Ten most common liturgical abuses

I don’t like to beat dead horses, but this article was discussed on Mother Miriam’s show today and there were things in it that I had not heard before were contradictory to church law. The article is from 1999 but very much relevant to the current times. I found the discussion regarding the proper reception of the Eucharist intriguing. The author states that communion in the hand was not promulgated by Vatican II, but from an indult granted by Pope Paul VI following the erroneous spread of the practice in certain countries. Why the Holy Father would bend to an illicit practice rather than correct it confounds me. The article does not go too deep into detail there.


I’m surprised that it mentions hand-holding during the Our Father, which the priest may not invite the faithful to do, but which is not strictly forbidden if the laity do so on their own accord, but at the same time does not mention the Orans posture, which the faithful are actually prohibited from adopting (http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/laity/documents/rc_con_interdic_doc_15081997_en.html, -Article 6.2).

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The primary abuse begins the moment we enter the Sanctuary.


As we have discussed on another thread, Communion in the hand is physically helpful for many when people are receiving standing up in a procession line rather than kneeling down at an altar railing. I am sure that Pope Paul VI took the physical aspects of the change from kneeling to standing Holy Communion into account.


I don’t think that’s correct, given that Orans during the Our Father is done all over the Archdiocese of Phildelphia under Archbishop Chaput for years, including during Masses he is saying. If there was a problem with it, he would not have hesitated to tell people to stop. In fact, his archdiocese is the main place I see it; I come from another diocese where almost nobody does it.

I don’t do it myself but that’s because I feel uncomfortable with that prayer position, which I associate with priests and never did in my past dioceses. Not because I think the Archbishop made an error by allowing it.

It is my understanding from past threads that there is no specifically mandated position for saying the Our Father, except that we all stand.


Is it a sin to engage in a liturgical abuse such as hand-holdng during he Our Father? Or is it OK to go along with the liturgical abuses?

If ever a topic deserved a moratorium, surely it would be “ Communion in the hand.” There’s another thread , the most recent of 6,488 threads on this subject, going on now. And for that matter, the point of posting lists of alleged “common abuses” has always been lost on me. I don’t understand what this does for posters. These always remind me of the Spiro Agnew quote: “Wallowing in Watergate.”


I can’t answer that. Like I said hand-holding doesn’t seem to be an explicit abuse in that’s it’s not condemned anywhere, though Fr. Z suggests that it is improper for priests to encourage it. I never do it myself because I don’t like it.

The link I supplied is a Vatican-issued document stating that the faithful are not to adopt postures or say prayers which are specific to the priest. The Orans is one such posture. Lots of things which are technically forbidden are tolerated in practice, so I wouldn’t take silence on the part of the diocese as evidence of liceity.

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Some say it is - others say it is not. How do you know whether or not a specific action is a liturgical abuse?
And still, does anyone know if it is a sin to go along with liturgical abuses and participate in them? Or is there really nothing wrong with participating in liturgical abuses since it would not be a sin?

Well, I don’t think you understand about Archbishop Chaput, and like I said my understanding is different from yours based on many past discussions on here, so I’ll just leave you to your opinion then. God bless.

Seems a little hypocritical to say 8 is an abuse, which is actually dictating a posture, a contradiction of 5. How about all lay people discontinue this dictation of how the people of God stand?


Again, I can’t answer that in regard to this specific issue. I just don’t know.

It’s not really my opinion. It’s stated in an official Church document. I know that Archbishop Chaput is a faithful bishop, but that doesn’t mean that his diocese is free from abuses. With that said, it’s not an issue over which I tend to get overly upset, and I don’t exert my energy arguing about it.

In regards to the whole communion in the hand discussion, I’m curious as to the circumstances the author is referring to of the origins of the practice. This is the first time that I’ve heard it attributed to Paul VI as opposed to the concilliar reforms. I’m personally not so much interested in the validity but the actual story behind it. Has this been discussed in another thread?

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It wasn’t mentioned in the VII documents at all.


The only one that I was actually surprised about was the thing regarding the holy water fonts at Lent. My parish growing up always emptied the holy water fonts at the church entrances during Lent and filled them with sand. I always thought this was just a tradition to reflect the renewal of the waters/Baptism at Easter. It’s interesting that it was just sort of an innovation haha.

May God bless you all! :slight_smile:


I mean the list is from 1999 and is the opinion of one man…


Until very recently I worried myself into a bad state at most Masses because I had read this article and would spend a huge amount of time trying to ‘justify’ why a priest might do something that this article forbids. It is a bad habit to get into, and drove me into a bad place.

I then realised that as a Catholic, I have a right to trust that whenever I go to Mass, everything is said according to the rubrics laid out by Rome. If the priest deviates from this, then that’s not my problem. Being the liturgy police at Mass every Sunday put me into a bad place - I just trust that what the priest does is right - if it isn’t, then I understand that it isn’t my problem nor is it my place to worry about it constantly.

It’s a good article, but perhaps best not to obsess about liturgical abuses.


I see stuff all the time that drives me nuts. It is hard not to be scrupulous, especially when one likes to dig into liturgical nitty gritty. There’s a few things I do to counteract this. I remind myself just because something is illicit does not make the Mass invalid. To further tune out things that could divert my attention I close my eyes during most of the Mass.

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