est? What does bowing symbolise that kneeling doesn’t?

Bowing, to me, is either a greeting men used in the past or what we do after a performane eg at the theatre. Bowing seem to be used when greeting people. Are we greeting Jesus in the creed?

I don’t know that it’s “forbidden” but the missal does say to “bow” at it in the OF, a gesture overlooked by most (and on Christmas we actually are to kneel at this point of the creed but this is also often not seen unfortunately). I do genuflect on the right knee for the final blessing, something for which there is no rubric in the OF.

Re: so should we stand for the homily?

Actually, since standing was the gesture when listening to a teacher or philosopher, there are quite a few times when guys like St. Augustine or St. John Chrysostom were recorded as telling new Christians to feel free to sit down during their homilies, because it was going to take a while. It seems to have always been usual for people to sit down for the homily; or to briefly continue standing from the Gospel, and then sit.

But this also happened sometimes in the ancient world, if a philosopher or teacher or another speaker was addressing a large crowd in a secular way, but there wasn’t a tall place for him to stand and address the crowd; or if the crowd was not sitting in amphitheater seats and able to look down on him from all directions. Sitting down on the ground to hear a speaker allowed everyone to hear and see more easily, and reduced problems with shoving, pickpocketing, etc.

I like studying the Fathers when I find out little facts like this, that make sense and also explain a lot of normal things we do.

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