Sign of Peace: liturgical abuse?


#1

OK, so I’ve had a few issues with the way a few things are done in my new parish… using glassware and earthenware for chalices, etc. But because we had a visiting priest this past Sunday (our pastor was in Detroit) one of the things that ‘bothers’ me also seemed to greatly disturb our ‘replacement’ priest…

…it seems that, long before I began attending the parish, the Liturgical Committee decided to ‘move’ the Sign of Peace from the Communion Rite to directly after the Gloria. OK… but the thing is, the Sign of Peace is, in our parish, an extended 15 minute (at least) house party. Last Sunday, after about 10 minutes, the visiting priest tried tap-tap-tapping on the microphone to let folks know that it was time to get back to business… but, of course, his tapping couldn’t be heard above the clamor. He was embarrassed, perhaps a little angry and I was really embarrassed for our parish.

In the instance of the glass and earthenware ‘chalices,’ I wrote to our pastor but the issue persists - only rarely do we have a noble metal chalice. I don’t know that this moved, extended ‘greeting’ is liturgical abuse or not so I have not written Father about it nor have I decided whether or not to tell him how frustrated the whole thing made our visiting priest (who is his very good friend, I understand).

So I’ve two questions:

  1. Does the movement of the Sign of Peace in the Order of the Mass constitute liturgical abuse?
  2. Should I send off another letter to our pastor, quoting the GIRM in re the Sign of Peace: "…it is appropriate that each person, in a sober manner, offer the sign of peace only to those who are nearest” and reminding him that the Sign is optional for the congregation and really shouldn’t be turned into a social hour (we DO have coffee and doughnuts after Mass, should those wanting to socialize wish to stick around).

Thoughts, comments and answers, please?

Thanks,

Clinton


#2

I hope the sign of peace is moved to after the Mass is ended, which to me is thr logical point to start turning to neighbours.

I do not like shaking hands before Communion - my hands are clean, ready to receive the Host, and I don’t want others germs all over me.


#3

I still receive on my tongue… so I’m not too worried about dirty hands! Because I’m REALLY up front in my wheelchair, our Deacon comes to me first and he knows that I’m not going to take Communion in the hand!

And the Sign of Peace is really only proscribed for those in the sanctuary - so the congregation, in general, needn’t really participate…

Thanks,

Clinton


#4

[quote="clintondyches, post:1, topic:330947"]
1. Does the movement of the Sign of Peace in the Order of the Mass constitute liturgical abuse?
2. Should I send off another letter to our pastor, quoting the GIRM in re the Sign of Peace: "...it is appropriate that each person, in a sober manner, offer the sign of peace only to those who are nearest” and reminding him that the Sign is optional for the congregation and really shouldn't be turned into a social hour (we DO have coffee and doughnuts after Mass, should those wanting to socialize wish to stick around).

[/quote]

    1. Regulation of the sacred liturgy depends solely on the authority of the Church, that is, on the Apostolic See and, as laws may determine, on the bishop.
    1. In virtue of power conceded by the law, the regulation of the liturgy within certain defined limits belongs also to various kinds of competent territorial bodies of bishops legitimately established.

3. Therefore no other person, even if he be a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority.
[RIGHT]Vatican II, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium
[/RIGHT]
So if he thinks that he can play with the liturgy because Vatican II said he could, he's wrong.[71.] The practice of the Roman Rite is to be maintained according to which the peace is extended shortly before Holy Communion. For according to the tradition of the Roman Rite, this practice does not have the connotation either of reconciliation or of a remission of sins, but instead signifies peace, communion and charity before the reception of the Most Holy Eucharist.[151] It is rather the Penitential Act to be carried out at the beginning of Mass (especially in its first form) which has the character of reconciliation among brothers and sisters.

[72.] It is appropriate “that each one give the sign of peace only to those who are nearest and in a sober manner”. “The Priest may give the sign of peace to the ministers but always remains within the sanctuary, so as not to disturb the celebration. He does likewise if for a just reason he wishes to extend the sign of peace to some few of the faithful”. “As regards the sign to be exchanged, the manner is to be established by the Conference of Bishops in accordance with the dispositions and customs of the people”, and their acts are subject to the recognitio of the Apostolic See.[152]

[RIGHT]Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, Instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum (On certain matters to be observed or to be avoided regarding the Most Holy Eucharist)
[/RIGHT]
This just reiterates and expands upon what you already know is in the GIRM.[12.] On the contrary, it is the right of all of Christ’s faithful that the Liturgy, and in particular the celebration of Holy Mass, should truly be as the Church wishes, according to her stipulations as prescribed in the liturgical books and in the other laws and norms. Likewise, the Catholic people have the right that the Sacrifice of the Holy Mass should be celebrated for them in an integral manner, according to the entire doctrine of the Church’s Magisterium. Finally, it is the Catholic community’s right that the celebration of the Most Holy Eucharist should be carried out for it in such a manner that it truly stands out as a sacrament of unity, to the exclusion of all blemishes and actions that might engender divisions and factions in the Church. (CDWDS, RS)
And...[184.] Any Catholic, whether Priest or Deacon or lay member of Christ’s faithful, has the right to lodge a complaint regarding a liturgical abuse to the diocesan Bishop or the competent Ordinary equivalent to him in law, or to the Apostolic See on account of the primacy of the Roman Pontiff.[290] It is fitting, however, insofar as possible, that the report or complaint be submitted first to the diocesan Bishop. This is naturally to be done in truth and charity.
So my recommendation is that you first make an audio recording of a whole mass with the abuses (and take pics of the chalices...) and then again contact your pastor...in writing...outlining EXACTLY what is wrong and asking for the situation to be rectified. Don't threaten. Don't be over-emotional. DO be professional in your writing.

If he (as he probably will) continues to blow you off, send a respectful letter to your diocesan bishop (per RS 184, quoted above), sending a copy of the letter to your pastor, along with any response you may receive.

If your diocesan bishop blows you off, don't hesitate to appeal to the CDWDS in Rome. It is your RIGHT to have a liturgy celebrated in accordance with the liturgical texts.

Father Z has some good tips for writing your bishop and Rome.


#5

[Falco **Re: Sign of Peace: liturgical abuse?
I hope the sign of peace is moved to after the Mass is ended, which to me is thr logical point to start turning to neighbours.

I do not like shaking hands before Communion - my hands are clean, ready to receive the Host, and I don’t want others germs all over me.]

[clintondyches
I still receive on my tongue… so I’m not too worried about dirty hands! Because I’m REALLY up front in my wheelchair, our Deacon comes to me first and he knows that I’m not going to take Communion in the hand!

And the Sign of Peace is really only proscribed for those in the sanctuary - so the congregation, in general, needn’t really participate…

Thanks,

Clinton ]

The above are irrelevant. In fact, a “rabbit hole” that tends to take the OP’s query down the wrong path. No one is has been asked about their preferences.

The question is - Is the moving of the Sign of Peace from where it is in the Rubrics of the Mass? The answer is YES! No one, even if he be a priest, has the authority to change, insert, or remove anything from the Mass.

What to do? Follow what markomalley says.


#6

The musicians have a part to play in this as well. As a pianist I give the sign of peace about 2 maybe 3 minutes then start playing “Agnus Dei”. The singing begins and the Mass continues.


#7

So you, not the priest, decide when the fraction rite begins?


#8

Only proscribed or prescribed? Because if the former, that means it is forbidden to those in the sanctuary.

At any rate, having the congregation participate is a legitimate option that may be taken. If taken it should be done appropriately, at the appropriate time given in the liturgical books. There are some strong arguments that it should be placed before the sacrifice is offered, as the symbolism of making peace with one’s brother before offering the sacrifice would be stronger at that point, but the church has nevertheless placed it where it is. No liturgical committee or priest should be changing it.


#9

Tapping on the microphone is definitely a liturgical abuse. More importantly, it is an abuse of technology that can lead to damaged amplifiers, damaged speakers, or even damaged hearing. It should be stopped at once :cool:

Seriously though, microphones should always be tested by using them as was intended: by speaking into them.


#10

I once heard on a Lighthouse CD by Fr. Larry Richards that someone complained to him about the Sign of Peace for that reason, and Fr. replied “So you get sick, die and go to Heaven forever. What’s the problem?” :smiley:


#11

No of course not. I watch the actions of the priest. I do not watch what the congregation wants or is doing. I belong to a small mission church so we have priests that come and go and often have priests who fill in. I follow closely to what is happening because every priest is different and very few let me know what they want. But I have learned by their movements when they are ready for the “Lamb of God” I have not had a priest who wants to prolong the hand shaking and talking.

I have had no complaints from the priests.

I did have one very old priest who walked down the aisle and talked to everyone. I did wait for him. It took him forever.


#12

Good for you, you are better than our choir. They seem convinced that the “Agnus Dei” is to fill in dead space while Fr. is offering the sign of peace to those around him.


#13

[quote="Joan_M, post:5, topic:330947"]
[Falco **Re: Sign of Peace: liturgical abuse?

[/quote]

The question is - Is the moving of the Sign of Peace from where it is in the Rubrics of the Mass? The answer is YES! No one, even if he be a priest, has the authority to change, insert, or remove anything from the Mass.

What to do? Follow what markomalley says.

I've all the documents that I need - conveniently in a single volume, Liturgy Training Publications The Liturgy Documents, Volume One, but, oddly enough, I found the definitive answer to one of my questions (can the Rite of Peace be moved) in a document from the Synod of Bishops 2005 in a Dubium with a reply from Pope Benedict.

Now that I know, for certainly, that the Rite of Peace cannot be moved, I have some 'ammo' to approach the parish liturgical committee. As to the longevity of the right, I had already found some answers.

Thanks to all who replied!

Clinton


#14

[quote="Phemie, post:12, topic:330947"]
Good for you, you are better than our choir. They seem convinced that the "Agnus Dei" is to fill in dead space while Fr. is offering the sign of peace to those around him.

[/quote]

Oh, I see what you mean. In my mission church, the "Lamb of God' or the "Agnus Dei" is the signal to start paying attention and quit greeting one another. There really has been no problem with this. I think that it is a matter of gentle training by both the priests and the musicians.


#15

I still believe that’s too long. My parish only has the sign of peace for maybe 30 seconds. I just think the sign of peace takes away from the holy sacrafice of the Mass.

God bless


#16

Of course, if Latins did the sign of peace the way that Maronites do (rather than some big group hug), it would both have symbolic and spiritual meaning (and wouldn’t last forever).

But I can’t ever see people applying a very itsy bitsy rite from the East any time soon.


#17

Like I explained. I take my cue from the priest.


#18

I so0 agree - if it was at the end of Mass, people could natter away and make friendships. As it stands, the people you shook hands with don’t want to know you after Mass. RC church is a lonely place - I have made no friends.


#19

I understand and I’m not correcting you just giving my opinion not that it’ll matter that much.

God bless


#20

[quote="Bayoubeefmaster, post:15, topic:330947"]
I still believe that's too long. My parish only has the sign of peace for maybe 30 seconds. I just think the sign of peace takes away from the holy sacrafice of the Mass.

[/quote]

In our parish, we're talking 15-20 minutes. I'm still in the midst of cleaning up my letter to our liturgical committee... trying to get it from 3 pages to 2!

Clinton


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