Genuflection – follow up

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

NOTE:  This is a follow-up to the blog post from yesterday.

Q:  Thank you. It’s still confusing to me, as it seems to contradict #1 in the order of Mass in the Missal. #1 says that at the beginning of Mass, the priest approaches the altar and makes a profound bow. Iss #274 of the GIRM saying that if the tabernacle is located in the sanctuary, then instead of bowing at the beginning of Mass as they approach the altar, the priest and ministers should genuflect?

I don’t mean to belabor this, but many of our parishes have re-located their tabernacles directly behind their altars in their sanctuaries, and I want to be clear in guiding those who may read #274 as indicating that, as they process into the sanctuary at the beginning of Mass, they should genuflect, not bow, if their tabernacle is in the sanctuary. I will most certainly purchase your book. I’ve always found your books helpful and clear.


A:  Not instead of. In addition to.

The genuflection goes first to the tabernacle.

The bow goes next to the altar.

At the end of mass, the other way around.

Bow to the altar.

Genuflect to the tabernacle.

Even if they’re both on the same line of vision. This is one reason why a tabernacle against the back wall of the church is not always ideal. It makes it hard for ministers to differentiate the different reverences appropriate for sacred objects.