“Stop the spin, Father George.” “Genuflecting at Mass is forbidden.”


A newly damaged again meniscus it seems.

  • I’m supposed to give up on the second to the last stage of the Federal Air Marshall Tactical Pistol Course during which one spins about from 180 degrees toward three targets seven yards away and each three yards apart from each other (I use a foam dessert plate 4.7 times smaller than the normal QIT target). The spinning bit, I’m told, is hard on the knees, which the knee doesn’t need for the foreseeable and perhaps unforeseeable future.
  • Also forbidden is genuflecting. I’ve been doing a half-genuflection (also difficult) or just bowing. I did full genuflections after the consecrations at Mass on Corpus Christi and both times the knee went CRACK! while attempting to stand up again.

[~break into cold sweat, pretending nothing happened, bewildered~]

And to think that I was able to genuflect perfectly just hours before. Perhaps some will understand why I defended ancient of days Pope Francis for not genuflecting when pretty much everyone was condemning him to hell for not believing in transubstantiation. Knees come and go even in the same person especially as one gets older. I’ll be over this soon enough. So, it’s almost like you can turn it on or off, but it’s not you who decide when you can go down on your knees or not; the decision is made by your knees. It is what it is. I have to say that I was impressed in celebrating Mass with Pope Francis recently, impressed that he held the Host and then Chalice up at the consecration for a long time – no, let me rephrase that – for a really long time, obviously personally entranced with the Most Blessed Sacrament.

I’m sure there will be some who will also condemn me to hell for not genuflecting. I remember when, while teaching in the seminary, the knee went awry for a while and I decided that it would be best to bow. Wow. The barking from some priests and seminarians was unbelievable. I went from being thought of as a believer to being categorized as a heretic in one second. Zero solidarity for suffering. Absolutely zero. Dismissed. Marginalized. Out in the darkest of existential peripheries. Why? Well, whatever. I guess I was already there. It just took that event to let me know how fickle people can be.

Anyway, while some are already busy writing posts on their blogs about how demonic I am for not genuflecting – just like Pope Francis – let it be known that I have had some trouble not only as a kid with my leg, but more recently, in Rome, in an accident, on which occasion the tibia turned front to back while the femur remained where it should, rubbishing the meniscus at the time. Two other accidents[!] saw the lower leg smashed to little bits and pieces, 25 in all, the first one requiring the cage pictured below (Piazza Farnese in Rome) with something like 5 screws from the cage into the tibia (as big as pencils) and 12 heavy wires going from one side of the cage to the other – that is, from the cage and into the leg, through the pre-drilled bone, out the other side of the leg to the other side of the cage – stabilizing everything, an invention created originally with some bicycle rims and spokes deep in a sulfur mine in Siberia. It’s better than months of perhaps useless traction and body casts but dangerous for infections. The other accident had to have an operation which removed the patella so as to drill into the top of the tibia so as to hammer[!] a tibial nail (as thick as a carriage bolt) right through bits and pieces and deep into the ankle. Hey! Why worry about any meniscus!

just me 07

So, the “Stop the Spin!” bit doesn’t refer to my writing. I don’t spin, though admittedly I do bait some few individuals when needed, when most appropriate, from time to time, even in this very post. :-)

The contraption on the left knee in the picture at the top of this post was just now lent to me from one of our retired Air Force parishioners who had worn it for years and now hasn’t had to wear it for a couple of years. The V.A. prescribed it for him, refusing to ever do any operation on any damaged meniscus, telling him that any rough edges just wear away over time. I don’t know if that was simply save-a-buck policy of the time and it’s different today or not. Some of you readers may know.

The brace itself is made of unbendable aluminum (which I would spell and pronounce differently as a kid (aluminium ail-lou-mini-um) since I guess we preferred the more scientific usage since 1812 (no prejudice to other periodic table elements like platinum intended).

forrest gump braces

Such a relatively smallish brace reminds me of the Forrest Gump scaffolding I was supposed to wear as a kid but didn’t, with my mom letting me get away with wearing orthopedic boots for some years just like in the picture immediately above. Perhaps I’m paying today for my negligence back in the day. The much smaller Breg X2K I’m now using would be super-expensive to purchase. Frighteningly so. Especially since I immediately see the benefit of the extensive scaffolding Forrest was wearing. The under-the-heal-of-the-boot framing keeps the bars where they should be.


Filed under Guns, Medicine

11 responses to ““Stop the spin, Father George.” “Genuflecting at Mass is forbidden.”

  1. My problem is when I genuflect all the way down, I can’t get up without a struggle. God knows what we can and can’t do anymore.

  2. meshugunah

    Creaky Knee Solidarity! I’m arthritic, and can’t genuflect either, nor kneel on both knees at the same time at Mass. Anyone who wishes to criticize is welcome to spend a day using our legs. (Beats the heck out of needing prosthetic ones, all the same…)

  3. Nan

    I no longer genuflect, due to a bad knee. My Byzantine church doesn’t do that, but there are sometimes prostrations or kneeling, which I don’t do either. The exception was venerating Jesus at the tomb on Easter vigil, meaning the altar cloth that’s usually in a case on the wall, which depicts Jesus in the tomb and which later goes on the altar for the Easter season.

  4. My right knee started hurting now and again, a consequence of frequent genuflection while doing church cleaning, especially. The physicians finally ordered an MRI since the X-rays showed nothing. Indeed, it was caused by a torn meniscus…

  5. nancyv

    “who am I to judge?” ha.
    That is some hardware you were sporting in your younger years. Reminds me of my husband and all his vehicular accidents. Such good Guardian Angels! (I am not being sarcastic…very serious here) I am thankful he is around today, and for you as well. So we could remind our younger brothers & sisters to genuflect profoundly…while you can.

  6. pelerin

    I have every sympathy with those who can no longer genuflect or kneel as following a recent fall I have been unable to do either and I do hate giving a bad example on entering the pew. I do wonder why Pope Francis does not issue a statement explaining why he is unable to genuflect in order to put a stop all those who criticise him in this way.
    myforever77 reminded me of an occasion some years back when I entered Westminster Cathedral just when the Blessed Sacrament was unexpectedly being carried past. I immediately dropped to my knees only to realise that I was stuck there unable to get up on my own! I had to turn to someone nearby to ask them to haul me up otherwise I might still be there!

    • Father George David Byers

      He knows they are catching up to him! I’m always telling my Communion Calls that I’m catching up to them!

  7. Eileen

    You’re probably getting a lot of souls out of purgatory wearing that thing. That’s a good thing, even though the pain isn’t.
    I’ve been reduced to a “curtsy” upon entering and leaving daily Mass. He understands. Just glad to see me.
    God bless you.

  8. I am almost to that point where I can’t kneel either. My job took it’s toll on my knees and back.Since I can’t exercise much without causing pain or incapacity I have put on weight also. God understands our limitations and struggles. Some day we will be free of them and in Heavenly Bliss! For now I offer it up.

  9. Now you have seen my comment on my family ancestry I feel more comfortable replying to this post. I started to reply yesterday but changed my mind…

    After the Catholic/Anglican union of my great grandparents the descendants attended Anglican churches. In my younger years I attended an Anglican church and the teachings were what I would call Anglo/Catholic.

    We did not genuflect but we entered the church with reverence and made our way to a church pew and sat or knelt down in reverence and prayer (facing the altar).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.