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Tuesday, March 13, 2007


Some Day

think the sign of peace is a wonderful demonstration of the Body of Christ."

I'm with David1 on this.

We are the body of Christ. Part of going to Mass is to connect many parts of the body with the other parts. We go out into the world with Christ in us, and Christ among us, and as part of his body.

The Mystical Body of Christ, not the
Physical Body of Christ.

Nice try but no.

I wish I could say it is heretical (holding hands) but it is not. It implies a heretical idea, but does not say it(pneumatic church).
Its like trying to grab a bar of soap.
You think you got and then it slips.

But it definetly is tendencially wrong.


Sure, Some Day. I did not say the 'physical' body of Christ.

There's nothing wrong with the sign of peace.

It is a prayer of any serious Christian that Christ's peace be with our neighbor.

What heretical idea is implied?


Denver Catholic

For me, it is simple.

Matthew 5
23: So if you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you,
24: leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

To me, this says that the sign of peace belongs in the mass, but before the offering of the gifts and the Litugy of the Eucharist. Perhaps after the Prayer of the Faithful.

Matthew 25

40: And the King will answer them, `Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.'
41: Then he will say to those at his left hand, `Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels;
42: for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
43: I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.'
44: Then they also will answer, `Lord, when did we see thee hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to thee?'
45: Then he will answer them, `Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.'


Now tell me again how hard and offensive it is to exchange the simple gift of a touch of the hand to a stranger, and wishing him or her Peace, in the House of God?

Along those lines, where is the offense against God in holding hands during the Our Father, as long as it is a sign that we are all connected to one another in the most perfect prayer, offered up to the Perfect Pray-er in the words He, Himself gave us?

If you are praying hard, and you wish to pray by yourself, untiouched and unbothered by others, then don't expect to do it out in public.

Here is a reminder:

Matthew 6

5: "And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.
6: But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

I'll warn you the same warning I got from a wonderful very orthodox Priest: Do not become so enamored of the forms of the Church that you lose sight of the function of the Church as the Body of Christ: Your salvation and the salvation of the world.

"And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.

I'll warn you the same warning I got from a wonderful very orthodox Priest: Do not become so enamored of the forms of the Church that you lose sight of the function of the Church as the Body of Christ: Your salvation and the salvation of the world.

That's funny, the same thoughts had occured to me with regard to silly, smarmy, touchy-feely, empty gestures.


I agree with DenverCatholic. Our pilgrimage should always contain elements of our vertical relationship with the triune God and our horizontal relationship with our neighbors and fellow pilgrims (as the Mt quotes demonstrate). Our Mass then should contin both elements with proper reverence.

To address using his hands after consecration, our priest keeps his index finger and thumb pressed together when not touching the Eucharist and then has a washbowl on the altar when done. He is very reverent to the presence of the Eucharist on his hands.


I have yet to do the research, as with too many other issues, but it seems that,though a movement of the placement of the sign of peace is a good thing, the difference between the significance of the sign of peace and the kiss of peace, seen in the older forms of the Roman Rite, needs to be explained. It is my understanding that the sign of peace entered into the liturgy connected with the kiss of peace; however, the kiss clearly represents an emmanation from Christ, the altar, while the sign of peace seems to indicate a purely lateral act between humans. Such acts are good in themselves, as the Holy Father points out; however, it would seem to be an act that goes against the necessary emphasis of sacrifice over communal gathering in the mass. We are brothers and sisters, but only because we are in Christ the head of the mystical body. Our focus must be upon Him.

As to the many comments about the failure of the Church and the Pope to really change things. We must remember to defend the unity of the Church as well as her liturgical practice. Let us pray for unity, orthodoxy and opportunity to suffer for the good of the Church in all her members. God bless.


Ken, you make an excellent point about the kiss of peace. At the old Pontifical High Mass, the kiss of peace was exchanged between the celebrants in its ancient ritual form. It served as an example to the congregation. It was not disruptive. Chaos and silliness and did not ensue.

I fail to see what the quotes from Matthew have to do with the so called "sign of peace." When Our Lord said to feed the hungry He meant just that. Holding hands (a new liturgical "form") is not a substitute.

The only quote from Matthew which seems appropriate is from Matt 6 - the one about hypocritical behavior. And, it could be directed at all that "showy" hand shaking and hand holding - not at people who are quietly reflecting on the miracle that just took place on the altar. It isn't an agape love feast.


I think the quotes from Mt are intended to demonstrate that we should have an internal disposition to serve our neighbors. If done with dignity and decorum, then I think it's appropriate at Mass. I'm not sure why a handshake to a neighbor is inherently "showy." What's "showy" is standing there like a pillar refusing to shake somebody's hand that is proffered because one disagrees with the Church’s norm.



I do not recommend standing like a pillar unless you are St. Simeon Stylites. I usually position myself in the far back of the church. During the sign of peace I will shake extended hands. However, during The Lord's Prayer, I do not hold hands. I will stand in the parking lot during Mass to avoid that bit of silliness (sometimes they start swaying).


I have the great honor to serve at Mass and get to watch the congregation during the sign of peace. To watch the body of Christ shed their isolation for a moment and greet each other with love is very moving. This is especially the case for the people I know who live alone and lonely. However, I would prefer it to be right after the absolution when our hands are "clean."

Patrick, I have this image of you standing in the parking lot . . . ;-)


I havent been sick in about 5 years.
If I were to shake hands in church, at the one
or more opportunities(not a good word choice), then I'd expect to get 1 or more colds, and the flu about every other year.

Nothing worse than shaking a strangers hand then touching your hand to mouth(eating).
I consider it inappropriate but will gesture
to others, all the same. I fulfill and honor the requirement when it is a requirement.
But that stuff at the beginning of way!


Pope 'obstructed' sex abuse inquiry

Confidential letter reveals Ratzinger ordered bishops to keep allegations secret

Jamie Doward, religious affairs correspondent
Sunday April 24, 2005
The Observer

Pope Benedict XVI faced claims last night he had 'obstructed justice' after it emerged he issued an order ensuring the church's investigations into child sex abuse claims be carried out in secret.
The order was made in a confidential letter, obtained by The Observer, which was sent to every Catholic bishop in May 2001.

It asserted the church's right to hold its inquiries behind closed doors and keep the evidence confidential for up to 10 years after the victims reached adulthood. The letter was signed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who was elected as John Paul II's successor last week.

Lawyers acting for abuse victims claim it was designed to prevent the allegations from becoming public knowledge or being investigated by the police. They accuse Ratzinger of committing a 'clear obstruction of justice'.
The letter, 'concerning very grave sins', was sent from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican office that once presided over the Inquisition and was overseen by Ratzinger.

It spells out to bishops the church's position on a number of matters ranging from celebrating the eucharist with a non-Catholic to sexual abuse by a cleric 'with a minor below the age of 18 years'. Ratzinger's letter states that the church can claim jurisdiction in cases where abuse has been 'perpetrated with a minor by a cleric'.

The letter states that the church's jurisdiction 'begins to run from the day when the minor has completed the 18th year of age' and lasts for 10 years.

It orders that 'preliminary investigations' into any claims of abuse should be sent to Ratzinger's office, which has the option of referring them back to private tribunals in which the 'functions of judge, promoter of justice, notary and legal representative can validly be performed for these cases only by priests'.

'Cases of this kind are subject to the pontifical secret,' Ratzinger's letter concludes. Breaching the pontifical secret at any time while the 10-year jurisdiction order is operating carries penalties, including the threat of excommunication.

The letter is referred to in documents relating to a lawsuit filed earlier this year against a church in Texas and Ratzinger on behalf of two alleged abuse victims. By sending the letter, lawyers acting for the alleged victims claim the cardinal conspired to obstruct justice.

Daniel Shea, the lawyer for the two alleged victims who discovered the letter, said: 'It speaks for itself. You have to ask: why do you not start the clock ticking until the kid turns 18? It's an obstruction of justice.'

Father John Beal, professor of canon law at the Catholic University of America, gave an oral deposition under oath on 8 April last year in which he admitted to Shea that the letter extended the church's jurisdiction and control over sexual assault crimes.

The Ratzinger letter was co-signed by Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone who gave an interview two years ago in which he hinted at the church's opposition to allowing outside agencies to investigate abuse claims.

'In my opinion, the demand that a bishop be obligated to contact the police in order to denounce a priest who has admitted the offence of paedophilia is unfounded,' Bertone said.

Shea criticised the order that abuse allegations should be investigated only in secret tribunals. 'They are imposing procedures and secrecy on these cases. If law enforcement agencies find out about the case, they can deal with it. But you can't investigate a case if you never find out about it. If you can manage to keep it secret for 18 years plus 10 the priest will get away with it,' Shea added.


Can. 332 §2. If it happens that the Roman Pontiff resigns his office, it is required for validity that the resignation is made freely and properly manifested but not that it is accepted by anyone.

Based on his presiding over the largest modern scandal in the church, and his own documented attempts to legislate the witholding of evidence about it, I would suggest he exrcise his right under Can. 332 §2 and do us all a favor.


First time I checked in and am so surprised at the tenor of the converstaions about Mass and Sign of Peace. Are you not aware that Christ is AS present in his Body, the people, as in the Eucharist? Have you not read the catechism which delineates this truth? Christ present in the Eucharist, in Scripture, and in the Body of Christ. You who are so busy shunning the hand of Jesus and keeping your eyes from his living face because you think the Eucharist is Christ's only presence. How very sad. Christ could be hungry before you, in need of compassion that only you can extend and you would send him off to someone else because the Sign of Peace doesn't "fit" into your understanding of worship. Remember the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy...there is no reason they won't be asked of us in our own churches during the Mass. "Who are my Mother and my brothers? These who sit here with me."

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