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All the Catholics out there say, "Ho!": A Communion etiquette question

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Bubbler, Feb 6, 2008.

  1. Bubbler

    Bubbler Well-Known Member

    Went to Ash Wednesday mass today for the first time in forever. I don't go to church much, but when I do, I have this weird dogmatism about the way the ceremony should go.

    It's admittedly about as hypocritical as it gets, because I don't go every week (month? year?), and I don't believe in many of the central tenets of the Catholic church. Women priests? Gay priests? (cough, what gay priests?) Contraception? Bring it on.

    I guess the way I see it is if I do trouble myself to go, I want it done right, and I make the commitment to try and do it right if I'm there. Respect the house and all that ...

    Because of my gaps in attendance, maybe it makes it easier for me to notice etiquette slips over the years. Genuflecting, for one, is a dying art. Hardly anyone does it and those who do never go all the way down to their knee. Total half-ass bullshit.

    And don't even get me started on this holding out your hands, or even holding hands, bullshit during the Our Father. It didn't go to church to glad handle Grandma McFifteenGrandkidsAndHerSnotRiddenPalms, I came to freaking worship. And I sure as hell don't think God wants me to trigger her arthritis by raising her arms to, "the Kingdom, the power and the glory are yours now and forever." As far as I'm concerned, "Peace Be With You" should be the only conduit for human contact during the mass, I think St. Sebastian decreed that or something.

    The lack of respect goes on and on. Kids bringing toys to church and yelling through the whole mass. Musical instruments added to the mass, with egos in the church choir or band reaching proportions where I fully expect a John Bonham-like drum solo one of these days, (slip obligatory priest perversion joke here), mass ain't what it was when I was a kid.

    But there's one thing that vexes me: post-Communion procedure. Namely, do you do a sign-of-the-cross after receiving the Body or Blood of Christ?

    I've always done the sign after getting my bread, but I noticed tonight I was probably the only one out of 100-plus to do it. I'm in a different state and a slightly different culture now from where I learned my Catholic dogma, but I'm not that far away. I think I learned it in churchs with German backgrounds in southeast Wisconsin, but my paternal grandparents went to a church that was so Irish they threw Molotov cocktails at Protestent passers by, so that can't totally explain it.

    Did I join some super Catholic sect or something? Am I more or less holy by doing the sign after Communion? A ridiculous question, I know, considering my church attendance, but inquiring minds want to know. Someone holier than thou give me a judgment.
  2. Chi City 81

    Chi City 81 Guest

    You were correct to do it. Stupid fuckers probably bit into the wafer, too.
  3. lono

    lono Active Member

    You handled it correctly. No worries.
  4. Bubbler

    Bubbler Well-Known Member

    So did I go to an Anglican service by mistake?

    I've noticed this trend over the years, no one signs after getting Communion. I have to admit, it bothers my sense of duty. Then I'm bothered it bothers my sense of duty because I never go. Something like that.
  5. hockeybeat

    hockeybeat Guest

    Being the lapsed Catholic I am, I did not go to Mass or get ashes. However, I honored the day by not eating meat.

    As far as your question about the sign of the cross, I always did it after receiving the wafer.
  6. old_tony

    old_tony Well-Known Member

    I still attend weekly and also grew up in SE Wisc, but do not and never did -- and only have noticed a few who do -- the sign of the cross upon receiving communion. I didn't grow up in a German-area parish, though, but more in the Polish side of town.

    And don't complain about holding hands during the Lord's Prayer. Just scout out a cute woman and sit next to her.

    Genuflecting, also, could be different now because of new-construction churches. The way I learned it, you genuflect to the Tabernacle,, which in old churches were always behind the altar. In my church -- built in 2000 -- the tabernacle is in a room off the back of the church.

    And if you ever had back and knee problems, you wouldn't be so hard on people who can't make it all the way down to the floor with their knee. Having had a bad back and three knee operations, I figured God appreciated my effort even if I didn't make it all the way to the floor on the days I was hurting bad.

    BTW, Ash Wednesday masses were canceled area-wide today because of a massive snow storm.
  7. sportschick

    sportschick Active Member

    Anglicans still make the sign of the cross after Communion or they did when I went to a service today.
  8. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    Before I became a recovering Catholic, I always made the sign of the cross after communion. And always toward the crucifix that was hanging behind the altar.
  9. KYSportsWriter

    KYSportsWriter Well-Known Member

    When I went to Sunday mass with the ex, it was expected to do the sign of the cross after taking the supper. But I was the only one in the entire fucking church to not do it. I was raised and still am Methodist, and we do none of that stuff. I felt so out of place and never went back to her church, then we broke up...
  10. Michael Echan

    Michael Echan Member

    You gotta love going to church in northern NJ. Guys my age are wearing their hair Gotti-style with torn, stylized jeans, huge tees and sneakers. You also have to love it when people come to Christmas Mass in sweatpants and team jerseys. Reeeeeeal classy, huh? The women are just as bad: all hooched-out with designer jeans and highly revealing tops. I went to my best friend's wedding and saw some woman wearing hip-hugging jeans, Uggs, a low-cut, long-sleeved top AND A HAT! IN CHURCH! DURING A FREAKING WEDDING!!!!!!!!!!!

    (taking long, deep breaths)

    Now, I'm not going to imply that I dress in three-piece suits to Mass. I've gone to Mass in jeans, but they are always clean, no tears or rips and no designs at all, even if they're so small that they don't attract attention. Shirts are always either polos or button-downs. Sneakers are never an option.

    As far as other violations: I want to have a meltdown every time I hear some asshole's phone go off during Mass, especially during the sermon (I go to the rare Catholic church where the pastor talks about raising money only once a year, and that's the Sunday after they come up with the budget. No hellfire-and-brimstone speeches, either). Children should be seen, not heard at Mass. Period.

    Oh, BTW, I always make the sign of the Cross after receiving both the Body & Blood of Christ.

    PS - My mother is from SW Wisconsin (La Crosse) and pops is from North Jersey, so there's an interesting, yet subtle mix of traditions.
  11. Flash

    Flash Guest

    Yes, you should genuflect whenever you pass the crucifix.
    Yes, you should cross yourself following the communion.
    No, there was never communal touching in the cathedral of the Little Vatican (my home town's nickname) but for the sign of peace.
    And KY, a non-Catholic should not be taking communion.
  12. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    Sign of the cross after communion, correct.

    Good post. When I went to my wife's old United Methodist church a few times, where there's guitars and dialogue between the minister and the worshippers, I was shocked. It was almost fun. The Catholic mass I knew growing up, not so much.
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