June 29, 2009

Shake My Hand *!@*^&!

Probably a Cranky Cathy post....

Recently, I attended Mass celebrated by a priest that I'd never seen or heard of before. I do know his name but don't bother to ask me (Ray!).

Terry may fear people crossing 15 pews to get to his hand during the Sign of Peace, I fear the priest crossing 5 pews, 10 pews, the entire length of the Church during the Sign of Peace.

I couldn't care less about Father shaking my hand during Mass. But, I do care about Father turning his back on the Consecrated Host, leaving it entirely unattended while he wanders about collecting hands. Most parishes have social time after Mass or Father shakes hands again in the porch after Mass. How many times do we need to shake each others hands? How many times do we need to hug each other? Honestly, is this forced affection supposed to equate peace? It makes me cranky. Not the human contact; the Lord ignored and disrespected makes me truly cranky.

I know I have a reputation for being an outspoken trad activist. Seriously, I have only ever written letters of admonishment (for want of a better word) directly to Pastors twice. Both times involved the priest ignoring the Consecrated Lord while he made nice with the studio audience. Did anything change? No. But, I can't bear to not try.

Some Churches eliminate the Sign of Peace. Frankly, I can do without it. I love everyone and I love to socialize; but, during Mass? No.

At this same recent incident the priest (Fr. Social) shook my hand after Mass and, I kid you not, said: "Thank you for staying" I can't remember being so speechless. Yes, I was wearing my mantilla so I tend to stand out. I was floored. I'm not at Mass to see Father or even my friendly neighborhood parishioners. At what point, did the Mass become about us? I know I've asked that question before. I still don't have an answer. I never cease to be astounded at human arrogance.


Blogger swissmiss said...

A parish we attended in WA state was like this. The priest would come down off the altar and hold hands with everyone during the Our Father...everyone was stretched across the aisles holding hands.

Several parishes in WI have everyone stand up before Mass and introduce yourself to ALL the people sitting around you.

A local priest gently reminded everyone that you are not supposed to leave Mass after receiving Communion. I think the priest you mentioned was surprised that you managed to stay despite the irreverence :) Good thing it's the Year of the Priest, to mind us to pray for them!!

June 29, 2009 7:40 PM  
Blogger LarryD said...

I think the Mass became about us when too many us's forgot about Jesus.

Oh! Oh! (I stole that from Terry!) The Mass is no longer about Jesus; it's "Jes' Us!"

June 29, 2009 7:48 PM  
Blogger Nan said...

swissmiss, that's what I thought; here we have a mantilla chick who didn't bolt in horror, thank you madame for tolerating Mass in possibly questionable form.

June 29, 2009 8:22 PM  
Anonymous Thomas said...

I'm with you. Yes, it IS a sign of peace, not fawning. And a simple nod or word may suffice...or a wave if someone is three pews away!

The bakery in town closed recently. Seems many more folks are staying after communion now for the entire mass.



June 29, 2009 8:52 PM  
Blogger Ray from MN said...

Are you accusing me of being a gossip, JCM? {You could tell me privately, you know}.

But I have a pretty good ideas who it is. "Father Extemporaneous", who jogs through the congregation at the "Handshake of Peace" to catch as many as he can. Think "black 'n white."

June 29, 2009 9:02 PM  
Blogger Joe of St. Thérèse said...

That makes me angry too...I try to aviod the sign of peace, funny thing happened a couple of weeks at Mass, me and a good friend of mine were at Mass, come sign of peace time, we just gave each other the "look" of not wanting to do the sign of peace...problem is the others didn't figure out we were invading trad caths, lol.

June 29, 2009 9:22 PM  
Blogger FatherGj said...

My main problem with the priest leaving the sanctuary for the sign of peace is that the priest JUST OFFERED THE SIGN OF PEACE TO EVERYONE! "The peace of the Lord be with you always." So my question to my fellow priests is, "Father, did you not mean it when you offered everyone the sign of peace?"

June 29, 2009 9:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our parish has eliminated the "sign of peace" but just during the H1N1 (pig-flu) season. Ahh, makes Mass so much nicer not to have physical contact--perhaps after the flu season is over--Father can just forget to bring back the sign of peace!

June 29, 2009 10:43 PM  
Blogger Terry Nelson said...

Wow - I bet I know who had Mass! LOL! Thanks for staying - LOL!

June 29, 2009 11:04 PM  
Blogger Terry Nelson said...

larry - steal anything you want.

June 29, 2009 11:06 PM  
Blogger TheSeeker said...

He left Jesus up there alone and ignored?? That is frickin ridiculous. I hate the sign of peace. I don't like the awkward forced chattiness and contact...I'm awkward enough on my own! Not to mention the fact that it disturbs the reverence/focus on our Lord. Ugh.

June 30, 2009 7:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At the close of Mass, our pastor thanks everyone for their participation -- and reminds us that "God loves you". All very well, but how about some respect for Him?

June 30, 2009 12:42 PM  
Blogger Adrienne said...


June 30, 2009 11:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Goodness! You strain gnats... how much priests have to deal with, most importantly with the multitudes of people who turn away from parishes because they perceive unfriendliness. Priests have to be everything to everyone (see St. Paul). What's the big deal if they go out and shake people's hands in the pews? Are they there just to please your sensibilities and your notion of how the Mass should be said? Cut your poor parish priest a break and pray for him instead of "murmuring".

July 01, 2009 7:20 AM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

"What's the big deal?" Do you realize, Anonymous, that the priest is turning his back and leaving alone Christ in the Host he just consecrated? THAT'S THE BIG DEAL!

This is not MY notion of how the Mass should be said. Those are THE rules.

July 01, 2009 7:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cathy, I am a priest, and have rarely left the sanctuary to exchange the sign of peace (except at a funeral occasionally). However, I don't think you can construe his leaving the sanctuary as turning his back on Jesus. What happens if he has to go to the tabernacle? Is he turning his back on Jesus? And what if the tabernacle is positioned behind the altar? Is he turning his back on Jesus when preparing it for Mass? I'm afraid you don't understand the rules. Liturgical "law" is not as strict as you think it is. I don't agree when priests are fast and easy with "the rules" but the celebration of the Mass (apart from the extraordinary form) allows some pastoral latitude. I'm terribly afraid for the faith of - i'd say - 85% of the genY crowd who don't believe a person has to go to Mass to be a good Catholic (see the recent Pew study). And all it takes to convince them that they're correct is a cold, unengaged priest-celebrant. A priest has to everything he can to attract people precisely so he can help them come to Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. I don't believe he commits any act of impiety (and I've seen lots of impiety) by making a simple gesture of welcome and interest. If no part of the Mass is insignificant - and I don't believe it is - could you possibly give the Holy Spirit the benefit of the doubt and hope that something good is going on. Perhaps in that moment, pray for those people who's faith is weak that they might perceive through the priest the very priest of Christ giving himself to them in the sacred species. I wonder that you worry too much a perceived offense to Our Lord, and don't worry about what he cares about, the salvation of the souls in those pews.
Yours in Christ,

July 01, 2009 4:10 PM  
Blogger Ray from MN said...

Nice comment, Father Anon.:

Now you ought to run over to Father Z's place and read the comments on the subject of genuflecting by priests and servers in the Novus Ordo Mass. The GIRM apparently specifies "bowing" except at the start and ending of the Mass.

I thank God daily that my God is a most Merciful God. I would never make it if some of these folks enforced the rules.

July 01, 2009 4:41 PM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

Father: I still, respectfully, disagree. I think what you are saying, correct me if I'm wrong, is things can be bent or changed in the rubrics if the priest feels by doing so he may "reach" souls. I agree that there are serious problems with Catholics not believing as they should but I wonder if some of the reason for that is because we've had several decades of bending the rules to reach people.

God bless you for your service.

You raise an interesting point about going to the Tabernacle. I'll give you that one. However, you raise another about the the priest with his back to the Tabernacle when preparing for Mass-a "problem" that could be solved if the Mass was never changed to "face the people" rather than God.

July 01, 2009 6:49 PM  
Blogger Joe of St. Thérèse said...

Mass should be Versus Deum anyway :)

July 01, 2009 10:01 PM  

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