I was taught that is was an unnecessary act to make the Sign of the Cross after receiving communion and that what you just did (receiving Jesus) took precedence over signing yourself.

What is the exact reasoning behind this (or was it something I misheard?) and had anybody (besides liturgists) weighed in on how exactly one should behave after receiving Communion?

This seems semi-important because it would seem that the way a child is taught to receive Communion sticks with them their entire life. My daughter, for instance, finds it very hard to kneel to receive, even though our bishop clearly wants us to and is having kneelers re-installed in parishes in our diocese. My son kneels to receive with our scout troop so it's natural to him.

Signing yourself after receiving Communion seems more cumbersome when you kneel to receive, so this smacks of Post-Vatican II chicanery foisted upon us by the modern attack. So, if you can't answer:

Why do Catholics make the sign of the cross at the Eucharist?

Then perhaps you can answer this question!

  • 1
    I've never seen or heard of this practice. Where have you? Jul 27, 2018 at 23:28
  • Possible duplicate of How do I know when to cross myself during Mass (Novus Ordo)? Jul 28, 2018 at 3:12
  • 1
    @matt the practice of not making the Sign of the Cross? I wouldn't say it's a practice. I'm fairly certain it came from the priest who led my Confirmation class while I was in high school, but I can't say for sure.
    – Peter Turner
    Jul 30, 2018 at 13:14
  • No, the practice of making the Sign of the Cross at Communion. I've never seen nor heard of it before. Jul 30, 2018 at 16:36
  • @MattGutting Nearly everyone in our parish does it; as do most of the people I observe in other parishes. Aug 1, 2018 at 16:02

1 Answer 1


What is the rationale for not making the Sign of the Cross after receiving Communion?

Let us start with the liturgical Rite of Pope Pius V. In the Extraordinary Rite of the Mass the priest sign the recipients of Holy Communion immediately before receiving the Sacred Host which by the way was always received while kneeling. The Faithful never signed themselves in the Old Rite.

As the priest places a Host directly from the chalice into the mouth of each communicant, he prays for life everlasting.

Holding the Sacred Host in his right hand, the priest makes the sign of the cross with it and says:

Corpus Domini nostri Jesu Christi custodiat animam tuam in vitam aeternam. Amen.

The following YouTube video explains how a priest performs these sacred actions in very clear detail (1:42:00 and following): The Latin Mass Explained and Demonstrated for Priests.

We can notice two things here. The priest made the sign of the cross just before the recipient received the Sacred Host and he did not bless himself afterwards.


The priest as the minister of Holy Communion blessed us with the Sacred Host as we made our communion and now that we have received Our Lord with that same Sacred host there remains no real reason to bless ourselves since we have God residing within us. We have in a sense become a living tabernacle and dwelling place for the infinite majesty of God's presence for the duration of time that the Host remains within us. This is Catholic teaching that is universally accepted mystery of faith.

There is no need to bless ourselves at communion because we truly have Jesus within us?

The rubrics found in the General Instruction Of The Roman Missal (Vatican source) for the Mass of Paul VI do not call for the faithful to cross themselves after receiving Communion. If a person wants to do it, as a personal act of piety, there is nothing that stops him, however. However this is not a tradition liturgical expression of faith. I myself have never heard of any priest insisting or teaching that we should make the sign of the cross at communion time.

Many priests may teach this as a pious act of Catholic piety, but it is in no way a traditional act of Catholic piety.

The Church simply asks that we receive Communion reverently, either by slightly bowing before receiving (if we receive standing up) or by kneeling (which is always an option). Communicants should respond with “Amen” when the minister says, “The Body of Christ” or “The Blood of Christ.”

  • The lines you quote from the Tridentine mass are for the priest's own communion (as shown by "animam meam" -- "my soul"). The section "Communion of the Faithful" does not include the rubric you mention, at least in this source. It is mentioned on p83 of my edition of *Ceremonies of the Roman Rite Described", if that's helpful. Jul 31, 2018 at 22:36
  • You've edited meam to tuam, but your quote is no longer a quote from the document... The rubric to make the cross when distributing communion does not exist in that document. Aug 2, 2018 at 9:45
  • @KenGraham No, because the rubric "Holding the Sacred Host in his right hand, the priest makes the sign of the cross with it" goes with his own communion, not the communion of the faithful. Aug 2, 2018 at 12:01

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .