In Which Direction does one Genuflect?


#1

I'm familiar with the Catholic custom of genuflecting toward the Tabernacle, but since some churches have moved the Tabernacle to some side chapel and away from the altar, where does one genuflect?

Is it to the Tabernacle, to the Altar or both?

I ask this since when one crosses the nave, one should genuflect when walking past the altar (with the Tabernacle behind). Does one still do that when the Tabernacle is moved away, or is a bow to the Altar and a genuflection toward the Tabernacle done? :confused:

Thanks :)


#2

One genuflects to the tabernacle, and bows to the altar.

In short, if the tabernacle is in a separate side chapel, you bow deeply to the altar (act of respect), you don't genuflect (act of worship).

The abbey I'm associated to is like this (in fact most Benedictine monasteries have the tabernacle in a side chapel). What I like to do is stop and pray in the Blessed Sacrament chapel for 30 min or so before Mass, so I genuflect before taking my seat in the side chapel, but when I go into the nave about 10 min. before Mass starts, I bow to the altar.

And this is exactly what the monks do.

Of course if the Blessed Sacrament is exposed or on the altar for whatever reason then one genuflects.


#3

[quote="OraLabora, post:2, topic:336973"]
One genuflects to the tabernacle, and bows to the altar.

In short, if the tabernacle is in a separate side chapel, you bow deeply to the altar (act of respect), you don't genuflect (act of worship).

The abbey I'm associated to is like this (in fact most Benedictine monasteries have the tabernacle in a side chapel). What I like to do is stop and pray in the Blessed Sacrament chapel for 30 min or so before Mass, so I genuflect before taking my seat in the side chapel, but when I go into the nave about 10 min. before Mass starts, I bow to the altar.

And this is exactly what the monks do.

Of course if the Blessed Sacrament is exposed or on the altar for whatever reason then one genuflects.

[/quote]

Great, thanks for clearing up the confusion :)

One follow-up: I visited Regensburg Cathedral a few weeks ago, which has an Adoration chapel in one of the side aisles. The High Altar is not in use anymore but has a Tabernacle integrated. Since I was unsure about what to do, I genuflected toward the High Altar thinking of the Blessed Sacrament this was really "addressed" to. Should I mention this in my first confession, since if there wasn't actually anything in the High Altar's Tabernacle that would have been Idolatry? :(


#4

[quote="CutlerB, post:3, topic:336973"]
Great, thanks for clearing up the confusion :)

One follow-up: I visited Regensburg Cathedral a few weeks ago, which has an Adoration chapel in one of the side aisles. The High Altar is not in use anymore but has a Tabernacle integrated. Since I was unsure about what to do, I genuflected toward the High Altar thinking of the Blessed Sacrament this was really "addressed" to. Should I mention this in my first confession, since if there wasn't actually anything in the High Altar's Tabernacle that would have been Idolatry? :(

[/quote]

No it was not idolatry. That isn't actions alone. It would also require intent.

If the Blessed Sacrament is reserved in the tabernacle a sanctuary lamp will burn nearby. This will be of clear or red glass usually. If there's no sanctuary lamp the tabernacle isn't in use. Older churches will often have more than one altar and more than one altar may have a tabernacle. Another clue, although it's not as reliable as the sanctuary lamp, is that a tabernacle in use may be veiled.


#5

[quote="Bergon, post:4, topic:336973"]
No it was not idolatry. That isn't actions alone. It would also require intent.

If the Blessed Sacrament is reserved in the tabernacle a sanctuary lamp will burn nearby. This will be of clear or red glass usually. If there's no sanctuary lamp the tabernacle isn't in use. Older churches will often have more than one altar and more than one altar may have a tabernacle. Another clue, although it's not as reliable as the sanctuary lamp, is that a tabernacle in use may be veiled.

[/quote]

It was all covered in Gold and Silver, literally! I couldn't make out a Sancturay lamp, don't know if that's good or bad... ;)


#6

[quote="CutlerB, post:5, topic:336973"]
It was all covered in Gold and Silver, literally!

[/quote]

Then no need to veil, I think.

[quote="CutlerB, post:5, topic:336973"]
I couldn't make out a Sancturay lamp, don't know if that's good or bad... ;)

[/quote]

If no lamp at all may be no reservation but that seems unlikely in a cathedral.


#7

I meant that it may have been outshone by the High Altar. :slight_smile:


#8

Here is what the General Instruction of the Roman Missal says:

Genuflections and Bows

  1. A genuflection, made by bending the right knee to the ground, signifies adoration, and therefore it is reserved for the Most Blessed Sacrament, as well as for the Holy Cross from the solemn adoration during the liturgical celebration on Good Friday until the beginning of the Easter Vigil.

During Mass, three genuflections are made by the Priest Celebrant: namely, after the elevation of the host, after the elevation of the chalice, and before Communion. Certain specific features to be observed in a concele-brated Mass are noted in their proper place (cf. nos. 210-251).

If, however, the tabernacle with the Most Blessed Sacrament is situated in the sanctuary, the Priest, the Deacon, and the other ministers genuflect when they approach the altar and when they depart from it, but not during the celebration of Mass itself.

Otherwise, all who pass before the Most Blessed Sacrament genuflect, unless they are moving in procession.

Ministers carrying the processional cross or candles bow their heads instead of genuflecting.

  1. A bow signifies reverence and honor shown to the persons themselves or to the signs that represent them. There are two kinds of bow: a bow of the head and a bow of the body.

[INDENT]a) A bow of the head is made when the three Divine Persons are named together and at the names of Jesus, of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and of the Saint in whose honor Mass is being celebrated.

b) A bow of the body, that is to say, a profound bow, is made to the altar; during the prayers Munda cor meum (Cleanse my heart) and In spiritu humilitatis (With humble spirit); in the Creed at the words et incarnatus est (and by the Holy Spirit . . . and became man); in the Roman Canon at the Supplices te rogamus (In humble prayer we ask you, almighty God). The same kind of bow is made by the Deacon when he asks for a blessing before the proclamation of the Gospel. In addition, the Priest bows slightly as he pronounces the words of the Lord at the Consecration.[/INDENT]


#9

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