I am very fond of kissing, I can understand the Holy Father's penchant for it, at least for baby-kissing. In fact in the OF there just isn't enough of it. It is one of the things about the Old Rite, one never turns from the altar without a farewell kiss, and one never receives anything as a priest without it being kissed and the hand that receives it is kissed too; it is everything from hats to thuribles and spoons - it is a bit strange when it comes from someone with a beard or stubble - except for a few odd religious orders, the Roman Rite should be a clean-shaven Rite! For priests and those on the sanctuary kissing is de rigueur.
One of signs Henry and St Thomas Becket were not reconciled after the latter's exile was that Henry always required a Requiem Mass to be celebrated whenever the two were together so he didn't have to kiss Thomas, the custom then, I think, was a mouth to mouth kiss.
When the Swine 'Flu epidemic was carrying off thousands to the throne of judgement, Their Lordships recommended that we avoid physical contact and desist from shaking hands at the Sign of Peace, which of course is the way in which this ancient gesture is supposed to be offered in E&W. Being of a liberal disposition I rather like the Sign of Peace, so obedient to the diktat of avoiding skin on skin contact we introduced the old form of the amplexus; the celebrant placing the unjoined fingers of both hands on the shoulders of the recipient and the recipient placing his hands under the elbows of the giver. I think it expresses more perfectly the Peace of Christ than the mundane handshake, it strikes me as ridiculous for passionately in love couples to offer a limp handshake, in our culture it something which signifies a dodgy deal between car salesmen, unlike the French we are not a hand-shaking race. I can certainly understand the dislike of people for this venerable sign to become a hippy love-fest, does anyone remember the time when the Rite was so extended we actually used to accompany it by singing a ditty? I really hate it when this Rite is over extended or becomes a time to get small children on the sanctuary to hold hands.It is not because I object to Christians loving one another but because at that stage of the Mass in both forms the Mass is so fast-moving that the Sign of Peace and the expression of communion amongst us it signifies immediately moves on to Communion with Christ. It is just a preparatory Rite. Thus in the OF here immediately after the MC or server has received the Sign of Peace we begin the Agnus Dei.
I know many people really hate the Sign of Peace but before you rant about your prejudices read the FIUV Position Paper: the Kiss of Peace, it is quite short.