Frantic handshaking during Mass

Not to bring this up again, but…
During the “sign of peace” after the Lord’s Prayer, I prefer to keep my hands together in prayer position and bow to those around me. I don’t like the hand shaking because first, I think it often gets carried away, even continuing into the Agnus Dei with people reaching across three pews, running across the aisles, etc, and second, because it really is a prime means of spreading cold and flu viruses. I respect those who do want to shake hands however. The problem is when people ignore my gesture and thrust their hand in front of me- as a woman did today, rather demandingly- and then I feel like I’ll hurt their feelings if I don’t shake their hand. It’s getting to where I don’t want to attend Mass anywhere but the one church where the handshaking thing doesn’t happen- in fact the priests and deacons there skip the “sign of peace” entirely, and no one clutches at your hand during the Lord’s Prayer, either.

At one of the parishes that I occasionally attend, there’s a gentlemen who always gets up and leaves (presumably to use the restroom or something) right before the handshaking and he always returns right afterwards. It took me awhile to notice the pattern, but now I’m sure it’s his non-confrontational way to handle the problem you’re having: when it’s hand-shaking time, he’s simply not there. Something to consider…

I definitely watch for people whose body language indicates they don’t want to shake and I “wave” peace to the them.

I saved a bunch of money on Purell and out-of-socket shoulders by switching to the TLM.


That’s very interesting, Wampa. And it’s kind of sad, really. It make me wonder if this gentleman is depriving himself from a very important part of the Liturgy of the Eucharist, simply to avoid causing embarrassment to others?

I’ve noticed that often the choir or cantor has to delay the Agnus Dei, extending the instrumental, waiting for people to finish running around. It’s really a distraction, I think. Of course, I kneel after the Agnus Dei too:blush:, which isn’t done in most churches, but until it’s banned…

Would you rather have the Kiss of Peace instead?


Ooo, tickly beards!:rotfl:

The kiss of peace was established from Apostolic times. To remove it from Liturgy (or any of its forms like the handshaking) is actually against Apostolic tradition.

I was actually just reading about that, Constantine, and I hear what you are saying. Is omitting it in the Tridentine Mass,then, against Apostolic tradition? Or more to my original point, are we to be forced to shake hands, even if we or the other party may be contagious, or simply find it distracting?

No offense intended about the beards, btw. But it does…tickle!

The handshaking is just an inculturation of the practice. As I have showed with the image I have posted, the “kiss of peace” is how it was really done from Apostolic period. From the evidence presented to me from my reading on the history of Liturgy, this has been in place since the First Century.

Is omitting it in the Tridentine Mass against tradition? Why do you think they brought it back in the OF?

Yes, I can say they do. :smiley:

It is not omitted in the TLM. The Deacon and the Priest exchange it.

There is no historical precedent for meet-and-greet, hand-shaking distraction during the Liturgy. The Mass is the representation of the Sacrifice of Calvary, not a time to catch up. There is nothing to allow for what is seen now, not even in the GIRM.

That is more to the point, MarMax. It becomes a distraction, and seems out of place, the way it occurs in many churches. And the cold and flu issue is real. Of course, in the early days there wasn’t much knowledge about contagion.

And, following your observation- there is plenty of time after Mass to “catch up.”
I could segue here into the topic of loud conversation in the pews before the Procession, but that’s another issue…or is it?

I also find the handshaking disrespectful from those who receive Jesus in the hands, but what do I say, I am a poor sinner. God forbid my judgement of others!

I am only not worthy to shake a hand that becomes a throne for Jesus during communion.

Why do I go to mass? First I want to embrace Jesus and then follows the second commandment. What do the children need from their mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters? Would I not embrace them after being purified?

I will follow the Holy Father. He only distributes communion on the tongue while kneeling, probably as an answer to the “modern mix up of priorities”.

The mass is an encounter with the sacrifice of Calvary and the uniting with Jesus, which is called communion, first in the word and then sharing in his body and blood.

We must mingle our blood with Jesus’ blood in order to be purified.

Currently I just have to tolerate silently what is happening until I have more to say regarding customs and body formation of my brothers and sisters in Christ.
Our generation will go back to tradition and there will come a better distinction between authentic Catholics and false Catholics, distinction between superficial and true.

i am laughing at your choice of words by using “frantic”. that is the perfect word to describe what goes on. i also am uncomfortable with the hand shaking and also worry about germs during flu season. i guess it is all part of the community of the Mass and feeling like we are all family, but i am a private person and sometimes don’t want to interact with others during the Mass. i would prefer to be in my own little world so to speak as i am concentrating on the Mass. i can tell other people are uncomfortable and then there are some that really want to shake your hand and wish you peace.
i would be perfectly happy just to make eye contact and wave or whatever, but don’t really want to touch anyone or have them touch me. i have not tried folding my hands in prayer because there will probably be, as you have shown, people who still want to shake your hand.
but it is all really frantic and i wonder what it must look like from the priests perspective.
i always think to myself, thank God that is over when the handshaking is finished and the Mass resumes.

It was done by the priest and deacon, or priest concelebrants in the precise manner as can still be seen in eastern rites where liturgies remain unchanged from antiquity.

The claim that the entire congregation giving “some sign of peace” to one another is apostolic tradition is a fabrication concocted as a defense of the novel practice.

The claim that the new order of the Mass is a restoration of tradition rather than a radical break from it is fantasy. This is not a criticism of the new Mass. The fact that something is not traditional does not in itself mean it is flawed.

It is true that the vast majority of contagious illnesses, colds and flus, are spread by direct person to person contact, shaking hands. I don’t worry about catching a cold at Mass or anywhere. I don’t get colds. On the other hand there are people who are immuno-supressed, people who have organ transplants and are on anti-rejection medications who need to be very cautious in public settings. Their systems lack the ability to mount a defense and overcome common illnesses once contracted. The elderly are also often unable to fight off common infections. A simple cold can have drastic consequences.

Should they all wear signs explaining why they don’t want to contact fellow worshippers?

I really do love the family in the pew in front of me. The parents holding their three year old who is crawling all over the floor with a big green streak from his nose to lip are dear friends. The local parish has large dispensors of Purell by every entrance. What is the point? Is it an attempt to sanitize us so we can practice safe worship?

The parish providing hand sanitizer at the doors and what’s the point?

I would say that it’s for the same reason that some shops leave a ‘Caution! Wet floor! May be slippery!’ sign out all the time. It’s called covering one’s back.

in the case of a church, it’s to pre-empt anyone complaiming that they had caught something from being at a service, and possibly even suing.
The parish could say in their defence that hand sanitizer had been provided, which was all they could reasonably do.

This time of the Mass is an issue for me also, I dread it. I have watched others who handle it in the ways you have described and I find it difficult for me to do the same. When I attend Mass I seek a seat away from others but this makes me feel bad also. I actually had a man next to me one day who bear-hugged me over a hand shake. Then, when I think about how I am about simply greeting another person, in Church no less, I really feel awful. On the rare occasion when my non-Catholic husband is in Church with me, he leaves for good before he has to shake someone’s hand.

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