To kiss, or not to kiss, that is the question

This is probably too trivial for most people, but I’m after some information regarding the solita oscula, or ceremonial kissing of e.g. the biretta and cruets, at an EF Low Mass.

At the EF Mass I attend, which is almost always a Low Mass, the altar servers are lay men (I’ll get to the reason for specifying this in a minute). Until recently, the solita oscula haven’t been used at these Masses. But the servers have started putting them in recently. The priests we’ve been having are of the Institute of Christ the King, they are French or German, and apparently the servers have been told that this is the way things are done in mainland Europe.

You wouldn’t believe the argument this has caused, with one person in particular. The argument is basically: The use of solita oscula is restricted to sung Masses and even then is restricted to the Sacred Ministers. They should be left out at Low Mass, especially if the Mass is served by a lay man instead of a cleric.

I know this probably sounds too trivial for words, but one person in particular has a major issue with this, to the extent of arguing with several people about it. Do does anybody have any information that may be relevant? Thanks!

As to kissing the cruets, biretta, etc, that is near universal custom at most Masses, save Requiems. Some areas may not have ever had the custom of kissing the priests hand upon giving/receiving an object, or even the biretta. That could go by diocese to diocese or country to country. Perhaps needless to say, buy by kiss is meant a mere touching of the object to the lips.
It shows reverence when assisting in sacred functions.
I recommend “How to Serve” by Don Matthew Britt, put out in the 30’s, reprinted by Tan. It is one of the better books under one cover, although there are others.
Hope this helps.

Joe

I am in Europe…
Big confusion…
The Frech kiss times which takes a lot of time. Myself was educated to be a bit reserved but there is a lot of kissing going on.
So I wait and see how life goes. IN Rome, be roman…

I just referred your post to my brother (a Salesian) who is visiting for the holidays and having his cup of tea next to me. His response is as follows:-

He says that the solita oscula signifies reverence for the holiness of the priesthood. If the layman understands solita oscula then there would be no objection to its observation in all EF Masses.

Unfortunately I get the feeling that the man raising the objections has more reverence for what he was taught 70 years ago… And the textbook he has which describes how to serve the EF Mass. :shrug:

I see nothing wrong with that. People who lived 70 years ago, lay and clerical, and followed the rules laid down pre-Vatican II and will continue to remember with fond affection the way things were done with reverence and solemnity and would like to continue to do it today. Why argue against it?

The practice I am talking about - the solita oscula - actually adds extra reverence to the Low Mass. But a certain individual is actually arguing against the introduction of this practice to the Masses I attend, saying that it shouldn’t be done, and saying that the people doing it are “showing too much reverence.”:confused:

It seems that 70 years ago there were variations in local practice, for some the tradition was to do this, for others it wasn’t. For the individual who is making an argument about it, it wasn’t the tradition. But now the servers at Mass are introducing the practice, with the approval of the priest, and this person is reacting against it very strongly on the grounds that “We don’t do that sort of thing here”. He believes that the way he was taught is the only way, even though there is evidence to show it was equally legitimate to do it a different way. And unfortunately he is taking a very negative attitude to the servers, to the extent of making uncharitable personal comments about the server. So that’s why I’m raising the question about it, to try to get to the facts about something that is starting to become acrimonious.

How odd…it has always been the case I thought…it is a sign of reverance for the objects and office…not for the man or anything.

I share in your :confused:

It seems that 70 years ago there were variations in local practice, for some the tradition was to do this, for others it wasn’t. For the individual who is making an argument about it, it wasn’t the tradition. But now the servers at Mass are introducing the practice, with the approval of the priest, and this person is reacting against it very strongly on the grounds that “We don’t do that sort of thing here”. He believes that the way he was taught is the only way, even though there is evidence to show it was equally legitimate to do it a different way. And unfortunately he is taking a very negative attitude to the servers, to the extent of making uncharitable personal comments about the server. So that’s why I’m raising the question about it, to try to get to the facts about something that is starting to become acrimonious.

From what I understand from my brother is that each community pre-Vatican II times followed its own Book of Ceremonies with their own particularities. The Salesian community observed* solita oscula* in all of the Masses and all the altar boys were taught accordingly. (Your chap would probably retort: “But, we are not Salesians!” ;)) My brother does not recall a difference from when he served as altar boy in our parish except for the bowing i.e. body bow and others just employed head-reverence. All the same it did not detract from the solemnity and sanctity of the liturgy. Nobody argued. Everybody respected the different particularities in the different communities. In this particular case where the priest has already given approval, he suggests that one must respect the celebrant’s decision.

Personally, I reckon all must just exercise patience with the chap who is being contrary. And, to tell you the truth, I was not aware of the variations in practice until you posted about it being that I only raise/ed my head during Mass at* “Hoc Est Enim Corpus Meum"* and “Hic Est Enim Calix Sanguinis Mei”.

Yes, I think there were various different books of ceremonies, each giving slightly different advice, and it may also have varied from parish to parish, depending on what the priests of that parish preferred. For example, my parish has a custom, dating back to the 1950’s, of the congregation making the acclamation, “My Lord and my God”, aloud, at each Elevation. I’ve never seen it done anywhere else and I’ve heard some people describe it as incorrect - but it is the custom of the parish. And all traditions have to start somewhere. :slight_smile:

Aloud? Would that not be similar to what happens at charismatic Masses? :confused:

In Masses at SSPX chapels it is the usual custom at both Low and sung Masses. At sung Masses, it observed whenever an object is given to or taken from the priest except for the patten after Communion. It is not observed during Benediction when the incense spoon is handed to the priest.

The kiss is not an actual kiss, as we know it, but a brushing of lips against the priest’s hand.

We also typically kiss the back of the priest’s hand on the occasions where one might normally shake hands.

I don’t understand how one could show “too much reverence” for the alter Christus who confects the Blessed Sacrament and who delivers our soul from mortal sin?

Don#t know - I’ve never been to a Charismatic Mass! :smiley:

Good point! To be honest, I think part of the problem is that the gentleman who is being critical has an “issue” with the Mass server, period. He was been very critical of him for a long time and it seems to have got to the stage where, as we say in England, the server “can’t do right for doing wrong”. In other words, this gentleman will fault-find with whaterver the server does, be it good or bad.

I’m a supporter of ICRSS, so for me this is a familiar observance. I include an article regarding the liturgical kiss, which may be of interest:


A reader has asked for an explanation of liturgical kisses during the Tridentine Mass.

The rubrics state that an altar server is to kiss an object before handing it to the priest, and after taking an object from the priest. In a typical Sung Mass, these objects include the biretta, or priest’s hat; the cruets; and the thurible.

The rubrics recommend, but do not require, that the hand of the priest be kissed before handing him the kissed object; and after taking an object from him, prior to kissing the object. Nowadays, this is generally only done if the celebrant requests it. Note that a liturgical kiss, or óscula, is not a “smack”, but rather a simple bouncing of the object off the server’s lips. The purpose is to acknowledge to sacredness of objects employed in the Holy Mass.

Also note that objects used, but not handed to the priest, are not kissed. For example, at the Offertory, the servers kiss the cruets of wine and water before handing them to the celebrant, but those same cruets are not kissed after Communion, when the servers pour water and wine over the priest’s fingers, because they do not hand the cruets to him.

The faithful themselves offer a liturgical kiss on Palm Sunday, when kneeling at the Communion Rail to receive a blessed palm; on Good Friday when venerating the Cross; and when venerating relics.


This is from the “Tridentine Community News” of January 6, 2008. I did a copy and paste from the saved PDF, but here’s the direct link to the file: stjosaphatchurch.org/jospht/010608.pdf. St. Josaphat’s is not an ICRSS apostolate, if that’s a concern. I also noticed that it refers to a “server” not whether the gentleman was cleric or lay.

Now, for more matter to ponder, here’s a link to a 2008 entry on Father Z’s blog: wdtprs.com/blog/2008/08/quaeritur-tlm-servers-and-kissing-stuff/.

take care,
amsjj :slight_smile:

+++
Jesus, God and man,
imprisoned by love in Thy most holy Sacrament,
have mercy upon us.
– Blessed John Henry Newman, December 22, 1851

Tú y yo sabemos por la fe que oculto en las especies sacramentales está Cristo,
ese Cristo con su Cuerpo, con su Sangre, con su Alma, y con su Divinidad,
prisonero de amor.
– San Josemaría Escrivá, 1 junio 1974

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