Recently there was a controversy in my parish regarding the practice of genuflecting before receiving the Blessed Sacrament between the priest and the altar servers. The priest has, on various occasions, both in public and in private, called this practice a sin.
I’ve remained silent on this for a while now and I’ve taken lots of crap because of this. When I teach that Jesus Christ, Our Lord is present, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Blessed Sacrament and that the worship and adoration of latria is due to Him and the priest comes out and says genuflection before Our Lord is a sin, I have a problem with that.
When it happens in
Here are some of the reasons that I’ve heard that are being used against this practice.
It’s a sin because it’s distracting to people. – This is a load of crap and the pinnacle of hypocrisy. This is the same priest who does around telling people that it’s ok to wear skimpy outfits in Church and that the people who have a problem with that should change themselves rather than ask these folks to put on something decent has himself now engaged in calling for the cessation of genuflecting before Our Lord because it’s distracting to people and it’s a sin. Perhaps the good Father would care to change himself and his perception of what does and does not constitute a distraction. This is the same priest who tells everyone that he has been out walking on the promenade during New Year’s Eve with a woman (not that I think that there’s anything intrinsically wrong with that) and does not give a hoot about what other people think because in his conscience, he’s clear before God. This is the same priest who does not understand that those who are little in the Faith and might not understand that it’s ok for a priest to be walking about with a woman on New Year’s Eve and whose Faith might be harmed because of it. And now he goes around telling folks that genuflecting before receiving Holy Communion is distracting, a sin, and asking people to violate their own conscience by not genuflecting. Is this not hypocrisy of the highest order?
It takes up too much time. – More rubbish. This same fellow has turned the invitation to pray the Lord’s Prayer into a mini-homily, making the people stand while he pontificates from on high, and is now telling us that genuflection while another person receives Holy Communion before one receives in turn is a waste of time. Regardless of how theologically unsound one is when one thinks that adoring the Lord Jesus is a waste of time, this objection does not hold water for a number of reasons. Firstly, only one server receives from any one priest or EXTRA(not!)-ordinary minister of Holy Communion and therefore the time lapse is minimal, especially when other ministers are not done yet. Technically, only the one who is in the critical path or who receives from the last minister is causing any delay at all. Secondly, this is a far better ‘waste of time’ than those longish meaningless and totally inappropriate responses to the prayers of the faithful, not to mention the time taken up by the homily and the mini-homily.
Now, we genuflect. If we permit this, then what happens when people start lying down on the floor or rolling around? Is that ok? – In terms of rubbish, this one takes the cake. Makes one think about what they actually teach at the seminary to have people come out and make these kinds of statements. Genuflection is a part of the tradition of the Latin Rite and is the customary sign of reverence before the Blessed Sacrament. Rolling around is not. Should people start prostrating on the ground as a sign of reverence before Christ, then well talk to them and find out their reasons. Personally, I’m not too concerned about how much reverence one shows towards the Blessed Sacrament, I’m more concerned about the lack of it and the total indifference I see and the total ambivalence that people display towards Christ present there. If I’m a priest, that’s what I’d be concerned about too rather than whether or not servers genuflect before receiving Holy Communion.
BTW, this priest, like the majority of priests in
People always think that having fuzzy theologies make no actual difference, but to me, doxa affects praxis. The story is told of a Catholic who was leading his Protestant friend in a tour of his