Laity Genuflecting during the Gospel

Salve Maria!
A young boy of my acquaintance, who takes his Faith very seriously for his age, is in the habit of genuflecting whenever the Lord’s Name is spoken.
He was recently reprimanded by one of the local Deacons, who told him that his genuflecting at times when others don’t, like when Our Lord’s name is used during the Gospel, is a distraction to other people. He has been given a choice, either stop Genuflecting, or sit at the back of the Church.
Is this pious boy’s practice allowed?
Is it just me, or is this deacon going overboard here?

No he’s not going overboard, if it is a distraction. We cannot allow out personal devotions to be a hindrance to other. If this develops, one must truly discern where this action comes from, God or His enemy. The fruit of our actions need to be considered, if the action produces bad fruit, then it is not of God. Distracting others during the gospel proclamation is not good fruit.

On the other hand, if the boys action isn’t truly causing a distraction, then the deacon may be “going too far”, so to speak. There are also very kind ways to handle this type of thing without causing hard feelings either way.

When we’re at Mass we are given norms for posture. There are appropriate times to stand, sit, kneel, walk in procession, etc. The appropriate posture during the gospel is to stand.

If this boy wanted to prostrate himself at the name of Jesus, would anyone think it appropriate for him to jump into the aisle and fall down? Of course not.

He needs to learn that Mass is not the time to be an individual, but to worship with others, have some level of concern not to distract them, and be humble enough to obey the norms we are given. Specifically, the norm (from the GIRM) is:

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. source]

The title of this thread says, ‘Laity Genuflecting During The Gospel’.

I don’t see any reference to that in the original post. It only mentioned a young boy kneeling when he heard Our Lord’s Name spoken in vain.

There is genuflecting at the Last Gospel in the EF Mass, and it’s at the Last Gospel when the words, ‘Et Verbum Caro Factum Est’ (And the Word was made flesh) are said.

I’m a little confused about what the OP meant, however…[scratching head]

Actually, I never said anything about that.
What I did say was: "He was recently reprimanded by one of the local Deacons, who told him that his genuflecting at times when others don’t, like when Our Lord’s name is used during the Gospel, is a distraction to other people. "

Without being present and knowing what all was said, I cannot say if the Deacon went overboard though I think the choices as presented seem a bit too limited to me. We don’t want to discourage the lad now do we…
After all he certainly has Biblical support for his action in Php 2:10 where it is written:
“That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth”

If you are in a position to talk with the boy I would suggest taking the opportunity to suggest, as someone mentioned above, subtituting a “pronounced bow” instead of genuflecting.
In any event there should be some option other than telling him to quit or go to the back ofthe Church - - That is like telling him that he needs to either stop venerating the name of Jesus or move far away from Jesus…(Before anyone jumps on me I using hyperbole here)


Am I understanding this correctly?
The young man you are talking about genuflects, everytime he hears the name Jesus?
For example, in todays Gospel (Mark 7:24-30) Jesus went to the district of Tyre., the young man would genuflect at hearing Jesus?

If this understanding is correct, then no, I do not believe that the Deacon is going ***“overboard”. ***The Mass is the ***public prayer ***of the Church, with it’s own set of rituals and rubrics. We are not to add or subtract anything on our own inititive.

Numerous threads here on CAF touch on this topic. It is usually someone saying “My priest did this and it’s not in the rubrics, was the Mass still valid?” or my personal favorite :rolleyes:, “Say the black, do the red- How hard is that?”
So while I admire the piety of this young man, he must be taught that during the liturgy, we must follow the rubrics, not do what we think is best.

We had a situation in our parish years ago where a couple did their own acts of piety during the mass, and yes it was a great distraction to the rest of us, including the priest. Finally when one of them did jump out of the pew and prostrated herself during the consecration, the priest lost his place in the prayer. When the mass was ended he came out and told the couple that their behavior during mass had to stop.

I would recommend he follows the advice below:

The traditional sign of reverence at the name of Jesus is a bow of the head. Perhaps the boy is moved by the words of St. Paul in Philippians 2:6-11. If so, I recommend he consider the decision of the Second Council of Lyons:
Those who assemble in church should extol with an act of special reverence that name with is above every name, than which no other under heaven has been given to people, in which believers must be saved, the name, that is, of Jesus Christ, who will save his people from their sins. Each should fulfil in himself that which is written for all that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow; whenever that glorious name is recalled, especially during the sacred mysteries of the mass, everyone should bow the knees of his heart, which he can do even by a bow of his head.

I think perhaps you did not read the OP closely enough:

Nothing about the Lord’s name being taken in vain, and an example of the boy genuflecting during the Gospel.

Another reason it is wrong to genuflect whenever the name “Jesus” is said:

“274. 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.”

(From the 2002 General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) approved for the USA, which can be accessed from .)

It sounds like the young parishioner may have adopted a common practice from the Byzantine or Orthodox Tradition - where believers genuflect or make the sign of the cross each time the Holy Trinity is invoked.

I think the issue of being a distraction may be an unfortunate reason for discouraging the practice. It would appear that if being a “distraction” was the issue - then the “offended” parishioners may need to be reminded that worship is not about us, and for our entertainment - but more about giving glory to God and for aligning ourselves to him.

I personally think that genuflecting at the name of the Lord is a nice gesture, and shows a full physical engagement with what is going on during the Mass.

Our society has become very good at mastering the gestures that express NEGATIVE emotions - it would be nice to openly embrace and encourage those that express love and worship.

It’s just you. He’s wrong to do so.

The deacon is right. In public Liturgy everyone shall act according to the rules. During the Gospel everyone shall stand except noted cases. Jesus name in general is not among those.

The deacon even gave a choice to the boy, Go to the end of the church if he wants to act differently.

The problem in the modern masses comes from the spirit that certain laymen believe that they can make the rules.

Japhy beat me to it. Why isn’t someone suggesting to this lad that he bow his head gently at the name of Jesus?

I think the boy has good intentions, and he is perhaps moved by the Holy Spirit to show great reverence for Jesus. I doubt the Holy Spirit has commanded him to genuflect – the boy is trying to show his reverence as best he knows how. He might be over-zealous, but I think he could easily understand that the Church appreciates his love and zeal, and has a way for him to channel it.

If this is the case he goes to the end of the Church and does not confuse others.

The classical proverb for his behavior was: Extra corum cantat = he sings outside of the choir/

The Liturgy requires uniformity, not dissent.

Calm down. The kid’s not a dissenter. And the liturgy does not require uniformity, or else people wouldn’t be allowed to sit or stand or kneel (as they saw fit) after receiving Communion.

I agree the kid is not a dissenter but such acts of piety can cause confusion and trickle down to others who see it done and thing “hey, I’ll do that too.” I have seen that happen, in fact, that is how the hand holding during the Lord’s Prayer happened. People saw someone doing it and thought it was great and they started doing it. Pretty soon all were doing it.

Our pope said (Spirit of the Liturgy Ignatius 2000) the the Liturgy is rite = rule.

The rule gives options for some occasions, and strict form for others. This is the nature of every regulations. The kid may have good intentions, but the end does not justifies the ways.

Ss for the kneeling or standing after receiving communion that GIRM allows local customs not the status that everyone can do whatever (s)he want.

I will appreciate very much if you will document that in public prayers anyone can follow his own inspirations.

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