Priest genuflects “in adoration”

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q:  In the Order of Mass, during the consecration, the rubrics twice say that the priest genuflects “in adoration,” once each after showing the host and the chalice to the people. But those words are missing when he genuflects before saying, “Behold, the Lamb of God.” Does that mean he can take more time for the two genuflections during the consecration?


A:  It really doesn’t say. The rubric primarily pertains to his intention. These instructions have carried over from the preconciliar rubrics. The words have not changed. At the consecration, the Latin literally means, “having genuflected, he adores.” And at communion time, it says “he genuflects.” The English translation is a bit imprecise at the consecration: the priest does not genuflect in adoration; he adores having genuflected. His primary action is adoring.

To be sure, the rubrics during the consecration put things in slow motion. The priest is supposed to take care to enunciate the words. He shows the host and chalice to the people for their adoration, and when he genuflects, he too is adoring.

However, the eucharistic prayer is a seamless whole. Slow motion is not the same as derailment. The rhythm of the entire prayer is best sustained through these moments of adoration. Taking too much time here will make it appear that the consecration has detached from the prayer that sets its context. Remember, this is not the “consecration prayer.” It’s the “eucharistic prayer.” The emphasis of the entire prayer is to give thanks to God, who, in its midst, sends the Holy Spirit to consecrate the elements.

Regarding the genuflection before communion, GIRM 274 says that a genuflection “signifies adoration, and therefore it is reserved for the Most Blessed Sacrament.” So even though the genuflections made at the beginning and end of Mass to a tabernacle in the sanctuary and the one before communion are not marked “in adoration,” that is their purpose. The gesture that the priest makes during the consecration is still a genuflection, which should resemble the others.