Hands inthe orante position

Does the orante position have the arms bent at the elbow, palms almost facing each other, thumbs up?

Can anyone tell me when congregations started using this posture during the “Our Father”? And most importantly, WHY?

Steve

I HATE it, as it just seems really protestant to me. There’s tons of arguments for and against it on this board, so you might want to do a search.

One of the big reason I’m against it is this: Look where we say The Lord’s Prayer. At that point, Jesus Himself is at the altar. Why would we want to hold our hands up toward the sky when our Lord is right there with us at the front of the church?

Yeah, I know. I shudder every week at mass.

I have found the info on the USCCB site and see that as with many “innovations” the orans posture is neither mandated nor condemned. Incredible.

[quote=slewi]I have found the info on the USCCB site and see that as with many “innovations” the orans posture is neither mandated nor condemned. Incredible.
[/quote]

It always makes me kind of angry when I see the innovations people do (hand holding, etc.) I wish the USCCB would just say “don’t do it” already.

What I do it try to during Mass is ignore it and focus on what we’re really at church for. Christ in the Eucharist.

[quote=Jabronie]I HATE it, as it just seems really protestant to me. There’s tons of arguments for and against it on this board, so you might want to do a search.

One of the big reason I’m against it is this: Look where we say The Lord’s Prayer. At that point, Jesus Himself is at the altar. Why would we want to hold our hands up toward the sky when our Lord is right there with us at the front of the church?
[/quote]

Hmm…all this time I thought the people who did that were directing their open arms up and toward the altar before them, not directly to God but toward the altar/crucifix in union with the priest.

If anyone can give me a direction from the Vatican or USCCB for the laity to perform this gesture in the liturgy, I will be surprised.

It’s an innovation. Encouraged by some Bishops and discouraged by others.

Hopefully, we will get a clear ruling on it at some point.

Don’t hold your breath as I believe the Vatican expects the Bishops to deal with it themselves as it has already bee laid down by the Holy See that none are to add any innovations or detract from the rubrics of the Liturgy be they laypersons or Bishops apart from the areas provided for flexability in the rubrics themselves. So, in effect the issue has already been addressed in the revision of the GIRM but the Bishops have to grow a spine and inforce them.

[quote=mosher]Don’t hold your breath as I believe the Vatican expects the Bishops to deal with it themselves as it has already bee laid down by the Holy See that none are to add any innovations or detract from the rubrics of the Liturgy be they laypersons or Bishops apart from the areas provided for flexability in the rubrics themselves. So, in effect the issue has already been addressed in the revision of the GIRM but the Bishops have to grow a spine and inforce them.
[/quote]

I feel you are exactly correct.

[quote=YinYangMom]Hmm…all this time I thought the people who did that were directing their open arms up and toward the altar before them, not directly to God but toward the altar/crucifix in union with the priest.
[/quote]

I thought they were somehow signalling field goals…

[quote=AltarMan]I thought they were somehow signalling field goals…
[/quote]

Shhhhhhh.
You are not allowed to say such things about that prayer position.

I’ve been smacked around many a time for it.

[quote=netmilsmom]If anyone can give me a direction from the Vatican or USCCB for the laity to perform this gesture in the liturgy, I will be surprised.

It’s an innovation. Encouraged by some Bishops and discouraged by others.

Hopefully, we will get a clear ruling on it at some point.
[/quote]

May I ask what the harm is in the gesture?
Does it hurt the person making the gesture?
Does it hurt those around the person?
Does it offend the priest?
Does it offend God?

Someone mentioned it seemed so ‘protestant’ to them…perhaps those who use this gesture are protestant converts to Catholicism…if so, shouldn’t we be rejoicing that they found their way home?

Perhaps they have not been told, charitably, yet that it isn’t necessary during our Mass? Perhaps over time, as they attend more and more masses where people around them don’t use this gesture they’ll get the message?

Maybe that’s why the Vatican is not ruling on the matter…

[quote=YinYangMom]May I ask what the harm is in the gesture?
Does it hurt the person making the gesture?
Does it hurt those around the person?
Does it offend the priest?
Does it offend God?

Someone mentioned it seemed so ‘protestant’ to them…perhaps those who use this gesture are protestant converts to Catholicism…if so, shouldn’t we be rejoicing that they found their way home?

Maybe that’s why the Vatican is not ruling on the matter…
[/quote]

Actually, the Vatican has stated that this is priestly gesture. Do a search and you will find many of the documents…
"This is repeatedly made clear in the Church’s liturgical documents. For example, the Ceremonial of Bishops notes: “Customarily in the Church a bishop or presbyter addresses prayers to God while standing with hands slightly raised and outstretched” (CB 104).

Similarly, in the Book of Blessings, whenever there is a blessing which can be performed either by a member of the clergy or the laity, the rubrics invariably directs that “A minister who is a priest or deacon says the prayer of blessing with hands outstretched; a lay minister says the prayer with hands joined” (BB 1999). Over and over again, the rubrics direct clergy to pray with hands outstretched and laity with hands joined.

Because of the special association praying with hands outstretched has with priestly office, some dissident elements in the Church have desired to get the laity into the habit of praying in this posture during Mass. This furthers the dissident agenda of continuing to blur the line between the laity and the clergy.

Fortunately, the recent Instruction on Collaboration (Nov. 13, 1997) drew the line on this issue and specifically mandated that “Neither may . . . non-ordained members of the faithful use gestures or actions which are proper to the . . . priest celebrant” (ICP, Practical Provisions 6 §2).

The reference to gestures that are appropriate to the priest celebrating the Mass certainly includes praying with arms outstretched, which is probably the single most frequent gesture the rubrics direct him to make during Mass and which is clearly tied to the office of priest in the Church’s liturgical documents.

Consequently, in the liturgy, laity should not be praying with hands outstretched. "

It has never stated that it is a gesture for the laity in the liturgy. If you can find that directive that the Vatican has given for the Orans in the liturgy, I would greatly appreciate it.
So to answer your questions…
The harm in the gesture is confusing the role of the priest in the mass
It does not harm the person making the gesture short of confusing the priestly role.
It may harm the persons around one. It certainly distracts me and my children.
I’m not sure if it offends every Priest but you do not know that it does not.
Because I know that the Will of God is given to us by the Vatican and the Vatican directs priests to use this gesture in the liturgy, I will stay on the safe side and fold my hands.

So where is that statement found again? I missed the reference.
Does it say never? or is it specifying certain parts of the liturgy where they laity should not be praying with hands outstretched.
Just looking for clarification and making sure the statement is repeated her in context.

nevermind…I see it now and will look it up myself. Thanks!

It has never stated that it is a gesture for the laity in the liturgy. If you can find that directive that the Vatican has given for the Orans in the liturgy, I would greatly appreciate it

My point was I wouldn’t expect the Vatican to address it one way or another since it isn’t offensive. Most of what I’ve read about the Liturgy is written specifically for those responsible for the Mass itself. So naturally, everything in there pertains to them as leaders. I haven’t really seen a handbook for the laity, come to think of it. Does one exist?

So to answer your questions…
The harm in the gesture is confusing the role of the priest in the mass
It does not harm the person making the gesture short of confusing the priestly role.
It may harm the persons around one. It certainly distracts me and my children.
I’m not sure if it offends every Priest but you do not know that it does not.
Because I know that the Will of God is given to us by the Vatican and the Vatican directs priests to use this gesture in the liturgy, I will stay on the safe side and fold my hands.

Except that I was asking if perhaps people doing this gesture were ex-Protestants who just don’t know it’s not supposed to be done in our liturgy.

I’m also not suggesting in any way that everybody start using the gesture. I would not be comfortable with it since it isn’t how I was raised. But these people who use it seem to be people who are deep in prayer at that moment, offering themselves to the Lord at that moment. How could that be offensive or distracting? (distracting is when the people reach over to me to hold my hand…but what they do for themselves is their personal prayer posture, imo).

[quote=YinYangMom]I’m also not suggesting in any way that everybody start using the gesture. I would not be comfortable with it since it isn’t how I was raised. But these people who use it seem to be people who are deep in prayer at that moment, offering themselves to the Lord at that moment. How could that be offensive or distracting?
[/quote]

It is nevertheless somehow distracting to me, even though it shouldn’t be. I look up and 35 people in front of me are doing it and I am not. It makes me uncomfortable somehow, to be the oddball. But it would make me even more uncomfortable to execute the gesture, as I have never done it before. BTW I know those 35 people are not all converts. I think in our parish it has reached large enough levels that people are just doing it out of imitation.

(no, I haven’t really been distracted enough to count them:D…that is just my rough estimate).

[quote=Pug]It is nevertheless somehow distracting to me, even though it shouldn’t be. I look up and 35 people in front of me are doing it and I am not. It makes me uncomfortable somehow, to be the oddball. But it would make me even more uncomfortable to execute the gesture, as I have never done it before. BTW I know those 35 people are not all converts. I think in our parish it has reached large enough levels that people are just doing it out of imitation.

(no, I haven’t really been distracted enough to count them:D…that is just my rough estimate).
[/quote]

Makes sense. I’ve only encountered a handful at best at the various masses in our parish.

I’d feel quite odd if I were surrounded by it. I know I avoid a particular parish back home when I visit because they tended to overdo things there - too touchy/feely/charismatic for my liking…and it was especially noticeable because it was my Catholic elementary school alma mater so I remember what the masses used to be like in the 70s/early 80s…but by mid-80s to 90s it changed way too much for my liking.

I’ll note my standard ‘distractions’ advice here (you’ll find it elsewhere on these boards) which I got from listening to Fr. Corapi:

If we have petty annoyance issues we can be certain God will surround us with occasions of such as a means to help us ‘exercise our virtues’ in order to get over those annoyances.

So when I find myself distracted, annoyed, irritated these days over situations and behaviors around me I pray a little pray to ask God to help me recognize the lesson He’s trying to teach me. It helps. I end up smiling one of those ‘yeah, I know…’ kinda smirks. :o

With all due respect, there is nothing in that instruction that addresses this issue at all–much less “draws the line”–except in the most indirect and non-specific way if one can come to a conclusion that this is a “reserved” gesture. However, we have yet to see ANY document specifically stating that this gesture is reserved to the priest. We do in fact have much evidence that such is NOT the case.

We have the USCCB statement, in specific response to the question about it being appropriate, that states that NO position is mandated. If it was reserved, the answer would certainly have stated such and not let people think that it was ok.

We have Redemptionis Sacramentum, written to deal with liturgical abuses, which does NOT address this although there have been questions directed to the Vatican about it for many, many years.

We have at least one Bishop mandating its use. That would not be possible if it were a reserved gesture.

You are right that some may be distracted by it. But some are distracted by bad singing, the noisy child next to them, artwork that doesn’t meet their tastes, the outlandish hat the woman across the aisle is wearing, etc, etc. Life is full of things that distract us if we let them. We can’t ban everything that could potentially distract somebody.

I agree with a statement you made in one of your previous posts that it would be nice if some definitive statement would be made directly addressing a conclusion to all of this. In the absence of that though, it is not right for any of us to be making judgments that there is any impropriety or lack of devotion or piety involved. I have said it many times: if you don’t want to participate, don’t. If your parish is seeming to make it “almost mandatory” ask your priest to clarify for everyone that charity should rule. There are avenues to pursue if you don’t like it, but in the end if your Bishop allows or mandates it and your parish has some doing it, it might just be one of those little crosses that life deals us. My parish has lots of things I really love, and a few I really don’t much like. But then, so does life…Go figure!

Peace,

By the way, just for the record, I do not personally use this gesture, although a small scattering of individuals in our parish does. I have no personal feelings about it one way or another, but I find no problem with those who find it meaningful to do so.

I am not suggesting in that that we should be able to do whatever we feel is meaningful or introduce new elements, so please don’t bring on the ridiculous bar-b-queing or nose-picking analogies. This is a relatively longstanding and accepted practice at this point, which has not been repudiated as any of these other examples would be immediately if they started to occur.

Peace,

[quote=YinYangMom]So where is that statement found again? I missed the reference.
[/quote]

Sorry, reference here…
catholic.com/thisrock/1999/9903qq.asp

Does it say never? or is it specifying certain parts of the liturgy where they laity should not be praying with hands outstretched.
Just looking for clarification and making sure the statement is repeated her in context.

Per the GIRM, no innovations are to be added to the liturgy. Therefore, while this is directed as a Priestly gesture, over and over, unless one can find a directive for the laity to use this gesture in the liturgy, it is an innovation.

My point was I wouldn’t expect the Vatican to address it one way or another since it isn’t offensive. Most of what I’ve read about the Liturgy is written specifically for those responsible for the Mass itself. So naturally, everything in there pertains to them as leaders. I haven’t really seen a handbook for the laity, come to think of it. Does one exist?

The GIRM does have directives for the laity. For example, GIRM no. 21 gives this rule: “The people sit. . .if this seems useful during the period of silence after communion.” The GIRM never says what should not be done, just what should. However, other documents state when something is given as a directive for a priest or deacon, it is just that.
I do have to say that in some Diocese, the Orans is encouraged. Cleveland for example, but in some it is discouraged.

Except that I was asking if perhaps people doing this gesture were ex-Protestants who just don’t know it’s not supposed to be done in our liturgy.

In my experience, and having a Protestant hubby who chuckles when he sees this gesture, it is a gesture used in our “Catholic Communities” to share the priestly experience, not by converts. From what I have seen with those in RCIA with my hubby, converts shun it totally. I have heard it said that it is not Catholic enough.

[quote=ncjohn]With all due respect, there is nothing in that instruction that addresses this issue at all–much less “draws the line”–except in the most indirect and non-specific way if one can come to a conclusion that this is a “reserved” gesture. However, we have yet to see ANY document specifically stating that this gesture is reserved to the priest. We do in fact have much evidence that such is NOT the case.

[/quote]

Show me the directive by the Vatican that says that this gesture may be used by the laity in the liturgy and this is a non-issue.
I have given you the directives that state it for the priest in the liturgy.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.