How can I stop the hand-holding in my parish?

Holding hands with a stranger during the Our Father at Mass does not appeal to me and I believe that holding hands as a community does not add efficacy or meaning to this prayer. Who can I contact and what should my tactful approach be in regards to getting this practice stopped in my parish?

The person who has the ultimate authority and responsibility to stop liturgical abuses in a parish is the pastor. Make an appointment with him, state your case politely, and ask him to end the hand-holding. If he makes a case for hand-holding, politely request the name of the document you can look up to see the Church’s mandate for this practice (a polite means of forcing someone to admit that a particular illicit practice is not mandated by the Church).

If the pastor still refuses to end the practice, you will have to decide whether it is prudent to approach your diocesan bishop over the matter. Although the practice is illicit, it is not a serious liturgical abuse. Serious abuses are generally considered to be ones that may affect the validity of the eucharistic Consecration; however annoying it may be, hand-holding at the Our Father does not threaten a valid Consecration. If you complain to the bishop over a small abuse, you are risking that he will be less likely to take you seriously when a more important matter arises. It may be more prudent to save your “bullets” for abuses that threaten a valid Consecration.

While you may not wish to use a “bullet” to end the hand-holding, you can refuse to participate in the practice at your parish. At the Our Father simply clasp your own hands in front of or behind you, signalling that you do not wish to hold hands. Perhaps your example will set a precedent that others may follow, thus ending the practice through lack of participation.

**Recommended reading:

Problems in the Church** by Jimmy Akin

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