Thursday, June 9, 2011

GULP Exam: Bowing head during the Mass

A TPC reader emailed me asking me about the bowing of the head during the TLM and why it is not done in the Ordinary Form.

Well, actually it is in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal but no one cares to read it actually.


275. A bow signifies reverence and honor shown to the persons themselves or to the signs that
represent them. There are two kinds of bows: a bow of the head and a bow of the body.

a. A bow of the head is made when the three Divine Persons are named together and at the names of Jesus, of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and of the Saint in whose honor Mass is being celebrated.

b. A bow of the body, that is to say a profound bow, is made to the altar; during the prayers Munda cor meum (Almighty God, cleanse my heart) and In spiritu humilitatis (Lord God, we ask you to receive); in the Creed at the words Et incarnatus est (by the power of the Holy Spirit . . . made man); in the Roman Canon at the words Supplices te rogamus (Almighty God, we pray that your angel). The same kind of bow is made by the deacon when he asks for a blessing before the proclamation of the Gospel. In addition, the priest bows slightly as he speaks the words of the Lord at the in consecration.


Now these are what you call an enrichment of the TLM to the Ordinary form.


Why aren't we doing it?

Are you?

Should we?

Chime in your answers.


  1. This is one of the gestures that was not abolished in the NO yet people and even priests are not aware or doing these.

    I usually do bowing of head when the gloria Patri et... is prayed even on my personal prayers. This is our respect to the Triune God.

  2. The bowing of the head when the Trinity is mentioned is preserved by the Anglican Communion even today.

    Anglicans also cross themselves at the mention of the Name of Jesus Christ especially when the Sacrifice is mentioned. When the Virgin is mentioned Anglicans bow.

    At Evensong expect to see all these bowing and crossing!