Pat Archbold, one half of the duo who blog at and is none too happy with the "sign of peace" as it's done in much of the United States. In a recent post he wrote:
"I will admit that most times, the ridiculousness that ensues during the sign of peace has me cringing." and "In my mind, there is only one reasonable suggestion. Exercise the option for the faithful NOT to exchange the sign of peace. All joking aside, it is almost always a terrible interruption to the mass and a distraction from where our collective focus should be at that moment."
Pat would probably be pleased with the way it's done here in Philippines - at least in the Catholic churches where I've gone to Mass. The "sign of peace" as it's done here, is not the wild display of hugging and kissing and hand shaking that Pat dislikes so much. For the most part. the "sign of peace" consists of little more than a "look" and a nodding of the head. In the U.S. one would be considered laid back if one merely shook the hands of the folks nearest you. Here, to shake hands the way Americans do it would be considered a flamboyant public display.
I have to admit, I was a little taken aback by the difference. I don't have a problem with head nodding in the direction of strangers in the church, but, I'll continue to give my wife and son a small little kiss as I've always done.
In Archbold's post he mentioned "the Congregation for Divine Worship's recent circular letter announcing that the placement of the sign of peace within Mass will not change, though it could be performed with greater dignity". I don't believe you could ask for a more dignified sign of peace than the way the Filipinos do it. I'm sure Pat Archbold would be happy.