Why are people still not bowing?


#1

I truly honestly thought that the reason people didn't bow for that part of the creed (from "and by the Holy Spirit" to "became man") was because they didn't know they were supposed to. I thought, therefore, that when people had to read the creed off a card that said * in bright red lettering* "all bow for the following lines until 'became man'", they would start bowing.

So why am I still the ONLY person in the congregation who bows for those words?
(I could say the same about striking the chest at the mea culpa.)

I try not to pay attention to what other people do, which is why I am posting this now instead of last December. I just genuinely would like to understand. Do they think it's demeaning to bow to God? Do they not believe in God? Are they afraid of standing out? Are they mad at the Church and purposefully disobeying? Are they unable to read red letters? Why? :confused:


#2

I think you are asking the wrong people. Ask one of them that you know well enough.


#3

I suppose a lot of them still don't know, despite the words printed in red on the cards.

At our church the priest said that you shouldn't hold your hands in the orans position during the Our Father. For about two weeks after that very few people did so, now it's back to where many people are doing it.

I suspect it's the same way with the bowing. People probably read it and don't pay much attention to it.

I'd say that you keep bowing and striking your chest 3 times. You are doing the right thing and what you know the Church wants you to do ... so don't worry about the others.

ChadS


#4

I agree with you. I don't see a lot of people bowing during the Creed, but I think part of the problem is not that they don't know what they're supposed to do. It might be they don't know why they should bow.

I know that was part of my reluctance before I started bowing for the Creed. I didn't understand why we should bow because it was never fully explained (and even now, I feel like I have a rudimentary understanding of why). And I think it comes down to discipline in each parish. Masses that I have attended at other parishes have different amounts of participation, but I think it comes back to explanation and practice. If someone does not know why they are doing something, they may be less inclined to do so. If people should bow during the Creed, it must be explained, demonstrated, and practiced.


#5

I think the rubric to bow in the Creed was poorly selected in the liturgical changes following Vatican II. Priests, deacons and acolytes are well used to bowing; they do it all the time. But for the laity in the pews it is usually a very infrequent action.

I can think of no other time when the laity in the pews might bow. If he has problems with genuflecting, as in an elderly person, he will often bow when entering and exiting his pew. But for most laypeople it is simply not done frequently, if at all.

Furthermore, bowing, as an action, in practice permits much greater latitude than the traditional genuflection. Bow the head or bow the body? Then within those categories, simple, medium or profound bow? With genuflecting you either plant your knee or you don't. You either genuflect or you don't. It permits very little variation in practice. It is either done or it is not.

One more thing that I think makes the saying/singing of the Creed much easier in the EF is that the celebrant is at the dead center of the altar when he says or intones it. This way, it is very easy for the laity to see when they should genuflect (even though it isn't in the rubrics that they do it in the EF, they almost always do). When the celebrant begins the Creed in the OF he is at the sedilia, off to the side, and it is easy to have one's head buried instead in a Missal/missalette or to have one's gaze on the altar in the center.

So in the realm of pastoral sensibility and prudence I personally find the bowing during the Creed to be very ineffective. I think there would be much greater consistency in action if the rubric was instead to genuflect, and additionally if the priest began/intoned the Creed at the center of the sanctuary, at the altar.


#6

[quote="findingmyself08, post:4, topic:293363"]
If someone does not know why they are doing something, they may be less inclined to do so. If people should bow during the Creed, it must be explained, demonstrated, and practiced.

[/quote]

Should it? If the Church says that we should bow at those words, we should bow at those words because the Holy Mother Church says so.

It is - of course - our personal task to learn the reasons behind things, but we assume that if the Church requires something, then there are very good reasons behind that.

Suffices to us that the Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani states:

At the words et incarnatus est (by the power of 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.

It will be very interesting if anyone could share the exact reason, if the Magisterium has been so kind as to explain to us why we make a profound bow when we profess that for our salvation God became Man.


From a few years ago here:

[quote="Br.Rich_SFO, post:4, topic:134366"]
Because it is the event that allowed Christ be unite Human nature with Divinity, it allowed Man to share in God's Divinity. Without it the Sacrifice of the Cross would not have been possible.

[/quote]

[quote="japhy, post:3, topic:134366"]

We bow at this part of the Creed as a sign of reverence for the wondrous miracle of the Incarnation, by which our God deigned to come to us as a man. The bow is just that: a sign of reverence for the Incarnation.

In The Glories of the Catholic Church: The Catholic Christian Instructed in Defence of His Faith (via Google Books), the explanation given is this:
Why does the priest kneel at the words Et incarnatus est?
In adoration of our Lord's blessed Humanity and in profound acknowledgment of His unspeakable condescension in taking our flesh upon Him.

[/quote]


#7

It is an indicator that the pastor has not instructed the parshioners, or the parish is not reverent. It could be both.

Given the state we are in now, I would guess the parish is flat out irreverent. Here is a test. Do most of the attendants genuflect toward the tabernacle upon entering the church or taking a seat? Does anyone bow to the altar?


#8

[quote="1ke, post:2, topic:293363"]
I think you are asking the wrong people. Ask one of them that you know well enough.

[/quote]

I see your point, but my friends who are Catholic are all either knowledgeable and devout or lapsed, so I'd basically have to ask a stranger.


#9

[quote="ChadS, post:3, topic:293363"]
.....At our church the priest said that you shouldn't hold your hands in the orans position during the Our Father. For about two weeks after that very few people did so, now it's back to where many people are doing it.

[/quote]

THat is the palms up thiing right? They taught us to do that in RCIA this past year.
It was nothing new to me though because most churches seem to be doing that.
Something about a direct connection with heaven and the events surrounding the sacrifice.


#10

Thank you for your reply. That makes some sense, although to me it seems fairly clear that bowing = reverence. I also agree with another poster who said that we should do it simply because the Church instructs us to. However, I can see how explanation would be desirable and helpful.

At my parish most people genuflect to the tabernacle and/or the altar. I would say it’s everyone at the daily masses and most people at Sunday masses, although for a lot of people at Sunday masses it’s more an abbreviated curtsy than an actual genuflection. The pastor started implementing the liturgical changes early and tried to explain them, and there were additional explanations in the bulletin, but maybe people don’t read those.


#11

Instructions to bow are not given on our pew cards. I learned about it here on CAF. I noticed out the corner of my eye today that I was one of few who did bow. I like to sit up front so that I can concentrate on what is going on in front of me and not what others are doing.


#12

[quote="YoungTradCath, post:5, topic:293363"]
Furthermore, bowing, as an action, in practice permits much greater latitude than the traditional genuflection. Bow the head or bow the body? Then within those categories, simple, medium or profound bow? With genuflecting you either plant your knee or you don't. You either genuflect or you don't. It permits very little variation in practice. It is either done or it is not.

[/quote]

Good point. I'm no physiologist but it seems like an extended profound bow can be bad for your posture, especially at an older age. I know sometimes my back won't allow straightening up afterwards. No problems with genuflecting.


#13

[quote="ProVobis, post:12, topic:293363"]
Good point. I'm no physiologist but it seems like an extended profound bow can be bad for your posture, especially at an older age. I know sometimes my back won't allow straightening up afterwards. No problems with genuflecting.

[/quote]

I feel your pain. I have the opposite problem. I can bow without a problem. I can't genuflect. I try, but if I go lower than a short curtsy I'd end up on the floor in pain.


#14

[quote="ChadS, post:3, topic:293363"]
I suppose a lot of them still don't know, despite the words printed in red on the cards.

[/quote]

Our cards don't say anything about bowing. I assume this is up to either the national CCB or the local bishop?

[quote="Samuel63, post:7, topic:293363"]
Here is a test. Do most of the attendants genuflect toward the tabernacle upon entering the church or taking a seat? Does anyone bow to the altar?

[/quote]

Many do in my local church.

[quote="CatherineOH, post:9, topic:293363"]
THat is the palms up thiing right? They taught us to do that in RCIA this past year.
It was nothing new to me though because most churches seem to be doing that.
Something about a direct connection with heaven and the events surrounding the sacrifice.

[/quote]

The palms-up thing makes me uncomfortable. Seems like an Evangelical Protestant thing.


#15

[quote="SgtSchultz, post:14, topic:293363"]
Our cards don't say anything about bowing. I assume this is up to either the national CCB or the local bishop?

[/quote]

I think each parish had the option of ordering cards from the company of their choice. I've seen two different styles of pew card at different parishes in my town. But, they both mention the bowing and the striking the chest, so I assumed that was standard.


#16

[quote="Student09, post:1, topic:293363"]
I truly honestly thought that the reason people didn't bow for that part of the creed (from "and by the Holy Spirit" to "became man") was because they didn't know they were supposed to. I thought, therefore, that when people had to read the creed off a card that said * in bright red lettering* "all bow for the following lines until 'became man'", they would start bowing.

So why am I still the ONLY person in the congregation who bows for those words?
(I could say the same about striking the chest at the mea culpa.)

[/quote]

I've wondered the same thing myself. Bowing at my parish certainly isn't universal, but it's at least seen a great deal more than striking the breast. My big question about that is whether you're supposed to do it once or three times (we had booklets that said three when we first switched to the new missal, but they were quickly replaced with the ones that simply say "strike your breast").

As far as bowing goes, I make sure that my whole family does it with me. There have been times when we seemed to be the only people in our section of the church who did, but I wanted to make sure at least we were participating properly. With striking the breast, I've taken to doing it with a little force. My wife & kids aren't very overt with their strikes, but seeing as I think I've only seen one other person ever do it, I don't mind drawing a little attention to it if for no other reason than to show others that those words weren't put there just to waste ink.

I don't know why others refuse to do it, other than perhaps it's not something they're in the habit of doing. It could be they see it as something unfamiliar and outside their comfort zone and they don't feel right bowing or striking since they don't see others doing it and don't want to be the only ones acting in an unfamiliar way. That's part of why I make sure to do it visibly at every Mass.


#17

Give us a break. I still can't get my responses right. 33 years of saying the same stuff. I can see why older people are resistant to change. I am experiencing my own resistants.. lol


#18

[quote="JillianRose, post:17, topic:293363"]
Give us a break. I still can't get my responses right. 33 years of saying the same stuff. I can see why older people are resistant to change. I am experiencing my own resistants.. lol

[/quote]

But this isn't a change...bowing has been part of the Creed for decades, before that it was genuflection.


#19

My parish is very traditional and as far as I know everyone bows and strikes their breast. Of course I am not watching. We use a Missilette that is explicit on when to bow etc.

I suppose many Catholics should be glad they don't attend an Anglican Use Mass, as they genuflect during the Creed and many when they go up for Communion. Some parishes also genuflect during the Last Gospel if it is said and the Angelus and when the crucifix processes by. I forgot when the priest passes by during the procession and recession most give a slight bow. They also kneel for Communion.

They are always crossing themselves too and many bow at the name of Jesus. I will say there is much participation and one has no time to be bored.

Actually I find it very reverent and I thought that EF Masses also are similar in the actions of the congregation, as of yet I haven't attended one so someone can correct me.

In the Hearts of Jesus and Mary

Bernadette


#20

[quote="anp1215, post:18, topic:293363"]
But this isn't a change...bowing has been part of the Creed for decades, before that it was genuflection.

[/quote]

Maybe I have never been to a church that does it. LOL I was never taught that until the recent changes. I don't know why people are so consumed with what other do or don't do in mass, as long as it doesn't interrupt the sacred liturgy. It seems to be all over the forum lately. Let the Priest shepherd his Flock. Mention it to him. If he don't mind then its a moot point. :p


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