Holding hands durring the Our Father?

Why is it frowned upon by traditional Catholics to hold hands durring the Our Father? I heard some people say that it conveys a sense of “false unity” Can anyone elighten me to this topic?

I’d be interested in a definition of “false unity” in relation to this custom.

There is nothing in the liturgy that says we are to hold hands. People made this up as something we should do, even if the person next to you doesn’t want to do this. We should do what the Catholic Church tells us to do which is to stand. Standing is the sign of unity.

I was just wondering because I know people who do and who don’t. Thanks!

It comes from the decade of disco music. Enough said.

Truthfully, it takes our focus away from the vertical element of our relationship with the triune God, and distracts, or focuses us improperly on the horizontal element.

The revised missal focuses us back on our personal relationship with God, i.e. “I believe” (rather than “we believe”) in both the penitential act as well as the Nicene creed. We have a unifying prayer in the Gloria, in which we praise God as one. At the end of time, we are judged individually, yet this does in no way suggest that our relationship with our brothers and sisters is diminished - just that we give to God what is God’s (during the mass) and to our brothers and sisters what is theirs at other times. During the mass, we exchange the sign of peace, which is appropriate, and takes into consideration that we are standing at the foot of the cross during mass. The focus is on our Creator, and not each other.

People who force me to hold hands during the Our Father when the Church tells us not to disturb my peace. A woman at Mass on Sunday literally pried my hands apart and placed her hand in mine (I keep them pressed together tightly, under my chin). Grrrrrrrrrrr

The kiss of peace or handshake of peace is actually more personal than the joinded-hands Our Father. The Church can erupt into conversation, much of which is irreverent, people turn away from the altar to greet one another, then must refocus for the Agnus Dei. The Our Father is done facing the altar in a community prayer, our Lord’s prayer. There is no ad-libbing like the kiss of peace. People’s wishes need to be respected obviously, it is not mandatory to join hands.

Your response, which I have seen repeated here a number of times whenever this question is raised, does beg one question: Why isn’t the prayer expressed as “MY Father . . .” instead of “Our Father” if, in fact, engaging in a communitarian action at that time allegedly focuses improperly on the “horizontal element.” The mere fact that Our Lord gave us the prayer expressed communally must frustrate those who would prefer to be in a solo relationship with God to the exclusion of the community of believers gathered around them. And no, I am not in favor of aisle-crossing, forced hand-holding, conga lines of hand-grabbers snaking around the church, or any such. However, neither do I believe that 30 seconds during which the members of a family voluntarily join hands in prayer detracts from their relationship with God, takes away from what they give to God during Mass, or any of the other hyperbolic alleged evils attributed to that action.

You will never, ever stop me from holding hands with someone who wants to hold hands with me. You will never get me to stop showing love to people, no matter how hard you try.

You can’t do it. I refuse to let you.



Because they are not used to it.

I don’t think that people said anything about stopping showing LOVE.

But let’s put it this way. Suppose your pastor, as instructed by the bishop as instructed by the Pope said, “From now on, the laity will not ‘hold hands’ during the Our Father. You are requested to put your palms together (demonstrates from pulpit). After Mass any of you who desire may, outside the church, come forward to shake hands, hold hands, hug or ‘greet with a holy kiss’, but from now on for the 2-3 minutes between the start of “Our Father” and the “Lamb of God” we request that you hold your hands as I have shown.”

What would you do?

Some considerations: Jesus taught us to pray “Our father…” He did not say “At the appointed time, take your attention away from the sacred moment, then look around for who is closest, then move toward them if they are not close, then take their hands - those on either side of you, stretching out if attendance is sparse, and naturally noticing if those other hands are warm, cold, sweaty or shaking, then pray to your Father and My Father with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength being undistracted”

Holding hands is a tradition of men, as the Church does not teach it - rather allowing it for those who are accustomed to the tradition. It is far from a universal tradition.

What about those with compromised immune systems? The sign of peace may be given with a word and a nod - especially since reverence is given to our Lord with a bow.

I would obey the holy Father, of course.

But that isn’t going to happen because God is love. That’s the one thing that is missing in all this. God, and love.


The Roman Missal, the priest uses, has these instructions:

GIRM (General Instructions of the Roman Missal)
The Lord’s Prayer

  1. In the Lord’s Prayer a petition is made for daily bread, which for Christians means principally the Eucharistic Bread, and entreating also purification from sin, so that what is holy may in truth be given to the holy. The Priest pronounces the invitation to the prayer, and all the faithful say the prayer with him; then the Priest alone adds the embolism, which the people conclude by means of the doxology. The embolism, developing the last petition of the Lord’s Prayer itself, asks for deliverance from the power of evil for the whole community of the faithful.

The invitation, the Prayer itself, the embolism, and the doxology by which the people conclude these things are sung or are said aloud.

We can love each other without holding hands. The hand holding is not in the liturgy. We shouldn’t add to the liturgy to “make it better”.

I hope that you can show love to people also by respecting their decision to not hold hands during the Our Father and wait and show your love at a different time. Respecting people is showing love and there is a time and a place for everything.


Both a lack of self-control and the need to control others.

They read an unofficial opinion somewhere about what you mentioned – “false unity.” It’s from a source they like so they adopt the position. Rather than just apply the position to themselves their need to control and their inability to control themselves makes them desire to apply it to others.

When they are ignored or told to mind their own business we then begin to hear stories about having their hands forcibly grabbed, etc.

I ran into a “problem” with this exactly one time. I wasn’t paying attention to the person next to me (there were at least 2 spaces between us) when she very gently tapped my hand with one of her fingers. I was a visitor and I didn’t care and as we grasped hands I looked over at her. She was a well-known and beautiful starlet. That made me feel a bit self conscious…

Who suggests it’s an addition to the liturgy?

That always brings a small smile to my face. :thumbsup:

As a family we hold hands, but I have never “made” anybody hold my hand. I am recently converted and I had no idea that it was wrong. :blush:

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