Ceremony Errors in Catholicism
Here are few errors I have noticed in the ceremonies of Catholicism
These are described on page 85:
"... Another telltale sign of a Catholic is genuflection,
which is touching the right knee to the floor while bending the left knee.
The sign of the cross is made simultaneously with this gesture. Catholics
only genuflect in front of the Holy Eucharist. ..."
It is incorrect to say that the sign of the cross is made when this
gesture is made. A priest genuflects after the elevations but there are
no instructions for the sign of the cross to be made.
Catholics no not only genuflect in front of the Holy Eucharist.
According to the 2002 General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM):
"274. A genuflection, made by bending the right knee to the ground,
signifies adoration, and therefore it is reserved for the Most Blessed Sacrament,
as well as for the Holy Cross from the solemn adoration during the liturgical
celebration on Good Friday until the beginning of the Easter Vigil."
On page 138 Catholicism for Dummies gives incorrect instructions
about genuflecting during Mass:
"If the tabernacle (see Chapter 16) is in the center of the sanctuary, the priest and anyone passing in front of it genuflects as a sign of respect and recognition that Christ is truly present in the Holy Eucharist."
But from the Roman Missal:
"If, however, the tabernacle with the Most Blessed Sacrament is
present in the sanctuary, the priest, the deacon, and the other ministers
genuflect when they approach the altar and when they depart from it, but
not during the celebration of Mass itself.
Otherwise all who pass before the Most Blessed Sacrament genuflect, unless
they are moving in procession." (GIRM 274)
If someone does not genuflect during the Mass, following the Roman
Missal, readers of Catholicism for Dummies will think they are being disrespectful.
Catholicism for Dummies gives two formulas for baptism, both incorrect
with regard to the person's name. On page 94 there is no name:
"I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of
the Holy Spirit."
On page 103 the name is put in the wrong place:
"I baptize you (the first and middle names are said aloud) in
the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."
According to the liturgical book on Baptism for Children the name
"N. I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and
of the Holy Spirit."
Catholicism for Dummies has the name in the correct place for Confirmation,
but have incorrect words of reply:
"... the bishop puts Chrism Oil on the person's forehead, says
his name aloud, and then says, "Be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit."
The person responds, "Amen." The bishop then says, "Peace be with you."
And the person responds, "And with your spirit" or "And also with you."
In the approved translation we have "And also with you." The Latin
is "Et cum spiritu tuo." The authors may think "And with your spirit" is
a better translation. It may become the approved translation. But at present
it is not. So it should not be presented as though it were an option.
Sign of the Cross
According to Catholicism for Dummies, page 138:
"Catholics begin and end every prayer and sacrament with the sign
of the cross."
An exception is prayers in the ceremonies in Holy Communion and
the Worship of the Eucharist Outside of Mass. These do not begin with sign
of the cross, although they do end with it.
On page 140 it explains that Epistles can be read after the psalm.
"... the Epistles are the letters of Saints Paul, James, Jude
Peter is omitted, although his epistle is read during the first
Sunday of Lent.
Kneeling for Communion
Perhaps its unfair to describe this as an error, rather it reflects
the confusion that currently exists on this issue. From page 148:
"... The local bishop and the national conference of bishops for
each nation give guidelines on which posture they prefer or suggest. In
the United States, for example, standing is the norm, but with a bow of
the head; however, it is forbidden to refuse Communion to someone who is
kneeling. If the church or chapel has a Communion or altar rail, a short
gate-like structure surrounding the sanctuary where people can kneel during
Holy Communion, and people kneel at this, then no other sign of reverence
is required, because kneeling is a sign of reverence. ..."
I object to the way the local bishop and national conference of
bishops are lumped together as though they have equal limited authority to
"suggest". The local bishop does not make the decision. According to the
"390. It is up to the Conferences of Bishops to decide on the
adaptations indicated in this General Instruction and in the Order of Mass
and, once their decisions have been accorded the recognitio of the
Apostolic See, to introduce them into the Missal itself. These adaptations
The manner of receiving Holy Communion (cf. nos. 160, 283 above);
I also see it as unhelpful to promote kneeling as a legitimate option.
From the USA's 2002 GIRM 160:
"...The norm for reception of Holy Communion in the dioceses of
the United States is standing. Communicants should not be denied Holy Communion
because they kneel. Rather, such instances should be addressed pastorally,
by providing the faithful with proper catechesis on the reasons for this
When receiving Holy Communion, the communicant bows his or her head before
the Sacrament as a gesture of reverence and receives the Body of the Lord
from the minister. ..."
According to Catholicism for Dummie, page 149:
"Catholics aren't allowed to self-communicate, which means going
up to the altar and picking up the chalice for themselves".
It would be more accurate to say "only priests and bishops are allowed
Very little is written about the Roman Missal. On page 142:
"The Roman Missal is the official book the priest uses at Mass,
containing all the prayers that he must say as well as telling him what
to do and how to do it."
True, but by limiting it to the priest I do not think it goes far
enough. It also says what the deacon, instituted lector, instituted acolyte,
extraordinary ministers of the eucharist, cantor and congregation do.
By J.R. Lilburne, 19 August 2003. Updated 30 June 2004. I give what I have written on this page to the public domain.