Thursday, 13 September 2012

When it is wrong to make the sign of the cross

How could it ever be wrong to bless oneself?

                              Fast on the track, OK, but fast with the blessing, no no!

Surely, we are calling upon Almighty God to endow us with His purifying grace when we touch our forehead, breast and each shoulder (making the cross sign).

Yes, we are, just as by saying the Lord's Prayer we are calling upon God to bless us.

But, if we say that prayer sloppily it becomes not an offering to on High, but an insult.

So it is, when footballers or Olympic athletes bless themselves so rapidly and carelessly, it also becomes an insult.

It should not be a blur; it should be measured, meaningful and memorable. An offering to Our Blessed Lord; a request to make us holier, a chance to cleanse us of our sins or, at least, a chance to begin to cleanse us of our sins.

If it is brought to bear on the playing field or race track, it should be given due reverence.

Just as genuflecting should be done (if one is able) completely with the knee touching the ground rather than a quick, cursory bob.

If we are going to do it, let's do it well.


  1. Got to agree with you, Richard. I bless myself with the sign of the cross before meals but's become another perfunctory act with practice.

  2. You should see Javier Hernandes of Manchester United. He prays in the centre circle before matches, on his KNEES for all to see. Brilliant example of faith.

  3. It depends on the situation. It's not insulting by virtue of it's speed alone, particularly with sports. When you're full of joy or nerves and about to do something or have just done something that fills you with adrenaline then a quick cry to Christ for help or quick thank you Jesus in the form of that quick blessing is just as honest, sometimes more honest, than a slow blessing.

    The intention to call on God or to thank Him and acknowledge His help is there, despite the speed. It's done for the person and God, not for show. Adrenaline has a huge influence. You're pumped up and raring to go and want to share that moment of joy or nerves with Him. You share it with the One you love. I know this from experience. I don't know how Hernandes stays still on the pitch beforehand but that's wonderful to hear. However if you're sitting down about to eat your dins then bless yourself properly, of course!

  4. *its* speed

    I beg your pardon, I usually does no how to spell. Onestly.


  5. Actually, it does have an effect. I live in Japan, and now you can see Japanese football players following the example set by Catholic players. When they score a goal, a lot of them are now pointing to the sky, looking up and giving thanks. They don't make the sign of the cross but if they thought they were allowed to, they probably would. :) And some of those that play in Europe now touch the grass and then their heads as they go on to the pitch when playing for their country, so I guess it's a good example to set. A sort of soft proselytisation.