[i:2rasq1h6][b:2rasq1h6]Like I said, I think it’s fine. I don’t find it a distraction, nor do I find it a time for socialization.[/b:2rasq1h6][/i:2rasq1h6]
One of the things I like about being Catholic is that we can share the same Faith, but express it in different ways. I’ve mentioned here before, that I get great spiritual benefit out of the “Extraordinary” Rite, (Traditional Latin Mass) as well as assisting at various Eastern Rite Catholic liturgies. As the Modern Roman or “Ordinary” Rite was approved by a Pope, and is one of the liturgies in use within the Church, be it my personal taste or style of prayer or not, it is a legitimate form of worship.
I’ve been to “Traditional Latin Masses” where the priest did not know the rubrics and offered a rite that was nor in conformity with the Pope’s wishes for it to be celebrated according to the manner that the Church commands. Any rite not celebrated in a worthy manner is an abuse of both the Rite, and the people assisting at that mass. While priests have been (sometimes) well intentioned and tired to make the Mass more relevant to people by bending and breaking the rules, that does not make the rite itself wrong, only the abuse of the rite.
When a priest or Liturgy Committee take liberties in the rites of the Mass, (whichever rite we are talking about) it abuses the rite and the people in that we are led away from a communal act of worship with the Church, (lat, cum ecclesia) and wander off into another world where he/they think they know better than the Church. Liturgy is by it’s very definition the fulfillment of a public duty or obligation, (to worship God) that we all share. The old adage, Lex orandi, Lex credendi, or the law of prayer is the law of belief expresses that the way we pray reflects what we believe. If we pray una cum, or one with the Pope and the Church, then we do not place ourselves in danger of wandering away from the Church. If the liturgical law is to “exchange a sign of Peace” we do it in the custom of the Church in that region.
Before Vatican II in some parts of Europe, (and a few ethnically French parishes in the US and Canada) there was something called a Pax Brede. It was usually a metal disk with a handle on the back. At the Pax in a Solemn High Mass the rubrics required the priest to give the Pax or liturgical peace to the deacon, a very formal and still “hug” hands on each others shoulders, lean tward each other, and then exchange, the Pax tecum; et cum spiritu tuo (Peace be unto thee, and the reply And with your spirit) This was then (Usually) Exchanged from the deacon to the clergy if any in the sanctuary and eventually the Sub-deacon (an office not used in the modern rite.) In some French parishes and a very few others the pax brede was kissed by the priest at the Pax, and then presented to the people, (Usually before the priest gave them communion as they knelt at the altar rail IIRC) by kissing the brede one participated in the Pax. Very formal, and not universal. In fact rites like this where forbidden outside of those parishes and places where the custom was not an ancient practice retained by “long standing custom”. So even before Vatican II there was the possibility that you would sometimes see rites or customs different from place to place.