observation: many parishioners neglect to perform required gestures during Mass

It seems that 90% of my parish will engage in hand holding during the Our Father, but the same number will neglect to beat their chests three times during the Penitential Rite, neglect to bow at the appropriate time during the Profession of Faith, and then finally, 30% will leave the church directly after Communion, foregoing the final blessing. I believe that this a problem of a lack of proper catechesis.

Well first of all, holding hands during the Lords prayer is not a gesture that must take place… I understand your concern with the other actions such as the striking of ones chest and leaving straight after communion…

I think that definitely part of the problem lies in a lack of teaching as to the solemnities within the eucharist … Many things within the church I believe go without teaching so many people don’t have an understanding even to the basic aspects of the eucharist. This is not at all a judgement just an observation as to the state of the church now

Although it’s not quite so bad at my parish, there still aren’t that many who bow or beat their chest. On a couple occasions, our priest has mentioned this and explained to people that they’re expected to do it. I think that’s had an impact and if he mentioned it a few more times he’d get a lot of the others joining in. He’s mentioned leaving early a bit more often so we now have a lot fewer people sprinting for the door, host in hand.

I don’t watch what other people do or do not do. The only gesture that bothers me is the peace wave to every corner of the church. Its not so obvious on Sundays when the church is crowded but during the week it’s like they can’t miss waving to a single person in the church. That is distracting. I don’t notice if people beat their chest or bow at the right time.

Continue to set an example, and do what you know to be correct.

Well, I know that I personally instructed AND practiced the gestures with my entire CCD program, teachers and kids, repeatedly in preparation for the new translation and many still do not do the gestures. BUT, I have seen more and more beating their breast because they see me do it. So, there is hope.

You can encourage your priest to give a homily on gestures.

Hand holding has already been discussed.

Chest-beating probably isn’t done because people just don’t know.

As for not bowing in the Creed, I have my own theory as to why many many many people don’t do it:

Bowing is, socially, an awkward behavior, because it averts the eyes. When one bows, generally–but not always–the eyes are also downcast. Also, that is the only time in Mass when the people bow.

If the traditional posture of genuflecting was prescribed always, I am certain that most everybody would do it. First, everybody could see the priest clearly doing it. Second, everybody could see everybody else doing it. The social motivator, a very strong motivator (don’t discount it) that is present from seeing everybody else do it, which itself is possible because the body is still erect, is extremely important for these kinds of things. Third, people already genuflect in church two other times usually: once before and once after Mass. It is an act that everybody knows how to do, even if many don’t do it very well!

Finally, bowing is a very liberally interpretable thing. What’s a bow? A profound bow? Who defines profound bow? How far do you go down? At least with genuflecting you know exactly what it is supposed to look like, even if some don’t do it all the way, either because they won’t or can’t. In any case, it is very clear-cut that a proper genuflection is one in which the knee touches the ground.

It is my opinion, very respectfully put, that the rubric of bowing during the Creed simply does not work as a matter of practice. It is done in some parishes by many or most people, but in my experience, in most places few or no people do it at all.

I am quite confident that my assertions would hold up in a proper experiment, and I would love to do one.

Well, what can you do… You can ask the priest to call up these problems in the pulpit and show people how to do it before the Mass. That’s how my prior does here in cerimonies or when things aren’t done quite right, and addresses everything and everyone goes back to the right direction. It works :slight_smile:

Many do bow in my parish. I think almost all. The reason I know is that the volume of speech goes way down at that point because people are trying to read and bow at the same time or they they are speaking while looking down. I agree that genuflecting would be more appropriate.

Can’t help my self, what are you doing during Mass when you have time to look around to see what others don’t do?

OK, I think many are just simply shy. They may think they don’t know when to do what and to “make sure” they don’t do anything wrong and give others a good chance to maybe not laugh but at least think “what a idiot”. I remember first time I did attend Mass, I was not sure what to do when so I just did what others did but still I was a bit uneasy. So my guess, (is not worth a penny) is that many just want to not do anything wrong, and the easiest way is to do nothing.

This. I recently returned to the faith after being absent for many many years. Imagine my surprise when all the responses in Mass I had learned earlier in life had changed! I respond with “And also with you” while the rest of the congregation says “And with your spirit”. Huh? What is going on? So I don’t say anything for the rest of the Mass because apparently I know nothing now (then run home and Google and find the changes).

I attended Catholic school K-12 and I never learned to beat my chest or bow (that I can remember) so I would be one of the people who do not do those things correctly. Not because I am being irreverant but because I was not properly informed, or I have forgot (though I doubt that). Thankfully I will be attending RCIA classes this fall so I hope to be properly informed soon. I dislike doing things incorrectly in Mass very much. I find that I worry so much about those things that I am not fully focused on Him as I should be.

The reason I know is that the volume of speech goes way down…

Good question.

If you are bowing down, during the Profession of Faith, how do you notice who isn’t bowing?

And that is what the OP and most replies have been addressing…the lack of good catechesis. If your not aware by now I will mention that most Missalettes do have these instructions in them so you can follow along.

I’m not sure how you can not notice people leaving early. I guess where you sit will determine to what extreme.

See post 8 and 11.

But what would be wrong to take notice of it and pass it on to Father so that proper catehesis could be done?

It depends on which penitential rite is used. The beating of the chest is only called for in the first penitential rite (the Confiteor).

This is really important to people? It strikes me a bit nosey.

And you would not like my parish. Nobody kneels.

Nosiness is digging into other people’s private business. What people do at Mass is public. Calling it nosy to notice would be like calling it nosiness to notice other motorists speeding or running red lights. Can’t blame a guy for observing a public problem and being concerned.

I find it very difficult to genuflect in the pew when it is required! And I think many others do also.

Then kneel for a few seconds!

It is similar to the kid reminding the teacher to assign homework.

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