Cong. for Worship considers (’bout time) more dignified “Sign of Peace”. POLL

I have posted polls about your feelings about the “Sign of Peace” during the Novus Ordo.

I saw this today at CNA:

Vatican announces desire for more restrained sign of peace at Mass

Vatican City, Jul 31, 2014 / 05:01 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The Congregation for Divine Worship, in a recent circular letter, announced that the placement of the sign of peace within Mass will not change, though it suggested several ways the rite could be performed with greater dignity.  [NO!  Really?]

“The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments … pronounced in favor of maintaining the ‘rite’ and ‘sign’ of peace in the place it has now in the Ordinary of the Mass,” Fr. Jose Maria Gil Tamayo, secretary general of the Spanish bishops’ conference, related in a July 28 memo. [And it is up to the discretion of the celebrant.]

He noted that this was done out of consideration of the placement of the rite of peace as “a characteristic of the Roman rite,” and “not believing it to be suitable for the faithful to introduce structural changes in the Eucharistic Celebration, at this time.”

The sign of peace is made after the consecration and just prior to the reception of Communion; it had been suggested that it be moved so that it would precede the presentation of the gifts.

Fr. Gil’s memo was sent to the Spanish bishops, and prefaced the Congregation for Divine Worship’s circular letter, which was signed June 8 by Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera, its prefect, and its secretary, Archbishop Arthur Roche. The circular had been approved and confirmed the previous day by Pope Francis. [The plot thickens!]

The letter made four concrete suggestions about how the dignity of the sign of peace could be maintained against abuses.

Fr. Gil explained that the circular letter is a fruit of the 2005 synod of bishops on the Eucharist, in which the possibility of moving the rite was discussed.

“During the Synod of Bishops there was discussion about the appropriateness of greater restraint in this gesture, which can be exaggerated and cause a certain distraction in the assembly just before the reception of Communion,” Benedict XVI wrote in his post-synodal apostolic exhortation ‘Sacramentum caritatis’.

He added that “I have asked the competent curial offices to study the possibility of moving the sign of peace to another place, such as before the presentation of the gifts at the altar … taking into account ancient and venerable customs and the wishes expressed by the Synod Fathers.”

An inspiration for the suggested change was Christ’s exhortation, at Mt. 5:23, that “if you remember that your brother has anything against you, leave your offering before the altar, and go be reconciled first.” It would also have brought the Roman rite into conformity, in that respect, with the Ambrosian rite, celebrated in Milan.

The Neo-Catechumenal Way, a lay movement in the Church, has already displaced the sign of peace, in its celebration of the Roman rite, to before the presentation of the gifts.

The Vatican congregation’s decision to maintain the placement of the sign of peace was the fruit of dialogue with the world’s bishops, which began in 2008, and in consultation with both Benedict XVI and Pope Francis.

The Congregation for Divine Worship said it would “offer some practical measures to better express the meaning of the sign of peace and to moderate excesses, which create confusion in the liturgical assembly just prior to Communion.” [The traditional liturgical method works well.]

“If the faithful do not understand and do not show, in their ritual gestures, the true significance of the right of peace, they are weakened in the Christian concept of peace, and their fruitful participation in the Eucharist is negatively affected.”

On this basis, the congregation offered four suggestions which are to form the “nucleus” of catechesis on the sign of peace.

First, while confirming the importance of the rite, it emphasized that “it is completely legitimate to affirm that it is not necessary to invite ‘mechanistically’ to exchange (the sign of) peace.[YES!] The rite is optional, the congregation reminded, and there certainly are times and places where it is not fitting.  [BOOYA!]

Its second recommendation was that as translations are made of the third typical edition of the Roman Missal, bishops’ conference should consider “changing the way in which the exchange of peace is made.” It suggested in particular that “familiar and worldly gestures of greeting” should be substituted with “other, more appropriate gestures.”

The congregation for worship also noted that there are several abuses of the rite which are to be stopped: the introduction of a “song of peace,” which does not exist in the Roman rite; [I don’t recall seeing that.]the faithful moving from their place to exchange the sign; the priest leaving the altar to exchange the sign with the faithful; and when, at occasions such as weddings or funerals, it becomes an occasion for congratulations or condolences.

The Congregation for Divine Worship’s final exhortation was that episcopal conferences prepare liturgical catechesis on the significance of the rite of peace, and its correct observation.

“The intimate relation between ‘lex orandi’ and ‘lex credendi’ should obviously be extended to ‘lex vivendi’,” the congregation’s letter concluded.

“That Catholics are today faced with the grave commitment to build a more just and peaceful world, implies a more profound understanding of the Christian meaning of peace and of its expression in liturgical celebration.”

It’s only been… how many decades?

Let’s rejoin the last POLL I posted, in progress.

Pick your best answer.

3rd ROUND: The congregation's "sign of peace" during (Novus Ordo) Mass

View Results

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55 Responses to Cong. for Worship considers (’bout time) more dignified “Sign of Peace”. POLL

  1. Incaelo says:

    The priest leaving the sanctuary to exchange handshakes… Ugh. While our parish priest is very sensible and doesn’t go in for such nonsense, our bishop is very fond of it. Dashing out to shake hands with all in the front pews and then hurrying back up the steps to do what he’s supposed to do.

    I hope this letter can cause some thought and discussion about the sign and peace, at least to remove the mechanistic nature of it. But we’ll have to push it to prevent it being happily ignored.

  2. Tony from Oz says:

    I stand corrected but, is not the sign of peace aka the ‘pax’ essentially a ritual action between the sacred ministers (and during High Mass in the TLM) who are particpating in the conduct of the liturgy? Of course, razing of the liturgical ramparts in 1972 (after the intro of the Novus Ordo) whereby the distinctions between ‘assisting’ at Mass and the restriction of participation in the conduct of the liturgy to the clergy (or altar servers as potential clerics ) were abolished – has led to the rampant congregationalism of the sign of peace love-in. Of course, anything that got in the way of this false participative fetish had to go – like altar rails, for instance, as distinctions between lay and clerical roles must needs be minimised.

    However, I am glad that they are leaving the Pax where it is because it has probably been there since time immemorial, and the discrediting of it in its current, regretable, form is because of the modern notion and dynamic of congregationalist participation inherent to the Novus Ordo.

    As for the Neo-cathechumenate already ordering the pax at the offertory – who gave any such permission to that lot?!

  3. The Sicilian Woman says:

    Our pastor doesn’t shake hands, but a priest from a neighboring parish who says Mass at times at our church does shake hands with the altar servers. There are also plenty in the congregation who darn near go out to the street to find people to shake hands with. (Somewhat kidding.) As for me, I chose the emptiest spot in the church. ;-)

  4. lmo1968 says:

    Tony from Oz: The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, The Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, The Congregation for the Clergy and the Catechesis, and the Congregation for Catholic Education all played a role, along with the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

    It makes more sense to have the Rite of Peace where the Neocatechumenal Way has it.

  5. CharlesG says:

    In line with Recommendation 2 of the CDWDS, I would like to commend the Oriental practice of a discrete bow to those around you at the sign of peace. I find it more reverent and less disruptive than the general handshaking and backslapping prevalent in the US.

    As far as placement of the rite, I’m of two minds. I like the idea of having it before the Offertory, because of Jesus’ statement about reconciling with one’s brother before making an offering, and there are ancient precedents, and practically it would make the rite less disruptive of communion. On the other hand, Jesus’ statement is still sort of applicable to the rite in its current position, given that we are still symbolically reconciling with out brother before communion, which is our personal participation in the sacrifice, that the rite of peace flows naturally from the last line of the Agnus Dei, and that it is the Roman traditional placement of the rite for more than a millennium and a half, and we’ve had quite a bit of tinkering in the OF, and a period of stability is not a bad idea.

  6. CharlesG says:

    “As for the Neo-cathechumenate already ordering the pax at the offertory – who gave any such permission to that lot?!”

    I believe Pope Benedict did. There was a ruling that the Neo-Cats had to conform to all the applicable rubrics for Mass, but they were specifically allowed to make this one innovation, presumably as a sort of experiment to test a possible general move of the pax. I also read somewhere that the Neo-Cats were still holding on to some of their unusual and unrubrical Eucharistic practices and supposedly have been told unofficially that they can continue them under the new Pontificate. Not sure if that is true or not. Maybe someone with more knowledge can enlighten.

  7. Elizabeth D says:

    A couple of years ago I attended a Mass celebrated by a retired priest at a local location that is not a parish. There were a variety of problems with this Mass that I ignored, but one of them was that the priest walked up to me during the sign of peace where I was sitting about the third row back, extended my hand and asked my name. I was startled and confused what to do, I did take his hand and said in a normal voice “Elizabeth–but Father you are not supposed to leave the sanctuary during the sign of peace.” He did not reply.

    Some other things happened and a little later out of the blue I was firmly reprimanded by a very good and respected third party that the retired priest complained I “disrupted Mass” (there is more to the story–don’t be the least bit upset with this third party). I apologized, with a high appreciation of the irony (the sign of peace was the only thing that this could have meant). The GIRM says that during the sign of peace the priest “always remains within the sanctuary, so that the celebration is not disrupted.”

  8. Elizabeth D says:

    sorry, ” extended my hand and asked my name” should obviously be “extended his hand…”

  9. ocleirbj says:

    Re: the “song of peace”, our Filipino choir does this. In our Ontario diocese, the sign of peace is quiet and fairly brief, and as it’s beginning, this choir always starts to sing a chorus that starts “Let there be peace shared among us”. It isn’t that long, but we have usually finished saying “Peace” to each other before it ends. Then, they go right into “Lamb of God”. I have always wondered why they do this.

  10. Bea says:

    The sign of peace is inconsistent with its’ original intent.
    Correct me if I’m wrong,
    but isn’t the peace supposed to come from God, through the priest and passed on to the people?
    We cannot GIVE each other peace, we can only wish GOD’s peace to descend upon us and as Tony from Oz said it filters down from the priest to us, not one on one to each other.
    I always try to remember to say “May God’s peace be with you”
    I was taken aback the other day when I went to shake hands with a friend sitting in the pew behind me and as we shook hands she said: “I like your shoes, where’d you get them?”
    Good grief, talk about participation in the Mass! What and Who are we here for, anyway!

  11. Reconverted Idiot says:

    You lot! I never had a problem with it, being raised on Novus Ordo, but since following here I’ve been given to reflection over it. The N.O. Masses I attend during the week omit it, and attending the E.F. on Sundays I never see it. But when occasion has it that I’m attending an N.O. Mass elsewhere, or where a visiting priest is celebrating Mass at my parish, I’m finding it increasingly discomfiting when it does occur, and I feel not a little relieved when the priest continues without it. It isn’t just the timing, which is certainly off-putting, but also the general gist of it. I now ‘tolerate it’, and I doubt would miss it if it was removed altogether.

  12. polycarped says:

    @ Tony from Oz

    “As for the Neo-cathechumenate already ordering the pax at the offertory – who gave any such permission to that lot?!”

    Pope Francis did, I believe. Pope Benedict, as we know (thanks in large part to the actions of Cardinal Burke) put approval of the Neo-cats’ liturgical novelties on hold but, as far as I understand, Pope Francis quickly and quietly approved it all recently. Shudder…

  13. anilwang says:

    It’s pretty dignified at the parishes I’ve been to in Toronto.
    People in the pews bow, except for family members which either kiss or hug. The priest shakes the hands of the EMHCs.

    I would mind it less if it were put before the offertory, both because it would leave the second half of the mass focused on God while the first half is more horizontal, and because Biblically one should make peace with one’s neighbour before bringing one’s offering.

  14. Vecchio di Londra says:

    My only hope is that some day a senior epidemiologist will give a robust view on the inadvisability of a crowd of worshippers hand-shaking at Mass without having first washed their hands.

  15. CharlesG says:

    ” the rite of peace flows naturally from the last line of the Agnus Dei”

    Sorry, should have said “the rite of peace flows naturally from the Embolism, and then is happily concluded by the Agnus Dei”. Doh!

  16. sacerdos1997 says:

    I dread the sign of peace. When I assumed my new parish, the altar servers used to sail out of the sanctuary to hug their moms and the choir immediately began the Lamb of God which in effect was a “sign of peace song.” I tackled this problem on three fronts…informing the choir not to begin the Lamb of God until things calmed down, telling the altar boys to stay put, and instructing the parish about the gesture and informing them that it would not be observed on weekdays, using the excuse that the gesture is optional and would be used in our parish only for solemnities. It tamed things down a bit, but I still wish it would just go away. Could you imagine the crowd at the foot of the cross fluttering around giving high fives, smooching, exchanging sports scores, laughing and greeting one another? It horrifies me.

  17. HyacinthClare says:

    One of the many, many issues we don’t even have to think about at an FSSP parish…

  18. JesusFreak84 says:

    And this is why I stick to the TLM or the Divine Liturgy. I don’t want anyone touching me unless it’s life-or-death, spiritual or physical.

  19. Tony from Oz says:

    CharlesG et al.,

    I suppose I’m not all that surprised that the innovating, Neocatechumenal retro-antiquarians have obtained some sort of indult from the Vatican – after all, they are a perfect reflection of the entire post-conciliar liturgical trajectory on steroids. At least they have not invented, ex nihilo, the placement of the Pax at the offertory, even if this is NOT part of the Latin Roman usage.

    However, my main point was that the Pax is fine where it has always been. It is just that, before the fabrication of the Novus Ordo [note Pope Benedict’s comment that it is a ‘fabricated rite’], the Pax/’sign of Peace’ was only enacted at solemn masses as opposed to Low Masses [although I may stand corrected here?] – and that it was restricted to the sacred ministers. It was never intended that it be participated in by the laity assisting at Mass. It was, and is, a ritual action.

    The fact that Bugnini and his Consilium Boyos thought it would be grand for everybody to get involved in the Pax is one of the plainest examples of both imagined antiquarianism and what I call the inherent dynamic of the Novus Ordo: the participative fetish whereby it’s all about us.

    I suspect the reason the Pax is optional in the Novus Ordo is a reflection of the fact (?) that it was only ever done at Solemn Masses before Vatican II (as indeed in present day TLMs, of course) – but, because of the participative imperative, it has become de rigeur in most NO parishes world-wide.

  20. Magash says:

    The Sign of Peace really doesn’t bother me as much as hand holding at the Our Father. The pastor of a neighboring parish never exercises the option to extend the Sign of Peace to the assembly, but reminds the community that they are free to offer the Sign after the recession (which is of course outside of the Mass.)
    The problem with this letter is that like most instructions which come out of the Congregation there are no real instructions. There are recommendations. Recommendations can and will be ignored. For example:
    ” It suggested in particular that “familiar and worldly gestures of greeting” should be substituted with “other, more appropriate gestures.””
    Okay, so what gestures should be used? Who Decides?
    Like most of the poor liturgical practices that have been seen for the past 40 years this one will go on unchanged until the Congregation starts sending out letters that include “shall” instead of “suggest.”

  21. pjsandstrom says:

    It is worth remembering that the context that Matthew 5:23 provides that it is meant as a ‘gesture of peace and reconciliation’/forgiveness. It does not have to be very ‘demonstrative’ or overly emotive — just an establishment of commonality of place before the Lord and one’s neighbor and a single active intention before approaching the Holy Eucharist. It certainly does not have to be lengthy, or chatty, nor as ‘solemn’ as the ‘kiss of peace’ among the clergy at a ‘Solemn High Mass’. It is a means of ‘reassurance’ that the persons present, each in their ‘proper order’ are united before sharing the ‘Divine Gifts’.

  22. jacobi says:

    The sign of peace handshake is a post-Vat II attempt to introduce congregation oriented as opposed to Christ oriented inclusivity. It has no place on Catholic liturgy and before the Novus Ordo was between clergy.

    It is not mandatory and is not done in some Masses I go to. Priests should note that. You have the choice. You can offer “peace be with you” to the congregation and leave it at that.

    A handshake is nowhere specified. I personally think it is most inappropriate for many reasons. People have arthritic hand, injured hands, wet flabby hands,. excessively strong and hurtful hands and some females have rather nice shapely hands, well manicured, warm, and soft – which I find quite diverting! Anyway my mother told me never to offer my hand first to a woman

    Personally if I have to, I make a slight bow with my hand firmaly together.

    ps I voted for “I dread it and think of ways to avoid it”, except for my wife of course, who get a big kiss.

  23. xylkatie says:

    While attending a mass in Dublin as a visitor, I was taken aback by some of the enthusiasm that some of the congregants had for the sign of the peace. It changed my view to be a little more positive toward the SOP, as it could be done with great joy. To the comments on hand washing… I visited another church in the Midwest where the Eucharistic ministers paraded before the super-sized jug of Purell in a rite I had never witnessed before or since!

  24. Lepidus says:

    The real question is whether or not a statement by the CDW is going to do anything at all, especially at the parishes where the abuses are occurring? These are the same priests that get a brand new set of “black” to say and can’t even get that right.

    Now, if the CDW is intent on keep this, maybe they should just move it to the beginning of Mass before the open song. That way we only have to shake once!

  25. Let me point out something folks may have missed: one particular recommendation can be done right now: the priest (or deacon) does not invite any action at all. It clearly says in the Missal that it’s optional.

    Then you have two options: the priest can then offer the sign of peace to the deacon or servers, or I think he can licitly even omit that. In my judgement, the dialogue is an exchange of peace all by itself.

    For some time, I have omitted the invitation, but proceeded to give a sign of peace. Just this one change does notably effect a more subdued tone.

    Even if the priest chooses not to give a handshake, if someone objects (count on it), the priest can say, when did I stop you? So there’s no reason to make a big thing. The effect of what I describe will be to dial it down.

  26. seattle_cdn says:

    Song of Peace – there was a time at one parish where the choir would sing “Give peace a chance” during the Sign of Peace and segue into Lamb of God.

    Toronto churches tend to do this quick and awkward bow, which started when the city was hit by SARS. I’m fine with a dignified hand shake given the choice between that and the weird bows. Go to an Asian church – those congregants know how to bow and I love that everybody bows together toward the altar first.

  27. M. K. says:

    I have not seen it done very often, but I have been at Masses where a “song of peace” was used – my experience was that it had the effect of further drawing out the rite, because people ended up finishing the sign of peace before the song was over and ended up standing around awkwardly. I also found that having music at this point made the transition from the sign of peace to the ‘Agnus Dei’ all the more jarring.

    In the Canadian diocese where I live, I have noticed that the sign of peace has become very muted in parishes – most people will merely wave, even to those who are close enough to them that they could actually shake hands. My unscientific theory is that this is actually a residue of the SARS outbreak and of other recent periods when we were actually forbidden from having physical contact with others at the sign of peace because of concerns about the flu. My sense was that when people have gotten out of the habit of shaking hands at the sign of peace, they don’t easily get back into the habit – which is perhaps worth thinking about.

  28. Mike says:

    God news. In my view, for what it’s worth, I think the faithful exchanging the sign of peace is so eroded by sentimentality and a general 70s mentality that it’s basically irreformable. They really should have announced that the sign of peace is no longer a part of the ordinary form of the Roman Rite. But hey, I know we should be happy for little improvements too.

  29. Mike says:

    Good news. In my view, for what it’s worth, I think the faithful exchanging the sign of peace is so eroded by sentimentality and a general 70s mentality that it’s basically irreformable. They really should have announced that the sign of peace is no longer a part of the ordinary form of the Roman Rite. But hey, I know we should be happy for little improvements too.

  30. Mike says:

    Whoops. But all real good news is God news…

  31. LeeF says:

    I have occasionally attended Spanish Mass in my diocese and have witnessed a “song of peace” there. In fact it is not a substitution, but an addition to the sign of peace, meaning that it adds even more time to the ritual.

    Which brings to mind that Spanish Masses are where I see some older priests of the Fishwrap generation burrowing in for their retirement by taking Spanish classes and wishing to spend retirement in Hispanic ministry, where their liturgical aberrations doctrinal unorthodoxy in preaching are far more likely to escape notice. Every diocese with a significant number of Masses in Spanish needs a vicar to keep watch for these problems.

  32. vetusta ecclesia says:

    So again it has been left to the Bishops’ Conference – which in the UK will probably mean that the letter will hit the bin and no one will ever hear of it.

  33. Cathy says:

    I find it strange, I once heard that reform of the Mass was necessary to “weed out” unnecessary repetition. Yet, within the Novus Ordo in my parish, we are called to a greet and meet, shake hands, be “welcoming” prior to the start of the Mass. The sign of peace, prior to communion, seems to be a repetition. At certain parishes, the sign of peace becomes an occasion of musical chairs – including the priest and deacons leaving the sanctuary to participate. At a certain point, it becomes a strange game of Simon says with people waving and making peace signs so that others are acknowledged. The spread of disease is also a real concern. How do we handle this. News sources are now telling people to fist bump as opposed to shaking hands. Will this become an acceptable alternative in Christ’s Church? I think I am moving more towards the view of, if it is, indeed, an unnecessary action within the liturgy, let it go.

  34. lmo1968 says:

    The Neocatechumenal Way liturgies were approved in 2008 by the various offices that I mentioned in my comment to Tony from Oz above.

  35. SKAY says:

    Considering all the communicable diseases pouring across the border and being spread across the country, perhaps -at the least- something else should be done instead of handshakes at church that you feel pressured to do during Mass. In years past women would wear gloves when “dressing up” for church or attending formal gatherings. Something like that is beginning to make sense again because there are things that even our modern medicine will not stop or cure. The idea of a slight nod or bow would be OK if we must continue it.

  36. sirlouis says:

    I remember reading somewhere that long, long ago the peace began with the priest kissing the altar, which is a sign of Christ, then exchanging with the deacon, the deacon with the sub-deacon, then to the other ministers, then to the laity, who exchanged it with each other. So what was going on was the peace of Christ radiating out from the altar. It was not at all a matter of greeting each other, but the peace of Christ received and given, one by one. I think of it as analogous to the common practice at the Easter Vigil of lighting candles. The new fire is struck from stone, then the Paschal candle is lit from that. The ministers light their candles from the Paschal candle, then pass that fire to others who pass it along, one to the next to the next. If people were to understand the pax in a similar way, the idea that everyone has to greet everyone else could be seen as no more appropriate than having my candle lit from more than one other person’s candle. Once my candle is lit, it’s lit. It would be silly to again touch a lit candle to it. Let’s repeat: the pax is not a greeting but a passing on of something intangible but real. The CDW would do well were it to revise the rubrics to have the pax start with the priest kissing the altar, then ritually “kissing” only the minister or server directly next him, those passing it to the next down, to ushers who pass it to those at the ends of pews, and so on. Leave it up to the national conferences and the most we can realistically hope for is a direction that people should stay where they are when exchanging the “greeting.” Granted, even that would be an improvement.

  37. yatzer says:

    I read somewhere that the “fist bump” is a much more hygienic way of greeting than shaking hands. So, maybe we could have the Fist Bump of Peace.

  38. Polycarpio says:

    @ocleirbj: In Latin America, a song of Peace/Lamb of God song is frequently used to segue from the Sign of Peace to the Lamb of God. It is set to the music of “Hevenu shalom Aleichem,” the Jewish hymn sung at weddings, Bar Mitzvahs and other celebrations.

  39. Mike says:

    The choir I belonged to as a teenager always sang the refrain of “Let There Be Peace on Earth” — a perennially popular song in the mainstream in those days, especially at Christmas time — during the Sign of Peace in the mid-1970s. It didn’t seem to diminish the reverence with which Mass was offered, but of course that was before innovative liturgists and parish councils had much of a chance to undermine worship in the specious “spirit of Vatican II.”

    Had the CDW exercised its prerogative and duty to rein in abuses of the Sign of Peace (and of practically everything else in the Novus Ordo Mass) more early and more frequently, I doubt we’d be having this discussion. One suspects they’re seeing the anti-wreckovationist bricks pile up, one by one, and reacting as they deem suitable.

  40. Robbie says:

    The “handshake/hug it out/give me a kiss” moment is a creation of man. Mass is about God. It has no place in the Catholic Mass. If one feels compelled to fistbump, smooch, or hug it out, do so before or after Mass outside of the church.

    Alas, I never expected it would go away and I have little doubt the new suggestions of the CDW will be all but ignored in most places. Honestly, they spent nine years on this topic and this is what they decided?

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  42. sisu says:

    The form of the sign of peace that is part of the Chaldean Rite is very reverent, theologically clear, and cannot turn into a yack-fest – it was a lovely thing to experience at their Divine Liturgy. I’d take that any day!
    The gesture is not a handshake etc, but hands together, as in prayer, are presented, and the other puts a hand on either side as receiving the peace, then turns and the next receives from them. It begins with associated prayers, then the priest puts his hands on the Altar (peace comes from the Altar), then passes it to the deacon, who goes to the servers, who then each pass it to a person at the front of each section, and each turns to the next, so on, until the end of the section – very much like the lighting of candles at Easter Vigil, but more linear. This happens all shortly after the Creed.
    Here is an image: http://www.cnewa.org/Mag-Images/magimages-3-1/3-1-4I.jpg

  43. Boniface says:

    At OF masses without a choir I’ve attended in which the celebrants have omitted the SOP, what seems to work best is for the priest to instantly launch into the Agnus Dei. Otherwise, there are people who just do the SOP anyway – either out of habit or who knows what. When that happens, I feel like blurting out to the person extending a hand that “we were not invited by the priest to give a sign of peace.” But I don’t because I’d feel like a jerk and my poor fellow massgoer would have no idea what I’m talking about.

  44. einkleinerknabe says:

    I don’t mind the sign of peace if it is short and dignified, but personally, I prefer if it is omitted (the one reason I look forward to flu season).
    At one parish I attend on occasion, the pastor has a routine at the sign of peace. He leaves the sanctuary and shakes the hand of every person near either end of a pew. He first goes to the outside aisles and ends by going down the center aisle. And of course “Peace is Flowing Like a River” is sung while this takes place.
    This particular priest ends nearly every mass with his “three questions”: 1) any birthdays? (if so, Happy Birthday is sung), 2) any anniversaries? (congratulations follows), 3) anyone here for the first time ? (names and where from is inquired).

  45. Sid Cundiff in NC says:

    Some good news for those of us who hate the Ordinary Form’s “giving of the peace”. Perhaps soon it will be done away with, as it is already in traditionalist minded clergy. Also needing elimination are gestures not called for in the Ordo of the Mass (hand-holding at the Pater Noster, opening the hands at “with your spirit”, striking the breast at the ostentation rite [not a moment for penance but of sheer adoration], etc.)

  46. iamlucky13 says:

    Even as someone who grew up with the Novus Ordo, the suggestion to move the sign of peace to after the presentation makes a lot of sense, but I don’t see it as necessarily out of place after the Our Father, either, as long as it’s done in a manner that maintains continuity between the Eucharistic prayer and communion. Throwing solemnity to the wind is what really breaks that continuity, not the mere exchange of peace.

    The GIRM frames it reasonably, in my opinion:

    “There follows the Rite of Peace, by which the Church entreats peace and unity for herself and for the whole human family, and the faithful express to each other their ecclesial communion and mutual charity before communicating in the Sacrament.

    As for the actual sign of peace to be given, the manner is to be established by the Conferences of Bishops in accordance with the culture and customs of the peoples. However, it is appropriate that each person, in a sober manner, offer the sign of peace only to those who are nearest.”

    I can understand that some might wish the GIRM itself to be changed, but as it currently instructs us, “in accordance with the culture and customs of the peoples” in European-influenced countries is almost synonymous with saying a handshake, since extending your empty sword hand to another person is our solidly established cultural sign of peace. Again, I don’t think the practice troubling when done reverently and recognizing the liturgical meaning. It’s the common dismissal of solemnity and treating it as a social gesture that detracts from the liturgy.

    The same wording also effectively means not a hug, since in our culture a hug is a sign of affection, distinct from peace.

    I admit, I do kiss my wife on the cheek, and I sometimes ponder about the appropriateness of that action of special unity between spouses, which is not the focus of the Mass, but I specifically decided no more than on the cheek.

    “I read somewhere that the “fist bump” is a much more hygienic way of greeting than shaking hands. So, maybe we could have the Fist Bump of Peace”

    Ah…so Life Teen is saving us from bird flue and ebola?

    I remember as a teen being amused to do fist bumps or flash a peace sign at distant friends. My dad admonished me when he noticed it, and I sort of understood that it wasn’t really an appropriate time to try to be edgy and hip, but I didn’t really think about why until I got older and started to learn more about and better recognize the cohesive structure and meaning in the liturgy. I know other teens do not have the background to understand this, so it is important to explain it patiently to them if the topic arises.

  47. iPadre says:

    I have exercised my option of not doing the Sign of Peace in my parish. That has not eliminated it. It is as if I still announced the exchange. However, it is much more subdued. There does remain some waiving. The toothpaste has been out of the tube too long. It will take several years of teaching, even if there is a change, to restore a sense of decorum. Although, a restoration of 1,500 years of tradition from the TLM would be a good start: only at “High Mass”, starting with the altar to the deacon and clergy and basta!

  48. RJHighland says:

    It has been about 4 yrs. since I have experienced the whole sign of peace insanity at my local parish. I almost forgot what it was. Then I remembered it was that most reverent time in the New Mass when adults act like idiots wondering around shaking hands and hugging and kids throw some type of gangster peace sign to friends on the other side of the nave (New church definition: Gathering Room). Maybe the Congregation of Divine Worship should have said pretty please. It would be nice if they treated tradtionalists with such kid gloves. At least it gives diocesen priests that have a desire to rid the Mass of this chaos the means to do it, but it will give the majority of parish priests the ability to ignore it because it has no teeth. I think if the Congregation of Divine Worship really wanted to stop this nonsense they would send the preists that allow the sign of peace thing to get out of control to a distant monstery where they can no longer communicate with their faithful or like minded brethern, it worked well on the good Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate. But if they did that there would hardly be any Catholic Priests any where in the world to offer the Mass. It would definetly develope that smaller more faithful Church Pope Benedict XVI professized. The good thing would be now empty monasteries would be filled to the brim with humbled heretic priest and bishops, given an opportunity for repentance. Kind of like a Catholic Scared Straight program. But then Pope Frances would have to make a public apology to the world for the Church wanting to be too Catholic. I haven’t read through all the posts but I’m sure there will be those who state how reverently they do the sign of peace in their parish just like how wonderful it is to hold the Lord in their hand formed like a crown at communion, the curse of Bernardin is strong in the Church, who elevated him to Cardinal anyway, oh that’s right Saint John Paul II.

  49. Johnno says:

    In India, the sign is made very much like the Namaste traditional greeting.

    Hands clapsed together and a dignified bow. First to the altar and the priest, then to those around us.

    This thing should be moved to the beginning of the Mass so we get it out of the way and focus on God.

  50. jacobi says:

    @ iPadre

    Father, if I may make a suggestion,

    you could just tell them to cut it out, get back to their seats, stop disrupting the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, or else get out of the church.

    You are the priest after all, and you are in charge!

    Just a suggestion you understand.

  51. vetusta ecclesia says:

    The late Archbishop Ramsay, formerly of Canterbury, retired to Durham where he attended the Cathedral. He hated the “Rite of Peace”and would kneel, deep in prayer, at that point. Even the boldest, happiest clapper did not dare disturb the venerable prelate!

  52. mr205 says:

    Like many, I’d prefer it not be there or be moved. However, it only really bothers me when it becomes the “peace sign,” people holding up two fingers like the 1960s to random people throughout the entire Parish. To me, that is extremely irreverent.

  53. Priam1184 says:

    Does anyone think that this statement will make a single iota of difference, given the vast numbers of liturgically abusive and apostate bishops who run the show in the vast majority of dioceses in the world?

  54. OrthodoxChick says:

    Priam1184,
    Probably not. Sadly. But at least it lends a bit of cover to those faithful priests who are trying to restore reverence and dignity to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.