Some people make a sign of the Cross at the end of the Penitential Rite in the Novus Ordo, when the priest says, “May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to life everlasting.”
I used to do this but have recently stopped doing so. Why?
In the Extraordinary form, the rubrics include a sign of the cross, but at what is clearly and explicitly a prayer of absolution. The priest prays for all, including himself, this prayer of absolution. He makes the sign of cross over us actively; we make it over ourselves receptively.
But the Novus Ordo has no prayer that is clearly and explicitly one of absolution. The EF in fact has both a prayer similar to the Novus Ordo prayer of petition. But the EF adds what the Novus Ordo does not have, an explicit and clear prayer of absolution. The rubrics at this very point call for a sign of the cross.
I have no settled opinion on the issue raised in the title of this post. However, I lean towards no sign of the cross. I do not believe that the rubrics of the Novus Ordo call for a sign of the cross. And I take it that the absence of a clear and explicit prayer of absolution is the absence of absolution. Here, I may be wrong. It may be that the priest is supposed to intend, and thus convey, an absolution with the words he does state. I incline to think he is not supposed to intend and convey this but simply to petition for it.