Question about Genuflecting.

Hello, Not sure if this is the right place to put this question so please feel free to move it .
I will be Attending a Christmas Carols Concert put on by the children of my parish on December 21, It is in the Nave or as some call it the sanctuary of the church. My question is do i still Genuflect when I enter the pew, The tabernancle is in plain view. I was planning on Genuflecting but don’t want to do something improper. My assumption is if the Sanctuary lamp is lit to genuflect.
Thanks God Bless
Taylor Mcbee


Always genuflect when you pass in front of the Tabernacle, if the lamp is lit…

God Bless

Yep. Second that.

(However there is the possibility --and I think the OP know this-- that the Blessed Sacrament could be removed for this particular event and the sanctuary lamp extinguished in which case it would NOT be appropriate to genuflect.)

Check the light by the Tabernacle. If it’s lit then genuflect.:thumbsup:

If the light is not lit, the door to the tabernacle will probably be left open as well. In this case you would not genuflect.

As well, in the event that the lamp is not lit, just bow to the alter. :slight_smile:

God Bless

The reason we genuflect is to show reverence to Christ who is Present in the Eucharist. It does not matter why we are at the Church. If He is in the tabernacle, we genuflect. If He has been removed and reserved elsewhere (as can happen in these sorts of situations), then we do not genuflect.

Interesting story about that. Even if it’s for a Protestant confirmation. The church my cousins go to sold the building to a Chaldean Catholic parish. So when we went for their confirmation, there actually was a Tabernacle, despite it being a Protestant service. The Chaldeans are in communion with Rome, so we both agree Jesus is very much present.

I think it may be worth commenting also that entering the pew is not necessarily the time to genuflect, unless your nave is a traditional design with the tabernacle at the end of the aisle. Because of the way churches were built, with center aisles approaching an altar with the tabernacle directly behind it, the proper and natural time to genuflect was at the moment just before entering the pew. This was because by turning to the side we effectively passed in front of the tabernacle. Unfortunately after centuries of sensibly designed churches which reflected their real purpose people began associating sitting down with genuflection rather than passing in front of the tabernacle.

Of course this wouldn’t be a problem in practical terms if we still built proper churches, but the modern round churches which we now so often have, with off-center tabernacles and bizarre aisles create real unfortunate results where people ignore the tabernacle and then appear to genuflect in front of bathroom doors. In our local parish, for instance, the tabernacle is not behind the altar, but rather way off to the side, and the aisles do not terminate at the tabernacle but rather at the altar itself. This means that in entering the church you do not necessarily pass in front of the tabernacle when entering the pew, but in most cases when walking to the aisle itself about halfway across the back of the church. Therefore, people should be stopping at that point, turning to face the tabernacle, and genuflecting. Of course, nobody does, and instead they walk back and forth, right in front of the Sacrament, with utter indifference. :shrug:

Do Chaldean Catholics genuflect? I wouldn’t have thought so myself, though I have no experience with that group directly. However, generally speaking, Eastern Christians do not use the very Latin act of genuflection, but rather perform a profound bow.

But couldn’t we still honor it the way we do? I could see bowing to it if it was a Chaldean Mass, but this was just a Protestant service. I mean no offense to Protestants, but the scale of it in comparison to the Eucharist is comparable to that of a concert being held in the church, as in the OP.

I can’t really see how there would be any offense taken by somebody genuflecting in such circumstances, especially in contrast to doing nothing. Though, now that I think about it, why would the Chaldean’s keep the Sacrament in the tabernacle during such a service? Surely they would realise that people would be walking around without any regard for reverence for the Body of Christ. Perhaps there was no alternative location for reservation?

I never checked the Sanctuary lamp, but it doesn’t seem too far-fetched because there’s only the one UCC service per Sunday and they had a Mass shortly afterward

It can be confusing.

But, hey, I’m Catholic, I’ve been known to genuflect while entering my row at the movies.:smiley: The things one does out of habit! But I agree, look for the Sanctuary lamp and if it’s lit, genuflect.

Of course, a light can also trigger genuflecting where it’s not necessary. The local Anglican Church has a Tabernacle and the Sanctuary light was lit every time I’ve been there, usually for funerals or ecumenical services. Had to remind myself where I was, particularly when the ‘ecumenical service’ we’d expected turned out to be a Communion Service where the celebrant was an Anglican Bishop, in fact, the Primate of Canada. It was at that time that I realized how little difference there is between our Mass and their Communion Service. Placement of the Lord’s Prayer and exchange of Peace is at a different place but otherwise…

Our Pastor received Communion at that service. :frowning:

It’s amazing to me how common that seems to be on this board lately. What a shame, because it leads others into thinking it’s an allowable practice. :frowning:


I think the big clarifying factor here, which one other poster hit on a bit, is that we do not Genuflect because we are entering the pew. We genuflect to the Blessed Sacrament WHENEVER we pass in front of it. That means that if the Tabernacle with reserved Hosts is in the back of the church by the door out, you should be genuflecting when you pass it on the way in and again on the way out.

If the tabernacle light is not lit, or the tabernacle is not located where you “pass in front of it”, then you do not genuflect when entering the pews. HOWEVER, if the tabernacle is not present, our “fall back” rule is that you bow to the altar whenever you pass before it… so entering the pews would mean bowing to the altar first (and also bowing to the altar every time you pass in front of it).

Remember if there are no consecrated host in the tabernacle - bow to the alter - before during and after Mass. Once Mass has begun focus shifts to the alter and bow to that instead of genuflecting toward the tabernacle.

If the tabernacle light is not lit, or the tabernacle is not located where you “pass in front of it”, then you do not genuflect when entering the pews. HOWEVER, if the tabernacle is not present, our “fall back” rule is that you bow to the altar whenever you pass before it… so entering the pews would mean bowing to the altar first (and also bowing to the altar every time you pass in front of it).

I love this. People act like it is improper to genuflect in the absence of the Sacrament. However, it is entirely appropriate to genuflect to the altar cross as was common before the Council. This is particularly true since the Holy Father promulgated Summorum Pontificum and #28 of Universae Ecclesiae.

  1. Furthermore, by virtue of its character of special law, within its own area, the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum derogates from those provisions of law, connected with the sacred Rites, promulgated from 1962 onwards and incompatible with the rubrics of the liturgical books in effect in 1962. (Universae Ecclesiae)

Additionally, for those who are convinced that only the Ordinary Form should influence your actions, I refer you to both #137 of the GIRM to genuflect during the “incarnatus est” during the Creed on the Annunciation and Christmas, and #274 of the GIRM which dictates genuflection to the exposed crucifix during the time from Good Friday to Easter.

  1. The Symbol or Creed is sung or recited by the Priest together with the people (cf. no. 68) with everyone standing. At the words et incarnatus est, etc. (and by the Holy Spirit . . . and became man) all make a profound bow; but on the Solemnities of the Annunciation and of the Nativity of the Lord, all genuflect. (GIRM)
  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. (GIRM)

Immemorial custom also dictates a double genuflexion to a relic of the True Cross. And one genuflects when being blessed with a relic of any Saint.

I’m a convert, with some background in conservative Lutheran and conservative Episcopalian (there were some, once upon a time) worship. I appreciate all of the clarification here about when, why, and how to genuflect. But there is another problem. I have a damaged big toe on my right foot, where I’ve had surgery. It hurts slightly all the time. It is almost impossible for me to kneel down on the right knee or to rise from that position without having some kind of support where I can put my hands to take most of the weight off that toe – so I don’t genuflect, but instead make the profound bow. I’m a musician and cantor, and there are quite a number of occasions when I must bow (or genuflect) and the people have the opportunity to see me doing so. I believe most of the people in the congregation are aware of my toe injury (it’s a small parish).

Is there some regulation which addresses my situation? Am I doing the right thing?

This is also what I was taught during RCIA.

In RCIA we were taught that if you were unable to genuflect, a deep bow was acceptable. Many of the elderly in my parish do this. Just like if you’re unable to kneel during Mass, it is okay not to do so. I think what would be most important is being reverent, whether you’re genuflecting or bowing.

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