Wednesday, 23 January 2013

What's with this bowing business?

                              Only to be found in a salvage yard, not in a church

I rarely (if ever) attend a Mass in the Ordinary Form so, on the odd occasion when I arrive at a church to attend Sunday Mass and find an OF in progress, I observe with increasing amazement.

It was after the 'excommunications' back in 1988 that my wife and I took the decision to withdraw from what was then the Novus Ordo.

It, or rather the circus acts that accompanied it, was disaffecting our children and I could not answer their questions as to why the priest insisted on sitting down throughout the Mass with half a dozen small children sitting on his lap, yes, really.
Or why we no longer knelt to receive Holy Communion from a priest but queued to receive standing from a lay person.

Or why my wife and I constantly had to re-brief the children on what the priest meant in his sermon when he said that all Catholics should, as a matter of conscience, vote Labour or when he continually referred to the teachings of Gandhi.

And now, I find that what I witness at an OF Mass really bears little resemblance, in any shape or form, to the OF and EF Masses we attended pre 1986.

Above all else there is the total lack of reverence. You could be sitting in a pub if you closed your eyes and listened to the clamour around you.

With the destruction of the communion rails came a total disregard for the Body and Blood of Christ truly present on the sanctuary; the barrier that provided a dividing line between the profane and the sacred was gone and with it vanished all the inhibitions of reverence.

It seems to me that all sorts of odd bodies wander on and off the sanctuary before Mass as if it's a sort of circus arena that requires the tables and chairs laid out in readiness for the clowns to appear.

Above all else, what I notice more than anything, is the disappearance of the genuflection.

No one, priest, nun or layman, bends their knee any longer when they cross in front of the tabernacle.


I know why.

 It is because they no longer believe that the Son of God is present in the form of bread in the tabernacle.

Holy Communion has become an unholy reunion when they adopt the Protestant theology of it being an occasion of remembrance rather than of commemoration. How sad.

And when they do cross the aisle or sanctuary, they bow, and it's an awful sort of an apology of a bow, a bob of the head, a nod and a wink. 

Give them a few more years and the bow will have disappeared also and all and sundry will stroll around, hands in pockets, gum in mouth.

                      The Japanese know how to bow, maybe a few lessons are needed


  1. The bow during during the Credo has all but disappeared. That goes for priests, too. Many parishioners now seem to think the key part of the Mass is the dratted sign of peace.
    Sad to report, but I have seen gum-chewing in the Holy Communion line, not to mention the horrible masticating of the Host following reception. Recipients have seen the priest doing it (not the gum-chewing) so follow suit.
    My abiding sadness is the infrequency with which I go to Holy Communion. I can't face the contamination of multiple hands at the prolonged hand-shaking, including those of the celebrant, who leaves the sanctuary.
    btw, I caught up with the new (very loosely-based) Fr. Brown series on BBC One, via i-Player. The game is to spot the howlers. It's a stinker.

  2. I wish we had Communion rails.
    Growing up Post Vatican II here in America, I was never taught to genuflect even though I attended a Catholic grade school. I wasn't taught much of anything really. This bowing thing is new-ish and feels awkward.

  3. We are much more 'advanced' here in NZ. Our previous Bishop insisted that we do not genuflect ever, we must BOW to the altar (but a few of us rebels still do)! I recently saw a directive to the Eucharistic ministers and readers that when they go up to the altar they bow NOT to the 'tabernacle' but to the altar! No reason given.

  4. The Ordinary Form Parish withing walking distance from my house doesn't have any of these problems. But, then, we also have the priest facing the same was as the people, some of the unchanging parts of Holy Mass in Latin, only male servers. Genuflecting is entirely normal in this parish, Deo gratias!


  5. Thank you Dylan. Kind, as always. And Lena, Jean and Kelly thanks also and prayers that things will improve respectively in your parishes. Genty....if I read your comment correctly. Are you stating that, at your Masses one bows rather than genuflects during the Credo? (swoon).

  6. Yes, as is common to most NO Masses, I think. Predictably, even that's disappeared. You can get up now. We modernists don't like you drawing attention to yourself by hitting the floor every five seconds.


  7. Genty, I can't help it....I swoon so often these days!


  8. Genty, PS.....I really did not know that bending the knee was out at the Credo at OF Masses O tempora etc.

  9. Well the GIRM states that ministers (which includes Altar Boys) during Mass bow to the Altar and the tabernacle is not acknowledged. It is a ridiculous rubric but it is one none the less, and of course it does not bind outside of Mass.