No holding hands during the "Our Father"

I read this a lot in the “Traditional Catholocism” forum. My husband and I are new at going to church, and we often hold hands for moral support during mass. Why should we not hold hands during the “Our Father”? I’m not arguing this, I just don’t know the beliefs behind it, and would love to be enlightened.

The GIRM does not prohibit the action. But you should have no expecation that those next to you to are willing to hold hands.

I’m not saying that you do this, but don’t stick you hands in their way, and don’t be upset if they don’t take your hands.

Holding hands during the Our Father is not “illegal”, it’s just not required. I believe it is a problem for two reasons. First, it makes those of us who do not want to hold hands feel uncomfortable because we are made to feel as though we are somehow arrogant, selfish, or otherwise anti-social.
Second, I believe that it (and some other points of the mass) force us to focus our attention horizontally, rather than vertically. We do not go to mass to focus on our neighbor, we go to focus on God and the Real Presence of Christ. One of the reasons the so called “traditionalists” have problems with the New Mass is because they feel the focus has been diverted toward community rather then the Eucharist, and therefore has become more protestant in practice.

Oh! I thought that the objection was to INDIVIDUAL holding hands, like boyfriend-girlfriend. :blush: I didn’t realize there was an objection to the congregation holding hands.:shrug: I guess when someone reaches for my hand, I feel an obligation to take it, or I will seem rude. :rolleyes: So, no I want to know what the objection to the congregation holding hands is. Is it just that it is not traditional?:confused: I come from a protestant background so I didn’t even notice it, but we do that at my church.

You can hold hands whenever you want, but Mass is not the time for that.

I think it’s creepy.

Just my opinion.

I am not sure if it is right or wrong but it just makes me feel very uncomfortable to hold hands during prayer. I feel that it is a distraction but then again, I may be incorrect. All I can tell you on this matter is that I like attending the Tridentine mass, alone, where I can pray in a very private way. I view this as a personal preference and would expect others to respect my understanding of this subject or to at least educate me as to why I may be incorrect in my reasoning.

That’s the problem. It’s the symbol of a love and solidarity which may not exist. In something like the neocat movement where those participating in the Mass know each other fairly intensely, it is maybe not problematic. Similalrly, ironically enough, in a tourist type set up where everyone is meeting for the first time, because then it is clearly understood that hand-holding represents an aspiration, not a reality. The problems come in between, where the congregation know each other slightly, enough to have a social context, not enough to have real feeling for each other.

:blush: Oops, I just noticed I forgot to add the “smilies” to my last post, sorry.

I have never heard of spouses being discouraged from holding hands during Mass. Perhaps someone else can answer that.

Objections to others holding hands? As Brendan mentioned the GIRM does not prohibit the action but nor does it prohibit wearing antlers or doing cartwheels down the aisle for communion. The GIRM is understood descriptively rather than prescriptively.

Also, holding hands is intimate in our culture. Typically we hold hands with our children with a spouse or with a boyfriend/girlfriend. If one holds hands during the Mass then there is a regression from a more intimate gesture to a less intimate one.

And finally, the introduction of holding hands seems to have been something brought from support groups or encounter groups; it’s not something that is an authentic part of Mass. For example, the Sign of Peace is.

Not to mention the human pretzels I witness with people trying to hold hands with everyone around them.

No matter what parish I’ve belonged to or visited, not everyone holds hands. Why is that? And if I don’t have to hold hands (because it’s not a part of the Mass) why should I feel uncomfortable or rude because the people sitting next to me do want to hold hands?

I think it’s dumb during Mass. If you are in a small group of friends, or at a retreat, or maybe in a Knights of Columbus meeting, forming a “prayer circle” by holding hands seems fine to me. But I agree with the other poster who said it is part of the over-emphasis on “community” following Vatican II, which often works to de-emphasize Christ in the Eucharist. Along the same line is the so-called “modern” view of the Eucharist as “sharing a meal.” Yes, but it is so much MORE than that! It’s really sad that we so seldom hear about the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass any more.

We are a community, but only because we are in Christ. Without the latter, the former is meaningless.


I like the wording of this.

Personally, I could take it or leave it. I don’t feel it’s distracting from the Eucharist, not any more so than those who take off running for the exit door when they’ve received the their host.:frowning:

By the same token, if someone is not used to the practice or is not comfortable with it for some other reason, I can see it as a distraction.

There isn’t, if the assembly wishes to do so. The gesture may not be mandated for those who do not wish to do so, however.

I thought you might be interested in previous discussions.

Holding Hands and Kneeling

Holding Hands during Our Father

Holding Hands during the Our Father

When did people start holding hands in Catholic Churches?

There is lots more if you are interested just do a search.:wink:

One of the big reasons I object to the holding of hands during the Our Father is the deeper symbolism that lies in it and causes a sort of confused dynamic to that part of the Mass. The Our Father is prayed shortly before we receive the Eucharist. Reception of Holy Communion unites us with Christ and the whole Church in ways that holding hands cannot. Hence, the juxtaposition of this unity achieved from holding hands (which is far less than the unity with the Church received from Holy Communion) alongside Communion tends to undermine that Communion is indeed just that. Furthermore, if we try to use one to symbolize the other, it becomes even more strained of a juxtaposition–we hold hands until the end of the prayer, then break up our unity as we go to receive Communion. As my liturgy professor last year said, if we want holding hands during the Our Father to have any significance, we should also hold hands all the while we receive Communion (to which I said that those who would be inclined to hold hands during Communion would likely not be the type to receive hands-free). All in all, this practice is one of many that tends to emphasize physical participation over a more mystical involvement in the sacred liturgy.


Holding Hands at Mass

Concerning holding hands in the Eucharistic Liturgy the Congregation for Divine Worship in Rome responded as follows:

QUERY: In some places there is a current practice whereby those taking part in the Mass replace the giving of the sign of peace at the deacon’s invitation by holding hands during the singing of the Lord’s Prayer. Is this acceptable? REPLY: The prolonged holding of hands is of itself a sign of communion rather than of peace. Further, it is a liturgical gesture introduced spontaneously but on personal initiative; it is not in the rubrics. Nor is there any clear explanation of why the sign of peace at the invitation: “Let us offer each other the sign of peace” should be supplanted in order to bring a different gesture with less meaning into another part of the Mass: the sign of peace is filled with meaning, graciousness, and Christian inspiration. Any substitution for it must be repudiated: Notitiae 11 (1975) 226. [Notitiae is the journal of the Congregation in which its official interpretations of the rubrics are published.]

While this addresses the holding of hands at the Sign of Peace the reasons given apply also elsewhere in the Mass, including at the Our Father.

  1. It is an inappropriate “sign,” since Communion is the sign of intimacy. Thus, a gesture of intimacy is introduced both before the sign of reconciliation (the Sign of Peace), but more importantly, before Holy Communion, the sacramental sign of communion/intimacy within the People of God.

  2. It is introduced on personal initiative. The Holy See has authority over the liturgy according to Vatican II’s “Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy” #22 and canon 838 of the Code of Canon Law.

This gesture has come into widespread use, often leaving bishops and pastors at a loss as to how to reverse the situation. For individuals, I would recommend closed eyes and a prayerful posture as sufficient response, rather than belligerence. Most laity, and probably many priests, are blind to the liturgical significance of interrupting the flow of the Mass in this way. It is not necessary to lose one’s peace over this or be an irritation to others. Some proportion is required. If asked why you don’t participate, simply, plainly and charitably tell the questioner of your discovery. If some chance of changing the practice is possible talk to the pastor or work with other laity through the parish council. You can also write the bishop, as is your right in the case of any liturgical abuse not resolved at the parish level. If your judgment is that no change is possible then I believe you are excused from further fraternal correction.

The gesture came into widespread use when priests told their congregations to hold hands - and raise them at the embolism - especially within college/university settings and other loci for the introduction of neo-charismatic postures. The lack of backbones among bishops “at a loss as to how to reverse the situation” is not only a medical marvel, but another indication that bishops have become too milquetoast in their own misapprehension of what charity is and how it is lived when one is the shepherd of the flock. They simply need to send a letter to their flock that says - “holding hands is not required and is not to be suggested, encouraged, promoted or demanded of anyone at Mass” - or words to that effect.

The when the complaints come in - they call Fr. Kumbaya, read him the riot act and remind him of his promise to obey his local ordinary.

You know, that’s a good point, especially the part where you said it "represents an aspiration, not a reality."
I think that, in a perfect world, we would have church-goers who form a close, loving community that is itself devoted to the Eucharist, not a community that exists just for the sake of being a community.
In a perfect world, that is. :rolleyes:
Anyhoo, I don’t think holding a total stranger’s hand necessarily brings you closer to said stranger and therefore it’s kind of pointless if you’re trying to “foster community.” What’s better for something like that is something that involves eye contact and maybe a smile, like, say, the sign of peace.

Just do what I do: clasp your own hands together, bow your head, and close your eyes. People won’t offer you their hand. Problem solved.

That’s because this illicit practice snuck in the back door from Protestantism. It originated in the peace marches and demonstrations of the 1960s/70s. It is not part of the Mass.

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