I was told by my RCIA teacher several years ago that bowing is acceptable instead of the genuflect when one is physically not able to do it. My knees bother me and I have trouble getting to the floor and back up. So I come in and bow before sitting in the pew. Also during adoration is it required or optional to bow on the knee prop thing on the pew in flont of you? When praying. Or can one just sit and reflect?

If you are physically unable to kneel, bowing, or even sitting could be fine. If you are not comfortable with a decision, I would ask your priest what is customary for your parish, as this may differ from place to place.

After the ceremony and the monstrance has been placed, people may do many different things. Some may kneel, stand, or even sit. Adoration becomes a time between you and God. I’ve kneeled and prayed a rosary, and I’ve even just sat and gathered my thoughts. On occasion, I’ve kneeled or sat and thought nothing at all and just allowed my mind to clear and focus on the beauty and power of God.

Good luck on your journey!

Only ministers are generally required to genuflect during Mass. It is not ever required of the congregation, unless “passing before the Sacrament” (but not while in procession) - see GIRM #274.

The exact meaning of the phrase “passing before the Sacrament” is not specified. I take it to mean passing the Sacrament when there are no fixed obstacles between us (so people don’t count). Therefore, I would not feel the need to genuflect if crossing from one side of the church to the other if I were at the rear of the church, with many pews between me and the Tabernacle (I would not consider this “passing” the Sacrament).

Your post obviously bespeaks your heart. It says, “If I could, I would.” That is better than saying, “I can, but I won’t.”

It seems that the accepted philosophy–and I think it is a very good one–is to do what you can, use common sense. If you can’t genuflect, bow. If you can’t bow, maybe you can bow your head.

I concur with all of the above. I had surgery on my right knee, it no longer bends properly. I can’t genuflect properly, it’s more like a genu-lurch. :o

If you can’t genuflect, bow. (I bow - I can’t genuflect, well I can get down but not back up:D).

Same with kneeling, if you can’t sit. I also bow my head and close my eyes. (For me it’s the same with genuflecting, I can get down but I can’t get back up.)

I can’t genuflect due to a lower back problem. I always bow. God knows your heart. If you are showing some form of respect, that’s what matters. If it would make you feel better, speak to your Priest. I spoke to both my current and previous Priests bc I didn’t want them to think I was being disrespectful. They both said pretty much the same thing. That God doesn’t asks us to do that which we are unable to do. That I shouldn’t worry about what others may think as God knows my heart.

Perfectly acceptably when one is physically unable to genuflect.

Problems arise when people think that bowing is an option they can choose. In our Diocese we see very little genuflecting - from young or old. It seems to be getting worse, bows become nods and then get dropped from use altogether.

The Church does not ask us to do more than we can.

A humorous story:
I have a pastor who has a very bad knee, and usually he bows at the after the Consecration instead of genuflecting. I was initially a little bit peeved, until one Holy Week.
I believe it was Holy Thursday, and Father was in a very reverent state of mind. After Consecrating the Precious Body, he genuflected. With much trouble, he pulled himself back up, using the altar. After Consecrating the Precious Blood, he genuflected again. This time, he struggled, but wasn’t able to get himself up, no matter how hard he pulled on the altar. The deacon and I walked up as discreetly as possible, and pulled him up by the elbows.
Needless to say, if it was a Mass with only the old church ladies, he’d have been stuck there for a while.
I’m sure there were quite a few souls left in Purgatory after that though :smiley:

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit