Is Kissing the Gospels Optional?

At mass today the Priest said that he does not kiss the gospels because reading from them does not bring us closer as a community. I have a few questions about this:

Isn’t this an insult to both God and the ordination that the priest took?

Are priests allowed to stage this sort of protest?

Is this a form of blasphemy due to irreverence?

I thought the teachings of Jesus were supposed to make us one through his bride, the Church. Isn’t that what he prayed for before he was handed over?

Wow, that is one clueless priest. Father, you really need to get over yourself. I wonder, does his little pout-protest bring the community closer together?

**Wow; and should I really be surprised in this day and age in the Catholic Church?
Maybe I should feel disturbed. Reminds me of a few liberal priests that I’ve been forced to listen to in my Archdiocese.

I’ve heard a beautiful priest explain it to me this way about ending the Gospel reading with the Seal of a Kiss. Gospels are like Love Letters between Jesus and His Beloved…(“Us”). Take the example of a future Bride and Groom who are far away from one another writing romantic love letters to one another reminding each other of their devoted genuine love to one another and how so much one heart misses the other **

Seems this other priest you speak about is oblivious to such an idea.

So so wrong. This priest has either forgotten, or never gotten taught, or just plain disregards the fact that the Mass is a celebration of 2 tables: The ambo and the alter. First Christ feeds us with His Word, and then He feeds us with His Body. To disregard the Word as something “lesser” is to repudiate the entire Mass.

The priest is disobedient to the rubrics of the mass. This makes the mass illicit, but it is nowhere near enough to make it invalid.

it’s a sin for the priest, but how big a one depends upon his state of mind, his education, and a number of other issues.

You should put politely in writing that you are uncomfortable with his not obeying the rubrics of the Mass. Make a couple copies, and send the original to him. If he doesn’t change the behavior, send a copy with a letter to the bishop, along with copies of any written response by the priest.

Redemptoris Sacramentum states that a valid and licit mass is a right of the faithful. (and not many rights are conceeded by the Church!)

This literally made me gasp. This priest is apparently missing the entire point of the Paschal Mystery. The Gospels are the Good News that give us a chance to join the only “community” that matters: Heaven.

From the 2002 General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) approved for the USA, which can be accessed from :

“390. It is up to the Conferences of Bishops to decide on the adaptations indicated in this
General Instruction and in the Order of Mass and, once their decisions have been accorded the recognitio of the Apostolic See, to introduce them into the Missal itself. These adaptations include:
• The gestures and posture of the faithful (cf. no. 43 above);
• The gestures of veneration toward the altar and the Book of the Gospels (cf. no. 273 above); …”.

Veneration of the Altar and the Book of the Gospels
273. According to traditional practice, the altar and the Book of the Gospels are venerated by means of a kiss. Where, however, a sign of this kind is not in harmony with the traditions or the culture of some region, it is for the Conference of Bishops to establish some other sign in its place, with the consent of the Apostolic See.”

"134. At the ambo, the priest opens the book and, with hands joined, says, Dominus vobiscum (The Lord be with you), and the people respond, Et cum spiritu tuo (And also with you). … The priest kisses the book, saying quietly, Per evangelica dicta (May the words of the gospel)."

Certainly the book should have been reverenced, but a single missing *gesture *making the entire Mass illicit?

The problem is that the priest’s explanation, according to what the OP posted, is faulty and at odds with the very nature of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. What the OP described tends to have a butterfly effect on the whole Mass. If the celebrant is omitting this particular part of the Mass what about the others? Where does it end? Please note what Redemptionis Sacramentum states:

the Eucharist “is too great a gift to tolerate ambiguity or depreciation”. It is therefore necessary that some things be corrected or more clearly delineated so that in this respect as well “the Eucharist will continue to shine forth in all its radiant mystery”.19

[9.] Finally, abuses 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. For “the liturgical prayers, orations and songs are pervaded by the inspiration and impulse” of the Sacred Scriptures themselves, “and it is from these that the actions and signs receive their meaning”.20 As for the visible signs “which the Sacred Liturgy uses in order to signify the invisible divine realities, they have been chosen by Christ or by the Church”.21 Finally, the structures and forms of the sacred celebrations according to each of the Rites of both East and West are in harmony with the practice of the universal Church also as regards practices received universally from apostolic and unbroken tradition,22 which it is the Church’s task to transmit faithfully and carefully to future generations. All these things are wisely safeguarded and protected by the liturgical norms.

[10.] The Church herself has no power over those things which were established by Christ Himself and which constitute an unchangeable part of the Liturgy.23 Indeed, if the bond were to be broken which the Sacraments have with Christ Himself who instituted them, and with the events of the Church’s founding,24 it would not be beneficial to the faithful but rather would do them grave harm. For the Sacred Liturgy is quite intimately connected with principles of doctrine,25 so that the use of unapproved texts and rites necessarily leads either to the attenuation or to the disappearance of that necessary link between the lex orandi and the lex credendi.26

[11.] The Mystery of the Eucharist “is too great for anyone to permit himself to treat it according to his own whim, so that its sacredness and its universal ordering would be obscured”.27 On the contrary, anyone who acts thus by giving free rein to his own inclinations, even if he is a Priest, injures the substantial unity of the Roman Rite, which ought to be vigorously preserved,28 and becomes responsible for actions that are in no way consistent with the hunger and thirst for the living God that is experienced by the people today. Nor do such actions serve authentic pastoral care or proper liturgical renewal; instead, they deprive Christ’s faithful of their patrimony and their heritage. For arbitrary actions are not conducive to true renewal,29 but are detrimental to the right of Christ’s faithful to a liturgical celebration that is an expression of the Church’s life in accordance with her tradition and discipline. In the end, they introduce elements of distortion and disharmony into the very celebration of the Eucharist, which is oriented in its own lofty way and by its very nature to signifying and wondrously bringing about the communion of divine life and the unity of the People of God.30 The result is uncertainty in matters of doctrine, perplexity and scandal on the part of the People of God, and, almost as a necessary consequence, vigorous opposition, all of which greatly confuse and sadden many of Christ’s faithful in this age of ours when Christian life is often particularly difficult on account of the inroads of “secularization” as well.31

There is also a danger about giving the “community” an undue emphasis. Let me explain. In my parish, my pastor, whom I respect (but, at times, respectfully disagree with), will place himself off to the side and defer to an EMHC to distribute Holy Communion. Unfortunately, this is not correct because he is the ordinary minister of Holy Communion and the prominence belongs to him in the exercise of his priestly ministry. He does it to emphasize the notion that an EMHC comes from the community, but, this is an incorrect notion.

Seems to me that there are a couple of logical conclusions; first, could the priest not be properly taught in seminary? Secondly, could the priest have an ulterior motive in propagating such heresy? Maybe the priest was not “vetted” properly while applying to seminary.

I am probably too willing to suspect people of ill motives and not willing to lay the blame completely on stupidity.


No to all questions.

Strange story. The only time a deacon does not kiss the gospel after reading it, is when the bishop is there and the deacon brings it over to the bishop to kiss. The deacon is the usual proclaimer of the gospel-if a parish has one. wonder if this parish has one? This priest seems to be in error.

In Eliot’s Celebrating the modern roman rite, it’s says Do It.
[FONT=Arial]#****263. At the end of the reading, he sings or says, “The gospel of the Lord” (in the US) or “This is the gospel of the Lord.” Then he takes the book in both hands and kisses the text, by custom at the opening words of the reading, saying quietly “By the words of the gospel . . .”. Unless the preacher wishes to use it during the homily, the Book of the Gospels or lectionary may be placed on a shelf beneath the ambo or given to a server, who takes it to a credence table.[/FONT]

Pray and offer sacrifices for your Priest-daily.

or you work closer together as a community and he will then kiss the Gospel again as normal. Perhaps ‘rightly or wrongly’ it was a penance to you all for whatever is happening to discord the community in your church.

Once five years or so ago now the priest then missed out the sermon I think because he was annoyed about the bickering that was going off. He was ‘on strike’ that week. Trouble is missing out the sermon was hardly a lesson since he has long gone and the bickering is still there - suprise suprise. Its part of being a community though it does get nasty at times. :mad:

But the mis guided priest aim may be to shock you all to try and bring the community closer together?

That’s just what illicit means. Not celebrating the mass according to the rubrics. There are different levels of illicitness, but any level makes it illicit. If some part is illicit, it is illicit.

I can say my throat is soar, but that still means I am sick. IF any part of me is sick, I am sick. If any part of the mass is illicit, the mass is illicit.

Of course you can say, the liturgy of the Eucharist was licit, and so was the entrance rite, the penetential rite, the readings of the epistle, the gloria… but if one part is illicit, the mass as a whole is illicit.

Actually, illicit means “in violation of law”… in this case, canon law, but the term applies to civil and criminal law as well.

The root word, “licit,” means permitted by law.

The mass is not “illicit” because the priest does not kiss the Gospel.

No its not illicit but kissing the Gospel is mention in the Rubrics of the Mass.

II. The Proclamation of the Gospel at Mass

  1. Every time the Church unites herself with Christ in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, the Body of the Lord and the eternal Word of divine truth are received as from a twofold table, as a participation in the one sacrifice of praise.[16] While opening up a vast treasury of Sacred Scripture in the Liturgy of the Word, the Church nonetheless acknowledges the preeminent place of the Gospels [17] by according “special marks of honor” to their proclamation. [18] The proclamation of the Gospel is reserved to the deacon, if he is present, or to a priest. It can be preceded by a procession which marks the coming of Christ, present in the words of life he unfailingly addresses to his followers whenever, as members of the Church, they gather in his name. The procession may be accompanied by particular marks of reverence, above all, the use of incense and lighted candles. To the proclamation and the accompanying manifestations of reverence, all the faithful present respond in faith, receiving the message of the Gospel into their hearts and praying that it may purify and transform their lives, building up the Body of Christ which is the Church.

  2. In the Entrance Procession the vested deacon reverently carries the Book of the Gospels before him so that it may be seen by the faithful.[19] With the priest he makes the proper reverence and goes up to the altar, placing the Book of the Gospels on it. The deacon then kisses the altar at the same time as the priest. [20] In the absence of a deacon, the reader reverently carries the Book of the Gospels in procession. The reader follows the acolytes and other ministers in procession. The reader places the Book of the Gospels on the altar, but the reader does not kiss the altar.

  3. After a brief silent reflection on the last reading from the Lectionary, or as the occasion dictates, after the responsorial Psalm, the reader removes the Lectionary. The candle bearers go to the altar where the Book of the Gospels has been placed.

  4. The faithful stand to welcome and acclaim the Word made flesh and to honor the Book of the Gospels, which is a sign of his presence. All sing the Gospel Acclamation which ends when the deacon reaches the ambo. [21]

  5. The deacon, accompanied by the thurifer, goes to the priest celebrant. As the congregation begins to sing the Gospel Acclamation, the deacon assists the priest who puts incense into the thurible. [22]

  6. After the preparation of the incense, the deacon bows before the priest and asks for the blessing. [23] The priest blesses him with the words, The Lord be in your heart… The deacon answers, Amen.

  7. When no deacon is present, a concelebrating priest may proclaim the Gospel. [24] When no concelebrant is present, the priest celebrant proclaims the Gospel. Unless the celebrant is a Bishop, the concelebrant bows before the altar, praying inaudibly, Almighty God, cleanse my heart… [25]

  8. When the celebrant is the Bishop, the priest asks for the blessing in the same manner as the deacon. [26] Everything else is carried out by the concelebrating priest in the same manner as a deacon.

  9. After receiving the blessing, the deacon, preceded by the thurifer and acolytes with lighted candles or other symbols of reverence that may be customary, takes the Book of the Gospels from the altar and carries it to the ambo, accompanied by the Gospel Acclamation. [27]

  10. Once he has reached the ambo and placed the Book of the Gospels on it, with hands joined, he greets the faithful. Acolytes with candles may position themselves on either side of the deacon at the ambo as he proclaims the Gospel.

  11. Then the deacon announces the reading while making the sign of the cross with his thumb, first on the book at the beginning of the Gospel passage he is about to read, then on his forehead, lips and breast. Together with the deacon who proclaims the Gospel, the faithful sign themselves similarly that the Word may enlighten their minds, cleanse their hearts and open their lips to proclaim the praise of the Lord. [28] All present respond with the words: Glory to you, Lord. The deacon then incenses the book three times, to the center, left and right. [29] The Gospel is then proclaimed in a clear voice.

  12. In order to stir the hearts of the faithful and convey the importance of the Gospel itself, the greeting, the announcement of the reading, the concluding acclamation and even the entire Gospel may be sung. [30] Musical settings should be easily understood and enhance rather than obscure the meaning of the sacred text. [31]

  13. At the end of the Gospel, the deacon proclaims The Gospel of the Lord without raising the book from the stand. All present respond with the words: Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ. [32]

21. Then the deacon kisses the book, saying in a low voice: “Through the words of the Gospel…” [33] If the celebrant is a Bishop, the deacon either may bring the Book of the Gospels to the Bishop, who reverences it with a kiss, or he may kiss the book himself. The Book of the Gospels is then reverently taken to some other suitable place. [34]

Note: in absense of a deacon, a priest or bishop reads the Holy Gospel

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