Vatican: avoid 'excesses' in Sign of Peace during Mass [CWN]


The Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship has asked the world’s bishops to “moderate excesses” in the Sign of Peace exchanged during Mass.The Vatican said that some widespread …



New Circular Letter on the Ritual Expression of the Gift of Peace at Mass

Fulltext: (PDF)

Pray Tell recently received a copy of the newly issued (July 12th) Circular Letter on the Ritual Expression of the Gift of Peace at Mass. After the Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist in 2005, the question was raised about whether the sign of peace should be maintained “in its present form” and location. Pope Benedict at the time requested that the “pertinent Congregations” study the question. The Congregation for the Divine Worship and the Discipline of Sacraments studied the question and consulted Episcopal Conferences from around the world. According to Antonio Cardinal Cañizares Llovera in his introduction to the Circular Letter, the results of the consultation were as follows:

A great majority of them [Episcopal Conferences] pronounced favorably in maintaining the “rite” and the “sign” of peace in its present form and time, as it is presently found in the Ordinary of the Mass, considering it as a characteristic of the Roman rite and therefore not convenient for the faithful, at this time, to introduce structural changes during the Eucharistic celebration.

After consultations with “both Supreme Pontiffs, Benedict XVI and Francis” a Circular Letter was issued. According to Cardinal Cañizares, it is hoped that this Circular Letter
will become an opportunity for all the Episcopal Conferences to reflect on this question and to present and study the proposed adaptations for the “sign of peace” in respect of the different cultures and sensibilities of the different peoples around the world.


There’s already a thread on this…in Catholic news:


I think you meant this one.


Yes thanks., Have too many tabs open. Sorry. :thumbsup:


It would be interesting IMO to revisit this issue in about 6 months or so and see what impact this has.


I doubt it’s going to have much of an impact.

We might see a few notices in diocesan papers and websites. We’ll probably see some letters or emails from liturgy directors.

This problem really won’t be fixed until the underlying problem, the overly horizontal focus of the Mass, is corrected. That will take at least a generation.


I have to admit sometimes the Sign of Peace can be abused during Mass. Sometimes it can be too much.

I remember when I was a kid during out school masses, the Sign of Peace was an opportunity for some of us students to fool around, make noise and play.


Our LifeTeen Mass offers a chance before Mass starts to meet and greet each other. However, the Sign of Peace is chaos and super disruptive. I think it’s the only moment I’ve not been able to accept at the LifeTeen Mass. (The teens doing the readings takes some work, but the youth ‘choir’ and the contemporary music are very good.)

At a parish I attend on occasion, the Sign of Peace is omitted, and I don’t miss it a bit.


Oh, I totally agree. I love the sign of peace at my parish, but at school it is simply a nuisance, and breaks the sacredness of the Mass, leaving people in a restive state for the Eucharist itself. I regularly attend an Anglican church with my grandmother, and they quite literally take ten minutes for everyone to move about to give the sign of peace to all and sundry.


At my visiting parish, ever since a certain influenza scare, the pastor chose to omit the exhortation to offer a sign of peace, and 100% of the assembly ignored this omission and offers peace anyway. The Agnus Dei is started quickly, however, and it’s very subdued. A lot of people claim that after the call was omitted the SOP became much more subdued than before, but ours was always quite subdued anyway.


Ours is pretty subdued–less than 20 seconds. Very peaceful!


Oh my gosh! People shaking hands with everyone within reach. Continuing to mingle even after the Lamb of God begins. We even have ushers who shake hands with, hug and kiss (platonic) parishioners as they usher people out of the pews for Communion. :eek:

I try not to consciously watch, but I do keep an eye out for when the people in front of us are standing up.


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