Can I make the sign of the cross differently?




Full Question

Is there any Church Law that forbids me to make the Sign of the Cross like Eastern Catholics?

Answer

The sign of the cross is essentially always done in a particular manner in the Latin Church (up, down, left, right) and therefore the Latin Church does not have a need to put into the rubrics the exact manner the sign of the cross is to be performed.  However, some Eastern Catholic Churches have their own equally valid custom for the sign of the cross (up, down, right, left).

Throughout the centuries certain explanations were attached to the movements:  It is done with 3 fingers symbolizing the Trinity, or 2 fingers to symbolize the 2 natures of Christ.  Moving from top to bottom symbolizing the Incarnation.  Left to Right has said to symbolize Christ passing from the dead to the right hand of the Father.  Right to Left is said to symbolize the mission of Christ from the Jews to the Gentiles.

We should usually simply follow the the customs of the liturgy we are attending, of course decades of habit might make that impossible.  However if for whatever reason someone in the congregation found more meaning in using an Eastern Catholic custom of making the sign of the cross I don’t think its a big deal.


Fr. Charles Grondin





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2 comments

  1. Terrence Tran Reply

    This is what the Virgin Mother explained since 2010: In the name of the Father, on the forehead is the thorn of Jesus; and the Son, symbolizing the nail on His feet; and the Holy Spirit, left and right, symbolizing the nails on the left and on the right hand of Jesus; Amen, symbolizing the wound on His rib.

  2. diane zanarini Reply

    The mother of all catholic churches Roman and Eastern Catholics is the Greek churches. Why would it matter which way the sign of the cross is made. I can not believe Jesus would be so petty..as to say..you are doing it wrong. Catholics need to read and understand there is more than the Roman catholic church. Eastern,Greek, Byzantium, Ukrainian, Assyrian,Coptic just to name a few. You need to understand the people of the early church died to keep the faith alive.. .Never criticize anything from these churches unless you are educated in the church of st Peter and Paul apostles to the Slavic countries.

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