Friday, August 8, 2014

WHAT IF THE CONGREGATION FOR DIVINE WORSHIP HAD AUTHORIZED MOVING THE "SIGN OF PEACE?"


We know of the recent bombshell where Pope Francis approved of not moving the "Sign of Peace" to another point in the Mass. Presumably it could have been moved to the point right after the Credo and Universal Prayer.

There is a precedent for this in other rites of the Latin Rite, I believe the Ambrosian Rite.

However, while the Latin Rite Liturgy  itself (both in the EF and the OF) is suppose to be sober, not all Latin Rite Catholics are sober. This has presented problems when the insobriety of clergy and laity are allowed to run naked in our liturgies. This is true especially of the Mass with the priest facing a congregation and what could possibly go wrong at the "Sign of Peace."

I'd like to offer a disclaimer. In all the parishes I've been assigned over the past 34 years as a priest (and that's only four parishes) the Sign of Peace has always been offered in a sober way and is brief. We see to it by making sure the Agnus Dei begins as quickly as possible.

The only time that I have experienced an extended "Sign of Peace" that kind of becomes a love fest is at special Masses with youth or Marriage Encounter type people or charismatics none of whom are known for being sober.

However, could you imagine what might happen in a typical Latin Rite parish on Sunday if the Sign of Peace were to be moved to the point after the Credo and Universal Prayers?

The theology of the "Kiss of Peace" at the traditional place in the Solemn High Extraordinary Form Mass (with deacon and subdeacon) as well as its placement as an option in all forms of the Ordinary Form of the Mass is to offer from the altar where Jesus is present, His peace, a peace the world cannot give. It is passed from the altar by the celebrant to the deacon who then passes it to the subdeacon.

It is not a handshake but a Roman embrace. And it is not an exchange but a passing on of the Peace of Christ which the world cannot give.

Some liturgists got the bright idea that it should be changed from the "Kiss of Peace" in the Roman liturgical way to the "Sign of Peace" where the manner in which it is given is left to ingenuity of the insobriety of the clergy and laity or to cultural customs of greeting people. In the USA it was a handshake that was exchanged between people or a peck on the cheek or lips or a hug of some kind (especially in the huggable 1970's where personal boundaries where eliminated by extroverted, needy, touchy-feely aggressors even at Mass!).

So what should have been simply an extension of the Kiss of peace to the congregation rooted in the Extraordinary Form's Liturgy and its theology of the Kiss of Peace became something altogether different in the Ordinary Form.

My point and the point of this post is that if the Congregation for Divine Worship with Pope Francis' approval had moved the Sign of Peace to the time after the Credo and Universal Prayer, it would then accelerate into the 1970's approach once again and in almost every parish where personal boundaries would be eliminated by extroverted, needy, touchy-feely clergy and laity aggressors. Then the only way to stop this abuse would be law suits by those of us more sober and restrained!

Fortunately, the Congregation for Divine Worship with Pope Francis' imprimatur wants the Kiss of Peace to remain where it is and for it to become once again what it is suppose to be as taught to us by the EF's Solemn Sung Mass. It is to be sober for a sober liturgical Latin Rite people.

34 comments:

Vox Cantoris said...

And let's remember, it was and remains "optional."

So, option it out!

JBS said...

"...Not all Latin Rite Catholics are sober..." That's hilariously truthful!

I think congregants should just text one another a Hippie peace sign.

Gene said...

I wish they would move the sign of peace out into the parking lot .

Anonymous said...

Fr. McD, your rather sarcastic reference to "Marriage Encounter type people" suggests that you know little about marriage or about Marriage Encounter.

Your rather sarcastic reference to "extroverted, needy, touchy-feely clergy and laity aggressors" suggests that you may be suffering from an unfortunate psychological disorder called Haphephobia. There is help for it though.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Maybe too much virtus awareness or virtusaphobia?

Anonymous said...

Wow...It never occurred to me that hugging might be an occasion of sin for some.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

If you were virtus trained you would spot the perpetrators! They ignore the other's personal space!

Anonymous said...

Didn't Francis tell a group of nuns to ignore anything that comes out the CDF? So why should anyone listen to what they have to say?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Ah, different congregation which the pope approved and to date His Holiness hasn't told post Catholic LCWR or anyone else not to listen to him.

Kalamazoo said...

Fr. MacDonald - I notice on your masthead photo that the canopy you used for an earlier visit of Bishop Hartmayer to your church is not being used.

Why did you stop using it?

Anonymous said...

So...Fr. McD....are you suggesting that people who touch others at the kiss of peace are somehow suspect as "perpetrators"? Of what...pedophilia? Come on.....! Are you serious?

BTW...I'm the father of seven. I have a wife. I don't need to be "virtus trained".

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Some don't want to shake hands and that should be respected, but I am referring to unwanted hugs & kisses. And you are very wrong, everyone parent needs to be virtus trained!

Gene said...

Ah, the marriage encounter crowd…the group dynamics crowd….what a swell bunch of emotional wrecks…LOL!

Anonymous said...

I know more about parenting than you do.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

You know nothing about virtus and that puts children at risk

Anonymous said...

Virtus....""Training to Protect Children"...a three hour session."

Wow Padre...that surely trumps raising 7 children from birth until they all went off to college.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

You seem to think I don't have children?????

Anonymous said...

PLEASE!!!
The way you "have children" and the way real parents have children (24-7-365-18) is miles apart. I know it and you know it.

Gene said...

I just popped some popcorn...

John Nolan said...

A few Sundays ago I was at the Oxford Oratory and the woman next to me spent the entire Mass coughing into her hand. Not the occasional cough, you understand, but a persistent barrage which clearly indicated a severe bronchial disorder. Moreover she was of Asiatic appearance and might well have just returned from the subcontinent where many frightful maladies unknown to Europeans are endemic.

Needless to say, I kept my distance as much as possible, although the incessant expectoration was a severe distraction. Now I knew that whereas the London Oratory has never, ever asked the congregation to exchange a 'sign of peace', in Oxford the deacon turns to the people and intones 'Offerte vobis pacem'. Note that in Latin it's a command, not an invitation.

I know that St Peter Claver would kiss the suppurating sores of the African slaves to whom he ministered in Cartagena, but I am no saint. I hoped that the woman would have more sense than to expect anyone to shake hands with her, but no. I had to wish her all the peace in the world, but decline the handshake as politely as I could.

Anonymous said...

One person here simply appreciates the catechesis of this post.
I learned a bit about the Kiss of Peace, and its origins; and thereby gained a new appreciation for it.

I am a mother..and saw great value in being Virtus trained so as to protect my child (and possibly myself.
Virtus teaches how to spot the bad guys.
I chose to get trained even though I am not currently involved in a ministry that would require it.

Thanks,
Sheila

P.S. Gene, I do prefer butter on my popcorn..LOL

John Nolan said...

What's all this about 'virtus'? In
Latin it means that which is associated with the male sex - 'vir' of course means 'man' - bravery, courage, heroism, strength, uprightness, merit, value, worth; in a word virility.

The fact that one needs to be trained or retrained in these aspects is indicative of the way society has been feminized and weakened. Modern 'liturgies' exemplify this, and not just in the Catholic Church. What John Knox called the Monstrous Regiment of Women now calls the shots in the Church of England.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Virtus in the USA is but one of many various programs established after the sex abuse crisis in the USA surfaced around 2002. It is a program of education to help adults understand the mindset of one who might enter into an abusive situation with a teenager or younger child. It is very eye-opening and I think every parent should know about it.

It also is on-going education. Priests and religious and laity who have any direct contact with children in a church situation (formal relationship) must be virtus trained and certified.

Marc said...

VIRTUS is a program designed by lawyers in an attempt to escape future liability for child abuse involving people attached to the church.

It has little to do with actually protecting children, since to weed out child predators is impossible, and everything to do with defenses to eventual litigation.

In other words, it is lawyer BS. And, yes, I am a lawyer.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Marc, you are being a cynical lawyer. It is meant to prevent future abuse of children and to protect them. It is also meant to reduce future abuse and cut down on crime and civil lawsuits. Of course it is!

Both aspects are important for any institutions liable to lawsuits.

However, I have heard, as Shiela testifies, that this once taboo subject brought out into the open and the warning signs of someone who might be "grooming" a teenager or child for nefarious purposes is very eye opening and could help save a child before any abuse takes place, especially parents who invite adults (even relatives) into their home.

Prior to the sex abuse scandal and being trained in virtus, i would not want to judge anyone, even those who made me uncomfortable with having nefarious reasons for "over-relating" to the young. I would have thought I was the one with the "dirty" mind. But no longer! And that's a huge step forward!

Marc said...

Father, I am cynical because I have represented those accused and convicted of child molestation. I don't believe that in most cases one can spot such a person or train them not to abuse children.

So, what the program does is teach normal people who don't have nefarious ends to be ultra-sensitive to avoid any contact that might result in litigation. It is all about disclaiming liability when a lawsuit comes. The price for that is to treat normal people like they're criminals.

Tevye said...

Mark, I think you nailed it.

Father McDonald, I think it's wonderful that Virtus training helped you as you say. I do believe, however, that most real parents are not as naive about such things as you apparently were.

John Nolan said...

Thanks for enlightening me, Father. Over here in order to work with children or vulnerable adults one needs to have a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) certificate which records not only convictions but also cautions, reprimands or warnings. As far as I am aware there is no training programme dealing with how to identify potential offenders, which is notoriously difficult if not impossible. The vast majority of US clerical sex abuse cases involved homosexual ephebophilia, otherwise known as pederasty. Paedophilia as identified by the 19th century psychologist Krafft-Ebing made up a very small percentile.

One might reasonably infer that male homosexuals are more likely to offend against adolescent boys than female heterosexuals would be (although this does happen) and the figures bear this out. But I know gay men who are not interested in boys, and it seems unfair to view all of them as potential pederasts.

And if as the result of a training programme one thinks one might have identified a potential offender (spotting the bad guy, as one contributor put it) what on earth does one do about it? Start a witch-hunt? The real bad guy will turn out to be the one you least expect.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

No one is saying we can stop an abuser (although an immature adult could learn what the warning signs are and deal with it as it concerns teenagers (children who look like adults) but a perverted child abuser of pre-teen children will find a way and the children most likely to be abused are those who have no parental supervision or proper supervision of other adults who are oblivious to the warning signs of a perpetrator!

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Tevye you are showing your naivete! In the priestly abuse cases, parents welcomed priest perpetrators into their homes, allowed priests to put their children to bed, take them on trips and shower them with gifts. HELLO! Do you think they would have allowed such intimate friendships with their children if they had been trained about the warning signs and not being so naive!!!!

The same is true of other adults invited into the home, like aunts and uncles or friends. The greatest sexual abuse takes place in the family by other family members, usually the father! But it could be a brother or sister against a younger child.

Do you know the warning signs for this?

Tevye said...

You seem to be the only one here who, because of your Virtus training, seems sure he can recognize predators in advance.

You also seem suspicious of people though. I'm thinking of your disdain for the "touchy-feely", the "Marriage Encounter" types of people. I hope Virtus training doesn't produce a crop of cold, suspicious, unfeeling priests who hold the people at arms length...(for fear of litigation?).

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Our litigious society as well as false accusations against priests and highly under reported has already done that and long ago. An accused priest is automatically suspended, must leave Church property and is presumed guilty until proven innocent, even when the allegation goes back 20 , 30 and more years and there are no witnesses except the accuser.

Gene said...

What do you call one hundred heavily armed lesbians?

Militia Etheridge.

Anonymous said...

At my confirmation mass liturgical decorum completely broke down at the sign of peace. It lasted about ten minutes. The priests came down from the altar and tried to shake everyone's hand. Also some lay people left their seats and roamed around looking for people who they could introduce themselves.