Orans posture prohibited during Lord's Prayer


Ran across this 2016 article on the subject:


I’m pretty sure we’ve been over this before. This was also my understanding from back in the 90s, that you weren’t supposed to use the priest’s orans gesture, so I didn’t use it. Almost nobody in the churches I attended then used it, only a couple of people who were charismatics and were always doing some unusual gesture.

I mostly quit going to Mass for about a decade and a half and when I got back, most of the people in Philly archdiocese and a significant proportion in other dioceses I visit were all doing orans during Our Father. I’m one of the minority who still won’t do it because it not only feels weird, but at crowded Masses there isn’t enough space in the pew to accommodate everybody’s arms being up, which makes it feel more weird. I have no idea when this big sea change occurred. I will continue to fold my hands when I pray Our Father.


Jason Izoltz, the author here, is not the Church. As long as the priest does not proscribe any position (“Let us all raise our hands”) there is not an abuse. That is my opinion, which is just as valid as Izoltz. I base mine on what Cardinal Arinze said about not regimenting the people of God.

I never did that, btw.

It is also worth noting that for a lot of people from the charismatic side, what the Church calls “orans” is “raising of the hands.” There is no intent or thought of imitating the priest.

This has been going on for decades, especially with a lot of converts coming in through RCIA, and the Church has never addressed the position of the hands at the Lord’s Prayer. The closest I heard was Cardinal Arinze’s reference (I mentioned). In light of this, I really thing silence is pretty good evidence it is not a big deal.


As far as I know priests in a minor seminary near us forbid their seminarians to that gesture and a lot of us here has stopped doing the posture


I see it done all the time at my old ordinary form parish.

Admittedly growing up some what Catholic I’m guilty of having done this myself.

Now every once in awhile when I do go to an ordinary form Mass my wife and my kids are the only people in the church not doing that during the prayers.


I don’t really have a problem if other people want to do it. I think it looks and feels weird and I wasn’t raised with it, therefore I refrain.

I have a general overall issue with this idea that at Mass everyone must do everything in unity all the time. I do not get the impression that hand position during the Our Father is a big deal to anyone as long as you’re not waving your arms like a referee or otherwise being disruptive.


I fervently hope (and seriously doubt) that when I pass and stand before Jesus in the Particular Judgment that of the many indiscretions that I as a member of the Fallen, will make a breech of the rubrics at Mass as sufficient grounds for the loss of my salvation.


EXCELLENT!! And so true.

Thank you for recognizing that not everyone has the same frame of reference. My husband grew up Pentecostal and raising hands in prayer is almost automatic, and certainly not intended to imitate an authority figure.

That being said, I do think there’s value in not raising hands during the Our Father because of people who can’t get past the gesture and feel like it’s an imitation of the priest. In other words, it’s good for us to be mindful of the weaknesses of others. My husband does not raise his hands during the Our Father.

But that works both ways–those who are uncomfortable with hand-raising need to realize that a lot of people who grew up with it aren’t doing something that is forbidden by the rubrics, and they aren’t trying to imitate the priest or usurp his priestly privileges.

My one suggestion for former Pentecostals is to perhaps raise their hands during other prayers during the Mass; e.g., my husband and other people pray with hands raised (not high above the head) during the time that they are kneeling after receiving Holy Communion.


In my parish, we hold hands, during the Lord’s Prayer. which really upsets some Catholics in this forum.



I don’t think anyone is suggesting you’ll go to Hell for using the orans posture at Mass. But that shouldn’t be seen as a license to do it.

There are a lot of things which aren’t proper to do, but are not seen as sinful. Wearing shorts to a formal wedding, for example, is not inherently sinful, but would still be seen as improper. We should do what is prescribed by the Church, even if we aren’t bound by moral law.


If the Church ever does address this particular issue and proscribe a gesture, we should adhere to it. As to what is proper, in the context of clothing, that may vary parish to parish, which may be why the Church gives bishops a free hand in some things.


I might add, that it is common to extend the use of orans posture, by holding hands during the prayer, occasionally spanning from pew to pew.

(I am a hygiene nut, and this is another hand-to-hand thing that drives me nuts.)


Our Priest addressed it in our Parish (bulletin and mentioning it) very few still do it. Most just hold their hands together or fold them together.


People seem to fall into two camps on this, orans or no orans. In my parish, it is predominantly the feel-good orans majority at Mass.

What makes me feel good is the nearly 100% rate at which people go to communion.


I am with you in the minority…and I am not the only one…around here, especially the older folks, respectfully bow their heads and pray…not that I peak or worry about what others are doing, but I have noticed it. Usually I am thinking of the Our Father and my sins to be forgiven…I love that prayer.

I have not been to a parish where people join hands and do it…but I have heard of it.


I don’t particularly like the holding up of hands or the joining of hands during the Our Father. I think joining of hands is worse because this is an action that, I think, excludes those around who don’t join in. At least if the people next to me are holding their hands up and I have mine folded we are not excluding each other.

I used to feel more strongly about it, but now I just accept ‘each to his own’ and so long as someone does not try to make me hold my hands this way, then what other people do is their issue.


There is exactly one parish out of about 30-40 I’ve attended in the past year that does the hand-holding Our Father thing. At the weekday Mass, they have everybody get up and form a ring around the altar, holding hands. The chapel where Mass is held is tiny, so it’s not a question of “stepping into the sanctuary” because there isn’t really a sanctuary and the Tabernacle is off in a curtained space in the corner. The only other two places I’ve seen hand-holding was at one Easter Vigil and at one monastery shrine in Michigan.

Many people everywhere I attend won’t even shake hands at sign of peace anymore. They wave instead. Which is fine with me.


Beats a fist-bump! :joy:


Wow never have ever seen that or personally would do that.


I don’t think I would be too keen on that, regardless of whether the Mass is held in a tiny side-chapel or not.

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