So once again, the TBBs (with some other level headed conservatives) are doing something again and passing the buck around on an issue: The Sign of Peace.
How is this coming about (again?) The Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, one of the Vatican's Papal Congregations, who issues out orders, decrees, evaluations, etc. on the Pope's behalf in the area of liturgy and sacraments, back in June released a letter which was given Pope Francis' approval (!) about the practice in the Mass. It's basically a letter that notes that this part of the Mass is taken for granted and suggests, ways to improve the dignity of this practice.
Unfortunately, this letter has NOT been made available to the general public, including the Congregation`s section of the Vatican website. It was supposedly in Spanish, but the one link is ``not available`` anymore on the website that one blogger linked to. The best I`ll do is to link to ``safe`` traditional blogger priest Fr. John Zuhlsdorf here with a summary of the content and the 4 suggestions.
The four main suggestions, NOT ORDERS, are as follows:
- The rite is optional, and there certainly are times and places where it is not fitting.[This IS in the latest edition of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal.]
- “... familiar and worldly gestures of greeting” ¨[a.k.a. hugs and kisses, handshakes] should be substituted with “other, more appropriate gestures.”
- The congregation for worship also noted that there are several abuses of the rite which are to be stopped: the introduction of a “song of peace,” which does not exist in the Roman rite; the faithful moving from their place to exchange the sign; the priest leaving the altar to exchange the sign with the faithful; and when, at occasions such as weddings or funerals, it becomes an occasion for congratulations or condolences.
- ... episcopal conferences prepare liturgical catechesis on the significance of the rite of peace, and its correct observation.
My thoughts on these matters:
1) The Trad Behaving Badly bloggers have got this wrong in a sense. The letter is NOT AN ORDER, yet they are claiming so. This is a false claim, but this is nothing new from the Church's new "liturgical police." They cheer and applaud anything with some semblence of ordering their perceived "faulty" institutional (and often times, True Catholic Church), back to pre-Vatican II levels of ... well ... everything. Also, it is mostly them alongside more conservative Catholic news sites picking this story up. Not a good sign. Also I feel that the general sentiment is one of "we order you to make these changes ..." vs educational information.
2) The Vatican should have put this and other communications from this Congregation on their website. The oldest is from 2008. Not smart at all. Then again, not surprizing from the media machine of the Vatican. It`s becoming public knowledge that they are not always up to speed on things. Why, it took 7 years for Summorum Pontificum to be posted in English and people had to complain to the Vatican to get that to happen.
3) For the most part for me, I find the sign of peace, tolerable. I am not one of those TBBs who abhors it, and I understand that we CANNOT be like the TBBs on the Catholic blogosphere in their demeanor and their attitudes towards the Novus Ordo. Take note, that passive-aggressive stabs in your writings towards the Novus Ordo and other topics and those who attend the N.O., are also part of that sick rhetoric.
4) As much as I hate to side with the TBBs on something, I do agree that unless bishops force this upon their priests in mandates that are publicly displayed online and to their parishes by fax/letter, they will continue to proceed with such liturgical abuses.
However, I do have preference, not absolute, enforced, necessity, for the Pax of the Latin Mass (as I nickname it in admiration, a good ol' fraternal bear hug.) As for the suggestions, they are all perfectly reasonable and it would be nice to be implemented.
From my experience of 30 years in the Archdiocese of Toronto, I am glad to say for the most part, I have not witnessed much of these abuses from the clergy and liturgical staff at Masses. I have seen lay people get somewhat out of hand, and only recently have I seen this "song of peace" be implemented in Masses with some parishes I go to out in Maple. However, giving the best benefit of the doubt I can, I do not think that the musical staff of these parishes know it is not a vital part of the liturgy. They are laity, not clergy, and likely part of the majority of Catholics who don't know where or what these documents and congregations in the Vatican are. It is more non-willful ignorance on their part vs. outward rebellion against the Church. On the bright side, that's 29 years of living post-Vatican II I have NOT seen the song of peace in the Archdiocese of Toronto, and 30 years where it's not crazy out of control, to the contrasting opinions of the Blogosphere critics.
So that's all on this matter folks. Now, I will leave comments open, but consider this post red flag. Read my blog rules, and don't even think about abusing the freedom or my e-mail here.