Next Mass:
Today at 8:30am

Penitential Rite

Should the people make the sign of the cross during the Penitential Rite?

Even though you may see some people doing so, this is not the time to make the sign of the cross.

Neither the GIRM nor the Roman Missal says that the priest or the people make the Sign of the Cross during the "absolution" at the end of the Penitential Rite. In the Extraordinary Form (sometimes refered to as the Tridentine Mass or 1962 Latin Mass), the priest and the people do make the Sign of the Cross, but it is during a different prayer.

In the Ordinary Form (The Mass we mostly use today), the priest's "absolution" is: "May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and lead us to everlasting life."

In the Extraordinary Form, the priest first says "May Almighty God have mercy upon you, forgive you your sins and bring you to life everlasting." Then he says "May the Almighty and merciful God grant us pardon +, absolution, and remission of our sins." He makes the Sign of the Cross at the "+", and the people do too.

The priest no longer says this prayer or makes the sign of the cross.  The revision officially occurred with the revision of the Roman Missal 3 April 1969.

So you may see some Catholics Bless themselves at this time during Mass which is a hold over from the Extraordinary Form Latin Mass prior to 1969.  It is not part of the Ordinary Form of the Mass we typically use today..