Sign of the Cross at conclusion of Penitential Rite

Why do some people (and some priests, but not all) make the sign of the cross (around the penitential rite) when saying “And may Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins and bring us to everlasting life, Amen”?

I hope someone will have the answer to this. About half the people at the 2 parishes near my home do this. I used to, but stopped as the action is not specified in the missal:

catholicliturgy.com/index.cfm/FuseAction/Text/Index/4/SubIndex/67/ContentIndex/10/Start/9

Because this is an absolution.

I believe they do it because it’s all that’s left of the words of penitential rite that used to be recited in the Tridentine Rite. First the Priest says the Confiteor, then the server/s say: *"*Misereatur tui omnipotens Deus, et dimissis peccatis tuis, perducat te ad vitam aeternam." (May almighty God have mercy upon you, and having forgiven your sins, lead you to life everlasting.)

Then the servers say the Confiteor and the the priest recites that same formula.

After THAT, the Priest says, *“Indulgentiam, (+) absolutionem et remissionem peccatorum nostrorum, tribuat nobis omnipotens et misericors Dominus.” * You old timers and TLM enthusiasts, remind me: the people made the sign of the cross at that point, didn’t they?

[quote=Steve Girone]Why do some people (and some priests, but not all) make the sign of the cross (around the penitential rite) when saying “And may Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins and bring us to everlasting life, Amen”?
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It’s just another example of some people attempting to add their own bit of personal piety to the Mass without authorization. Much like the holding of hands, many people are quick to immitate, particularly those who have not been properly catechised.

“After THAT, the Priest says, *“Indulgentiam, (+) absolutionem et remissionem peccatorum nostrorum, tribuat nobis omnipotens et misericors Dominus.” *You old timers and TLM enthusiasts, remind me: the people made the sign of the cross at that point, didn’t they?”

That is correct. We “old-timers” were taught that way. Many of us still do it, not as a faux sign of piety, but because it is in our memory banks, and because it feels the right thing to do!! Please do not criticize us for being too pious, when there are so many developments that are leading to a decrease in piety throughout the country.

[quote=meg] That is correct. We “old-timers” were taught that way. Many of us still do it, not as a faux sign of piety, but because it is in our memory banks, and because it feels the right thing to do!! Please do not criticize us for being too pious, when there are so many developments that are leading to a decrease in piety throughout the country.
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Like being “too pious” should be a *problem??? :whacky: *Thanks.

So from what I’ve been able to piece together:

1.) The sign of the cross is the proper action following words of absolution
2.) The TLM absolution specified this action
3.) The Missal for the New Mass contains words of absolution but not a specific action to be accompanied.

From this I would think that, following the Church’s directive for unified actions of the faithful, until a statement is made specifically dealing with this as an “abuse”, if the rest of the congregation does it it’s ok?

[quote=mercygate]I believe they do it because it’s all that’s left of the words of penitential rite that used to be recited in the Tridentine Rite. First the Priest says the Confiteor, then the server/s say: *"*Misereatur tui omnipotens Deus, et dimissis peccatis tuis, perducat te ad vitam aeternam." (May almighty God have mercy upon you, and having forgiven your sins, lead you to life everlasting.)

Then the servers say the Confiteor and the the priest recites that same formula.

After THAT, the Priest says, *“Indulgentiam, (+) absolutionem et remissionem peccatorum nostrorum, tribuat nobis omnipotens et misericors Dominus.” *You old timers and TLM enthusiasts, remind me: the people made the sign of the cross at that point, didn’t they?
[/quote]

The TTLM has no “penitential rite”, these are the prayers at the foot of the altar.

[quote=Franciscum]It’s just another example of some people attempting to add their own bit of personal piety to the Mass without authorization. Much like the holding of hands, many people are quick to immitate, particularly those who have not been properly catechised.
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Do people really have to “ATTEMPT” to add piety by their own personal actions? That what physical acts of piety are for - they are symbols and expressions of the piety that is in one’s soul. One doesn’t need somebody else’s “authorization” to make the sign of the cross. It as an act of personal piety the vast majority of the times it is used. There is long-standing meaning and tradition in the use of the penitential strking of the breast at various times. It may mean nothing to you - and that is just fine - but to many it does mean something very important to their own personal piety. There are many physical acts of piety that do not have to be “authorized” or “comanded” by some rule or other, but which, when done from the heart, DO add piety to the one who uses it as a tool. It is not an ATTEMPT to add piety. It DOES add piety. It is not the same as holding hands during the Our Father.

According to the catechesis of Archbishop Chaput of Denver:
archden.org/archbishop/docs/10_30_02_liturgy.htm

The priest completes the Penitential Rite with words of absolution. Of course, this is not sacramental absolution, and it doesn’t forgive serious sin. While many Catholics make the sign of the cross in response at this point, the correct gesture during the Confiteor is to strike our breast when we say “…through my own fault”. By this, we further prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries.

There are many physical acts of piety that do not have to be “authorized” or “comanded” by some rule or other, but which, when done from the heart, DO add piety to the one who uses it as a tool. It is not an ATTEMPT to add piety. It DOES add piety. It is not the same as holding hands during the Our Father.

Agreed. Holding hands during the Our Father imposes an individual sense of piety on the two people standing next to you.

The Sign of the Cross is definitely a carry-over from the Traditional Mass, but it was not made during the words spoken now in the Novus Ordo.

The following was said in the Traditional Mass:

Misereatur vestri omnipotens Deus, et dimissis peccatis vestris, perducat vos ad vitam aeternam. The altar boy answered: * Amen.*

That translates: **“May Almighty God have mercy on you, forgive you your sins, and bring you to everlasting life. Amen.” ** This is retained in the Novus Ordo.

However, in the Traditional Mass it was followed immediately by:

Indulgentium, + absolutionem, et remissionem peccatorum nostrorum tribuat nobis omnipotens et misericors Dominus.
Followed by the altar boys’ Amen..

Translates: **“May the Almighty and merciful Lord grant us pardon, + absolution, and remission of our sins. Amen.” ** This was removed in the Novus Ordo. The small plus (+) sign indicated the place where the Sign of the Cross was to be made.

The rubrics of the Traditional Mass were extremely precise and exact, allowing more mental concentration on the purpose and intent of the Mass as opposed to trying to figure out what comes next with Father X or Father Y.

In the early days of the Novus Ordo, the Catholic laity from many years of experience expected to hear the “removed” prayer of absolution and automatically started the Sign of the Cross. Probably others followed their example, so now you have one of the many chaotic acts that characterize the liturgy.

This did not end the penitential rite in the Traditional Mass. It went on:
§ for priest, (S) for server (altar boy):

P: O God, Thou wilt turn and give us life.
S: And Thy people will rejoice in Thee.
P: Show us Thy Mercy, O Lord.
S: And grant us Thy salvation.
P: Lord, hear my prayer.
S: And let my cry come unto Thee.
P: The Lord be with you.
S: And with Thy spirit.
P: Let us pray.

This ended the “penitential rite” at the foot of the altar. At this point, the priest ascended the steps to the altar, etc…

[quote=Servant1]Do people really have to “ATTEMPT” to add piety by their own personal actions? That what physical acts of piety are for - they are symbols and expressions of the piety that is in one’s soul. One doesn’t need somebody else’s “authorization” to make the sign of the cross. It as an act of personal piety the vast majority of the times it is used. There is long-standing meaning and tradition in the use of the penitential strking of the breast at various times. It may mean nothing to you - and that is just fine - but to many it does mean something very important to their own personal piety. There are many physical acts of piety that do not have to be “authorized” or “comanded” by some rule or other, but which, when done from the heart, DO add piety to the one who uses it as a tool. It is not an ATTEMPT to add piety. It DOES add piety. It is not the same as holding hands during the Our Father.
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No, it dosen’t add piety, and yes it is very much like the holding of hands during the Lord’s Prayer. Both are unauthorized additions to the Mass.

The only difference is that one action is viewed as being “traditional”, while one is viewed as being “progressive.”

[quote=Franciscum]No, it dosen’t add piety, and yes it is very much like the holding of hands during the Lord’s Prayer. Both are unauthorized additions to the Mass.

The only difference is that one action is viewed as being “traditional”, while one is viewed as being “progressive.”
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I hate to burst your bubble, but one of them is traditional - a semi-unconscious holdover from the old rite, and the other is an introduction of a new practice - sounds somewhat progressive. While you are correct that neither one is called for in the rubrics, you are wrong in treating them as the same sort of phenomenon.

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