Help me defend against the "orans" posture


#1

I am trying to explain to my friend that the laity should not take up the orans posture (or hold hands) during the Our Father.

I’m aware that the GIRM is written in the positive-affirmative style, which is to say that “if it’s not in there don’t do it” but that’s not good enough for him. Also, our pastor happily holds hands with the altar servers and does nothing to discourage this abuse, so he’s no help.

Are there any documents/articles (preferably official Church documents) that counter the orans posture/holding hands?

thanks


#2

There are no official documents which specifically say that this posture should not be used. Deacon Ed


#3

Holding hands seems a bit schmalty but raising hands to heaven in the Bible and was and is commonly practiced in the East. Theology ought not to be run by rules and regulations.

CDL, Byzantine Catholic.


#4

[quote=Deacon Ed]There are no official documents which specifically say that this posture should not be used. Deacon Ed
[/quote]

How I love the technical, “wiggle out of it” answers given by those who simply want to do what they please instead of what was intended by our bishops. You are “technically” right, but you are also wrong in intention.

From [usccb.org/liturgy/girm/bul3.shtml]](http://www.usccb.org/liturgy/girm/bul3.shtml]) :

Each posture we assume at Mass underlines and reinforces the meaning of the action in which we are taking part at that moment in our worship.

The article goes on to list those gestures employed during the Liturgy. Nowhere is the orans position mentioned because it is not a legitimate posture or gesture but an innovation imposed on the Liturgy.

Arguments from silence are not proper arguments. You may as well say that swinging from the chandeliers would be fine during Mass or twirling batons as the priest processes would be fine simply because there is no direct prescription against these things in the GIRM.

lepanto has it right when he states: “I’m aware that the GIRM is written in the positive-affirmative style, which is to say that ‘if it’s not in there don’t do it.’” One wonders why others will not admit this simple fact.


#5

I always argue that at the point we say the prayer, Jesus is there “in person” at the altar. Isn’t it an insult to be looking up to the sky by raising our hands when He is right there in front of us?

That and I just find the whole holding hand / Oran’s stuff annoying. :smiley:


#6

While there may yet be nothing “official” from Rome, I believe certain Bishops have provided direction for their particular Dioceses. Mine has not, so I cannot speak from experience but rather from what I have heard.

I have no problem with the apparent Eastern traditions of employing the orans and if I were to attend an Eastern Rite I would recognize and practice that historical posture when appropriate. However, I feel it should remain unique to the *Eastern *tradition and not be adopted by the Latin Rite…definitely not if that adoption comes from the bottom up instead of from the top down.

The seemingly compulsory nature of hand holding in many Latin Rite parishes is where I really take issue. Many Catholics who are converts, reverts, or simply apathetic mistakenly think this posture is the norm now when in fact it is simply an innovation out of control.


#7

It was my understanding (forgive me I haven’t found the reference) that the orans position is used by the priest to present our collective prayers at certain times during the Mass on behalf of all.

Since the priest was the only one (prior to Vatican II) to say the Our Father, he assumed the orans position to offer the collective prayers of the Faithfull.

So the orans position to me, is a position of authority. It is used only by someone able to offer the prayers of the laity during Mass. Even if we are all saying the prayer together- the orans has a specific meaning, and I feel it a bit arrogant on my part to assume that position as well.

My post from another thread on this topic:
forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=86966&highlight=orans

Maybe you can find some insight there as well!


#8

[quote=GregoryPalamas]Holding hands seems a bit schmalty but raising hands to heaven in the Bible and was and is commonly practiced in the East. Theology ought not to be run by rules and regulations.
CDL, Byzantine Catholic.
[/quote]

So…let’s get rid of the 10 commandments…for example… :slight_smile:


#9

I know of no “official” documents that prohibit these actions, but, there is what I think is an excellent article that can be viewed at www.adoremus.org/0505Arinze.html. It is the text of an address written by Francis Cardinal Arinze on liturgical norms and liturgical piety. Cardinal Arinze points out that the liturgical norms have been developed and prescribed to protect the sacred mysteries. Actions outside of the prescribed norms present the risk of diluting or diffusing these mysteries.


#10

[quote=Della]How I love the technical, “wiggle out of it” answers given by those who simply want to do what they please instead of what was intended by our bishops. You are “technically” right, but you are also wrong in intention.
[/quote]

In order for you to make this claim you have to know my intention. Clearly, you do not. The OP was looking for documents to support his claim that this position should not be used. There are none. There are opinions galore, but I have not offered mine.

I have made no judgement call here. I believe you owe me an apology for presuming to know my mind.

Deacon Ed


#11

[quote=Deacon Ed]In order for you to make this claim you have to know my intention. Clearly, you do not. The OP was looking for documents to support his claim that this position should not be used. There are none. There are opinions galore, but I have not offered mine.

I have made no judgement call here. I believe you owe me an apology for presuming to know my mind.

Deacon Ed
[/quote]

Deacon Ed, Correct me if I’m wrong please, I believe the Deacon keeps his palms pressed together at this point in the Mass doesn’t he?That’s what I have observed. I for one totally appreciate your straight forward non-opinionated answers. Keep up the good work and God Bless You. Mary


#12

[quote=Deacon Ed]In order for you to make this claim you have to know my intention. Clearly, you do not. The OP was looking for documents to support his claim that this position should not be used. There are none. There are opinions galore, but I have not offered mine.

I have made no judgement call here. I believe you owe me an apology for presuming to know my mind.

Deacon Ed
[/quote]

I do apologize for my presumption. There have been many instances of people on this board of only giving information that seems to support their opinions in order to make it appear there is no other way of understanding whatever topic is being discussed. I shouldn’t have presumed that was your intention, but that was my impression since you offered no defense for banning the orans position and holding hands during the Our Father which the OP also asked for. Once again, though, for my presumption I do apologize. :tiphat:


#13

“There’s nothing which says the people should stand in the communion rite or pray the Our Father with their hands raised, the so-called orans posture. The orans posture has never been the custom in the Latin Church for the laity. In discussing the ICEL [International Commission on English in the Liturgy] revisions, the bishops specifically rejected the orans posture.”

From here…
losangelesmission.com/ed/articles/2004/0404kk.htm

"Q: In my parish many people at Mass hold their hands up while praying, like the priest does. I heard that this is an ancient posture of prayer and that it is good to pray this way. Is this true?
A: One can pray in whatever posture one feels is most conducive to prayer if one is engaging in private, non-liturgical prayer. However, when one is praying in a liturgical service, such as Mass, there are rules to be followed.

It is true that praying with arms outstretched is one of the historic postures of prayer. However, this fact alone does not mean that it is to be used in any and all circumstances.

Prostrating oneself on one’s face is also a historic posture of prayer, but neither the priest nor the laity are directed to assume this posture during a regular Mass… if people were to assume this posture willy-nilly, in any Mass, the liturgy could be seriously impeded. (snip)

There are also symbolic problems associated with their doing so. No matter how the posture may or may not have been used in antiquity, today it is a priestly posture in the liturgy.

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. James Akin"
From here…
catholic.com/thisrock/1999/9903qq.asp

On handholding, check with your Diocese. Most are discouraging it, such as in St. Louis…
Is holding hands during the Lord’s Prayer allowed or encouraged?

BCL Newsletter, October-November 1989

No. The community’s corporate act of receiving communion is the primary symbol of unity with Christ and the Church. The Sign of Peace immediately preceding the reception of Communion is a liturgical rite that should not be minimized or duplicated in any way. A separate but related issue is the situation of individuals who for personal reasons feel uncomfortable with the practice of holding hands. In this case those individuals feel increasingly excluded from the worshipping community. Sensitivity is needed to include all and draw all to the true symbol of unity.


#14

I hope this helps.
Deacon Ed is right that there is no OFFICIAL document stating that we should not do this.
This is from Mass Confusion by James Akin
One final gesture of reverence is praying with arms outstretched, which is the traditional posture of prayer for priests and bishops during the liturgy: “This practice appears already in the tradition of the Old Testatment and was taken over by Christians in memory of the Lord’s Passion”…
and he goes on to say:
The U.S. Bishops have considered permitting the laity to mimic these gestures of the priest or bishop, but the Holy See has not approved this, and the more recent instruction on collaboration porhibits the laity from mimicking the gestures appropriate to a priest.

So we shouldn’t do it. As with the Our Father/holding hands.

Hope this helps.


#15

I should have waited…thanks Netlsmom :thumbsup:


#16

[quote=maryj]Deacon Ed, Correct me if I’m wrong please, I believe the Deacon keeps his palms pressed together at this point in the Mass doesn’t he?That’s what I have observed. I for one totally appreciate your straight forward non-opinionated answers. Keep up the good work and God Bless You. Mary
[/quote]

Mary,

Again, there is no specific directive for the deacon at this point. In my (Latin) diocese we’ve been instructed to use the orans position. In the Eastern Church which I also serve all people use the orans position during the Lord’s prayer.

Thanks for your kind words of appreciation.

Deacon Ed


#17

[quote=Della]I do apologize for my presumption. There have been many instances of people on this board of only giving information that seems to support their opinions in order to make it appear there is no other way of understanding whatever topic is being discussed. I shouldn’t have presumed that was your intention, but that was my impression since you offered no defense for banning the orans position and holding hands during the Our Father which the OP also asked for. Once again, though, for my presumption I do apologize. :tiphat:
[/quote]

Della,

The Liturgy belongs to the Church, not to any individual or group of individuals. Thus, I do not put forth opinions, regardless of their source as official teaching. There is nothing that specifies this position is to be used, there is nothing that specifies it is not to be used. It is clear that the bishops do not like the action of the people holding hands during the Lord’s Prayer, but they have taken no action to prohibit such action. Unless and until they do, I will not say people should not do that, nor will I give permission, even tacitly, to do so.

As a student of Liturgy it’s only fair to point out that when we have a spontaneous movement of the people to make or eliminate some action on their part, it usually becomes a part of the Liturgy, even becoming approced and written into the rubrics. Whether or not this will happen with hand holding/the orans position remains to be seen.

Your apology is accepted with great joy.

Deacon Ed


#18

[quote=Deacon Ed]Della,

The Liturgy belongs to the Church, not to any individual or group of individuals. Thus, I do not put forth opinions, regardless of their source as official teaching. There is nothing that specifies this position is to be used, there is nothing that specifies it is not to be used. It is clear that the bishops do not like the action of the people holding hands during the Lord’s Prayer, but they have taken no action to prohibit such action. Unless and until they do, I will not say people should not do that, nor will I give permission, even tacitly, to do so.

As a student of Liturgy it’s only fair to point out that when we have a spontaneous movement of the people to make or eliminate some action on their part, it usually becomes a part of the Liturgy, even becoming approced and written into the rubrics. Whether or not this will happen with hand holding/the orans position remains to be seen.

Your apology is accepted with great joy.

Deacon Ed
[/quote]

Thank you for your gracious reply, and for accepting my apology. :slight_smile:

As to these gestures becoming a part of the Mass, I have noticed, just in my own experience, that where they are not encouraged by the priests or deacons, they simply die out.

I see no reason for doing either gesture since they aren’t necessary for the people to do in order to reinforce the meaning of those parts of the Mass. Therefore, I am hopeful these gestures will not be adopted but will die a natural death in the next few years.


#19

[quote=H Opey]I should have waited…thanks Netlsmom :thumbsup:
[/quote]

Great minds read Jimmy!


#20

Also, the Orans Position is directed to the Priest many times.

No one has yet come up with the same directive to the laity.


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