I don't like the "Sign of Peace" at Mass.
I just don't.
First, it seems like an interruption of the Mass to me. Secondly, it appears to me to be completely out of hand and not at all what it was/is supposed to be. And third...well I am not a touchy-feely type person who wants to be subjected to shaking strangers hands and/or getting hugs or kisses by strangers.
I don't like it.
I thought at first it might just be me and the particular parishes I have attended (remember I live in liberal Connecticut). But after reading Pat Archbold's piece at the National Catholic Register, I see he too has experienced what I have at some Masses.
"I will admit that most times, the ridiculousness that ensues during the sign of peace has me cringing. Worse, I have had perfect strangers hug me. Last year I went to mass while travelling on business and this lady, before my Kung Fu training could kick in, hugged me. Sensing my profound discomfort, she said, "That is how we do it here!" This left me channeling Chuck Heston for my inner dialogue at the unruly and distracting anthropocentric mauling, "Take your stinking paws off me you darn dirty ape! That is Jesus up there!" But hey, that's just me."-end quote-
What I would have liked to have happened:
1) do away with the Sign of Peace completely
2) have the priest say it to the laity and the laity say it back to the priest only- no getting physical with each other
3) let us give a simple nod to each other- no physical contact necessary
But the Church has decided the "Sign of Peace" will not only remain as part of the Mass but also remain exactly where it is in the Mass. Right smack dab in the middle. So as distasteful as it is to me personally, I have to accept the Church's decision and live with it because that is what Church Authority is all about.
On a side note, besides disliking the hippie love fest which often ensues during the Sign of Peace I DO NOT WANT to shake hands with people coughing, sneezing, blowing their noses, kids picking their noses and/or doing other disgusting things. I don't like it. I'm really not a germaphobe I simply don't like it- particularly at Mass.
Call me finicky I don't care. It's another reason (in my opinion) to receive the Eucharist on the tongue and NOT in the hands.
Those germ ridden typhoid Mary hands then go up and take the Eucharist in their hands for Holy Communion without a thought. That just screams "THIS IS WRONG" to me. But that is a subject for another day.
Julie @ Connecticut Catholic Corner