I know I said I'd do some reader question next, and I will be doing those shortly, but I ran across something in the CDW Newsletter that I thought I'd pass on while I was thinking about it.
Remember back in 2005 when Pope Benedict presided over the Synod of Bishops that was addressing the Eucharist?
Well, the post-synodal apostolic exhortation document that came out after that was widely anticipated, particularly because of Pope Benedict's known interest in the liturgy and improving it and . . . the document was largely a let-down. It took forever to come out (even Benedict complained publicly about how long it was taking the people doing the prep work to get it done), and when it came out there was very little that was new or noteworthy in it.
One thing that was noteworthy was relegated almost to a footnote (in fact, if memory serves, it may actually have taken the form of a footnote).
That was the announcement that the question of where the Sign of Peace is located in the Mass had been forwarded to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. (Actually, I think it referred to the appropriate dicasteries, but the CDWDS would be the key one.)
The idea, which Benedict himself wrote in support of when he was still Pre-16, is that the Sign of Peace isn't optimally placed in the Mass, coming as it does right before Communion. Placed there, it can be disruptive (especially when priests go romping all over creation to hug people and slap them on the backs, though this seems to have abated some in recent years) and takes the focus off of the Eucharist just when we're about to receive.
So the proposal has been floated to move the Sign of Peace earlier in the Mass, after the Prayer of the Faithful.
That would be a good move, to my mind.
And the move wouldn't disturb anything fundamental to the structure of the liturgy. In fact, there was no individual exchange of peace prior to the liturgical reform that followed Vatican II. It was added (as an option, I might mention) to the Latin liturgy based on parallel (but not identical and, in my mind, superior) practices in some of the Eastern Churches.
But it turned into a big, distracting celebration of "us"-ness.
Anyway, it's been going on four years now and I've heard nothing about the proposal to move the Sign of Peace.
I was just reading the newsletter of the U.S. Bishops' Committee for Divine Worship (formerly the Bishops' Committee on Liturgy) and ran across this item:
Cool. Good to hear that there is some motion on this and that the bishops seem to be responding favorably.