Catholics kneel or genuflect in the presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist in the tabernacle, during Mass, or at Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

Proper genuflection is bending the right knee so that it briefly touches all the way to the ground.

Lowering our body by genuflecting is a sign of adoration, honor, and respect. 

When entering or exiting the church, Catholics should genuflect in the direction of the tabernacle which contains the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus. 

Catholics should also genuflect when approaching or passing in front of the tabernacle.

Bowing is appropriate only when genuflecting is not possible.

We bend our knee in greeting, adoration, and respect:

We are saying something with our body:

And so, dear brothers and sisters, every act of reverence, every genuflection that you make before the Blessed Sacrament, is important because it is an act of faith in Christ, an act of love for Christ. And every Sign of the Cross and gesture of respect made each time you pass a church is also an act of faith. May God preserve you in this faith this holy Catholic faith—this faith in the Blessed Sacrament.

Pope John Paul II, Homily in Phoenix Park, September 29, 1979

An act of humility and trust:

The knee is a symbol of strength:

Therefore God also highly exalted Him and gave Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in Heaven and on Earth and under the Earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2: 9-11

Jesus is our King:

Posture makes a difference:

Worship of the Eucharist. In the liturgy of the Mass we express our faith in the real presence of Christ under the species of bread and wine by, among other ways, genuflecting or bowing deeply as a sign of adoration of the Lord. “The Catholic Church has always offered and still offers to the sacrament of the Eucharist the cult of adoration, not only during Mass, but also outside of it, reserving the consecrated hosts with the utmost care, exposing them to the solemn veneration of the faithful, and carrying them in procession.”

Catechism of the Catholic Church 1378

Bow to the altar, do not genuflect:

Byzantine Catholics do not genuflect in church:

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