A bow of the head

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: In “Ceremonies of the Modern Roman Rite”, Revised Edition, 1995, Bishop Peter Elliott has:  “203. A bow of the head is made at the mention aloud of the three Divine Persons (during the first part of the “Glory be to the Father”), at the holy names of Jesus, Mary and of the saint in whose honor the liturgy is being celebrated.” A footnote refers to GIRM 275 a. In “Ceremonies Explained for Servers”, 2019, he has in n. 190: “You bow at the Name of the Lord and our Lady during any text that you recite – for example, in the Creed and Gloria. During the Liturgy of the Hours, you bow in honor of the Holy Trinity at the words, “Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.”” How do you interpret General Instruction of the Roman Missal 275a? Should there be a bow of the head at the Sign of the Cross at the beginning of Mass? Should the whole congregation bow their heads if the Priest mentions “Jesus” in the homily at Mass?


A: GIRM 275a uses the passive voice twice: “a bow of the head is made” when various individuals “are named.” It does not explicitly say who makes the bow. I understand it to mean the person who says the name. If it were otherwise, I think the Instruction would have said “all bow,” but it does not.