Why do we make the Sign of the Cross with our right hand?

:slight_smile: Hopefully someone can help me with this one.

My 5yo. son is tending toward being a “south-paw” and doesn’t understand why he has to do the Sign of the Cross with his right hand.

I hate to leave it as “just because I said so”.

Any suggestions, speculations, or thoughts?

Thanks!

Just a thought on my part. Where I attended Catholic school in south Texas in 40’s & 50’s, my older brother being left handed, the Nuns would literally strike his hand with a ruler for writing left handed.

If memory serves, we were taught that right hand or side was correct for all because Jesus always spoke of the right ie; sit at the right hand of the Father, separating the sheep from the goat, ect.:shrug:

Hopefully someone will help more.

Make the sign of the cross with whatever hand you want to. We do it with the right hand because 90% of people are right handed.

My husband and I are left handed, but we both make the sign of the cross with our right hand probably just because we were taught that way. But if your son wants to do it with his left, there’s no reason he can’t.

Why not? That is the best response for a five-year old.

well the explanation my south paw siblings got from the good sisters, who used example and persuasion, not rulers btw, was that if you are doing it left-handed while every one else does it right handed, you will poke your neighbor in the eye with your elbow.

Unless there’s an impediment, we’re not supposed to use our left hand. I’m left handed, and I struggled with making a proper sign of the cross up until I was around 9 or 10.

The way the priest explained it to me was that we use our right hand because Jesus sits on the right hand of God. It’s the same for left handed priests. Priests must do blessings with their right hand as well. Even when they’re doing the consecration, they do it right handed, even the left-handed priests. Those who receive communion in the hand are to use their right hand to place it in their mouth. (I receive COTT now, but before, no one told me this until the priest caught me doing it and made an example out of me in the next week’s sermon on how to receive communion properly.)

Tell your son we use our right hand because Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father. As he grows up, he’s going to have lots of fun being ambidextrous. You might as well get him used to using his right hand.

Where is the documentation that proves this? Every rubric I’ve read indicates that the sign of the cross is made. It does not indicate which hand is to perform the action. Though I agree that using the right hand is the norm, it is by no means required for us. I didn’t find anything definitive with regards to the celebrant, but the OP asked about her son.

Do we really need a rubrics for everything? I don’t know, but I’ll find out.

Great responses, thanks.

=InspiritCarol;7871531]:slight_smile: Hopefully someone can help me with this one.

My 5yo. son is tending toward being a “south-paw” and doesn’t understand why he has to do the Sign of the Cross with his right hand.

I hate to leave it as “just because I said so”.

Any suggestions, speculations, or thoughts?

Thanks!

I can [and will if you like] explian why we make the sing of the Corss. The reason for the right hand [IMO] is simply that most folks are RIGHT-HANDED:D

If we know and think about what we are doing; God does Not care which hand is used:thumbsup:

God Bless,
Pat

Ooo-kay…

So now that my brain-fart has passed, I can safely say that the right-handed sign of the the cross did not occur because “most people are right handed”.

Left-handed people used to be punished for using their left hand because of the association of the devil and the left hand. Sinister is derived from the Latin word, sinistra, which means on the left or left hand. It was also believed that the devil baptized people with his left hand. Simply being left-handed wasn’t tolerable in church history, therefore using one’s left hand to make the sign of the cross would be punished severely.

Needless to say, knowing the history of how the early Church viewed left-handedness, it only makes sense why were use our right hand to make the sign of the cross. Regardless of whether or not “it’s written down somewhere”, the right hand has been used for these types of things in the church for centuries, and it would be unwise to take it upon ourselves to start teaching our children to do things differently because they’re left handed.

Instead we can back up centuries of silly superstitions about been left-handed. More logical was the point cited where nuns pointed out if you make it left-handed in a group if you are squashed together you may poke someone in the eye. I am left-handed and I can understand that’s a practical reason but not making it generally with my left hand because of superstitions attaching to left-handness is another matter.

None of these superstitions in any way support the position that the sign of the cross *must *be made with the right hand or that there is anything in **actual **Church documentation requiring it.

It only supports that people were very ignorant at one time. I also encourage you to look for actual documentation that “The Church” viewed left-handedness this way. Show me a Church document to prove it.

My son is left-handed and uses his left to make the sign of the cross. He’s an altar boy and no priest (and we have some very traditional priests) has ever corrected him. Certainly, if you are likely to poke your neighbor, you should either use the other hand, or wait a moment, but there is no other reason why you MUST use your right hand.

My sons are all left handed and all use their left hands to make the sign of the cross. They’ve been in Catholic school their whole lives and all were altar boys.

Use whatever hand is comfortable. I seriously doubt God cares what hand they cross themselves with!

I’m left-handed. When I was in secondary school I initially made the sign of the Cross during assemblies and prayers. No-one was really concerned but I noticed after a bit my arm was bumping into people and it looked different than everyone else. When I was first at school at age 5 we had an elderly nun who tried to hold my arm behind my back to stop me using my left hand. I remember this had to be resolved by my mother and father telling her to stop it. When I was older my mother told me a blazing row had developed and the Nun had told her it was wrong and my mother (who was a nurse) pointed out it was more wrong to force children to use hands they did not normally favour to write with. Apparently the parish priest eventually had a word with this Nun and although of course he had no authority over her order she took his suggestions on board and stopped.

There’s also no Church documentation for how someone should receive communion in their hand, however the way it’s done is based on the very early tradition that St. Cyril stated. Making the sign of the cross is based on tradition, not rubrics.

And Church traditions are based and where they don’t conflict with Church dogmas are subject to change. Using superstitions from an earlier period in history to show this is why we do and should always use our right hand to make the sign of the cross is flawed.

=Love Divine;7872787]Ooo-kay…

So now that my brain-fart has passed, I can safely say that the right-handed sign of the the cross did not occur because “most people are right handed”.

Left-handed people used to be punished for using their left hand because of the association of the devil and the left hand. Sinister is derived from the Latin word, sinistra, which means on the left or left hand. It was also believed that the devil baptized people with his left hand. Simply being left-handed wasn’t tolerable in church history, therefore using one’s left hand to make the sign of the cross would be punished severely.

Needless to say, knowing the history of how the early Church viewed left-handedness, it only makes sense why were use our right hand to make the sign of the cross. Regardless of whether or not “it’s written down somewhere”, the right hand has been used for these types of things in the church for centuries, and it would be unwise to take it upon ourselves to start teaching our children to do things differently because they’re left handed.

And the EVIDENCE OF THIS IS? :shrug:

We are speaking of ONLY a “church practice” are we not?

God Bless,

Pat

It’s obviously passed down through tradition. It might not be written down per se as an official rubric, but by using tradition, common sense, and biblical references, we can see why we cross ourselves with our right hand, rather than the left. We do not bless ourselves with the left hand. Priests don’t bless with their left hands, nor do they incense with their left hand. When they wear a maniple, they wear it on their left arm, which understanding what the maniple symbolizes, only strengthens why we cross ourselves with the right hand.

I’m a very left-handed person, but even I can see why and understand why we cross ourselves with our right hand rather than the left. I don’t need to break tradition in an “I’m left-handed, so I’m gonna be stubborn and use my left hand to make the sign of the cross because nothing is written down that I don’t have to” protest.

When you go to make the sign of peace in Mass, do you stick out your left hand too? You know, there’s nothing saying you must use your right hand to shake the other person’s hand.:rolleyes:

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.