Sign of the Cross

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: After the Confiteor in the Introductory Rite of the Mass, should we make the sign of the Cross while the priest gives the Absolution words “May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life”? I noticed that about a quarter of the assembly makes the sign of the Cross, but the rest do not. Some say that making the sign of the Cross is a vestige of the pre-Novus Ordo Mass.

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A: There is no sign of the cross during those words of absolution. I’ve even seen presiders make it while they say those words. It is not in the rubrics for him or for anyone else, and it was not part of the preconciliar Mass either. I’m not sure how it got started or why it is so widespread.

I wouldn’t list the practice as a “liturgical abuse” just because people seem to be sincere in the desire to participate with a gesture while they are at prayer. 

But the Mass is rather sparing in its uses of the sign of the cross in an effort to have it mean something special when it is used. The sign of the cross that begins the Mass puts everything that follows under the cross of Christ