PITTSBURGH – Immediately following the 7:30 a.m. Mass at St. Elizabeth Church in suburban Pittsburgh on Sunday, Noah Swayne announced to fellow parishioners that he was retracting the sign of peace he had given to an unnamed parishioner.
Swayne read a hastily prepared statement to about a half-dozen curious parishioners on the steps of the church.
“I regret to announce that after I had given the sign of peace to a certain person, whose name I shall not reveal, I suddenly recalled that some years back, such person was rumored to have engaged in certain misconduct that is altogether too revolting to elaborate upon,” Swayne explained.
“I have, therefore, thought long and hard about it, and have decided that in good conscience, I cannot allow the sign of peace to stand, and, therefore, I retract the sign of peace as to that one individual, but not the other persons to whom I gave it.”
This is not the first time Swayne has retracted the sign of peace. He did the same thing last January to his nephew, 16-year-old Matt Swayne, after learning that Matt’s father had caught Matt pleasuring himself to a Penthouse Magazine. Swayne also said at the time that he would never shake Matt’s hand again “for obvious reasons.”
Swayne asked the parishioners to alert him of any rumors involving misconduct by other parishioners “so that I can avoid extending the sign of peace to them as well.”