A Guide to Solemn High Mass. Parts V & VI: Genuflection and Rosaries


The term “genuflection” refers to the Ritualist custom of kneeling unexpectedly during the church service; it is named after the city of Genoa, where it originally developed. Loyal churchmen are often quite alarmed upon witnessing this custom for the first time; instead of simply entering his pew and kneeling in prayer, the Ritualist drops to one knee in a sudden and fitful spasm, rising to his feet just as suddenly as though nothing untoward had just occurred. This sort of genuflection is known as a “single genuflection;” a “double genuflection” involves the use of both knees, while the rare “triple” variety requires the Ritualist to balance his weight on his two knees and left elbow.

Ritualists view genuflection as a sort of competitive sport, and will eagerly advise each other on the correct technique: the genuflector must keep his back straight for the duration of the maneuver and must not touch any neighbouring object for support. While the typical Ritualist genuflects only a few times in a service (when entering or exiting a pew, or at the mention of the Incarnation in the Creed), ambitious Ritualists will seize every possible opportunity to demonstrate their athleticism, genuflecting whenever a particularly moving psalm verse is read or every time the priest utters the word “vouchsafe,” Demonstrating an advanced skill level in genuflection is a quick route to prestige and influence in a Ritualist parish, and the quickest means of advancement in the acolyte’s guild for those who aspire to the rank of MC. 

Competitive genuflection is not for the faint of heart. The rapid and forceful movements required by the career genuflector can lead to patellar erosion, spinal mistraction and anaerobic dephlogistication. The churchgoer whose elegant movements were the envy of his parish at age twenty may find himself hospitalized with pharyngeoskeletal complications at age fifty, alone and abandoned by the other Ritualists who now have no further use for him.


A rosary is a communication device employed by Ritualists. Upon initial inspection, the rosary seems innocuous enough, appearing to be nothing more than a series of beads on a string. In fact, the rosary is a sophisticated piece of technology allowing Ritualists to coordinate their subversive activities across a large geographical area. Rosaries are ideal for this purpose since the experienced user can send or receive messages by the sense of touch alone, the rosary remaining concealed within his garments at all times. If rosary users are known to be active in your area, particular vigilance is required: the milkman or telegram boy may be Ritualist operatives who are monitoring your activities and passing along information to their headquarters in Walsingham.

The women in the above picture are experienced rosary operators. Since they have strength in numbers and are in the nave of a Ritualist parish church, they can engage in open rosaration; however, their long cloaks make it possible for them to hide their rosaries at a moment’s notice. Since there is no way for loyal churchmen to intercept messages sent using rosaries, there is no way to tell what the women are discussing; they may be planning a missile assault on a local group of loyal churchmen, or they may simply be exchanging recipes.

When confronted about the strings of beads they are manipulating, Ritualists usually claim that they are merely praying. This explanation is most unlikely, since it is hard to see how one could pray using a series of beads on a string. Ritualists also deny that rosaries are designed to cause severe burns to loyal churchmen when handled, but they have not yet been able to prove that this is not the case.


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