Question about sign of the peace

Was the sign of the peace initiated after Vatican II?

reinstated might be more accurate.

So the sign of peace was part of the liturgy before Vatican II?

The sign of peace has always been in the mass. The priest’s expression of peace to you is obligatory. The congregational sign of peace is an OPTION in the Novus Ordo and ultimately up to the priest if he wants it to happen.

Thank you for your reply. I don’t mind the priest wishing the congregation peace and the congregation wishing peace for the priest.
It is the part we turn to each orher and do the sign of peace or handshake. Before mass begins we greet one another and smile and shake hands. It seems another distraction during mass.

Yes, It does seem to be quite a distraction…Especially when people start hugging and kissing others who aren’t even next to them… :frowning:

Thankfully my Pastor chooses to leave out the congregational Sign of Peace.

You are lucky.

LOL. My mother absolutely could not stand the sign of peace handshake, nor the Novus Ordo. I never saw her shake anyone’s hand at mass. I used to like it but the older I get I see no use for it, it has become a major distraction in my opinion.

I like it - I feel it’s done with more sincerity than at the Anglican churches of my younger years. It has helped me feel that I am part of the congregation, as people recognise me and smile.

Yes it was one of the many liturgical changes that suddenly came into effect post V2. Some people really like it. I don’t particularly care for it as it turns those moments just before communion when I prefer to be thinking of the fact that I am about to receive my very God into a zoo at my parish with people leaving their sets and going all the way across the church to hug someone. However, I comply, but only to those just next to me, and just offer it up.:shrug:

It is a big distraction when one is trying to be meditative on the readings and the liturgy and you are in a quiet peaceful frame of mind and then as you say it turns into a zoo.
I felt that this probably was not part of the Mass
Pre-vatican II. Thanks for clarifying.

The kiss of peace has been part of the Mass for centuries. Before Vatican II it was only seen at Solemn High Mass and involved only clerics in the sanctuary. It is passed from the celebrant to the deacon, who in turn then gives the kiss of peace to the subdeacon. The subdeacon extends the kiss of peace to clergy attending Mass in the choir. It’s not a handshake as you can see from this picture.

Exactly - that is why it is a distraction, at least, at that part of the Mass. Jesus is on the altar. We should be concentrating on Him, not recognizing or smiling at other people. It can be more than a distraction, and a disruption - particularly the way some people do it!

I prefer that to what we do now. They should return to that and leavr the congregation out. In the picture they are solemn and quiet and respectful-not the performance we put ourselves through now.
Sometimes I feel like I am forcing myself to pretend I like doing it, but then I just feel worse.

I agree Joan–maybe the problem is where it happens in the Mass not with the kiss of peace itself. I noticed that in John’s epistles he always ends by asking the recipient of his letter to give the rest of the Christian community a “holy kiss of peace”.At my parish it becomes a free for all that extends into and sometimes even through the Agnus Dei. Possibly if it were done at the very end or very beginning of Mass it wouldn’t be such a disturbance. The other option would be if people were instructed to remain in their pew and offer the sign of peace only to those next to them. The way it’s done here though, there are still people crawling over other people to get back to their seat when the priest lifts the host and says “Behold the Lamb of God…” That makes me crazy, but as I said, I comply minimally so as not to offend anyone and offer it up. My mindset though at that time is to be reflective about the sacrament I am about to receive. I have always heard that we should prepare ourselves for communion just as if we could actually see Jesus physically present in the host. Perhaps I’m just getting old, but I really have trouble getting my train of thought back where it needs to be once it’s disturbed that way!!

I thought “Communion” was about celebrating that all are one, in Christ, the very Body of Christ on earth.

If so, how is recognizing that at that point in the Mass that the earthly Body of Christ partakes in the actual Body of Christ inappropriate or a distraction from what is important?

I thought that it was all about the actual spiritual unity brought about by partaking together in the Eucharist.

Or is Communion to be understood as a private thing, an individual experiencing Communion with God, as opposed to all experiencing Communion with God and the entire Church/Body of Christ?

Thank you for any clarification

I don’t feel like I need to interact and shake hands with other people sitting next to me to feel unity or communion with others.
I am there for a purpose which I consider very important and participating in the mass by listening to the readings, professing the creed, saying the prayers and receiving the eucharist as one body is sufficient for me. We are all there for the same reason. We can smile, hug, shake hands or kiss before or after mass.

My opinion is that the Mass itself is what we celebrate as brothers and sisters in Christ. Communion is a personal experience (not everyone in church can or does go to communion) where each of us personally receive Jesus into our individual bodies and souls. Thus, since I personally am receiving my God, I personally need to prepare my heart to receive Him.

:thumbsup: exactly!

I think the problem is when people go in for hugs, backslaps, bear hugs and engage in chit chat.

“How’s the family?” “How was your holiday” “Hasnt it been raining a lot this week?” “Hows life treating you?” etc :slight_smile:

then it takes a while for things to settle down.

When it should just be a handshake with those next to you only.

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