ASK FATHER: Ritual “solita oscula” in the time of coronavirus

From a reader…


The solita oscula are deeply ingrained in the roman rite, however should these still be given in times of disease, like this coronavirus? Thanks for any answer you can provide.

Solita oscula or “usual kisses” refers to the kissing of objects and hands as they are handed to or taken from the celebrating priest or bishop.   This is also done on Palm Sunday by the faithful as they receive palms from the priest.

My suggestion:  Either just omit them or just sort of make a gesture in that direction without touching.

While these solita oscula are symbolic and meaningful, they are not of the essence of the rites.

So, for the duration of the coronavirus challenge, just kiss the solita oscula goodbye.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Hidden One says:

    I wonder if we’ve had other instances of organic development of the liturgy due to plagues, pestilences, and/or pandemics.

  2. Semper Gumby says:

    “So, for the duration of the coronavirus challenge, just kiss the solita oscula goodbye.”

    Rick’s Café Américain agrees:

    You must remember this
    A kiss is just a kiss
    A sigh is just a sigh
    The fundamental things apply
    As time goes by

    How ’bout a bit more on a Sunday night?

    “As the leader of all illegal activities in Casablanca, I am an influential and respected man.”

    “I remember every detail. The Germans wore gray, you wore blue.”

  3. Hope this means the ‘happy handshake’ that is so disruptive before Communion disappears into the ashbin….

    Or maybe it will be resurrected as the fistbump or vulcan sign of peace?

    Nah…maybe there is a silver lining in that people will be so germophobic when all this is over that reaching over and shaking the sweaty hand of your non-familial neighbor in the pew that has been used to stifle a cough will result in turning away in disgust…

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