What is the official way to make the sign of the cross?

I once asked my priest if 1.forehead 2. Chest 3.left chest 4. Right chest was acceptable because that formed a Petrine cross rather than Jesus’ cross (which is the point) and he said that as long as you have the intention to make an honest sign of the cross, you are good. Then, months later, I made a Petrine cross in front of him and, seeming to forget what he told me, he said that wasn’t legitimate and that I should make it 1. Forehead 2. Belly button 3. Left chest 4. Right chest so as to resemble Jesus’ cross.

Now, I was with some older Catholics and they saw me making the Petrine cross and corrected me, saying that the inverted cross was used by early persecutoes of Christians as a way to mock. So, they told me to do 1. Forehead 2. Belly button 3. Left chest 4. Right chest.

But, Today I saw the POPE make a Petrine sign of the cross and I’ve seen countless priests and laypeople make it.

What. Is. The. Way. Lol.

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I don’t think it’s to scale, you’re not actually tracing an actual cross. If so you’d go from the top of your head, to your toes, left palm, right palm. Personally, when I make the sign of the cross, I think: forehead(God give me wisdom), heart(God come into my heart), left to right shoulder(give me strength to carry my cross). Forehead to heart is also a more natural movement for me as well.

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There is no such thing as an ‘official’ way, but the customary way of doing it in the Latin Catholic Church is with the right hand, going from top, to low, to left, to right.



When I was in Egypt, some Egyptian Christians told me that they made the sign of the cross by touching their head, one wrist and then the other wrist. This was because being a Christian in some areas of the country could be dangerous.

The Church is diverse and as a result, different ways of making the sign of the cross developed throughout the world. Andy Warhol, for instance was a Ruthenian Byzantine Catholic(if I recall correctly) but went to Daily Mass, and people would comment on how he made the sign of the cross the “Orthodox way”.

As long as it is not done as if somebody is swatting flies.

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