Sign of peace in current place maims Catholic teaching

Pomp, whistles, vocal affirmation, clapping, music

hospitality_index1The following comes from a Dec. posting on Crisis magazine.

At the request of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, a requisite inquiry into the timely appropriateness of the Latin Rite’s gesture of peace shared amongst the people during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass commenced almost a decade ago. The Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (“the Congregation”), under the papal authority of a new Holy Father, Francis, disseminated publicly this year their conclusions on the placement of the gesture. In its Circular Letter on the Ritual Expression of the Gift of Peace at Mass, the Congregation, although reiterating authoritative instruction on the avoidance of gestural abuses, decided that the gesture shall remain in the current liturgical place.

It is indeed born of a sound theology that amongst the faithful there is some sign of peace during the Mass, which in the current Novus Ordo Missae (contemporary Ordinary Mass) occurs prior to the breaking of the consecrated body and soon before Catholics of good conscience are invited to consume the actual flesh and blood of God. Further, the gesture also correlates with doctrinal teaching on communal worship and Christian fraternity.

Benedict XVI’s request for study of the topic, however, brings papal credence to the idea that the placement of the gesture is thoroughly and unreasonably anachronistic. Quoth Benedict XVI 2007 post-synodal apostolic exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis:

Taking into account ancient and venerable customs and the wishes expressed by the Synod Fathers, 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.

Indeed, it is the place of the peace gesture in the Novus Ordo Missae that is the problem.

Rather than reminding the faithful that they are sharing in a solemn sacrifice and preparing to participate communally in worship (lex orandi), and in the Supper of the Lord, receiving His very body and blood as did the apostles on the night that they were told He was to become the Passover Paschal Lamb, the gesture of peace in its current place obliterates the reverence of the moment.

As Saint John Paul II reminded the faithful in his encyclical letter Ecclesia De Eucharistia: “Every priest who celebrates Holy Mass, together with the Christian community which takes part in it, is led back in spirit to that place and that hour.” By “that hour,” John Paul II meant “the hour of his Cross and glorification.”

If at “that hour” Mary and John on Calvary looked up to the cross, smiled, hugged, and shook hands, this column would have nary any authority; but, alas, the Gospel of John says Mary and John did nothing of the sort.

The mind and soul are to be fixed upon the transsubstantiatio (“transubstantiation”) occurring on the altar; thus one is to be focused in soul, mind, and body, solely upon God.

The anachronistic confraternal peace gesture takes the soul, mind, and body away from the necessary contemplative prayer, thought, and internal preparation in which one should be engaged immediately prior to the receipt of Holy Communion. In a few short liturgical seconds, one is re-directed from the rightful focus on Christ and the Father (the latter most directly through the recitation of Jesus’ own Pater Noster [“Our Father”]), and onto the people by way of the peace gesture. The liturgy then swiftly reverts focus back onto the Lord with the chanting of the Agnus Dei (“Lamb of God”), which repeats twice the request of the faithful for the Lord to “have mercy on us,” which is surely aidful in, and companion to, a proper examination of conscience and soul in preparation for unworthy receipt of Holy Communion. One need not have considerable knowledge of the liturgy to see that the peace gesture just does not fit.

The move from focus on the Eucharist and onto the people is troublesome, for as John Paul II wrote in Ecclesia De Eucharistia:  “[T]he Eucharist, which is in an outstanding way the sacrament of the paschal mystery, stands at the centre of the Church’s life” (original emphasis).

More akin to evangelical Protestants’ understanding of worship, the gesture of peace in its current place maims the Catholic teaching of the sacrificial purpose of the Mass. Evangelical Protestants and so-called charismatic Catholics similarly view worship as celebratory fun full of pomp, whistles, vocal affirmation, clapping, and music that mirrors that which is played at dance parties. The Catholic Mass, however, is not a celebration, nor it is a weekend party filled with bread, wine, and good company. Catholics gather to venerate the Eucharistic sacrifice upon the altar.

For those Catholics who participate exclusively in the Novus Ordo, or in conjunction with the forma extraordinaria Missae (Tridentine Latin Mass), some solemnity-crushing modern liturgical abuses are avoidable. The peace gesture, however, can sometimes be difficult to avoid. Those Catholics leery of the placement of the peace gesture may feel as though they will be assessed as inconsiderate if they do not greet those around them. The trepidation of those who hold this opinion is valid, for the vast majority of Catholics at the Novus Ordo will likely see the non-peace-gesturer as individualistic and uncouth, rather than theologically upright—this, simply because they have no knowledge of the liturgical difference of opinion on the rightful place of the gesture. In the words of the Congregation’s instructional 2004 Redemtionis Sacramentum: “[A]buses are often based on ignorance, in that they involve a rejection of those elements whose deeper meaning is not understood and whose antiquity is not recognized.”

Thankfully, the Roman Missal has allowed consecrating priests to omit the gesture of peace among the people. The Vatican’s Circular Letter reaffirmed that the gesture is indeed optional, meaning that those who choose not to participate in the gesture when invited and those who intellectually disagree with its placement in the Mass are in no way challenging Church hierarchy on liturgical instruction….

To read the original story, click here.



  1. Clinton R. says:

    Reason #5230 to pray for an end to the Novus Ordo (protestant/masonic inspired). The Mass of All Ages, the one that nourished the faith of the saints throughout the centuries gives God His proper worship. The NO Mass gives man the opportunity to act silly, dress inappropriately and be entertained. Go to youtube and watch a TLM and a NO Mass. Two different religions!

  2. For those who may not know, the “Latin Rite” contains both
    the Ordinary Form (aka OF, Novus Ordo) and is said in the vernacular language;
    and the Extraordinary Form (aka EF, Latin Mass, TLM, Traditional).

    This article is about the OF Mass only.

    No PRIEST may make any changes to the Mass, or there is an ABUSE of the Liturgy.

    The OF Mass must be said in full accord with the Nov 2011 GIRM (General Instruction of the Roman Missal).
    GIRM is posted on the Vatican and USCCB web sites.
    No LAY persons may make any changes to the Mass.
    Holding hands, holding arms up in the air to mimic the Priest, applauding at Mass, giving the sign of peace to those not nearest, etc – are all abuses.
    Read GIRM first and then talk to your Pastor about correcting abuses – it is his job. He can have announcements read prior to Mass and post notices in the Parish bulletin.
    If that does not work, talk to your Diocese Bishop about correcting abuses at the Mass that you personally witness within any Catholic Church in the Diocese.

    The EF Mass must follow the 1962 Missal.
    This means that all Laity who receive Holy Communion must receive kneeling and on the tongue unless physically impaired.

  3. A Bishop doing his job – regarding Formal Instruction for the OF Mass.

    ” 4. The gestures for the priests, deacons, religious and lay faithful be strictly carried out in accord with the rubrics of the Roman Missal,”

    ” A common bodily posture, to be observed by all those taking part, is a sign of the unity of the members of the Christian community gathered together for the Sacred Liturgy, for it expresses the intentions and the spiritual attitude of the participants and also fosters them.” (GIRM 42)”

    ” Only the priest is given the instruction to “extend” his hands.
    Neither the deacon nor the lay faithful are instructed to do this.
    No gesture is prescribed for the lay faithful in the Roman Missal; nor the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, therefore the extending or holding of hands by the faithful should not be performed.”

    ” Sacred Silence be observed in our churches prior to the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy to allow the clergy and the faithful to properly prepare and dispose themselves for the Sacred Mysteries to which they are about to participate.”
    ” Even before the celebration itself, it is commendable that silence is observed in the church, in the sacristy, in the vesting room, and in adjacent areas, so that all may dispose themselves to carry out the sacred action in a devout and fitting manner.” (GIRM 45) Silence following the Mass is also encouraged for those who might want to remain in the church to pray.”

  4. I have always knelt down and bowed my head while people glad-hand eachother over my head. It’s good to know that it’s optional to participate in that gesture.

    • Life Lady, I always did the same thing. (I don’t attend the NO because it makes me raging angry.) I recall a woman poked me when I had my head down – she was determined to shake my hand. It makes me angry just to think about it.

  5. St. Christopher says:

    “Maims” is the correct word, here. In fact, there is really no place at all for a “gesture of peace” which is (as presently situated in the Novus Ordo Mass): (1) disruptive; (2) Protestant; (3) meaningless; (4) unhealthy; and (5) incongruous to the “sacrifice” of the Mass. The “Sign of Peace” should be eliminated from the N.O. Mass.

    Benedict was a wonderful Pope, particularly so in that he was both Traditional, and “New”, being strongly influenced by Vatican II. Historians will write, however, that Benedict struggled against the actual implementation of Vatican II. He voice many misgivings about how the Council was ignored and used as a vehicle by Liberals to wreckovate the entire Church.

    Francis lacks Benedict’s intellectual depth and willingness to examine everything. Stuck in the Latin American model of bringing “Liberal Theology” to the world, he actually believes that he is doing something good to enhance the promise of salvation to Mankind by praising dictatorships, embracing Marxism, and becoming a Hippie-Mouthpiece to simply crazy (and much disputed) beliefs in climate control, and anti-capitalist world communalism (which the Pope insists is neither Marxist nor socialist).

    The Sign of Peace is like the Kumbaya Song: nothing related to the Mass, to Christ’s sacrifice, to salvation, to anything. It is directly connected to 1960’s Hippie-dom and its silly, and worse, impacts on the Church. Just look around, as well, at the devastating impacts of the Wing-Nut generation in education, in the arts, in relations between men and women; everything. Time to be grown-up now.

  6. I have been in parishes where the Mass stops temporarily while some people leave their pews to walk up and down the aisle to hug and shake hands with many people. .I do not shake hands or hug my fellow parishioners during the peace gesture. I keep my hands folded in front of me and smile and nod to those nearby. Fortunately, I attend a conservative parish where many other people do not participate in the peace gesture. If enough people don’t shake hands, this nonsense may slowly disappear. Also, this year the flu vaccine is not expected to prevent the flu. I have enough germs of my own, I don’t need anyone else’s.

    • Mike Ybarrondo says:

      A conservative Parish… I only pray for one. Does anyone know of one in San Diego?
      God Bless you.

      • Mike, define “conservative parish.”

        • Anonymous says:

          Bob One if Mike won’t I will, 1) it actual looks like a Catholic Parish 2) no presence of women on the altar 3) priest is orthodox in his preaching, and not a homosexual 4) no presence of rainbow flags 4) robust Pro-Life ministry 5)Angelus is recited daily morning, noon and evening 6) Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament Daily 7) Confession offered daily 8)TLM or Novus Ordo said Ad Orientum shall I go one Bob One….

          • Anonymous, thanks for your comment, but it confused me even more. What does a Catholic Parish actually look like? What if the Priest is an orthodox preacher but also a celibate homosexual? What if the Exposition is only of First Fridays? Why can’t women be Lectors or EMs? Etc.?
            I think we have a tendency, myself included, to speak in generalities rather than specifics. Catholic churches around the world, if built in the last fifty years generally don’t look like churches built in the 1800s or 1500s. If you go to Google Images in type in modern churches of the world you will see what I mean.

      • If you are interested in the EF (Latin, Extraordinary Form of the Mass) here is one in San Diego:
        St. Anne Church
        621 Sicard St., San Diego, CA 92113

        Mass times:
        7:30 am – Low Mass / Misa Rezada
        9:00 am – Sung Mass / Misa Principal Cantada
        11:05 am – Chant Mass / Misa con Cantos Gregorianos
        12:30 pm – Low Mass with Spanish hymns / Misa Rezada con Cantos en Español
        5:30 pm – Vespers / Visperas
        6:00 pm – Low Mass / Misa Rezada

        Monday – Thursday, Saturday:
        7:15 A.M.
        9:00 A.M.
        9:00 A.M.
        6:00 P.M.
        If this is too far for you, check with the LA Diocese office for other Latin Masses by the FSSP or Diocese Priests who have been trained in the EF Mass rubrics.

  7. The rules are the rules, but I find it odd that so many find it objectionable to offer others the sign of Christ’s peace. The words of the Roman Missal, third edition states the following:
    Priest: Lord Jesus Christ, who said to your Apostles, Peace I leave you, my peace I give you, look not on our sins, but on the faith of your Church, and graciously grant her peace and unity
    in accordance with your will. Who live and reign for ever and ever.
    All: Amen.

    Priest: The Peace of the Lord be with you always.
    All: And with your spirit.

    Deacon or Priest: Let us offer each other a sign of peace.
    [The ministers and all the people exchange an embrace, handshake, or other appropriate gesture of peace with those near them, according to local custom.]

    Now, all we have to do is determine what “appropriate gesture” means, what “those near them” means and what “local custom” means.

    The real issue of this article is where the sign of peace should be given during the Mass, not if it should or should not be given. Some people just don’t like it, and there may some abuses, but lets read the black and do the red as the book outlines.

    • St. Christopher says:

      “Bob One” — always the apologist for the Zombie-Liberal destructionists! The “Kiss/Gesture/Slobber of Peace” was foisted upon all Catholics by the anti-Catholic apparatchiks after Vatican II. Catholics, ever unwilling to buck authority, particularly after bishops threatened this and that, simply adopted a go along, to get along attitude.

      Now is the time to rise up and overthrow this craziness. Now that Francis has made his alliances with wreckovation bomb-throwers like C. Maradiaga, B. Cupich, Abp. Forte, C. Dolan, and many, many others, Faith-filled Catholics need to tell the Church “hierarchy” that no more money will be spent until real Catholicism is returned.

      People like “Bob One” and other regular bloggers to CCD, should be happy with the all-out war on virtually anything Traditional. The Zombies are liberated and are seeking Catholic brains to devour. Just take a look at the Philippines and the very recent circular issued by the Archdiocese of Cebu. Among other things, construction of new churches is to have the tabernacle placed “outside” of the sanctuary. And, why is this? Because Pope Francis is coming there in about two weeks and these brown-nosers want to impress the King.

      The “better Nazi” mentality is always a problem when men are motivated by concerns with political position and economic comfort, rather than a Faith that is external to the Ruler. True Catholics have much more to fear from their own bishops, pastors and priests than from President Obama.

    • Don Alfred says:

      When I discuss the peace sign with a priest I begin by asking about the observation of silence in the Adoration Chapel. Why is it observed?
      Logically, I move on to the moment of Consecration then ask, how can anyone possibly insist that the cackling is “appropriate” in one setting and not the other?

  8. Your Fellow Catholic says:

    In my opinion, this is one of the best pieces I’ve seen on CCD regarding liturgy. It is even handed and doesn’t throw stones. It gets at a problem we all know is a problem.

    I too was disappointed when the Vatican reaffirmed its current place within the liturgy. They did so, I think, because it has almost always BEEN in that location in the Mass before Vatican II. It’s placement expresses a theological truism: When in the presence of Christ, we share in his peace.

    However, it gets confused with the New Testament admonishment, clearly referencing the Eucharist, that before we bring our offering to the altar we should do so after we have made peace with one another. The placement of the Pax where it currently rests is not before the offering or the sacrifice, so the Pax we celebrate is not the Pax that Paul talks about.

    Some of you know I am a convert to Catholicism, and in the Eucharistic rite we employed, the peace indeed was before the offertory, in keeping with the Pauline plea. In our small community, you could not avoid “making peace” with someone you were quarreling with, at least not without a guilty conscience.And wasn’t that Paul’s point? And regardless of how much time it took or how many happy hugs took place, it did not disturb the worship of the one we were there to worship, after all.

    • “nd regardless of how much time it took or how many happy hugs took place, it did not disturb the worship of the one we were there to worship, after all. ” In case of your parish YFC it seems to be self worship….

  9. Another reason to attend the TLM

  10. Oh just try to take it away at my parish. Altar servers come down from the altar to greet people in the pews. The hand shaking hugging continues into the Lamb of God. In fact the choir now sings, “my peace I give, my peace to you” a few times and parishioners are still not back to their pew when the Lam of God begins.

  11. Pro-life Nana says:

    Thank you, Sarah! I fold my hands, also. I smile and nod to the people next to me but I really don’t want to. I feel very uncomfortable. As luck would have it, at Christmas Mass, I was sitting next to a family that agrees with me. Thank you, God. I am praying for the peace gesture to disappear, also. Our Lord asks for only one hour a week and it should be focused on Him…….Him only.

    • When attending the OF Mass, I hold the Missal with both hands or clasp my hands together,
      and merely mouth (not speak) the word “peace” to those on each side of me only.
      (Noise at this sacred part of the Mass – (speaking to each other) is disrespectful to God.)
      I never turn around with my back to the Altar.

      I never kiss my spouse or family members, nor do I hold hands or mimic the Priest in raising my arms.

      Lately I have decided to travel further to attend EF Masses. There are less distractions by the Laity in EF Masses, to allow for a more prayerful relationship with God.

      I am the Lord, thy God. Thou shall not have strange gods before Me.

      CCC: ” 2055 When someone asks him, “Which commandment in the Law is the greatest?” Jesus replies: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. ”

      CCC: ” 2093 Faith in God’s love encompasses the call and the obligation to respond with sincere love to divine charity.
      The first commandment enjoins us to love God above everything and all creatures for Him and because of Him. ”

      We must do what is best to save our own Souls.
      More attention needs to be paid to the ETERNAL rather than the TEMPORAL.

  12. Jack Ezekiel says:

    We may never know if those responsible for the Novus Ordo Mass deliberately put the sign of peace where it would disrupt the solemnity of the Eucharistic sacrifice or whether the Congregation for Divine Worship would have reached a different conclusion were Francis not the Pope, but we can speculate….

    • Anonymous says:

      And I’m sure you will, because never assume the best of anyone, always assume the worst.

      • Jack Ezekiel says:

        To speculate and to assume are different. I would speculate that you yourself have assumed the worst of me. May I refer the gentle reader to “Weapons of MASS Destruction (2010),” a faith-based investigation at ChurchMilitantTV?

  13. Everyone who attends the OF (aka Ordinary Form, Novus Ordo) of the Mass should read GIRM thoroughly.
    General Instruction of the Roman Missal – formally updated Nov., 2011 in USA.

    No Priest (or Lay person) has the authority to make ANY CHANGES to the Mass.

    When there are abuses of (or any changes to) the Mass by either the PRIEST – or LAY PERSONS, we each have an obligation to contact the appropriate DIOCESE BISHOP asap.

    Code of Canon Law: ” 212 §3. According to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they possess, they have the right and even at times the duty
    to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church
    and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful,
    without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons. ”
    AND CCC # 907.

    • I agree Louis. Far too many times it is the bad behavior of the LAITY along with Priests who are too cowardly to correct them per GIRM that drive people away from the OF (Ordinary Form, Novus Ordo) Mass.
      The actions of too many Laity are not reverent and distract from God,
      and many dress like they are going to the beach or a ball game,
      not to honor God.

      Further approved disruptions add to the lack of reverence, and the silly atmosphere.

      It is too bad that the Church merely does not use the EF (Extraordinary Form, Latin, Traditional, TLM) in the vernacular languages world-wide.

      Those who attend the OF Mass on a regular basis MUST contact their Priest and Diocese Bishop to stop GIRM abuses, and disrespectful dressing.

      Regarding dressing, appropriate behavior, and few being chosen – do not forget the parable by Jesus.
      Mt 22: 11-14.
      ” But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment;
      and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’
      And he was speechless.
      Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.’
      For many are called, but few are chosen.”

      It is an insult to the Lord when we do not dress in our Sunday best.

  14. Michael McDermott says:

    I have previously written on the ‘Handshake / Hug’ interruption to the Mass, and the Sanitary considerations in a world of ever changing treatment resistant (some by direct skin contact) problems – Just before Consuming the Host.

    However – this article has opened my eyes to a new and different if not equally valid concern about the practice – in that it does seem to conflict with the Solemn Celebration of the Eucharist,

    Kind of like pallbearers at a funeral suddenly staging a ‘break-dance’ before resuming the ceremony,

    I agree with the Sharing of Peace – but think it better moved to the beginning – or Better Yet the Very End of the Mass,

    In my Parish we close with the Prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel, after the admonition to “Go In Peace” – which seems an appropriate and timely / non-distracting place to insert the the greeting – also as a Farewell Until Next Time.

  15. Father Karl says:

    The kiss of peace is OPTIONAL, But the liturgical terrorists present it as mandatory. In Europe, from what was in practice several years ago, the Kiss of Peace is rarely done. Because it distracts greatly from Christ’s presence on the altar, it would be best to eliminate it. Anything that puts Our Lord second, or ignores Him, it NOT liturgical, but an insult to Almighty God. In the EF, at high Mass, the pax was given, but was very dignified. F.Y.I.: There was in some countries a small object, which after the priest, deacon and sub deacon kissed it, was passed on to the congregation for them to kiss it I think it was called the PAX BREDE..

    • Father Karl, I am surprised at your comment that the “kiss of peace” is optional. I read all of the masses in the Roman Missal, third edition, and they all state that we should offer each other the Peace of Christ through some gesture. Can you lead us to a link that would tell us if they changed the third edition. A few days ago I posted the words of the Mass taken from the third edition and it told us to offer the sign of peace. Who am I to believe? From my reading of the words of the Mass, we are not participating properly in the Mass if we refuse to make a gesture of peace to those around us. If we don’t make a gesture of peace, can it be said that we have not really participated in the Mass? Isn’t it like not singing the Psalms and songs when they are offered? I plea for more guidance on this matter.

      • Bob One, you brought up an interesting point. The USCCB has recently changed GIRM without a vote of the Bishops and without the required approval by the Vatican –
        by paraphrasing on their web site to imply that the sign of Peace is to be given to those “around us”. This was not worded this way on the USCCB web site 2 years ago.
        This is false and should be corrected by the USCCB staff.
        Some staffers (even if Priests) should be fired from the USCCB. Either they are incompetent or purposely pushing their own ideas with mis-information.

        This is the actual wording from the VATICAN web site for the USA:
        ” 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. ”

        We all know that Priests allow the abuses of people giving the sign of peace to those who are NOT nearest, and in a party-like manner – which is disrespectful and disruptive.

        Kissing or hugging has never been part of the approved GIRM for the OF Mass. This is another abuse that is not corrected.

    • Anonymous says:

      Christ is present on the Altar as you say. We say the prayer that He taught his disciples which is to the Father. Then the priest says the Words of Jesus that He said to His Apostles and we ask God to give His Peace. We offer peace to all around us. It is really easy to be at peace with God but more difficult to be at peace with the family member who is making a play to gain control of your elderly parents finances or who made you late for Mass or the parishioner who’s thong underwear is showing when she leans forward or the newcomers who took “your” pew.
      “If the faithful through their ritual gestures do not appreciate and do not show themselves to be living the authentic meaning of the rite of peace, the Christian concept of peace is weakened and their fruitful participation at the Eucharist is impaired. Therefore, along with the previous reflections that could form the basis for a suitable catechesis by providing some guidelines, some practical
      suggestions are offered to the Conferences of Bishops for their prudent consideration:
      a) It should be made clear once and for all that the rite of peace already has its own profound meaning of prayer and offering of peace in the context of the Eucharist. An exchange of peace appropriately carried out among the participants at Mass enriches the meaning of the rite itself and gives fuller expression to it.

      • Very well said, thank you.

      • We go to Mass to worship God alone, not socialize with each other.
        We can socialize all week long, and it does not need to be at Mass.

        JESUS – ” And He said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. ” Mt 22:37-38.

        I guess it all depends on why each of us go to Mass to honor God or honor each other.

        Priests and most Bishops NEVER enforce that the Laity do not abuse the sign of Peace at Mass.
        In fact, some of them abuse it themselves – see GIRM.

        Nothing should be permitted that DISTRACTS from worshiping and honoring God.

      • When God (Jesus) gives all of us PEACE through His own Body and Blood – it is not the same as us saying ‘peace’ to the guy next to us.
        NEVER confuse JESUS with a mere man.

        Purposeful human DISTRACTION from the HOLIEST part of the Mass is wrong.

        People have a tendency to elevate themselves to little gods. We are not that important. Get rid of the pride.

        I bow my head, close my eyes, and try not to pay attention to the human activity around me re the sign of peace. I choose not to participate in these human antics especially when they are allowed to be abusive.
        It gives me time to say an extra silent prayer for the Priest and everyone attending the Mass.

        VII and GIRM require some silence at Mass. Between the currently permitted actions, responses, and singing of the people – there is very little time for a reverent silence to contemplate God.
        Our minds are not raised to God when we are formally and actively acknowledging each other.
        Very little time to listen and hear God speak to our hearts.
        Just human motion/commotion.

        • Anonymous says:

          CCC 1301
          The sign of peace that concludes the rite of the sacrament signifies and demonstrates ecclesial communion with the bishop and with all the faithful.

  16. Luckily, in my area it has been reduced to a smile and a bow to our closest neighbors most of the time or not done at all. I have come to realize that it is at the wrong time of the Mass — right before the most solemn part, before the Sacrifice when Christ becomes truly present on the altar which should be the total focus of our adoration. I think the sign of peace in the OF should be done just before we leave at the ” Ite missa est (The Mass is ended.) Of course, only the proper authorities can change it if they choose to do so..

    • Agreed Anne T. At the very beginning or at the very end of Mass would be more appropriate rather than distracting from the real reason we are at Mass.

      Most people only have the opportunity to adore God at Mass once a week. It should not be diluted with human gestures to each other – especially during the most SACRED part of the Mass.

  17. Actually, after the “Go in peace” would be better as some have suggested.

  18. I do shake hands with those closest to us. It is already difficult enough to not hold hands during the our father. I am very grateful to Archbishop Gomez that he has allowed several EF masses in Los Angeles, which we attend most Sundays now.

    • I had no problem with the sign of peace, nor with shaking hands, until things got out of hand in some places. Quite a few years ago one priest in a church I was going to started to force all the parishioners to hold hands during the Our Father, not just allow some to do so. That did it for me as holding hands during the Our Father is NOT part of the Mass, and no parishioner has to do it or should be forced to do it. I took off to another OF Mass where things were done according to the rubrics and GIRM (General Instructions of the Roman Missal). If friends or family want to hold hands during the Our Father, that is none of my business, but not everyone should be forced to do it. There is also the problem that some people have been exposed to colds, etc. and carry tissues and do not want to expose others.

      The “Adoramus Bulletin” website is a good place for people to go to in in order to find out what is appropriate for the OF Masses.

    • Gratias, it is your choice.

      If you find it easier, hold your missal with both hands, so your hands are full and no one can grab them.
      Mouth the word “peace’ to those only on each side of you, so your voice will not add to the distraction.
      Never turn around.

      When someone tries to hold your hand during the Lord’s Prayer, gently shake your head “no”.
      Remember that this is an abuse and should be reported to your Parish Priest for his correction of the congregation.

      This is an official DECREE from one US Bishop you may find interesting.
      It includes: ” Special note should also be made concerning the gesture for the Our Father.
      Only the priest is given the instruction to “extend” his hands.
      Neither the deacon nor the lay faithful are instructed to do this.
      No gesture is prescribed for the lay faithful in the Roman Missal; nor the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, therefore the extending or holding of hands by the faithful should not be performed. “

      • Thank you Pete for the link to the bishop’s letter. In my time not forming a chain was something that distinguished Protestants from Catholics. I think the ordinary Church may want to turn us into Protestants, and they are winning.

        And what is it with drinking from the Chalix as Lartin Luther demanded? This was not Catholic. When it was imposed the Latin American Church found a good solution: intinction! The priest dips the host in wine and says body and blood. Has the enormous advantage that the communicant receives on the tounge (and if lucky kneeling, as kneeling for receiving is now mostly forbidden). Pope Francis gives common by intinction and so do many Latin American priests. Fewer Eucharistic Ministers needed that way and people cannot March off with the Body of Christ.

  19. End the Novus Ordo once and for all and return the Traditional Latin Mass!!!!!!

  20. Another one of my favorites is when we lay people raise our hands in blessing to children or RCIA folks being dismissed I did not know lay people can give blessings.

    • St. Christopher says:

      “Mark”: They cannot. This is another one of the crazy misconceptions with the use of the word “ministry”. Give some a title and . . .

      Many, many times you see a person, often a woman, called a “Eucharistic Minister” mistakenly by the priest, give a blessing to a baby or small child at communion. These people are not “ministers” in the general sense, but merely fill in for “extraordinary” circumstances (which is why they are accurately called “Extraordinary Ministers of the. . . .”) They are lay people, just like you, and lack any ability to give such blessings.

      Of course, the Zombie-Liberals, that are really Lutherans, believe in the dominance of the laity. They want to stand at the consecration, require all to take communion in the hand, never kneel, have only general absolution, have women priests/married priests, permit homosexuals to marry, have truly bizarre are disrespectful masses, and use “common” music, among many, many other innovations (hand-holding, etc.).

      “Janek”: you are correct.

      • Anonymous says:

        You don’t say grace at meals?
        You don’t make the sign of the Cross?
        CCC 1669 Every baptized person is called to be a “blessing” and to bless.

        • Beware of people like Anonymous who leave out parts of the paragraph regarding the CCC and thus change the meaning.

          This is the REAL quote from the CCC.
          CCC: ” 1669 Sacramentals derive from the baptismal priesthood:
          every baptized person is called to be a “blessing,” and to bless.
          Hence lay people may preside at certain blessings; the more a blessing concerns ecclesial and sacramental life, the more is its administration reserved to the ordained ministry (bishops, priests, or deacons). ”

          I repeat this last part: “……. the more a blessing concerns ecclesial and sacramental life, the more is its administration RESERVED to the ordained ministry (bishops, priests, or deacons). ”

          Only Bishops, Priests and Ministers can give a blessing during any part of the Mass, or during any Sacrament.

          • Anonymous says:

            Yes, that is the whole quote of 1669.
            Please read the whole section on sacramentals.
            My response was to the person who said that lay people cannot give blessings.
            I think you misunderstood my intention.
            I was not trying to change the meaning of the CCC.

        • St. Christopher says:

          Not the same thing “Anonymous” and you should know it. The “giving” of a blessing, when a lay person is put into a position to assist a priest at Mass appears to confirm that such person has received some new authority to confer something of a religious value — a blessing. There is no support for such a proposition, and cannot be in the Roman Catholic Church (which is not a church run by lay people, unlike many Protestant sects, which are).

          There is much authoritative literature on this topic. A good one is This site contains a copy of a 2008 letter, from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, that expressly states, “3. Furthermore, the laying on of a hand or hands –which has its own sacramental significance, inappropriate here–by those distributing Holy Communion, in substitution for its reception, is to be explicitly discouraged.”

          That letter also states, at Para. 2., “Lay people, within the context of the Holy Mass, are unable to confer blessings.”

          No blessing should ever be given by a lay person anywhere in a formal Church function, such as giving out communion at Mass. If a pastor or priest sees this they must reprimand that lay person. In fact, many Catholics believe that no lay person has any business giving out communion at all, but that is a political issue and debate for another time. Your suggestion to the contrary on this issue is wrong.

          • Anonymous says:

            You are correct on this.
            But I was responding to the part of your post which said that lay people cannot give blessings.
            Oh, you meant during Mass.
            I know people do this sometimes but no it is not proper.
            I did not suggest anything to the contrary.

        • Anonymous, shame on you for changing the meaning in the CCC by leaving out most of #1669.
          We have all learned that you can not be trusted for accuracy and truthfulness.

          • Anonymous says:

            This was unkind and untrue.
            From the CCC:
            2477 Respect for the reputation of persons forbids every attitude and word likely to cause them unjust injury. He becomes guilty:
            – of rash judgment who, even tacitly, assumes as true, without sufficient foundation, the moral fault of a neighbor;
            – of detraction who, without objectively valid reason, discloses another’s faults and failings to persons who did not know them;
            – of calumny who, by remarks contrary to the truth, harms the reputation of others and gives occasion for false judgments concerning them.
            2478 To avoid rash judgment, everyone should be careful to interpret insofar as possible his neighbor’s thoughts, words, and deeds in a favorable way:
            Every good Christian ought to be more ready to give a favorable interpretation to another’s statement than to condemn it. But if he cannot do so, let him ask how the other understands it. And if the latter understands it badly, let the former correct him with love. If that does not suffice, let the Christian try all suitable ways to bring the other to a correct interpretation so that he may be saved.

        • Grace at meals – asks God to Bless us. “Bless us O Lord ….”
          We are not blessing ourselves or others.

          Sign of the Cross by the Laity is –
          CCC: ” 2157 The Christian begins his day, his prayers, and his activities with the Sign of the Cross:
          “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”
          The baptized person dedicates the day to the glory of God and calls on the Savior’s grace which lets him act in the Spirit as a child of the Father. The sign of the cross strengthens us in temptations and difficulties.”

          CCC: clearly states (which you deleted) – # 1669 …… the more a blessing concerns ecclesial and sacramental life, the more is its administration reserved to the ordained ministry (bishops, priests, or deacons). ”

          Lay people helping to distribute Holy Communion have zero authority to impart Christ’s blessing on anyone. They are not acting “Persona Christi”. In fact they can never act “Persona Christi” .

          • Anonymous says:

            I think you are somewhat confused on this. There are different forms of blessing. And yes, of course the blessing comes from God.
            You can bless your food. You cannot bless Holy Water.
            You can bless someone who sneezes.
            Blessings are a sacramental-lay people can bless. Not everything.
            Do you own a copy of Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers?
            When you give to the poor and they bless you, do you think it means nothing?
            The issue with blessings being given during Communion is something the Church will have to address. You are correct that they are not a priestly blessing.

          • Only a priest or deacon can bless religious items. I am not sure deacons can bless holy water; laymen cannot.

  21. Father Karl says:

    Perhaps 35 years ago, there was an lead article in THE WANDERER titled, ‘But what’s wrong with it” which discussed all the various changes to the Mass. Taken individually, they do not seen to be troublesome, but put them all together, and the sacrificial aspect of the Mass vanishes, and the meal and party aspect of the Mass takes its place. Christ, WHO IS GOD is on the altar, and He is practically totally ignored during the exchange of peace. Many (I did NOT say ALL) parishioners believe that the kiss of peace is the MOST important part of the Mass, because it is where we all share our fellowship with one another. As the above article states, and as I wrote earlier in regards to the kiss of peace, it IS OPTIONAL according to the official Vatican document. A simple bow, or nodding of the head would be acceptable, but climbing all over everyone, leaving one’s pew and parading all around hugging and kissing all in sight, is most irreverent. Pope Benedict was totally correct in wanting to move or delete the kiss of peace, but it looks like it will continue to be a source of undermining the Real Presence of Christ under the appearances of bread and wine.

  22. Catherine says:

    A pastor once asked his parishioners what was the MOST IMPORTANT thing that took place at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The majority answered, “The handshake sign of peace.” True story! This informs us of the great need to return to the basics and teach adults as if they too are little children who are being taught about the wondrous and awesome reality of Transubstantiation.

    Mark is describing something that has been taking place with more frequency. Priests asking the laity to lay hands above the people in the pew in front of them in order to give them a blessing. I have witnessed this. Now It is also very common to see people raising their hands up in the air as if they were attending the Harvest Crusade Festival.

    I found this article of a photo of those attending the Harvest Crusades and it seems the practice of holding the arms up really gained even more ground with poor RCIA instruction and simultaneously in popularity with the hands up and waving at the Harvest Crusades. How many of these novelties are being allowed to distract Catholics from the MIRACLE taking place on the altar.

    I would like our priests and bishops to hear these door to door calls and listen to just how many of these attendees at the Harvest Crusade are fallen away Catholics. We met many in our door to door Legion of Mary calls.

    • Catherine says:

      continued from January 4, 2015 at 1:15 pm

      Mass attendance is at an all time low and catechesis is a disaster. Instead of turning to the full teachings of the Church, our shepherds are now imitating and looking to Protestants and Protestant practices to help pull them out of the dirty ditch that they have created from years of disobedience to Rome and through spiritual neglect.

      Though they do NOT have the fullness of truth, these Protestant leaders are often very good men and they often show more loyalty to God by valuing and showing respect for what is written in the bible but HOW UNBELIEVABLY LOST are we when we continue to ignore the ongoing devastation in the vineyard by being distracted by the culture and the further Protestantizing of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass by allowing the laity to act as ministers and bless the individuals in front of them at Mass. For those who deny this please write to Pope Benedict XVI who wrote the Spirit of the Liturgy to end these novelty practices that have run amok causing churches and altars to be sacked. Those who use their selective courage to get angry with those who value the TLM need to go on on Legion of Mary calls to hear just how many people admit that they left when the novelties became the norm. Many were absolutely shocked that the TLM Mass still existed and they said that they would like to attend and experience this again.

      • Catherine, I often don’t completely agree with your comments. But, you may truly be on to something this time when you talk about the lack of good catechist. I remember back in the mid sixties/early seventies when I got all worked up about the CCD programs “teaching Love and not the faith.” Of course I was wrong, Christ is Love, but not totally. Even my best friend Priest don’t seem willing to teach the faith. One doesn’t even have a copy of the Catechism in his office. He is afraid of preaching in too dogmatic a fashion, lest he lose his parishioners. On the other hand, he has a parish that has grown from a few hundred families to nearly 1,300 families in ten years, and most are very devout Catholics. Devout in their belief in Christ as the Redeemer, but also in favor of contraception, abortion in special situations, etc. The “faith formation” classes tend to teach the kids to be nice, learn their prayers, etc., but they don’t deal in any way with issues of sex. Should they? Sex seems to be the key issue for Catholic conservatives/orthodox folks. My Priest friends tell me that they have more pastoral things to deal with; families are falling apart, kids are getting into gangs or going to jail, teens are running away, parents are fighting all the time, there is no food on the table, there is no work for the untrained. I think most of the parish workers are trying to keep things together will chewing gum and bailing wire. Having said all that, I’m not sure what the cure is. How should we change? What should we change in the average parish? How do make the change come about? I have no idea how to solve the problem.

        • Bob One, talk to your Priest about the Catechism.
          Mortal sin – sends Souls to Hell. And if he does not do his job, there is a chance he will be in Hell.
          Numbers are not important, but truth is.
          Just because someone shows up on Sunday is not a guarantee that they will get to Heaven.

          It is sinful for the Priest to hide the Bible and/OR the CCC from his parish members.
          These are the two most important books in the Catholic Faith.

          Christ is Love, Christ is Merciful, Christ is Just. Christ is not a liar.
          Christ said FEW will be Saved. Lk 13:23-28.

          CCC: ” 2092 There are two kinds of presumption.
          Either man presumes upon his own capacities, (hoping to be able to save himself without help from on high),
          or he presumes upon God’s almighty power or his mercy (hoping to obtain his forgiveness without conversion and glory without merit). ”

          Hosea 4:6 ” My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge;
          because you have rejected knowledge,
          I reject you from being a priest to me.
          And since you have forgotten the law of your God,
          I also will forget your children “

        • Catherine says:

          “The places in which the Blessed Sacrament was banished, sometimes are not more than rudimentarily adapted closets. This removal of the Blessed Sacrament to often difficult-to-find side chapels has to come to an end.” = This is a good start Bob especially at Christ Cathedral.

          Bob One,

          You must always remember that it is NOT your job to be successful but it IS your duty to be faithful. You need to help your friend and even if he does not listen, God will know that you tried. I completely understand what you mean about our clergy avoiding certain teachings and topics. It has even gotten worse as time passes. Several years ago I was invited to give a talk on pro-life at the Alhambra retreat center to the women retreat givers and also a parish in Montebello. I was asked to dine with several priests and one of the priests introduced me and told the other priests that I was going to be speaking to Catholics on pro-life. … I was truly educated about the unbelievably defeatist attitude that prevailed from these good men of God. In loud unison they all glumly said, “Good Luck.” Wow, I thought. What in the world has happened to Our Lord’s apostles? Bob I think you would be quite surprised by the “pastoral love” that IS shown by our priests who defend and speak up about “all” of the teachings in the Church.

          • Catherine says:

            continued from January 6, 2015 at 2:43 pm

            Bob One, Many of these good priests realize that if they speak up on certain teachings that they will be reprimanded even by their pastor or bishop and so they avoid certain teachings and now look at all of the chaos that has flourished for not teaching the truth.

            You mentioned that you realize that the majority of these Catholics do not follow the Churches teaching regarding using artificial contraception and Bob One there is no denying that there is a connection. Bob big families are now viewed as a curse, when the fruitful blessings that spring from obeying God have been rejected and overlooked. Bob, teaching the truth IS pastoral. Without lovingly being taught the full truth it is like the little boy repeatedly only placing his pastoral finger in the dike while the cracks and the fissures grow. Ignoring or refusing to examine what is truly causing the problem is only asking for the dam to burst wide open with every imaginable conflict and problem floating right through and that ultimately ends up in breaking up and hurting families.

            Our priests need strong faithful bishops who will back them up when they work for the salvation of souls. The laity knows who the faithful priests are and these faithful priests know which priests could teach as well as the laity that could teach in our Catholic schools. All done lovingly Bob.

          • Ann Malley says:

            “…Our priests need strong faithful bishops who will back them up when they work for the salvation of souls.”

            Spot on summation, Catherine, for too often the opposite is the case.

          • Catherine says:

            Thank you Ann, God bless you!

      • Anonymous says:

        I don’t know that it is from Protestantism; it could be an imitation of some Jewish practices or even from the Charismatic movement. It would be interesting to find it’s origin.
        Obviously, it is not in the Catholic Missal.
        I assume that the theology behind it is based on the baptized being incorporated into the Mystical Body of Christ and sharing in His Priesthood.
        Here is Father Z:

  23. Sadly under this current pontifcate the TLM is in chains and will continue to be until the Holy Ghost sends us a pope who will once and for all restore The True Mass of All Times to its proper place and end the “broadway show” Novus Ordo where the priest and people think they are the main attractions!!!

  24. It is the custom at a parish we attend, to clap for everything. And I do mean everything. We clap for the Altar servers, we clap for the young children who go up after mass to get their CCD/EFF papers, we clap for the couple who bring up the offerings, we clap for the choir at the end of the Holy Sacrifice of the mass.
    One time, I asked a woman sitting next to me, why is everyone clapping and she replied that people clap when they are happy. I asked her in reply – if they clapped at Calvary. She turned from me in disgust and stormed out of the church. I for one vote for doing away with the Hand Shake of Peace. Why do it when these very same people would run you over in the parking lot. It means nothing.

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