Saturday, November 22, 2008

Moving the Sign of Peace

The Associated Press reported yesterday (November 21, 2008) that the Pope Benedict XVI is considering making a change in the Liturgy by moving the Sign of Peace from its present location just before the reception of Holy Communion to the Offertory of the Mass .

Cardinal Francis Arinze, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, interviewed by the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, announced that the Pope has asked the bishops for their opinion of this change and then will make a decision. Cardinal Arinze said the change could create a more solemn atmosphere for those preparing to receive communion.

I would certainly welcome this change in the Liturgy. I find that the Sign of Peace interrupts the prayerful moments before we receive Communion. By moving the gesture of peace to the Offertory, it could also emphasizes the need for reconciliation with each other before coming to offer our gifts.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

I too agree. The sign of peace should be moved to an appropriate time before the consercration and reception of Holy Communion. I find extremly disturbing the people who feel a need to leave the pew and walk over to the other side of the aisle to give a peace sign. Now if only we can make some of our music ministers understand this point, that receiving communion is a very personal prayerful period during the Mass. I know many people find it quite disturbing during the reflective period after Holy Communion people singing an swaying to tunes like "This little Light of Mine" Quite franly that kind of music during communion is intrusive, insensitive and offensive to people who would like to give Jesus a period of adoration,contrition,thanksgiving and supplication. Yet it persists every week in parishes throughut this dioceses regardles of how objectionable it is to many.

Mark said...

Anonymous:

What you describe is one of the reasons why our Pope issued the motu proprio. In practice, the ordinary form of the mass is too often only a variation on a vague theme. The contents shift from parish to parish and from liturgical council to liturgical council.

It needs the stabilizing influence of the extraordinary form if it wants to mature.

standing maryanna said...

I think cultural differences can change the way the Mass appears to visitors to a particular parish. The basics remain the same. Of course I am speaking of the Ordinary Form.

The songs selected for Communion and Meditation in a parish may not appeal to a visitor but for the parishioners, they are used as a form of prayer.

If you are a more traditional Catholic, you probably would seek a different parish. That doesn't mean that a non-traditional parish has it all wrong.

Mark said...

Dear Standing Maryanna:

I'm not sure if "cultural differences" should have any effect on the ordinary form of the mass, beyond some linguistic differences. Allowing these cultural differences to affect our worship was a post Vatican II experiment that by any objective measure fizzled.

We've recently witnessed the spectacle of an Austrian Cardinal participating in the ordinary form of the mass with heavy rock music, strobe lights, prayers written on balloons that were later released inside the church, way oversized "pita bread" host, sloppy way most of the young participants were dressed - the net effect was awful and unedifying.

Many agree that the current cultural standards are degraded. It is my experience that whenever such "cultural differences" interject themselves into the ordinary form of the mass, the standards are lowered and the end result is banal or offensive. You-tube is full of such examples, under "liturgical abuse".

The ordinary form of the mass can be edifying when it's approached reverently and seriously, as we're obliged to be in the presence of Christ. Those of us who are drawn to the extraordinary form of the mass should help guide the new mass in this direction. Also, EWTN is a good start.

standing maryanna said...

Hi Mark,

I really don't think that the young people's Mass in Austria had a true cultural dimension to it; at least not what I understand as such.

What I meant is that different cultures have different ways of expressing their love of God through the Liturgy. For instance, a Spanish Mass may look and sound different than an African Mass and both would be different from a Mass celebrated in Korea. Obviously, the Mass is the Mass, so I am not trying to say that the basics are different.

I might not wish to attend a Liturgy within a culture that is foreign to me; but that doesn't mean that I would think that the Mass I love is better than theirs.

I think we may be using "cultural differences" in different ways.

Stu said...

standing maryanna said...

I might not wish to attend a Liturgy within a culture that is foreign to me; but that doesn't mean that I would think that the Mass I love is better than theirs.


Liturgy isn't about different cultures and expressions thereof. It's about God and Him alone. Long ago (but not really that long ago), one could go to Mass anywhere in the World and was assured of experiencing the same worship to our Lord. It unified the Church. It's as if it were meant to be. Hmmmm.

As to the sign of peace. It's optional and I would just assume not have it all. It's a distraction and takes the focus off of the Eucharist.

standing maryanna said...

Stu said: "Liturgy isn't about different cultures and expressions thereof. It's about God and Him alone."

How different cultures worship IS about God and God alone. Who we are and how God made us IS precisely what we bring to Him in our Liturgies. We give Him the best we have and are.

As for the sign of peace, there IS a reason for that gesture. I'm sure you recall the admonition to reconcile with your neighbor before bringing your gift to the altar...

Stu said...

standing maryanna said...

How different cultures worship IS about God and God alone. Who we are and how God made us IS precisely what we bring to Him in our Liturgies. We give Him the best we have and are.

They are not OUR liturgies. They are His.

As for the sign of peace, there IS a reason for that gesture. I'm sure you recall the admonition to reconcile with your neighbor before bringing your gift to the altar...

I haven't disputed that. I simply said it is optional and takes the focus off the Eucharist which has almost always been the case at parishes I have attended when celebrating the Ordinary Form. It turns into an overabundance of affection and "community" devoid of it's original intent and takes away from the Eucharist.

standing maryanna said...

Stu said: They are not OUR liturgies. They are His.
**************

This is what Jesus handed down to us: Matthew 26

"26 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to his disciples said, "Take and eat; this is my body."

27 Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you,

28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins. "


Of course, there are other scriptural references also. The rest of the Mass was added later as Christians began to understand the importance of the stories about Jesus and the Letters to the different churches. Etc. Etc. So in a sense, the Mass belongs to us also.

I have a feeling you will have something additional to say, but this is all for me. :)

Stu said...

Maryanna,

Christ didn't give it to us to make it into a means to celebrate ourselves and our nationality. He gave it to His Church to worship Him. Remember from Cain and Abel, God does find some worship displeasing.

Mark said...

Dear Standing Maryanna:

I'm going on a tangent here, but I wonder sometimes why our post-Christian culture has taken such as decisive turn toward mediocrity. Take for example, the area of music. With a vastly greater population of today, better nutrition, and instant availability of all kinds of resources, we don't seem to be able to produce a musical genius on the order of Mozart. We don't even come close to the level of Clementi. Why?

In literature, where is the contemporary Shakespeare? Granted, we have many best seller lists of the moment, but the books on these lists have all the staying power of cotton candy.

In painting or sculpture, where are the today's DaVincis?

To put it in a musical nut shell, yesterday we had Mozart and Ave Verum Corpus, today we have to do with the Beetles and their "I wanna hold your hand".
As Woody Allen quipped in one of his movies, today someone can throw up on the stage, and sure enough, some critics will hail it as a great artistic achievement.

In my mind, all this is a symptom of our turning away from our Creator, the Church he gave us, and transcendence. We are being submerged by the ugliness of materialism, and our culture reflects that fact. But, being an optimist, I hope that future generations will rediscover the gifts God offers us.