Oran's Posture - Priest Only!?

I read about this when it came out. I stopped doing it. Wife was furious with me about me until a State Senator ( parishioner at our church ) posted on facebook to a recently ordained Priest ( also from our Parish ).

A lot of people have read this article and no longer do this gesture at our Parish.

Do they do it at your Parish?


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Most of the people I see at Mass do this. I never did it. Not because of that Church Militant article but because I feel silly in that position, and it also just feels to me more like something a priest would do than something I want to do in the middle of a crowd. If I were off on a hilltop somewhere like “The Sound of Music” and I happened to throw my arms up and pray to God then it might feel natural, but not in church.

I’ve been folding my hands for 50 years and I prefer to just continue in that way.

I don’t have strong feelings one way or the other if others do it, any more than I care/ mind if they all hold hands during the Our Father, I just prefer to be left out of it.

Also, as a practical matter, if you’re at a very crowded Mass then there physically isn’t room for everybody in a row to do the Orans without bumping into each other.


I do hands folded or most of the time holding on to the pew in the front of me. I never do the Oran’s posture. I see some people do but NOPE not me.


Gee, don’t we have more important things to worry about? Are you trying to say such a gesture is a sin? Mortal or venial?

We do it at our parish and our pastor, a priest from Ghana, sometimes tells us to do it. I am OK with it. Having just attended a couple of Masses in India and seen what goes on there, I am not going to worry about this at all.


Now you’ve got me curious. What do they do at Mass in India?

If the rubrics of the Mass specify that only the priest is to use Orans posture than I am not going to use it.

How reliable a source on such matters is Church Militant?

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I never did the gesture myself, and its common here in Pittsburgh at my church.

But our area has been so depopulated, I don’t see it as a particular problem here. I think if the church was packed on Sunday morning it might pose a problem, but here it is just a peculiarity and something new I didn’t see as a kid.

The Orans is a very popular posture in the East.

Laity are not supposed to use it at Church though - only in private.


Our parish is mixed – some do, some don’t. I don’t, just my preference. I don’t think the GIRM specifically addresses the subject, but it just seems to me that’s for the priest.


Well for one, the “Sign of Peace” is not a handshake. It’s the “Namaste” maneuver, hands in prayer position with the thumbs on the forehead, bowing to the person you are giving the sign to. Some people venerate the statues in the church by getting on all fours and touching the feet of the statues, sometimes during Mass, but mostly before and after. The women all wear the full, colorful saris with all the regalia to Mass. The one church I went to was more colorful than ours, a bit like a Hindu temple, decorated with a lot of statues and relics. Also, a lot of people, mostly men, stand outside the church during Mass and look in through the open doors, but they don’t go in. I never figured that one out.

I have to say it seems really natural when you are actually there.


That sounds amazing!

Men standing outside the church looking in reminds me of the people who used to stand in the vestibule at Mass and just hang out there for the whole Mass and go in for Communion. In the 1970s, a lot of people, especially young people, did this. It seems less common in USA now; if somebody is out in the vestibule it’s usually because they came really late and didn’t want to disrupt Mass to find a seat, or because they have taken their small child out to the vestibule to run around without disturbing anybody.

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This is a bit of a stretch. Postures of priests and deacons are covered by the rubrics. Postures of the congregation simply ARE NOT. The fact that the rubrics say what a priest or deacon are suppose to do or not do has absolutely nothing whatsoever to say about what the congregation can or cannot do. It would be wrong for the priest (or deacon) to tell the congregation to use the orans (or hold hands or hug or anything else). It would probably be equally wrong for the priest (or deacon) to tell the congregation to NOT use any of these postures.

Voris is a poor source IMHO.

The most that can probably be said is that the congregation should not be encouraged to use such postures but there is NOTHING prohibiting them.

Here are some more reliable sources on the subject:


I might also point out that the orans posture by the congregation is specifically used with Vatican approval in Italy and used pretty much all over Europe as common practice.


Not surprisingly to me at least, Voris is again, as usual, simply overstating his case. (in other words, he’s wrong)


Non sequitur. One has nothing to do with the other.

Never used the Oran’s posture. I always keep my hands folded in the prayer posture.


I remember the first time I encountered it was during the 80’s. At our parish, the priest would say, “Let us join hands and pray…” etc. before the Our Father.

I’ve probably been (as a parishioner) to about a dozen parishes since then. Sometimes the priest would encourage the congregation to hold hands; other times, the priest would verbally discourage them from holding hands. I don’t think I’ve heard anyone comment on it in the last decade— people just kind of automatically do it.

Me, I don’t really hold hands, unless someone actively reaches for my hand. Then I’ll hold hands to be polite.

Here’s a Q&A on the subject from 2003… 14 years ago. :slight_smile: So the question has probably been around 10 or 20 years longer than that, lol… :slight_smile:

well, that 80s priest was incorrect in that addition and editing… say the black, do the red. no more, no less

Maybe the priest forgot where he was, holding hands for the Our Father is part of the rubrics for AA meetings.


You know how things were in the early/mid 80’s. :wink: Maybe I just bumped into some weird parishes (across different diocese in different states), but some of them seemed to be “priest’s preference” on various items, rather than being consistent. One was girl altar servers in the early-80’s; one was communion-under-one-species-only in the early 80’s; one was hold-hands-for-the-Our-Father in the mid-80’s. There was probably other stuff, but I didn’t pick up on it at the time.

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gratefully (or sadly, depending on how you look at stuff outside of the Church) I was not alive in the 80s- im an ashamed Milennial haha

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