[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…
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.