Do you sign now?

Ok so…at the end of the penitential rite

May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life.
Do you make the sign of the cross during this statement by the priest? If so why? (Not that’s it wrong just wandering as to its provenance)

I have for as long as I can remember. I notice that the priests and deacons do not, but I’m not sure if that was one of the changes to Liturgical gestures we’ve had over the years.

I’ve always heard that signing yourself is always good (like when you drive by a Catholic Church)

You may make the sign of the cross any time you want – it is a good thing. However, people sign here out of habit. There is more than one form of this blessing, and some do absolve you from sin – in which case you would cross yourself. Priests cannot absolve themselves from sins (they have to confess to another Priest), so by saying “us” instead of “you,” he in fact is not absolving us from our sins, hence he does not cross himself.

It’s a good thing to do. I am just intrigued as to whether it once was the standard response of the congregation as you infer it may have been.

The Sign of the Cross after the penitential rite comes from the old form of the Mass. Quoting the New Liturgical Movement blog quoting another document source]:

This habit came about because in the Tridentine Mass the Indulgentiam prayer, which followed the Penitential Rite, started with the sign of the cross. Back then, many Catholics would cross themselves during the Penitential Rite in anticipation of the Indulgentiam. At Vatican II, the Indulgentiam was removed from the Mass, however, many Catholics still have the habit of improperly crossing themselves during the Penitential Rite – even though the Indulgentiam is gone.

Crossing oneself at this time is not given as a rubric for the priest or the people, but I see less harm in it than the use of the “orans posture” by the laity, with hands outstretched in imitation of the priest during certain prayers or accompanying the response, “And also with you” (which is rather silly).

Life is like an onion: you peel off layer after layer and then you find there is nothing in it.

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