Thursday, 31 July 2014

Sign of Peace in the Mass - Bishops ordered to catechise and regulate abuses

 Parishioners offer each other the Sign of Peace during Mass for the World Day of Peace Wednesday
at Saint Peter in Chains Cathedral in Cincinnati. (CT Photo/E.L. Hubbard)
The Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments Antonio Cardinal Canizares Llovera (with the approval of Pope Francis on June 7 has issued a letter regarding the Sign of Peace during the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite. 

It's all about you and me and we and community: Not!

The Cardinal Prefect's original letter, in Spanish, can be read here.

In the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite the Sign of Peace is only in the Solemn Mass between the Sacred Ministers and can be extended to those in choir, but it is not intended between the people. Prior to the institution of the Missal of Paul VI in 1969 it became "ad experimentum" ad nauseam in the truncated Tridentine liturgy of 1965. It began in earnest, given to the altar boys (I was one) by the priest with clasped hands and then taken by each to the first person in the pew who was to extend it one at a time giving the clear sign that "Peace" only comes from Christ at the Altar. Since then in the Ordinary Form it has become a glad fest of peace signs, waves across the church, noise and total distraction when Christ is present on the Altar (whether they believe it, or not!). I some cases, it even involves groping and kissing. What about Jesus?

For these reasons of distraction, Pope Benedict XVI asked about the possibility of moving it before the Offertory hearkening the words of scripture about making peace before offering a sacrifice which is where it is placed in the Ambrosian Rite. However, this would put it out of context with the traditional liturgy (EF). At as well requiring a structural change in the current Missal. It is interesting that the Prefect has chosen the words "en estos momentos" -- "right now" as far as changing the place in the Mass; leaving our beloved Benedict's option open for some point in the future. The intent is to "moderate the excesses" and limit the "confusion" in the liturgy just before Holy Communion.

The peace is to be short and take place only to those immediate and the priest must not leave the sanctuary -- even in the case of funerals to greet the bereaved.

It is important for priests and all to remember, and this is in the Missal, the GIRM (General Instruction) and this letter, the Sign of Peace is optional.

Peace, yes, but without confusion. Francis adjusts the liturgy

The sign of peace in the Roman Rite of the Mass will remain the same moment in which he is still placed before the distribution of the Eucharist. But it must be corrected the abuses that have registered so far, especially with regard to the confusion that often characterizes this time of the liturgy.
This is the meaning of a letter sent by the Congregation for Divine Worship to the bishops' conferences of the world, which you can read here in its Spanish version:
In the letter, signed by Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera Prefect and Secretary Archbishop Arthur Roche, it should be noted that the study of this issue was initiated in the course of the Synod on the Eucharist in 2005.
And what is mentioned in paragraph 49 of the post-synodal apostolic exhortation of 2007, "Sacramentum Caritatis," Benedict XVI wrote:
"During the synod of bishops was the appropriateness of greater restraint in this gesture, which can be exaggerated and cause a certain distraction in the assembly just before communion. It is important to remember that nothing is lost when the sign sobriety needed to maintain a climate suitable for celebration, for example by making sure to limit the exchange of peace to those who are closest. "
Pope Joseph Ratzinger was then added in a footnote:
"Taking into account ancient and venerable customs and the wishes expressed by the Synod Fathers, I asked the relevant departments to study the possibility of moving the sign of peace to another place, such as before the presentation of the gifts to the altar. This choice, however, would not fail to elicit a significant reminder of the Lord on the reconciliation required prior to any offer to God. "
Before the offertory is also the time when the peace sign is placed in the Ambrosian liturgy, in force in the diocese of Milan.
The circular, the contents of which have been approved by Pope Francis during an audience granted to Cañizares June 7, explains that - after consultation with the episcopal conferences and after a deep reflection - it was decided to keep the exchange of peace before Communion not to introduce structural changes to the Roman Missal.
At the same time, however, some practical guidelines are given to overcome the drawbacks encountered.
And that is:
1. Should be noted that it is not necessary to invite mechanically every time the faithful to exchange the sign of peace, and then if it is deemed convenient to omit it.
2. Should be noted that the opportunity in the publication of the new edition of the missal going episcopal conferences will change for the better the ways suggested above: for example, from family and profane gestures of greeting gestures more appropriate.
3. This indicates the need for the exchange of peace is to avoid the introduction of a song of peace that does not exist in the Roman rite; the displacement of the faithful from his seat; the abandonment of the altar by the priest to give peace to some of the faithful. In addition, it is recommended to avoid that in certain circumstances - such as the feast of Easter or Christmas, baptisms, first communions, confirmations, weddings, ordinations, religious professions, the funeral - the opportunity to give peace be congratulate or to express condolences among those present.
4. The episcopal conferences are invited to prepare liturgical catechesis on the meaning of the rite of peace in the Roman liturgy and proper development in the celebration of mass.
The letter is dated June 8. And the news of its existence was leaked to Spain where he was sent to individual bishops in a letter dated July 28.
Now we will see if and how it will be applied, in Spain and elsewhere.


Gabby said...

It took 7 years for the CCCB to promulgate Redemptionis Sacramentum, and about 17 to channge the Lectionary when Rome had told them to do it in 5. Think we'll ever see this implemented?

Me said...

Even the Church of England has some anti social individuals that have a problem with the "The Sign of Peace". Click here

Brian said...

Unfortunately, Bishops will not catechize and regulate. They will, certainly in Canada, continue with "liturgical and catechetical business as usual". The whole Novus disOrdo structure has novelty and titillation, in its DNA. Opting out, of the Sign of Peace, would be cosmetic at best. There is an old phrase, "Dead on Arrival(DOA)". This directive, from Rome, is "Dead before Arrival". Recall how our Canadian bishops, with their "Winnipeg Statement", "middle fingered" Pope Paul and Humanae Vitae. You think that they would take this letter seriously? Think again. Just another something, for the sake of pastoral sensitivity, to be ignored.