Crossing One's Self at the Elevation

I have noticed that many Anglo-Catholics have been taught to cross themselves at the elevations accompanying the double Consecration of the Host and the Chalice during the Canon of the Mass.  I also have noticed that most traditional Roman Catholics do not make such a reverence at this point (they do almost universally, of course, exclaim "My Lord and My God!").  Can any of our readers elaborate on this pious custom?

Do you cross yourself at the Elevation during Holy Mass?

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Additionally, I have noted that Anglicans tend to cross themselves both immediately before and after receiving Holy Communion, and I have seen most traditional Roman Catholics only cross themselves after having communicated.

When do you cross yourself at the Communion Rail?

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Author: Christian Clay Columba Campbell

Christian Clay Columba Campbell is a Roman Catholic of the Anglican Use. As Senior Warden of the Cathedral of the Incarnation (Orlando, FL), he organized the process by which the parish accepted the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus, petitioning to join the Catholic Church. The Anglican Cathedral is now the Church of the Incarnation in the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. He is also the CEO of Three Fish Consulting, LLC, an Information Technology consultancy based in Orlando, FL. He can be reached via email at ccampbell at threefish dot co.

27 thoughts on “Crossing One's Self at the Elevation”

    1. Indeed… but what is needed on this blog are Ordinariate ordinations pictures. Fr. Chalmers was ordained a deacon a month ago, Fr. Ousley & Catania yesterday, and nothing about this here! The Ordinariate Portal last year did a great job in reporting each ordination for the English Ordinariate.

      + PAX et BONUM

    2. Oh, why did you have to mention THAT name! Now that his favourite and beloved blog run by Chadwick has been closed down, he'll be all over us like an unwanted rash, again. 😉

      1. "…he'll be all over us like an unwanted rash…"
        Speak for yourself. I think PKTP is part of life's rich tapestry & wish he would post more often.

  1. A friend of mine once attempted to cross himself but sadly it resulted in an existential hiatus hernia from which he never quite recovered. Perhaps the term 'blessing oneself' would be less risible.

      1. ….And gave themselves ye olde existential hiatus hernias, I hear,
        About which they complained a lot.

  2. I believe a third option may be appropriate for the second question; Crossing one's self before receiving the Sacred Host, and before receiving the Most Precious Blood, but not after.

  3. I'm a Roman, so, on this subject, I'll just say what I do, from long practice. I say silently "My Lord and my God" at the elevation and then bow the neck. The M.C. also does this at Mass, whereas the two acolytes do not.

    For the Chalice, it is the same but with a longer formula of words. No crossings in either case.

    At the Communion rail, Latin Mass, one never says "Amen" after the priest's formula but extends the tongue and then blesses oneself after receiving.

    I welcome the differences in Traditional Anglican practice. They look very pious and reverent to me.


  4. I am a Roman Catholic and I know no such custom. I frankly would cross myself ten times and prostrate myself on the ground if the bishop demanded that I do so. This is why I love the Anglican Catholics. Their traditional piety may be one of the small embers that will start a flame that will consume the hearts of the pious and re-evangelize the western world. Because I can sense the sort of weariness from the deficiency of any "Modern", basically protestantized, banalized, desacralized masses in the Roman Rite.

  5. The Anglo-Catholic practise of making the sign of the cross at the elevations was a c19 copy of what was seen in certain parishes in France. It was purely devotional, became ubiquitous and was taken up by Episcopalian Anglo-Catholics in America as a sign of 'correctness'. It fell out of use after Vatican II and today it is only practised by conservative converts who make themselves conspicuous by doing it.

    As for making the sign of the cross before Communion, this was a general Catholic practise before Vatican II copied by Anglo-Catholics and later abandoned. Making the sign of the cross after receiving Holy Communion must be transatlantic as I have not seen it doen in the UK or in Europe.

    1. "…only practised by conservative converts who make themselves conspicuous by doing it…"
      Hey-ho, Mr Grumpy!

      1. Since we fuddy-duddy Anglican types are obsessing over these small matters (again)–I was taught that, at the "warning" bells, prior to the Consecration, a profound kneeling posture, with head down, was appropriate. As the Host and Chalice were elevated, one should bring the head up in reverence before returning to the profound posture, only coming straight up again as the Canon continued. I must say that the practice of the "profound bow" in the Creed (at the Incarnatus) is bothersome to me. Now, a profound bow is to a nearly 90 degree angle, is it not? Is this a way of somehow establishing more reverence among the faithful? It has been ordered that we genuflect, at this point, only on the Feasts of the Annunciation to the BVM and the Nativity of our Lord. I get the point, about the difference, but does this "difference matter to God?
        Why not always genuflect at this point in the creed where we recall GOD coming among us. This business of the bowing probably invites many to lose focus, and look about to see how far others are bending.

  6. The Hereditary Prince and Princess of Liechtenstein (Alois and Sophie) cross themselves at the elevations. That's good enough for me.

    1. This is true, but it is a little known fact that their Serene Highnesses, as a result of said self crossings, are forced to wear replicas of The Metaphysical Truss of Valtice. Hence their somewhat stilted gait.

  7. There was a minor indulgence granted by Pope St Pius X to the practice of saying "My Lord and My God" at the elevations and at benediction. I don't know if the indulgence originated or simply encouraged an existing piety.

  8. I'm a Spaniard and I've never seen any of those practices. It's the first time I've ever heard of making the sign of the Cross before/after consecration or before/after communion.

    I guess it's more of a regional English or French kind of custom.

  9. I picked up making the sign of the cross at the elevations and before communion from my anglo catholic grandmother, and her fellow parishioners, shortly before her death. By the time I started attending mass on my own, I also saw others do it, so it was natural that I started doing it myself. Nowadays, I bow my head for the words of consecration, make the sign of the cross at the elevations, and say the prayer "Salve, salutaris Victima" during them. I make the sign of the cross before receiving communion.

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