A book by Michael Philip Penn titled Kissing Christians is attracting attention. There is some tease in this earnest scholarly work, such as “Chapter One: Kissing Basics.” But, alas, there are only slight references to “eroticism.” Apparently the early Christian kiss was not erotic, even though the kissers interpreted the biblical command to “Greet one another with a holy kiss” to mean a kiss on the mouth.
Segue to the contemporary scene, where liturgical churches have retained or restored a mild version of this greeting in the form of the “passing of the peace.” When Roman Catholics were told to re-include this in their rites, they resisted. The late Dan Herr, a salty editor friend, told how, in response to the priestly command, he turned meekly to the woman behind him. Her arms akimbo, her face a scowl, she said, “I don’t go for that sh--.”