Orans posture prohibited during Lord's Prayer


“But it’s not the case everywhere. I know a lady who actually gets up and goes to the back of church and stands alone during the Our Father because she has such a problem with sweaty palms.”
Bless her heart… no one is forcing that on her. So she should probably not drink out of the communion cup either? Sometimes I don’t. Especially during flu season.


It is not up to the celebrant to decide on these things; a priest is subordinate to his bishop, and the bishops subordinate to the Holy See. Hence canon 838.1 can state that “The direction of the sacred liturgy depends solely on the authority of the Church which resides in the Apostolic See and, according to the norm of law, the diocesan bishop”. Deciding on certain matters is not within the domain of the priest’s canonical competence, because he too must be obedient to the Holy See.


I did not say that it was up to the priest. You beg the question here, since my bishop is open to allowing the priest to decide such thing, and he is in charge of the liturgy, and what exactly is the “norm of law” is the actual question. The closest I heard the Holy See speak is when Cardinal Arinze spoke on the topic about not treating people at Mass like soldiers and regimenting them, and he was speaking informally.

I am sure if the Holy See addresses this (I bet if it is, there will be a lot surprise here), everyone will be obedient.


Jurisdiction to correct the faithful does normally belong to the clergy and not everyone in the church, though, true?

Would we be worse off if we submitted to allowing the pastor to make corrections concerning matters which are not grave and about which the pastor is obviously aware?


Yes, but the Code of Canon Law very explicitly says that matters of liturgy should be decided by the Holy See, and as laws may determine, upon the bishop. This literally repeats what Vatican II said in Sacrosanctum concilium. (A similar example: the lifting of censures normally belongs to the local ordinary, while specific ones may be reserved to the Holy See.)

If the priest is being disobedient toward his bishop, the laity have a canonical RIGHT (c. 212) to inform the bishop. If the bishop is disobedient toward the Holy See, priests and laity have the canonical right to inform the Holy See. The laity are not powerless; we cannot use the obedience we owe to our priests and bishops to justify allowing disobedience toward an even higher authority (the Apostolic See!) to continue.

You said it is okay if the priest does not forbid it.


I said it is not an abuse unless the priest is proscribing it as a gesture. If the Priest says, “Everyone hold hands,” or “Raise your hands,” he is adding to the GIRM, then it is an abuse. The Church, The Holy See, has not declared what is happening now (some raising hands, some holding hands) an abuse.


Do you mean “prescribe”? Because then your post would make a lot more sense.


Yes, sorry, though I could have sworn C. Arinze used proscribe. Maybe it was his dialect.


You’re not implying that the current chief liturgist of the Universal Church wants the faithful to badger their pastor or their bishop about it because the guy in the pew next to him is holding somebody’s hand or praying with his palms facing up during the Our Father?

I’d say Pope Francis is more in the “minding your own business is a profitable spiritual practice” camp.

The exact posture is not proscribed, such that we would clearly have a matter of Do This and Therefore Do Not Do That. It just isn’t. Even if it were, I would argue that the laity, like the clergy, ought to use their canonical RIGHTS with prudence.

That’s just my take. I’ve made my point, you have your right to complain when you see fit, so that’s that.


Ah, okay. However, I would still contend that if the laity themselves are doing this, it would still be abuse, even if not promoted by the clergy.


This is not what canon 212 says. Attempting to make my argument look ridiculous is not an effective means of argumentation.

Has he—or the Pontifical Council for the interpretation of legislative texts—issued any authentic interpretations on this point?

Hmm…surely you’re not saying that faculty at Roman canon law universities are misleading their students? Because what I have presented here is nothing more than the common consensus of canonists, in accordance with liturgical directives issued by the Supreme Authority in the Church.


I did not use the word ridiculous to describe making a report to one’s bishop about a serious concern with the orientation of the hands of another member of the faithful while at Mass.

Just out of curiosity: Which faculty member(s) at Roman canon law universities are encouraging the faithful to report instances of the orans position or hand-holding by other members of the faithful to their bishops? Is this a thing I haven’t heard about?


Did I say that you were?


Good canon law professors would uphold the general principle that the laity DO have the canonical right to make such issues known to the competent authority, in accordance with canon 212. I’ll take that they say over what is said on the internet any day, especially given the fact that as a Catholic, I owe obedience to the Holy See.


You are not alone. The author of the OP article has the same opinion. I do not know how many believe what. In my own experience, one of the two postures seem to predominate about 80% of the Churches I attend. Perhaps one day we will get a directive from the Holy See. Until then, I will consider these discussions indicative of how well and uniform that Mass is being offered for such a mundane issue to be worth discussing.


…a factually incorrect point which my own experience disproves.

I have reported this exact abuse to my own ordinary, who is also a canonist.

Muting this thread now; you must respect what the Holy See has decreed.


Absolutely! If there is ever such a decree, I am sure most
will respect it.


I’m a nurse and yes it should drive you nuts. It does me also.

I’m not sure how, but I would have to find a way to politely refuse to do that. I have been to parishes where everyone moves into the center aisle to hold hands but did not like it and so have not returned as many other Catholics in our area avoid it also.

It probably upset the Catholics who no longer attend that parish also. As I said above, we have a parish in our area where at one particular Mass everyone moves into the center and holds hands. Many Catholics avoid it. If that parish is mentioned in a conversation, somehow that particular Mass is brought up.

I also seem to see the whole hand raising during the Our Father to be fading. Many of the people in the parish I attend, who used to raise their hands are now folding them and bowing their heads instead.

Perhaps it is good that this topic is being brought up so frequently.


I believe that simply applies to Latin Rite Mass
as in the Maronite tradition our Mass books
clearly tells the congregation to assume the
orans posture during the Our Father!


Here is an excellent article on the subject:


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