WDTPRS POLL: The Sign of Peace in the Novus Ordo

Choose the answer closest to your thought and then give your comments in the combox below.

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Let’s get a good response!  Perhaps other bloggers will help?

What do you think about the "sign of peace" during Mass in the Ordinary Form?

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  1. William says:

    Tolerate. A well intentioned insertion gone horribly bad! Holding of hands during the “Our Father” is far more objectionable.

  2. rebecca76 says:

    Tolerate it but dread it. I am often treated rudely by people during the sign of peace for not holding their hand during the Our Father.

  3. Elly says:

    I tolerate it. No, it is not ideal to touch peoples’ hands before communion but if we receive on the tongue, what difference does it make? I wonder if those who “dread it as it approaches and think of ways to avoid it” could think about other things instead, such as the sacrifice that is present.

  4. JCCMADD says:

    If I have to attend the N.O.( usally kicking) I try to sit in the back of the church so I know when to run to the mens room to avoid it.

  5. NDPhys says:

    This is something I tolerate. I find the timing of the sign of peace can distract me from the eternal sacrifice that is on the altar before me. However, I will offer a sign of peace to those nearest me if so directed by the priest or deacon.

  6. Sarah L says:

    I like it well enough, and will gladly participate, but wouldn’t be heartbroken if it were eliminated. It does seem to disrupt the rhythm and flow of the Liturgy of the Eucharist. When I am at Mass with my whole family, it’s nice to hug each sibling in turn, but it’s not like we don’t do that elsewhere. At many parishes near me germ-conscious senior citizens have reduced it to smiles and nods.

  7. Daniel Latinus says:

    I tolerate it, but avoid it as much as possible. I usually try to sit in a part of the church where I’m unlikely to be near anybody, but at least on Sundays/Holy Days of Obligation I find myself surrounded by all the people who show up at the last minute.

  8. Augustine says:

    I quite like it, but I’m used to exchanging the peace just after the creed. I can imagine that the current location in the Roman Mass is a little different.

  9. jmoran says:

    Tolerate. When I see the husband and wife in front of me kiss, I don’t want THAT sign of peace. I stay on my knees with my missal in my hands say “Peace be with you.” I also really don’t like it when someone turns around and says, “Hey!”

  10. ies0716 says:

    I tolerate it, but only because the NO rubrics require it. If the rubrics were to change where I could “legally” ignore the sign of peace and just kneel and pray, I would take advantage of that option in a heartbeat and not care who I was offending. As it is, I do the bare minimum and never turn around to shake hands with people behind me.

  11. TNCath says:

    I tolerate it, but dread it intensely. I never understood why the priest’s greeting (“Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum.”) and our response (“Et cum spiritu tuo.”) doesn’t seem to be enough for most parishes? Our parish is comprised of mostly older people. For many of them, Mass on Sunday is their “outing” for the week and their only social contact, so Sunday Mass turns out to be quite a spectacle. They tend to anticipate the Sign of Peace somewhere between the end of the Lord’s Prayer and the invitation to the Sign of Peace. You’ll see them waving to each other from opposite ends of the church and, at the time of the Sign of Peace, walking 5-10 pews away to greet each other, perhaps congratulating each other for making it through another week alive. Then, those who didn’t get to see each other at the Sign of Peace are waving to each other in the line for Holy Communion. Yes, it gets that ridiculous.

  12. Christina says:

    I don’t really care; it’s what I’m used to. A long, drawn-out time is a bit tedious and embarrassing, but since I know it’s coming (no surprises mid-prayer) a short exchange with the people nearest me is just fine. Then again, I have a fairly energetic toddler, so I count on being somewhat distracted, anyway.

  13. Liz says:

    It’s tough. Finally, we came up with not shaking each other’s hands (within our family) but if somebody is nearby and they want to shake hands then we will tolerate it. (I don’t want to be rude. They may not know etc.) Don’t ask me to hug or give silly signs from far away though! When I think of how beautiful the Kiss of Peace is with the clergy is it does make me shudder. My favorite is when they skip it altogether. Woohoo!

  14. Maria says:

    I welcome the sign of Peace and I like it.
    It is an opportunity to extend physically the love we feel in our hearts for one another and I believe this pleases The Lord.

    As for the germs, its a good job Jesus didn’t worry about contamination when He touched the lepers.
    Our fight is not about flesh and blood so I am glad to touch others before Our Lord, in His Name.

  15. Magpie says:

    I hate it. I hate it. I hate it.

    Urgh. I hate it.

    Yeah, I am not a big fan of the sign of peace.

    We discussed this last night with my parents, aunt and uncle. We all agreed it was a meaningless gesture. get rid of it.

    I sometimes try blowing my nose at the time, but even then, people wait ’til you’re finished so they can shake your hand.

  16. I generally tolerate it. I don’t mind so much if it’s orderly, give a polite handshake to those immediately around you, and say something to the effect of “peace be with you”. HOWEVER, I strongly dislike when people have to be waving, doing the little two finger “V” peace signs, leaving their pews, etc. That gets very old, very fast. Father also needs to stay in the Sanctuary.

    It’s not a bad thing, but it’s mis-used a little too often. Perhaps some catechesis would help.

  17. Kent says:

    I tolerate it. Since I already have a bad reputation in our small parish for refusing to hold hands during the Our Father, I figure that I should make this small concession so people know what a really swell guy I am. Of course, my reputation heads south again when the EMHC’s head for the altar at communion time and an audible sigh of disgust escapes my lips

  18. suzannaleigh says:

    I voted that I didn’t care one way or another. Now, I do think it disturbs the rhythm of the Mass and when I first started attending, before I was confirmed, I had thought how awkward it felt since the consecration had just happened. However, over all the things one could fight over about the NO, the sign of peace is low on the list, in my opinion. If I wanted to raise a stink about something, it would be music or a priest not properly cleansing the vessels (*shudder*). Yes, the sign of peace is a little jarring, but compared with other things, it’s relatively harmless. That doesn’t mean I would welcome a Mass that didn’t have it or for it to be struck entirely from the rubrics. I’m just saying there are more important things to battle over.

  19. suzannaleigh says:

    I’m sorry. There’s a typo in my last post. I meant to say that I would welcome a Mass without it.

  20. cheyan says:

    “I like it well enough, and will gladly participate, but wouldn’t be heartbroken if it were eliminated,” to quote Sarah L, above, sums up my view pretty well!

    Part of the reason I personally like it is that I grew up at a parish where everyone held hands during the Lord’s Prayer, and it seemed unfriendly and unwelcoming whenever I was at a parish that didn’t. Then I learned that holding hands was the anomaly, and was told that if I felt the need to express that I welcomed the presence of my fellow worshippers, I should very sincerely say, “Peace be with you,” at the sign of peace. So I do. Because I’m in a part of the world where shaking hands is “what’s done”, I do that too. Since I am one of two or sometimes three women who cover their heads at Mass, I really don’t want to seem like I’m shunning those around me.

    Of course, the parish I now attend holds hands for the Lord’s Prayer, too, but I don’t unless I see someone holding out a hand to me while I’m standing up after the sung Amen. (I close my eyes once I’m standing and have folded my hands, partly to concentrate on prayer and partly, I’ll admit, so that I legitimately don’t see offered hands…)

  21. cregduff says:

    It’s interesting that you ask this, Father, and as well the way you phrase the options in the poll.

    I have found that my attitude has changed quite a lot since I began attending the TLM.

    For a very long time, I actually looked forward to greeting others, have a few words, in addition to sharing the Lord’s Peace with nearby people. Our parish goes a step further and just before the introduction of the Entrance Hymn, the cantor asks everyone to turn off mobile devices and greet those around you, & then turn to page XX and join in singing. A whole raft of murmuring and talking takes place right as people ought to be taking a more serene and prayerful stance.

    When I began to attend (assist) at mass in the extraordinary form, I immediately began to dislike the initial greeting at the start of mass. And slowly, I have shied away from embracing the “Kiss of Peace” too much as well, over time. I used to be happy to do it. Currently I just barely tolerate it. However, I am leaning more and more to disliking, with great depth, the whole practice, so much so that I am distracted when it comes up.

    I wish there was more opportunity for silence and prayer during the Canon in the NO mass. However, even that might not make me change my developing disgust for the sloppy happy practice.

    Ed Casey

  22. JohnE says:

    I tolerate it as long as it doesn’t turn into a 10-minute intermission where people walk around and visit with each other, such as what happened at a parish I visited in Hawaii several years ago. I wish I could say I’m exaggerating. My preference is that it be done just before the entrance hymn if done at all.

  23. I don’t mind the sign of peace at all. (I do mind holding hands during the Lord’s Prayer, however.) I don’t understand why others here dread it so much. I see it as fulfilling Matthew 5.23-24: “If therefore thou offer thy gift at the altar, and there thou remember that thy brother hath any thing against thee; Leave there thy offering before the altar, and go first to be reconciled to thy brother: and then coming thou shalt offer thy gift.” Didn’t Christ talk about loving our neighbors? About the blind adherence to the the letter of the law to the point of ignoring the needs of others (i.e. doing good works on the Sabbath)?

  24. ipadre says:

    The “sign of peace” is an option in the Ordinary Form, at the discretion of the priest. About three years ago I stopped it during the flu season and brought it back at Easter. A number of people asked why we had to bring it back. The next year I stopped it during the flu season and have chosen not to take advantage of that option. On a rare occasion, I will use that option now.

    I’m sure many of my brother priests think I’m a radical for this. However, many priests choose options that don’t exist and are never considered radical.

  25. mdinan says:

    I loathe it, but i don’t avoid it. I simply don’t shake hands. I smile, bow my head a touch, and say “Peace of Christ.” I don’t think it’s right to be dreaming up ways to avoid talking to people when Jesus is present on the altar. I just focus on Him.

  26. Louis says:

    I like it. But maybe it is because I am in a mixed marriage and she “feels” like she can participate. I also need to go back and read the rest of the post because I do not understand why it is not appropriate. I agree it should be a short handshake and not 10 minutes long.

  27. Aaron B. says:

    It’s one of my favorite things about the TLM.

  28. PJ says:

    I’m going to be bold and stick my neck out here.

    I actually think it is a good thing when it is done properly. And I think it is in the right place, too.

    I feel it encourages that sort of Eucharistic way of seeing others that is so joined at the hip with the love of God.

    I know this sounds terribly modern and happy-clappy, but there we go.

    The problem, I suspect, is:
    – The sort of 10-minute intermission JohnE mentions – i.e. when the peace starts to take over
    – The lack of silence and reverence in the rest of the liturgy, so that the sign of peace just becomes another distraction and occasion for the faithful to get bombarded with more hustle, bustle and words
    – The connection with the Eucharistic action does not seem to be clear to most people (e.g. would the peace make more sense after the Agnus Dei, or perhaps a Dominican-rite-like kissing of the chalice by the priest would be a good thing to have before the peace is exchanged?)
    – There is no time for people to return to a state of stillness before the priest receives communion (perhaps this is another reason why the priest should be instructed to say both the traditional private pre-communion prayers in the NO?)

    I’m actually pretty traddie about most things. But I have a soft spot for the sign of peace, when it is exchanged with humility, reverence and brevity.

  29. Sailor says:

    I dread it and avoid it.
    Maybe because I have too often seen people abuse it? I noticed it became a thing where young people say hi to their friends, and will look behind them to see who they can find. Many times it just becomes so awkward! Like saying peace to someone who is looking past you at someone else, I would dread Mass sometimes for this reason, thankfully I have the option to go to a traditional Mass now, but it was terrible growing up and dealing with this.

  30. MJ says:

    In the EF, the Sign of Peace is just a bow of the head and shoulders…in the OF, I won’t do the “Sign of Peace”. The Sign of Peace, from what I understand, is supposed to be between and among clergy and from the clergy to the laity – but not between and among the laity. If I’m at an OF and the Sign of Peace comes up, I keep my hands folded and I may nod and smile to those around me but I won’t separate my hands…sometimes I just stay still and keep my hands folded and my eyes shut. Long story short, I won’t do the SP at the OF.

  31. JPManning says:

    I like it.
    When I introduced an old girlfriend to the Mass she found the sign of peace ridiculous as people stumbled along pews and bent over backwards to shake hands with people too far away. After that I never could get her to come again.
    In my city parish I don’t think the older teenagers really join in. That’s not how they greet their friends and I have the impression they have the same feeling as my girlfriend had.
    I like it but if it’s putting people off coming to Mass then I’d accept it if it was dropped.

  32. Tom Ryan says:

    The use of a Joy Buzzer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mR_KsVTUurI is also frowned upon even by those who oppose the Sign of Peace for lacking proper decorum.

  33. kjh says:

    I said ‘tolerate’… I just think that it creates further distraction from the Mass – there are already enough of those. I think that there is already enough emphasis on the people attending Mass to the point where it seems to be of greater importance that there are other people around than that we are attending the celebration of the Eucharist. I would be just fine without the Sign of Peace (and the great mayhem of chattering that it causes, and the immediate outbreak of conversations throughout the church immediately after the end of Mass.) I feel that there is a lack of sacred silence, at least at our normal N.O. Masses at my parish!

  34. Dan says:

    I tolerate it and don’t make a fuss about it when it comes time for the SOP in Mass…unfortunately, traditionalists who intentionally ignore their neighbor and stubborny refuse to give a sober and recollected sign of peace are only compounding the problem by adding a lack of charity to a well intented (but often abused) addition to the new rite.

    I think a way to fix the problem would be to incorperate some “mutual enrichment” from the EF. Have the priest give the sign of peace to the deacon or MC, who would then pass it along to the servers as is usually done in the EF, and then have the deacon or a server pass it on the laity, who would all exchange the sign according to the traditional Roman manner, by holding each others’ sholders and bowing forward with the words “peace be with you.” That way, the sign would ripple through the church in a beautiful expression of Christ’s peace extending throughout the congregation as the time for Holy Communion approaches. Of course, there would have to be some decent catechesis before this could be introduced…but I think it’s much more in line with historic Christian practice and the intent of the liturgical reform.

  35. zippityzach says:

    I tolerate it. As a teen I embraced it wholeheartedly! It was that one chance I might get to talk to the cute girl sitting in front of me. As I’ve become more spiritual and traditional and realize its significance and reason for it I’ve changed my practices. Where I am in the bible belt the Our Father and Sign of Peace (SOP) has been taken to the extreme where everyone holds hands during the Our Father and there’s a game of Chinese Fire Drill during the SOP so every one has a chance to give the sign of peace to all their closest buddies. Despite the Bishop putting out an article in the Diocesan newspaper explaining that holding hands is a preclude to the SOP, none of our pastors have actively preached it from the pulpit so that everyone understands.
    I’ve personally stopped holding hands during the OF, some respect this, others pressure me into holding hands, so I do so. Only on a few occasions has someone asked me why I don’t participate, after explaining why some understand and one or two have adopted the practice. Others say “that makes sense” but obviously walk away thinking I’m a backwards traditionalist that want to see witches burned and The Church the head of the US Government, ridiculous…

  36. zippityzach says:

    Addendum: I currently feel that the sign of peace interrupts the Sacrifice happing on the Alter. I’m no germ-o-phobe, so I don’t mind shaking hands with people, it’s when they want to say “hey” or even converse with me that I want to give them the evil eye (I do refrain from this though!).

  37. julie f says:

    To splice together a couple of answers: I tolerate it (I don’t particularly like it) but I happily do it when it’s initiated. I prefer when the Sign of Peace is omitted but it’s a valid option and I don’t want to be seen as crusty or rude; that doesn’t do any good. Usually I smile (not a big clowny grin, but a warm friendly sort of expression) and nod or shake hands with the one or two people around me. I attend Mass alone (except at holidays with family), and I particularly try to acknowledge those around me who are also alone.

    I about split my time between middle-of-the-road OF and a rather splendid EF.

  38. Aaron B. says:

    I see it as fulfilling Matthew 5.23-24: “If therefore thou offer thy gift at the altar, and there thou remember that thy brother hath any thing against thee; Leave there thy offering before the altar, and go first to be reconciled to thy brother: and then coming thou shalt offer thy gift.”

    I see a couple of problems with that. First, my brother probably isn’t standing near me, and He didn’t say anything about using the nearest stand-in. If I really do have some kind of serious conflict with my brother, perhaps I should do what He said: leave and deal with it before approaching the altar. Odds are I don’t have anything against the people near me — most people don’t sit down right behind that family they can’t stand — so I end up shaking hands with friends and/or strangers.

    Also, shouldn’t the whole thing have an air of sorrow and reparations about it? After all, I’m asking my brother (or his proxy) for reconciliation, probably for forgiveness. In all my years of enduring the Shake of Peace, I can’t say I ever felt like anyone (including me) was approaching it that way. It’s all smiles — even the gritted-teeth-don’t-really-like-this-part smiles — and pleasantries, no different from wishing someone “Peace” as you meet them on the street.

    Having said all that, if I attend the Novus Ordo, like for a funeral or wedding, and someone sticks a hand out, I’ll shake it, trying to have a certain amount of gravity about it without looking reluctant.

  39. Mike says:

    I actually dread it because it simply seems forced and never intended to be part of the Mass between the laity. Others have noted that they dislike holding hands during the Our Father. Me too. A quick story about that that is, in this case pertinent…
    Some time ago, my wife and I had decided that as a family, since we do not have our communion with each other, but with the Lord through the Blessed Sacrament, we would not hold hands with anyone. One weekend our second child and only son who was 5 at the time got stuck on the left end of all of us in the pew next to a lady we did not know. The time came for the Our Father and he did what we told him to do, which was to fold his hands in prayer. The lady next to him kept holding her had out shaking it at him to get him to take it. What he did next was priceless: He looked up at her with an angelic smile and simply waived at her then folded his hands again. Today he is 14 and serves both the Novus Ordo and the TLM, but prefers all that comes with the TLM, such as no handshake (kiss of) peace. Same for me.

  40. LorrieRob says:

    I answered that “I like it and am happy to do it.” Though I wouldn’t personally miss it if it was gone. But, I do think it has a significant theological value to it. I did not like it when I first experienced the practice in the Episcopal church 25 years ago at the begining of my spiritual journey into the Church. I am reserved and there can be a degree of awkwardness to the exchange of the peace among people you don’t know. But in my experience of the Holy Spirit in His gift of counsel as the “inner teacher” I find that I am encouraged to do things that I wouldn’t do on my own especially those that involve reaching out to other people. This is a very small step in that direction that really requires nothing but a smile and the opportunity to say to someone…God’s peace be with you…I think the Lord would exchange the peace if he sat amoung us in physical form today. He just wouldn’t leave it at that. And he certainly wouldn’t be concerned about germie hands.

  41. jamie r says:

    I love sign of peace when it’s done right. It’s by far the best reform of Vatican II, undoing one of the worst post-tridentine reforms. There should be more catachesis around it to promote it being done in a fittingly solemn way.

  42. Kerry says:

    Sometimes I shake hands, smile and say, “Not peace, but a sword”.

  43. Joshua08 says:

    The GIRM states

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

    I have never seen this followed except in places that rarely do it and when 90% of the congregation doesn’t like the sign of peace.

    I would have little issue if we followed our patrimony here. There were some parishes that before Vatican II extended the kiss of peace to the congregants. The priest would give it to the deacon and so on as anyone who has seen a TLM Solemn Mass knows and then the Pax bede was used to extend it to the congregation. I wouldn’t mind even adding at this point that each lay person exchange it with one other, in the Roman manner or something like that in its sobriety.

    When I have had it done I do not turn and look to greet anyone, but do respond to people trying to offer it to me. As long as I respond to a few people, no one gets offended. Of course I use the proper response, “Pax Domini sit semper tecum,” correcting the slight mistake in the Girm. If I can get away with it I bow slightly rather than handshaking, but if someone stretches over to handshake I do not refuse, lest I offend

    The priest may give the sign of peace to the ministers but always remains within the sanctuary, so as not to disturb the celebration. In the dioceses of the United States of America, for a good reason, on special occasions (for example, in the case of a funeral, a wedding, or when civic leaders are present) the priest may offer the sign of peace to a few of the faithful near the sanctuary. At the same time, in accord with the decisions of the Conference of Bishops, all offer one another a sign that expresses peace, communion, and charity. While the sign of peace is being given, one may say, Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum (The peace of the Lord be with you always), to which the response is Amen.

  44. stilicho says:

    Tolerate. I would prefer a simple pax vobiscum and cum spiritu tuo, but I wil not refuse to offer or receive a sign of peace from my neighbor if invited to do so.

  45. Mike says:

    I hate it. I rarely see it done well in parishes. I see lots of “happy usher syndrome” is parishes as well, ie, high-fiving two-year olds, etc…

    That said, I will politely nod or extend a hand when at Mass. Something to offer up, I guess.

  46. lmgilbert says:

    The sig nof peace just before receiving the Eucharist is a WONDERFUL idea, IMHO.

    For one thing, in the course of our long marriage there have been four or five times when we have arrived at Mass angry with one another. Obviously, this renders one unfit to receive Holy Communion. Then in the course of the Mass we both realize that the sign of peace is coming, and that we better dig deep and find some forgiveness for the other person or that moment will be a total disaster. And so it happens that by the time the moment arrives we are mutually repentant, truly wish each other the peace of Christ, and are able to receive the Lord as we should, with peace in our hearts.

    Secondly, although I haven’t been to a charismatic prayer meeting in about thirty years, I well remember the times when the leader would close a meeeting by asking us to share the sign of peace with each other. Given the ethos of this forum, I am sure that the words “touchy feely” are ready at hand, but my experience several times was to go in ten or fifteen minutes from being worried, frazzled, distracted and empty to beig full of the love and the peace of Jesus Christ- HIS peace, the peace that surpasseth understanding. From this I learned that we Catholic Christians really do have the power to communicate the peace of Christ to one another- HIS peace. How ungrateful to resent having this power, how cold and uncaring to being parsimonious in sharing it!

  47. trespinos says:

    Tolerate. If people could just exchange the peace quietly and quickly turn their attention back to the altar, it would be great. But the decibel level goes way high and stays there at my parish, as folks begin totally extraneous conversations at the slightest excuse. I truly hope the Holy Father will seize the initiative on rescuing the sign and retraining the faithful by moving the SoP to another place in the Mass. Perhaps then we could get it right.

  48. TKS says:

    I abhor the Sign of Peace in the congregation. It’s almost a near occasion of sin for me and I have to work on that. After all these years of doing the handshake thing against what I think is appropriate (everyone waving and talking and walking around), I decided that it was my turn to spend the next how many years quietly bowing to the people nearest me instead. Since I attend daily Mass, I’ve had remarks and dirty looks from people I’ve know for years, but I was prepared and just smile. I fold my hands and don’t look around and sit in the very back. And it’s not that I don’t like people, it’s like the hokey music selections – this is just not the right venue.

  49. Sliwka says:

    I chose tolerate. I have no problem grabbing the hand of my wife, exchanging the holy kiss along with a with a “peace be with you”.

    When it begins to bother me is when the elderly ladies flash their dentures at me with a big goofy grin. These are usuall the same people that I avoid looking at when receiving our Lord when they try and smile at you acting as an EMHC. Other situations where it becomes hard to tolerate is when like others said it becomes an opportunity to catch up with long lost friends.

    I have never seen Father ask people to hold hands during the Pater Noster, although my wife and I routinely do this as individuals. I am a convert, I do not know under what circumstances she picked up the practice.

  50. ghp95134 says:

    I never do the Sign of Peace; instead, I drop to the kneeler and begin praying. I’ve never had anyone try to force me while I’m in prayer.

    AND … we ought to get rid of the “For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever” doxology” after the Lord’s Prayer!

    –Guy Power

  51. Jayna says:

    I honestly have no opinion one way or the other. I don’t have any major objections to it, but I certainly wouldn’t be heartbroken if it was eliminated. And given how many churches start Mass by telling you to greet one another (my favorite is “let us stand and greet Christ in one another”), I hardly think it’s necessary.

  52. kallman says:

    At the church I went to previously this was conducted like a county fair with kissing, waving, moving up and down the aisles etc. The focus moved totally away from the altar and into the crowd (I mean congregation). I always take a missal and hold it tightly with both hands and fix my sight on the text and wait for the whole thing to be over. It should be eliminated.

  53. Rachel Pineda says:

    I love the sign of peace! It gives me something to offer up.

    Oh yes, and I especially love it when someone sneezes into their hand and feels obligated to offer that same hand to me in the sign of peace.

  54. Sliwka says:


    The parish my wife and I attend because we can no longer really get to our regular (which was farther away) begins with the M.C. saying “Our names are a special part of who we are and identify us to others. Please greet those around you, especially those you do not know”.

    Hokey, hokey, hokey…

  55. Mary G says:

    I tolerate it. But at daily Mass where people are few and far between, it means leaving the seat and moving all over the church. And this is the time when we are preparing to receive Holy Communion.

    At the weekend I attended two Masses in a parish not my regular parish and at the beginning of Mass, it was time to turn and introduce ourselves to those around us. Another distraction! If people are anything like me, they would have forgotten the names of those we spoke to within twenty seconds. Are they interested anyhow?

  56. The problem wth the sign of peace is that instead of a reverant sign of peace it has become the time to greet each other, say hi how are you, lets catch up. If the people were truly focused on the sacrifice of the Mass at this moment then it wouldn’t be a problem but they’re often not, and priests do very little to teach the people the meaning of the moment.

  57. THREEHEARTS says:

    Just in passing, medically speaking it is easier to pass on disease with the sign of peace than by the Eucharist. I question just how qualified spiritually and bodily any of us and I especially mean those not a state of grace are to give Christ’s peace to anyone? Before the spin sisters start emoting tell me have you examined your conscience lately or even today and know how you are in the eyes of God? Off course not and you think that God shares His temple with what is in you? Off course you say and do not tell me different

  58. michael-can says:

    I often wonder, what would St. Pio says? while his Bishop asked him to said the NO Mass, he said St. Francis would not reconized him as a Franciscan, every now and than during the this protestant peace hand shack and hugging, I begin to wonder, for last half hour or so, I have been trying to ask the Almighty God to accept my sacrifice throught the hand of the Priest and forgive me of my weaknesses and right then when my prayer reaches the foot of the Cross at Calvary and just when I bow my head to Almighty God and saying thank you for Jesus, then the hugging, hand shacking and kumbaya start, now I just bow and go back to kneeling, regardless who says what anymore, at that moment in time and space, it is Jesus giving me the forgiveness of my weaknesses and fill me with HIS PEACE, not the one who like to hug or the lady who like to shack or the fellow who like to put up the V sign, I also goes to LTM and in fact find much more peace, real peace of Our LORD JESUS, sorry folk I am not into the emotional stuff.

  59. Rachel Pineda says:

    lmgilbert said:

    ” but my experience several times was to go in ten or fifteen minutes from being worried, frazzled, distracted and empty to beig full of the love and the peace of Jesus Christ- HIS peace, the peace that surpasseth understanding. From this I learned that we Catholic Christians really do have the power to communicate the peace of Christ to one another- HIS peace. How ungrateful to resent having this power, how cold and uncaring to being parsimonious in sharing it!
    From this I learned that we Catholic Christians really do have the power to communicate the peace of Christ to one another- HIS peace. How ungrateful to resent having this power, how cold and uncaring to being parsimonious in sharing it!”

    What a beautiful point of view. Thank you for reminding me.

  60. Brad says:

    Tolerate but don’t make a stink about it. I don’t shake, but not out of hypochondria fear of germs. I just think it’s less “60s hip” to simply nod and say in undertones, “peace”.

    I dislike the hand holding at the Our Father more, and even more the way the pews mimic Father when raises his hands as he says “peace be with you”. I read a good article once about how all this stuff is just the laity’s attempt to usurp ordained speech, postures and motions. Surely a demonically inspired thing.

  61. Dorcas says:

    I attend two parishes, one in Seoul and one in my city of residence in South Korea. In Seoul the peace is brief, and that Mass has a small group attending, so we actually do know each other. The Fr. keeps it quick, and he does not leave the altar area. In my home city, the peace is really really long, because about a year ago, the Fr. there (he is a Korean priest) got it into his head to shake the hand of nearly every person in the church (maybe 100 people). I don’t know where he got this idea from, he didn’t originally do this. I would like to say something to him, but he is really touchy and insecure cause he does not speak much English…his confidence gets affected, so I never say anything.

  62. BenedictXVIFan says:

    Guy Power:

    Please read the Didache. Or do you not regard that as having any weight? As long as that doxology it added after the priest saying “Deliver us from evil and grant us peace in our day..” It remains clear that the Lord’s Prayer proper stands alone as Christ gave it to us. I fail to see the basis of your objection. Please tell me what I’m missing.

  63. Paul says:

    Dread it. Usually, when I do attend a Mass with it, they begin the “Lamb of God” during it (I don’t think that’s right), so I’m trying to prepare myself with the Lamb of God inwardly, while people are making all the noise possible, wanting to shake as many people’s hands as possible, regardless if there’s actually any conflict between them.
    From reading, I know that one of the original reasons for the Pace was to bring all Christians into a peaceful unity before commencing the Sacrament of Unity, but today, it seems people will slap the backs of everyone possible, will shake the hands of everyone, will show any sign of friendly affection possible to everyone, regardless if they even know that person, regardless if there’s even any conflict amongst them. Is this a big deal? To some, no, but not to me.
    The question of moving the Sign of Peace to another part of the Mass seems to defeat the original purpose of the Sign of Peace in the first place. I can’t think of a good place to put it in the NO, but clearly smarter people know better than I do. I think, like with many things, it should be done on special occasions (like in the EF). Technically, receiving the Blood can be only reserved for special occasions, many other things that I can’t think of at the moment are only reserved for special occasions, so why not the Sign of Peace?

  64. Jayna says:

    Sliwka – Ouch. That’s worse, way worse. Just gag me with a spoon, why don’t you. Then again, this parish’s “greeting Christ in one another” thing provides part of the basis for their objections to those who would receive communion kneeling/on the tongue. Wouldn’t it just be terrible if that were, like, a rule or something?

    Oh, wait…

  65. I have been a TLM attender pretty much exclusively for three years or so, so I have gotten a bit of an aversion to the exchange of peace, maybe by osmosis from my friends who loathe the practice. But when I came back to the Church in the middle 70s from “Bible-believing” denominations that were big on community-building, and I found that the sign of peace was now in the Mass, I actually appreciated it. For one thing, it was proposed by the Church and as a Catholic I don’t think we should react with scorn to a practice that the Church condones. Two main reasons for my liking of the sign of peace are these. When I was raised in the pre-councilar Church, only people who were active in the church got to know each other. Most people were quite standoffish. We would enter, dressed in our best, wanting to make a good impression. Then we would leave after having fulfilled our Sunday obligation without interacting with anyone, except maybe to honk at someone who was in our way in the parking lot. :-)

    When I started reading the Scriptures about the love that was in the early Church, I thought that the Church of my day should be a place to love and be loved too. Since then I have pretty much given up on that over the years. But my welcoming of the sign of peace at the time was because of my ideal of the kiss of peace, which would only happen of course when people knew and cared about each other. A hand shake could be a start in that direction. You would have at least for a brief moment looked at the people around you and smiled at them. Christian connection and pure disinterested Christian love could be conceived out of such moments, could they not?

    Of course, there are the show off glad-handers, that are kind of missing the point. Or some men sometimes even the priests that are just a little too friendly.

    For another reason why it meant something to me, most people who are surrounded by family and friends wouldn’t think of this, but I was very glad for that brief moment of being touched. I was a single woman raising two kids by myself with no family around to help after a divorce. If you are not one of us you probably wouldn’t realize that there are very many people in this world who live alone and hardly ever feel the touch of another human being from one week to another. Now that my kids are grown, I am one of them.

    But all that hand shaking didn’t lead to anything solid or lasting. The strangers who shook each other’s hands remained strangers. Maybe it’s just like a lot of other things about the New Mass, a failed experiment.

  66. mattwcu says:

    I tolerate it too. I play organ at a 5:00pm Novus Ordo on Saturdays and simply nod, smile, and wave to one of the parish ladies I know who always sits by the organ. As soon as the priest shakes the hands of the altar servers or EMHCs I begin the Agnus Dei. The congregation gets less than 5 seconds of handshaking and nobody has any time to leave their spots or cross aisles etc.

    The previous organist (whom I replaced) gave me this instruction and so I have continued the practice for the past 3 years.

  67. THREEHEARTS says:

    Rachel Pineda, do you really know what you are writing and I do not mean to be insulting. Iis there nothing else you have to offer for that is what you seem to write, “gives me something to offer up” WOW!! I missed something before for those who interested in revelation and what we should be doing. At the Last Supper I must have missed when Christ stood up and gave Himself entirely to His Apostles, did He give them any sign of peace first except what a Jewish Mind could see as a washing away of sins. Look what Peter wanted when it hit him what was happening to his soul. He was baptized and he wanted nothing more to be free from sin to be with Jesus His Hero forever. Read the scripture and tell me I am wrong. If it is there I apologize I missed that part in my reading scriptures, the sign of peace that is hidden in scriptures, I mean. To add anything to the Eucharistic part of the Last Supper is a trifle like thinking we are so great we can add to His Sacrifice and make it better. To obtain Wisdom on this matter it is still necessary to be in the state of the grace that sanctifies and the Divine Intellect will sustain us. Peace to many today is an emotion as I read in some of the comments, not a grace. As St Isaiah the Solitary wrote in his tome on watchfulness, ” the devils cunningly leave you alone and withdraw for a time in the hope we will cease to guard our heart (soul). We thinking we have attained peace they suddenly attack our unhappy soul”. As a young child being taught his catechism so many years ago we were always taught when the devil has you he has no longer any need to tempt you and you will feel content and you quieten your conscience. Always be worried, always be on guard for the next attack from the wicked one who will use your faux happiness to drag you further into his ways by making you so confident in your happiness. Take it to heart and pray about it. One of the temptations of the wicked one at this time of the sign of peace is from the comments again is to make you think who is he or she who is so rude as to ignore ME!!!

  68. JKnott says:

    The Church made the Sign of Peace optional and to be made to one closest with modesty. It has grown into something not just distracting but almost bawdy with hugging, kissing and waving.
    But in my heart I feel that just after Jesus becomes present in His SACRIFICE we turn immediately away from Him to us. Pope Benedict has said that a Mass where the community is celebrated is “fruitless.” I think of those who are not daily communicants who are in His Real Presence for a short time on one day a week. Would we turn away from a football star if he walked into the room to turn our backs on him and greet everyone but him? I think the grace we receive from recollection at Mass and the celebration of His sacrifice enables us to bring His Peace with us into the world: to greet outside and “live Jesus”. That’s not as easy as a handshake that makes us feel good. ! While I agree with Rachael Pinada in the value of offering it up, it is an eye opener to read the warmth of feeling and sincerity of my commenting brothers and sisters here. Nefertheless, my own preference is to see Mary at the foot of the Cross, during and after the Consecration. She didn’t socialize.

  69. seekup says:

    The sign of peace is a huge huge distraction from prayer and from the most intimate moment of the Mass. Imagine we are at Calvary, which is what is actually happening at the moment of consecration…why would the people turn to one another and offer a sign of peace? Rather, faithful Christians ought turn to Him in prayer, in silence, in thanksgiving.

    When we turn or another turns to you, to offer a handshake, a wink, a smile, a kiss, what that does is truly dumb down the Mass and the focus we ought have towards Him. We distract one another from what is truly happening, and what is happening deserves ALL our attention. It is such a tragedy, because those who wish for the “sign of peace” see it as this “good” when in reality, it is totally inappropriate for what one ought invite at such a moment of intimacy with Our Lord. It is MORE a sign of peace for all to fix their hearts on Our Lord who has just suffered and died for us, rather than distract our hearts on shaking hands and saying hello (“peace be with you”)to the fellow standing next to you. There are many distractions the shaking of hands etc invites- from what people are wearing, their facial expressions, and other etc….
    I think it definitely is an act that protestantizes the Mass.

  70. TheRani says:

    I don’t hate the Sign of Peace, but I do think it is awkward having it situated after the Consecration. If the Holy Father can think of a place in the Mass to move it to, which would be less intrusive, that’d be nice. Like maybe right before the gifts are brought up. Like, “Hi! Peace be with you! Let’s offer gifts to God!” Maybe a little awkward, but still preferable to, “Oh, Hi! Peace be with you! Isn’t it lovely that Jesus is right over there behind us?”

  71. cyejbv says:

    I voted that I don’t care, but I don’t have anything to compare it with either, nor a solid enough understanding of the Mass to even ask an intelligent question about it.

    Converts really don’t get taught what and why, at least not when I went through RCIA. I didn’t even know there was an issue until recently. I’ve been Catholic for almost 8 years. I do now refuse to hold hands during the Our Father because of what I’m learning, so maybe once I’m more familiar with the theology (is that what I want to be familiar with? or the rubrics? or ?…) I will change my mind.

  72. AnnAsher says:

    Dread and avoid. I remain on my knees and in prayer. This circus they call the passing of the Peace is an interruption and detracts focus from the Altar. Even though the instruction is to give a sign of the Peace of Christ, I’m not convinced the people aren’t jusr giving their own ‘peace’ up and down the aisle and high fiving and hippy peace sign waving. Ugh. I feel a little awkward to ignore it but I have to give Christ my best- everyone else comes second. I pause and interrupt my own peace on the way out the door to show the people kindness and love- even though I’d rather just leave quietly, centered and imbued with Our Lord, then as well.
    * no, they don’t teach you much of why in RCIA, I’m also against IT, as a former subject to it *

  73. Tony from Oz says:

    On the relatively rare occasions I attend the NO, I tolerate the Sign of Peace but adopt many of the minimisation/avoidance strategies already outlined above (eg kneeling to avoid; nodding politely), but generally will demurely return a sincerely offered handshake if caught out!

    Having said that, nobody above has actually raised the issue that the ‘sign of peace’ is actually meant to be a ritual action performed in the sanctuary by priests at High/solemn Mass (but not during low Masses involving a single priest. I understand this to be the case. The SOP in the Novus Ordo – like the, IMHO regrettable, option of Communion in the Hand – is by way of an indult and is not normative. Why else is it only an option, albeit an option which has become, like all mod options, the usual experience?

    I see that the SOP is a prime example of the primary dynamic unleashed by the ethos of the NO: – the descent into ‘congregationalism’. Or, in the words of Pope Benedict XVI himself (whilst Cardinal Ratzinger) – the liturgy of the Mass turned into ‘a self-referential circle’. Indeed!

    One of the commentators above refers to the fact that, even in the TLM before the Council, the SOP was to be found occasionally. Hmmm. I suspect that it was, BUT that this was the sort of thing that was pushed/suggested by Annibale Bugnini in the 1950s [along with his disastrous reform of the holy Week ceremonies which he used as the prototype of his post-Vat II activities heading up the Consilium and manufacturing the NO by committee] or perhaps by some liturgical modernist adventurer priest at an alfresco Mass in Germany in the 1930s!

    The SOP is a venerable usage of the Church’s liturgy, but, in the Tradition (which should be our sole yardstick, really), it pertains to the clergy participating in the CONDUCT of the liturgy at solemn Mass. The unbroken Tradition of restricting participation in the conduct of the liturgy was breached in 1972 with the unprecedented authorisation of lay participation in the sanctuary (eg; lay readers; EMHCs, which ultimately led to ‘serviettes’). Extending the SOP to the congregation is just an extension of the baneful and erroneous notion of ‘participation’ which abounds today; an infernal me-based busy-ness – the complete opposite of the correct notion of ‘actual participation’: an interior receptivity by congregants in the action of the Mass.

    Hmmm…maybe I should be less ‘tolerant’. In principle I abhor ‘lay participation’ in the Pax – but guess I have become ennured to it like many other frogs boiled slowly in the hot water – but only because I attend a TLM 95% of the time so no longer have to fight or confront SOP very often.

  74. AnnAsher says:

    Can I give stars to Tony from Oz? *****

  75. Benjamin says:

    Tolerate it but somehow dread it. It can be quite an embarrassing situation. A well-intentioned implement gone slightly bad. It would be better without. After all, our peace does not come from shaking hands….

  76. I hit “tolerate”, but I should clarify. I have somehow acquired the habit of kneeling just before the sign of peace (or just as it starts), and in this prayerful posture remain undisturbed. At other times I raise my hand (perhaps improperly) with the sign of benediction (index and middle finger extended, thumb ring and little finger closed) in a hands-off sigh of peace.

    I don’t turn around, I don’t shake hands, I either avoid it completely by praying or briefly raise my hand to one or two people immediately around me and get back to prayer.

    It was truly eye-opening when I read (here and elsewhere) the origins and development of the Kiss of Peace in the Roman Rite. Rather than the proposal (sometimes given by the Holy Father) to move the sign of peace to a “more opportune moment”, I wish its mystical significance were properly explained and the action restored. It would be such a tiny change really, but having the Peace of Christ passed from the Sanctissimum, through the priest to the deacon (or acolyte) and from there to the congregation would be just another little thing re-orienting the Novus Ordo away from the congregation or the celebrant and towards Christ.

  77. Ellen says:

    While I HATE holding hands during the Our Father, I don’t mind the sign of peace. In our parish, we just shake hands – there’s no 15 minute group hug. However, I sometimes go to a monastery where they don’t do the sign of peace and I really don’t miss it.

  78. irishgirl says:

    I dread it, and try to avoid it.
    If I ‘have’ to do it, I’ll fold my hands over my chest and bow my head slightly.

  79. Maria says:

    Not wishing to be pedantic or awkward, but doesn’t it say in The Bible that we are to “Make peace with our brothers” before we come to the Altar.

    Now, I know it means that we are to be at peace with those we have fallen out with, argued, felt hateful towards and felt grudges towards etc., but surely the whole point of the Sign of Peace is to ensure we are aware of our responibilites towards one another and BE at Peace with each other.

    Grudgingly offering a handshake, surely defeats the object.
    Dosn’t Christ want hearts filled with Love rather that only religious actions?

    Hope I don’t offend anyone here, it is not my intention.

  80. Woodlawn says:

    “I dread it as it approaches and think of ways to avoid it.”

    This only becomes an issue for me at weddings or funerals because, other than those two occasions, I avoid the NO.

  81. Beth says:

    Reading the above comments on the Sign of Peace is depressing. Why are so many so hostile and negative about a simple act of good will? I think this attitude would sadden Jesus who taught us to love one another.

  82. Banjo pickin girl says:

    Maria, I am with you but perhaps we attend more restrained parishes than some other people do. Though I was once guilty of crossing the aisle at a different parish to greet a friend who had been sick. I hadn’t noticed him over there. But I stayed next to him and didn’t recross the aisle. Oh well. At least I didn’t jump over pews and stuff. And once I hugged somebody and later said, “I think we did a nonconforming passing of the peace.”

    At my parish there is a little handshaking of your immediate neighbors and restrained waving, sort of like the wave the Queen of England uses.

    My answer to the poll was I didn’t care one way or the other. But don’t hand me a dead fish or try to crush my knuckles.

  83. ghp95134 says:

    @BenedictXVIFan says: Please read the Didache.
    I have.

    Or do you not regard that as having any weight?
    Yes, Chapter viii has weight and import. Ergo???

    …As long as that doxology it added after the priest saying “Deliver us from evil and grant us peace in our day..” It remains clear that the Lord’s Prayer proper stands alone as Christ gave it to us.
    Conceeded; however ……

    I fail to see the basis of your objection. Please tell me what I’m missing.
    …..This doxology was not part of the Mass before 1969~70.

    –ghp95134 [I don’t think this is a good handle. Abstract.]

  84. elaine says:

    I despise it. It is interruptive. Half the time the Lamb of God begins but its overshadowed by the still-continuing rumble of “peace be with you” going on between the congregation.
    I don’t want to do it, and I don’t like being put into a position of appearing rude if I don’t participate.

  85. Maria says:

    Hello Banjo pickin girl,

    I am sorry if I offended you or anyone else

    ” But don’t hand me a dead fish or try to crush my knuckles”. – I am not sure what to make of this.

    In my Church, where I was Confirmed at Easter 2005, we do share The Peace.
    We do not interfere with prayers of others (or at least I don’t). I dont mind if someone does not wish to shake my hand.
    When I was first converted that Easter, I was sharing The Peace at Mass and was very surprised/disappointed that a particular lady had such a surly look on her face and a ‘lame’ handshake. As a new Catholic, I wondered what I had done wrong.

    I actually did not know that we are not obliged to do this and have only found out on this topic that Fr. Z has put up. It has never been discussed in my Parish.

    I am now aware that some people have very strong feelings about it.

    Is it because there are many changes and Protestant ways creeping into the Catholic Church I wonder? Is it threatening? I go along with what our Priest leads us with in good Faith.

    I am also just learning that there may be more than meets the eye here, and deeper issues involved.

    Sorry again, if I caused offence. It was not my intention.
    I am still learning all about the Catholic Religion, which has had century upon century of building and growth involved, on top of my Faith. My Faith has been around since I was Christened as a Catholic as a child.

    My Religion is still very very young, even though I am 57.

  86. PJ says:

    elaine’s comment seems to express a common problem here – how to go about avoiding the sign of peace (if you find it disruptive) without being rude.

    Indeed, this is something Damian Thompson has picked up on in his blog: .

    Presumably, avoiding the peace in an attempt to remain focused on the Blessed Sacrament becomes self-defeating if it only ends up making you feel “awkward” and leaves you worrying that you may have offended your brothers and sisters.

    Dan’s entry above mentions mutual enrichment. I wonder if I can add a small thought along those lines.

    Fr Chad Ripperger FSSP wrote an interesting essay a couple of years ago on the spirituality of the older form of the Mass. In this essay one of the things he mentions is the importance of self-denial in the Mass (and our spiritual lives generally). (http://www.latinmassmagazine.com/articles/articles_2001_SU_Ripperger.html)

    I’ve noticed that many priests tend to avoid eye contact, and look resolutely below the horizontal, when they turn to face the congregation during the EF. I guess this is all part of this spirituality of self-denial and detachment that Fr Chad is talking about.

    Clearly, exchanging the sign of peace with one’s neighbours is always going to risk jeopardising this spirituality. The risk here cannot be obviated completely… but can it be mitigated to make the sign of the peace tolerable? (And maybe some of the possible positives of exchanging the sign of peace might shine through?)

    Would the simple step of just avoiding eye contact when exchanging the peace be an effective strategy here?

  87. benedetta says:

    I have appreciated the greater sense of solemnity at NO Masses where the priest has shortened or even decided to forego the Sign. Haven’t missed increased opportunity to say the words, “Peace be with you” and shake hands with dear ones and strangers around me at that time and was no less motivated to follow the teachings and example of Our Lord as a result nor can I say that I felt in any sense a loss of a sense of His peace in myself or amongst others on those occasions. On the contrary I would say that reception of the Eucharist itself is sine qua non for that peace (not of this world) so during the communal celebration I feel it is fitting for us to communally worship God at that particular time deemed appropriate by our Church and to attend to personally living that faith out with neighbor in my private life as occasion arises according to my duties and state in life. If the priest shortens the time, my intensity of feelings of good will towards my neighbor is certainly not lessened by this alone and I do not come to Mass for the central purpose of shaking hands, though it can be pleasant enough to greet people at the appropriate times (or even other occasions!).

    No, my problem is that I must admit that in the course of my life that there have been certain times when I have indulged in the sign of peace and enjoyed it a little too much…You see I have been subject with my family to some of the most bizarre situations and homilies over the years such that it is a great relief and blessing to finally, be permitted to turn to one who thinks similarly who can acknowledge the craziness with just the tiniest raised eyebrow or the knowing smile. I admit that this has sustained me over the years through quite a lot. Like the time when another pro-life friend from college, after a long and somewhat rambling homily by a nun at a college Mass, were able to turn to each other and shake hands with the joy of solidarity, knowing our views wouldn’t be respected even at that place, and yet, that though all around was crazy, we would be alright, we would get by. Or the time that our pastor announced that he would be performing an inter faith wedding at Sunday Mass. In his announcement he said, “For those of you who are Protestant, if you can find it in your hearts, please come up to receive communion.” Or the many times I have heard the same exact homily given by the visiting priest at Christmas wherein he basically chides the church goers among the congregation into realizing that in fact Our Lord didn’t come to those who went to church (the temple) but came for the ones who did not go…But I digress…On those and many other similar type occasions, I was grateful to “touch down to earth” with the reality of another who comprehended the situation, in a nutshell.

  88. Sue says:

    IF everyone would PEACEFULLY turn to those next to them and PEACEFULLY and sincerely wish them PEACE and leave it at that (after all that’s all they were asked to do!) it could be a beautiful and meaningful moment of the Mass. But that’s not how it is. It’s a huge distraction and it takes quite awhile to get everyone settled back down to continue with the Mass, in fact, our priest has to stand at the altar and wait, and wait…and wait…and wait…and wait for our choir to settle back down and for the organist to see him and start playing “Lamb of God…”. If it can’t be done right should we really be doing it? Hey, thank you for asking! I’ve needed to vent about that and talking in the nave of the church after Mass. No, yakking in the church as if at a picnic!! How will the children today ever learn REVERENCE.

  89. stpetric says:

    Somewhere between “tolerate” and “dread”. If I can avoid it without seeming rude or curmudgeonly, I do. But also “bemused”, particularly by the wave thing that so may people do — you know, the cheery wave to their friends across the church. The wave thing really degrades the gravitas of the liturgy, and at a particularly solemn moment.

  90. Sliwka says:


    I do not think that the people who dread the SOP dread it out of a lack of love for their fellow Christian, or even fellow human, but out of a lack of reverence and abuse, or even a lack of need (during the Mass).

  91. Hans says:

    My reaction ranges from thinking it is a good thing (being able to reach across the divide to the Spanish-speaking ladies who sit a pew or two behind me at the back of church at daily Mass — because several years ago I started sitting in front of them) to dreading the hug-fest on Sundays, so I went with ‘tolerate’ as a compromise.

    During the week, I have managed (heaven knows how) to make the Agnus Dei the norm, and when the priest has retrieved the reserved hosts from the tabernacle and is ready for the fraction rite, I start the singing and everyone joins in, even the Spanish-speaking ladies and the ones who have grumbled at me about Latin being a step backward. It’s short and aptly symbolic, and then people sing in Latin asking for mercy and peace. That works.

  92. Beth says:

    Sliwka, you may be right about the reasons people don’t want to exchange the sign of peace, but the use of the words “hate” and “dread” by many of the commenters is a very harsh way of expressing it. There are gentler ways to disagree with the practice, and it begs the question, why are these people so angry?
    As far as worship goes, we have a relationship with our Lord that is both vertical ( focused on Him), and horizontal ( focused on our neighbor). How can we worship Him when we disdain a small act of recognition of the person in the pew next to us?

  93. Banjo pickin girl says:

    Oh no, Maria, I was agreeing with you and your entire post! The “dead fish” refers to the limp handshake. The crushed knuckles refer to those who think a handshake is a strong man contest.

    It is a good policy to always err on the side of charity. Our Lord says to do so.

    I agree with your latest comment, there is a definite fear of Protestant things creeping into the Church through various ways and ultimately bringing with it heresy. But we all believe in the dogma of indefectibility so we pray and hope and look to Jesus. He patiently waits for us in the tabernacle.

  94. Banjo pickin girl says:

    Maria, I am about your age but am a new Catholic (about 4 years now). 8-) I am just a convert and don’t know anything at all. So I pray to be a good Catholic and a good person.

  95. Hans says:

    The chief thing I find that keeps the sign of peace from going to far is readiness of the priest to move along and the example he sets. In more than one place, I’ve seen the sign of peace range from modest to indulgent from the same people depending on how the priest leads them.

  96. bwfackler says:

    the sign of peace would be nice if it was done the same way all the other rites have done it throughout the history of the church. if the priest passed it along down to the lay people in a hierarchical manner to symbolize the peace coming from Christ down to each person in an organized fashion, it would be consistent with the rest of the church. instead as its done in the NO, it turns into a free for all gab fest right after the eucharistic prayer in the presence of the exposed Blessed Sacrament.

  97. Maria says:

    Thank you Banjo pickin girl for your explanation. I really did not get it at all.
    It goes to show how things can come across differently as to what we expect on the Internet.

    Nice to meet you anyway. :0)

    Now, may I please offer my (internet) hand of Peace to you?
    Out of Mass time but sincere all the same.

  98. Banjo pickin girl says:

    Yes, Maria, we shake hands across the air somehow! So much of communication is facial expression and body language. And then there are colloquial expressions that people use (like “dead fish”). I am in the Midwest of the USA but am not native to this region so I am constantly amazed at how I can misunderstand people around here. I am forever offending people. And then I apologize and make it worse. I just better shut up sometimes (and shake hands!).

    For example, in Ohio when you have a great sense of humor the local people here say you are “ornery” but if you look that up in a dictionary it means something entirely different! If they work at a company with people from other countries the local people have to be careful of things like that. They don’t want to call their boss “ornery” if he makes a joke!

  99. Maria says:

    Hi BPG,

    Despite our differences, it looks like we have much in common to bind us together after all.

    It is interesting but it looks as though we have swayed a little from the intention of this topic, but in fact it may be quite the reverse, as many, if not most of us spend a lot of social time on the internet, baring our souls, sharing our opinions – those that differ or otherwise.

    Isn’t it a privelage to be able to share a little handshake of Peace at Mass.

    Having thought about it a little more though, perhaps it would be better if it was requested after Father says “Mass has ended, go in Peace to Love and Serve The Lord” somehow, somewhere, after we have respectfully waited for the Priest to depart with The Crucifix.

    It would give a reminded opportunity for people to open up to one another and perhaps offer lifts etc., to show caring and Christian love.

    I am from the UK btw.

    Now, I dont want to hijack this topic and I dont want to upset Fr. Z., so for now I will sign off.

    God Bless all of you.

  100. paxchristi says:

    I got so fussed about the Sign of Peace, I vented by attempting to write a satirical blog piece on it: http://www.vivacristorey.blogspot.com

  101. Katherine says:

    I gently extend my hand but don’t push myself on others who have reservations about it. A guy did once suggest my offer to shake hands was unwelcome by making a gesture with his middle finger. I am thankful that most who do not care for the sign of peace find other ways to express their reservations.

  102. Martial Artist says:

    Tolerate it. It removes my focus from the mystery of receiving the Precious Body and Blood of the Lord and the graces hoped for therein, and exchanges it for a “grip and grin.” It is a jarring change of tone and consequently an unwanted disruption of worship, considering where it is placed in the liturgy.

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

  103. Luvadoxi says:

    Beth–I dread it because, even though I’m a friendly person, I’m basically an introvert, and being forced to do something that’s so artificial sometimes makes me feel like I’m being touched against my will. I can’t explain the feeling exactly–it’s the required nature of it, having to submit to being groped.

  104. TomGourlay says:

    I was interested to read what Pope Benedict XVI had to say about the sign of peace when he was Cardinal: http://tiny.cc/5cn1i
    Dr Tracy Rowland spoke about it in her book ‘Ratzinger’s Faith’. Makes for some very interesting reading in light of this poll.

    Ave Maria!

  105. Tina in Ashburn says:

    the SoP drives me crazy. I tolerate it, follow the priest’s lead, but dread it terribly. I view it mostly as a distraction as I try to concentrate on preparing myself to receive Communion. How can I gain recollection and examine my conscience and express sorrow for sins, ask God that I benefit from this amazing Sacrament while shaking hands and navigating all that this exercise involves?
    When the priest says “offer the Sign of Peace”, I do so unless I can avoid it because I am sitting far from everyone. I often keep my hands folded and make a little bow and smile towards them.

    However if I am near someone I know, I am more inclined to offer the Sign of Peace more openly.

    Because this Sign of Peace revolves around the idea of making peace with your brother before approaching God [praying, offering, receiving, etc], I have NEVER understood why I must greet somebody I don’t know. It makes sense if I am with my family, or in the choir, or if I was in a community or the brotherhood of fellow priests. Those cases offer situations where I may have fussed with somebody and need to make up before approaching Communion. But greeting, smiling, shaking hands only for the sake of being polite WHILE GOD IS RIGHT THERE IN FRONT OF US is nothing but an empty distraction for me.

    The sign of peace brings me everything but peace when I am surrounded by strangers. During Mass just before receiving Communion is NOT the time to start chatting and greeting people. We can do that over donuts.

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