Tuesday, 11 January 2011

A few options to the Kiss of Peace!

Father Z posted on it and now Damian Thompson has carried it...what is it?
A post titled How to avoid the Kiss of Peace!

I believe that 100% of the orthodox will run a hundred miles rather than have to shake hands with their pew neighbour, I certainly would. I find it disruptive right at a stage of the Mass that is critical, the few seconds remaining in which to compose one's soul before receiving Holy Communion.
And, if only it were a handshake; now it has become an embrace, a hug and even a kiss on the cheek type of thing - not at all British! And, despite guidance from the Pope, some priests still insist on going round to every member of the congregation, shaking hands and laughing like they've just won the box of mixed fruit at the Christmas Bazaar.

Damian's comments box reveals some interesting options. There's Annie who is all for a Red Indian Native American type of "How" salute. I like this. In fact, I like it quite a lot.
I shall try it when I next attend an OF Mass (some years hence).
We are in the throes of a swine flu epidemic and just saying "How" removes that germ spreading human contact bit. It is also quite funny.
At Latin Masses we could have a two fingered salute whilst uttering "Pax" - I see nothing funny in that?
Kiss of Peace Maori style
Now what if one went to Mass in Alaska? Would we have to do an Eskimo  Inuit nose rubbing job? That's none too hygienic. Or when in New Zealand would we jump into the aisles to do a little powhiri dance?

 Or, we could adopt the peace sign of the Kikuyu tribe and slit the throats of a few chickens. The possibilities are endless.
But, wait just one minuto! I have the answer!
Only attend EF Masses then you won't have to give it. Simple.


  1. Yes, I don't like it at all but here it's a must in every Mass!

  2. I've employed the "how" method very successfully for ages in conjunction with a slight nod of the head. In the UK it's similar to the "stop" sign of a traffic policeman. Most respond in kind, some obviously relieved.
    However, others will not be gainsaid, as per our recently-appointed pp - a bishop's man - who rushes off the sanctuary and is still busy pumping hands after the choir has begun the Agnus Dei.
    I think for many of us the congregational sign of peace is tied in with so many other oddities, often promoted by a People's Priest who likes to perform rather than pray the Mass.
    Almost worse than the sign of peace is the crashing of coins being emptied into the presentation basket as the choir sings the Offertorial psalm

  3. I just kneel and pray that the adoration of Our Lord present on the altar may be a sign of peace for the whole world: that is the most sincere sign of peace I have to offer at that moment.

  4. How is it done in the EF?
    And in the OF?

    In India, in the OF masses, we bow to each other with our hands folded solemnly.


  5. Kiran - it is not done by the congregation at all at the EF. It is left to the priest and then, of course, the real kiss of peace is Holy Communion.
    In the OF the whole congregation enthusuastically shake each other's hands, often the priest will walk around the church shaking hands (not supposed to) and there is a general melee for a few moments. Not good.
    An elegant bow sounds much better.

  6. This is so funny! Before these posts started occuring in the blogosphere, every time I attended Mass (and I've been doing that regularly for the past 5 years), I kept feeling an IMMENSE feeling of relief that I would not have to "do" the sign of Peace during Mass! Bizarre.
    Nice blog!

  7. I actually like acknowledging my fellow mass attenders with a handshake or a nod, when I moved from a church were hugs were the norm I really missed it!However as I have bad arthritus in my fingers I am very delicate in my hand shakes!!just a touch with the fingers and i do look at each person and "love" them