Omit the Sign of Peace?

Another thread inspired me to ask this question: if you had the choice would you omit the sign of peace during mass?
[SIGN]Pleas keep this thread on topic and don’t be rude!![/SIGN]

I vote no, because it is an ancient tradition (St. Justin Martyr wrote about it; it’s included in CCC # 1345).

Actually it’s in the EF Solemn High Masses as well.

I really think this would be a terrible idea for the Church. My great aunt explained it to me in an interesting way. She says that there are some people who get extremely lonely during the week and their only real connection with others sometimes is during the sign of peace at Mass. It gives us all hope that we are all in this together as part of the Body of Christ. We each have to bear our cross, but that doesn’t mean we can’t help carry someone else’s. :slight_smile:

Yes, but how lonely does Our Lord get during the week when noone goes to visit Him in the Tabernacle and then when we do go to His house on Sunday, we turn and greet our neighbor. Of course, it is charity to extend peace, kindness and whatever assistance we can offer to our neighbor, but for one hour on Sunday, shouldn’t God receive our absolute undivided attention?

The greatest commandment has two parts–to love God and to love one another. Now, those aren’t two commandments, but one. So, I think that we can do both during the Mass. Love God and love one another.:slight_smile:

Since the Mass is the re-presentation of the sacrifice of Jesus suffering and dying on the cross, the Mass is about Jesus. It is not about us or our neighbor.

We have six other days to extend charity and peace to our neighbors.:slight_smile:

My feelings exactly!!!

Good point. And normally the churches have rooms where you can socialize if you wish. Or even do it outside before or after Mass.

Personally I have mixed feelings. It is a nice gesture to your fellow person but do it without the handshakes, hugs and kisses. And don’t just do it with your spouse or family. That defeats the purpose. There are others in church too who could use a simple “hi.”

right, but wasn’t it a “kiss of peace” and not this extended glad handing, winking, waving w/ many people. Our Pastor jumps right in to the “Lamb of God…” after a brief exchange of peace, and I’m all for it. it helps preserve the reverence in front of Jesus on the altar.

Do you mean the actual sign of peace “Peace be with you” , “and also with you” between the priest and the congregation or the shared sign that (optionally) comes afterward (“let us offer each other a sign of peace”)?

The Sign that Optionally comes afterward.

The Mass is representative of the Last Supper, which was held among friends. I’m sure they socialized during it to some extent. The Mass is about sharing in the grief and joy of this sacrifice TOGETHER. I see nothing wrong with taking 30 seconds out of the Mass to greet our neighbors and to remind each other of our community of faith.

I recall during a liturgy held at the catholic high school I taught at…when the so called ‘sign of peace’ came due,the students went wild!.They left their seats,ran over and hugged and kissed one another and what ever devotion was there during the mass was completely destroyed…the mood was more for socializing then anything else!!! Too much of the ’ me,me,me attitude was introduced when the so called new mass apeared. Me thinks we need to become more God centered then Man centered.

Then I voted “yes” to omit it. My parish, until recently, omited the optional part. Father reinstituted it but we already have people moving around the church instead of greeting those just around them. I suspect it will go away again soon. :slight_smile:

I voted to “get rid of it”. Yes, I know its in the EF but it doesn’t leave the sanctuary. However, in the OF, it just seems to become a total disruption of anything closely resembling reverence.

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I would get rid of it because it is disruptive. Sometimes people start wandering out of pews into the aisles and start visiting with friends. When we in a flu season, I don’t really want to shake hands with ten to fifteen people. Just about every church has a room where congregants can go to visit after Mass. Let them go there.

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I am so glad that I have never run into a single person anywhere except on CAF who wants to get rid of the sign of peace. The sign of peace is one of my favorite parts of the Mass (obviously my favorite part/the most important part is receiving Christ in the Holy Eucharist). We the Church are members of Christ’s Body and should love one another. In 99% of parishes I’ve been to the sign of peace takes only a moment and could hardly be called a “disruption” by anyone but the most antisocial of individuals.

And in my former parish (which if I had not moved over 100 miles away from I’d still happily be at) the sign of peace was a true display of love for one another in Christ instead of what it unfortunately is in some parishes, a formality. It was a rare Mass when there was not time enough for everyone to greet each other with a hug or a handshake including the priest and deacon. I do not feel such a display of Christian love is disrespectful to Christ and am still struggling to see how anyone else could view it as such.

My former parish was by far the most active parish I’ve yet to be a member of. The volunteering, the donations, adoration groups, prayer groups, Bible study, etc. are all active and flourishing. In just the last 6 months I was there I witnessed several conversions to the faith that were largely due to the active ministry of our deacon and several dedicated lay persons. So if trees are known by their fruit then I’d say this “disruptive” parish with its “disrespectful” sign of peace is doing pretty darn well. :wink:

I find it awkward. I usually go to an EF mass and am used to a sacred reverent silence.
The OF sign of peace seems to lurch in there and disrupts my worship.

So I voted Yes, But then I read this interesting snippet. I have reproduced it all in full. I hope that is alright.

Question: One thing at Mass that I find really difficult is the “Sign of Peace”. How come we do this?

Dear Inquirer,

There is no better way to describe the custom of exchanging the greeting of peace at Mass than the words of St. Augustine in the 4th century: “After the Lord’s Prayer, say ‘Peace be with you.’ Christians then embrace one another with a holy kiss. This is the sign of peace.”

In the primitive church at Rome and in the Eastern Church, the kiss of peace was offered after the first part of the Mass and before the Eucharistic Prayer. Early baptismal documents also indicate that the exchange of peace was reserved only for the ‘faithful,’ and so catechumens were dismissed before the Prayer of the Faithful, which was followed by the Kiss of Peace.

In the Western Church the sign of peace was moved quite early to where it is as Augustine described it and where it is today. The Western Church saw a close link between peace and communion–peace with one another before receiving the Prince of Peace.

In the Middle Ages the laity were excluded from the sign of peace and it was then dropped altogether from the Mass; the only remnant of the rite was the action of the priest kissing the altar. Vatican II restored the ancient rite of peace to all who participate at mass.

Custom dictates how the kiss of peace is exchanged in each country: a handshake, an embrace, words of peace, or other actions. In Japan, for example, the celebrant bows deeply to the congregation who in turn bow towards him and then bow respectfully to one another. It is a sign that works well in their culture. How the sign of peace is given will vary, but its meaning remains the same.

So now I am undecided. Perhaps the distraction reminds us that our communion is with each other as with God and that peace amongst brothers is an essential condition before we receive the Lord.

Matthew 5:24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

Of course that would be very disruptive too. To have to leave the altar and then go and make peace before being able to come back to the altar.

If we can’t happily shake our neighbours hand and smile then maybe we have some issues ourselves that need dealing with, myself included.

I would keep it but adapt how the Chaldeans do it

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