Orans posture and Charismatics

Yes I know this topic has been discussed ad nauseam, please bear with me. Someone posted a link on FB to an article stating that people are not supposed to use the orans posture during the Our Father at mass. A priest of our diocese cited the Didache saying Charismatics may pray any way they wish. Is this a misunderstanding on his part? Is there anything saying which authority, Didache or GIRM, takes precedence?

To my knowledge, the GIRM is silent on the use of the orans posture by the laity in the pews. It doesn’t prohibit it.


Any way they wish? Ok. So how about twerking, or a nazi salute? Obviously there has to be some limits and guidelines.

What makes one a “charismatic” on a parish level? Eccentricity? Do you have to have a card saying you are a member? Can you clarify?

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From the General Instruction of the Roman Missal:

“237. Then the principle celebrant, with hands joined, says the introduction to the Lord’s Prayer. Next, with hands extended, he says the Lord’s Prayer itself together with the other concelebrants, who also pray with hands extended, and together with the people.”

From the Ceremonial of Bishops, in the chapter entitled “Stational Mass of the Diocesan Bishop”:

“159 After the doxology of the eucharistic prayer, the bishop, with hands joined, introduces the Lord’s Prayer, which all then sing or say; the bishop and the concelebrants hold their hands outstretched.”

If it were intended that the deacon and instituted acolyte and lay faithful also have their hands outstretched it would say so. There would be something like the instruction for the Sign of the Cross at the beginning of Mass. Something that would change the general norm, from the Ceremonial of Bishops, n. 107: “Similarly, concelebrants and ministers keep their hands joined together when walking from place to place or when standing, unless they are holding something.”

Something that would reverse this part of the Ceremonial of Bishops: “104 Customarily in the Church a bishop or presbyter addresses prayers to God while standing and with hands slightly raised and outstretched.”

[Excerpt from the English translation of The Roman Missal © 2010, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. Excerpts from the English translation of Ceremonial of Bishops © 1989, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. All rights reserved.]

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It doesn’t explicitly tell them not to.
This prohibition on orans posture that people keep bending over backwards to find in the GIRM simply doesn’t exist.

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I agree with you but there are folks who simply say if it is not in the GIRM then by default it is not allowed (this applies to everything). I don’t buy into this argument.


My only problem with orans is that it makes us look like Protestants. Aside from that, I think there’s a fundamental difference between common law and Canon Law (ETA or the GIRM). In common law, what isn’t prohibited is permitted. In Canon Law (ETA or the GIRM), what isn’t permitted is prohibited.

Seems that way to me, anyway. But I’m not a lawyer. So . . . .

The real question is whether Charismatics are Catholic. :rofl::rofl::rofl:

Can you direct us to a Church document that explicitly states this?

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My only problem with orans is that it’s uncomfortable and makes me feel like I’m imitating the priest.
Since this orans business didn’t become “a thing” in my area until I was heading into late middle age, I don’t see any need to adopt it myself. I’m not charismatic and don’t hold my arms out or up or over my head. If somebody else wants to, then as long as they’re not intruding into my space I don’t care, but I will continue to fold my hands during the Our Father like I’ve been doing since I was a little girl. The same way I will continue to kneel after communion like I’ve been doing since I was a little girl, regardless of whether everybody else is standing.


It’s just my own impression after reading CAF for a number of years.

It’s increasingly common in our parish, but I don’t do it. And I probably never will.
As for the kneeling, we asked our priest about it because the congregation stands at my in-laws’ parish, which is in a different diocese.
He said that we’re supposed to follow the rules set by the bishop. If the bishop says people should stand, we should stand. So we stand.

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It’s true we’re “supposed” to follow the rules set by the bishop, but I also understand that the rules are not going to be enforced over people who still want to kneel.

I regularly worship in 3 different dioceses and the bishops all have different rules. What is common practice in Diocese A is not in Diocese B. I long ago threw up my hands and just decided I will do what I do consistently wherever I am.

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While there are multiple instances of the Vatican discouraging it (and instructing priests to do so at every opportunity), Church documents have also reminded us that the Mass is living, not an old dead thing that can never change, but a living, breathing, adapting reality.
I’ve had it put to me this way, we are all “kingdom priests” that is, we all participate in the 3 offices of Christ as “Priest, Prophet and King” and so, while the Ministerial Priesthood (what we usually associate with the term “priest”) is the only one capable of some things like speaking In Persona Christi, we are all kingdom priests, and in the sense that we are called to offer the sacrifice, which means we are able and called to pray in participation with the Ministerial priest(s), (so we internally are praying what the priest is saying, but not in the same way, since only he is able to fulfill certain parts of it), and as such in the ways appropriate, and which we are ministerially able, we participate in the priestly duty. This means that we are called to offer the sacrifice (why we say “Amen” after the Doxology) and by this logic, we can participate by uniting our posture and his.

One may further expound this logic by noting that the GIRM no doubt doesn’t cover every minutia, making assumptions that we know enough, and customary practice will provide a guide to the details. I think it is reasonable to assume the GIRM doesn’t explicitly instruct the lay faithful to wear clothes, or when to kneel or sit or stand, this doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t wear clothes, and should never change from sitting to kneeling to standing.

OP. When people start swinging their arm and knocking me in the head I have had enough… The church is packed on Sundays so most people pray the Our Father with elbows bent 90 degrees with palms up or folded. Some family members hold hands. This is mostly when the kids are young and have ants in their pants.


Not a hill worth dying on. Jesus is not overlooking the Mass with a score card to present as evidence against us either at our Particular Judgment or Final Judgment.


My understanding of it all…

There is no instruction to use this posture during Mass. People say since it is not explicitly prohibited in The GIRM then it is okay. Well, The GIRM also does not explicitly prohibit doing a handstand while saying the Our Father. So technically, someone should be able to do so if they want during The Lord’s prayer, following the logic that just because it’s not explicitly prohibited, it must be allowed.

With that said, I have read a statement by the usccb stating that if somebody wants to use this posture during the Our Father, they may do so. I am sorry I do not have a link to this but I am sure a Google search would have it pop up if someone wants to see it.

I personally do not do it. There is no instruction to do so, only a “If you must, I guess you can” from American Bishops

Tis…please don’t see this as criticism, I just find interesting from a different angle.

Christ is, unarguably, and scripturally, t the high priest of the Church , and we are called to imitate him, and imitating him (i.e., picking up the cross) is uncomfortable…but it is supposed to be.

So, to me, if its a matter of discomfort, and a feeling that I am imitating “the” priest, I can’t deny it, but I have to deal with it by putting it into perspective.

If it works for you, feel free to do it. I see gestures as small potatoes.
(Some other people on here see them as a big deal because we’re supposed to be showing Christian unity by all doing the same gesture. I have a different opinion obviously.)

I feel uncomfortable doing it, so I don’t.

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I agree, the issue of gestures being “small potatoes” was my point exactly.

The factor of being uncomfortable for the rationale in this case might be okay, but in my opinion is far from universal…for instances, I feel uncomfortable when the Gospel Reading is Matthew 5:43-48, (and an even more recent reading from last Sunday’s Gospel) but I suck it up and do the best I can.

@Tis_Bearself @DIERM
The irony is often lost on those who insist on unity of posture in one place of the liturgy but then will demand their freedom to a choice not found in the GIRM elsewhere. :roll_eyes: :man_shrugging:

So yes, I agree.

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