"Perhaps we can learn something about the idea of preaching outside the sanctuary, and strutting about like a peacock, from the Church’s rubrics for the sign of peace. This is another occasion in which priests will jack-in-the-box out of the sanctuary where they belong and, sometimes, go to absurd lengths to see and be seen, to demonstrate how caring, warm and matey they are.As he notes, the rubrics do not actually forbid preaching from other than the pulpit, so I fail to see why anyone should be taken to task for it. Fr. Z draws on the rubrics around the exchange of the sign of peace to suggest (by extension) that it should not be done. He is as entitled to his opinion as I am mine (and neither of us are allowed to legislate it).
The General Instruction of the Roman Missal states that funerals are one of the rare occasions when the priest is permitted to leave the sanctuary for the sign of peace...If there is a person of note present, the celebrant can leave the sanctuary to give the sign of peace. These are exceptions to the general rule that the priest belongs in the sanctuary. Period."
What I am seriously bothered by is his caveat that for a "person of note" it is all right for the presider to leave the sanctuary for the sign of peace. And just who might we think is a "person of note"? Particularly for one acting in persona Christi?
I imagine it would be the elderly parishioner in the front row, the mother struggling to ride herd on four young children. Or perhaps the mentally ill person pacing in the back, or the man who lives in the local shelter but who appears for the vigil Mass each week dress with painful care? If that is not who is meant, then I am mystified.
I was relieved to note that the actual instructions do not say anything about "a person of note" - just special occasions (and the limitations are not as tight as implied):
The priest may give the sign of peace to the ministers but always remains within the sanctuary, so as not to disturb the celebration. In the dioceses of the United States of America, for a good reason, on special occasions (for example, in the case of a funeral, a wedding, or when civic leaders are present) the priest may offer the sign of peace to a few of the faithful near the sanctuary. At the same time, in accord with the decisions of the Conference of Bishops, all offer one another a sign that expresses peace, communion, and charity. While the sign of peace is being given, one may say, Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum (The peace of the Lord be with you always), to which the response is Amen. [GIRM 154]Fr. Z and his readers appear quite concerned about narcissistic priests. I might suggest the traditional Carthusian remedy for grandstanding homilists: preach only by reading from a written, previously prepared text. That alone would substantially improve the overall quality of preaching in the Roman Catholic communion -- regardless of where the homilist stands.
Photo is of the pulpit in Mission San Miguel in California.