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Bishop: Stop Holding Hands During Lord's Prayer

As if the new translation wasn't tough enough, a bishop in Kentucky is now trying to kill the spirit of Vatican II!!!

Bishop Roger Foys is telling parishioners to stop holding hands during the Our Father.

WCPO reports that Bishop Foys wrote:

Special note should also be made concerning the gesture for the Our Father. Only the priest is given the instruction to "extend" his hands. Neither the deacon nor the lay faithful are instructed to do this. No gesture is prescribed for the lay faithful in the Roman Missal ; nor the General Instruction of the Roman Missal , therefore the extending or holding of hands by the faithful should not be performed.

Diocesan spokesman Tim Fitzgerald said:
"Bishop Foys’ purpose [in issuing the decree] was to reiterate the directives guiding the celebration of the Mass as specified by the Second Vatican Council and related Vatican documents, fulfilling his role as chief teacher of the diocese; he did so as the new translation of the Roman Missal was first used in the diocese and in the United States last weekend. The decree concerned the proper texts of Mass prayers; liturgical music; gestures for priests, deacons, religious and lay faithful; the location of the choir and other musicians; and prayerful silence before and after Mass.”
To be honest, I don't see this as much as I used to. I never really understood why it was done in the first place but it always smelled a little hippie to me so I stayed away from it.

CMR kudos to Bishop Foys.

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31 comments:

politicaljunkiemom said...

AMEN! My old parish wasn't a hand-holding one, and my husband and I are the lone holdouts at this one. It irks me to see people raise their own hands as if they were priests. Not your job, y'all!

Anonymous said...

It's not as common in the Northeast but it's very common in the south and midwest.

Matthew M. said...

I don't know if this is true, but I remember an argument that it was an outgrowth of Marriage Encounter weekends. It's really off-putting.

Anonymous said...

They hold hands and raise their hands during the Lord's Prayer at my church. And during the "give each other the sign of peace the couples all hug/kiss each other first and then acknowledge those around them. Maybe they fight a lot at home.

Dave E said...

Never liked the hand-holding, but I do it every week because everyone in our parish does it. It would cause a lot of resentment if the pastor stopped the practice. The lay leadership in our parish consists of 70s style "Spirit of Vatican II" types. They would go ballistic.

Liz said...

Some people in our parish do both the hand holding and hand raising, but it's not the norm. I've been to Mass in parishes where it is and I'm a hold out. Our bishop last year asked people to not shake hands during the passing of the peace because of flu season, and he never rescinded that, so for the most part (unless someone grabs my hand) I simply acknowledge people with a nod and a vocal "peace." I actually like it when the priest (or the bishop who frequently does it when he's there celebrating) simply skips the pax. It seems like such an interruption anyway at that point in the Mass. We've got a number of "Spirit of Vatican II" types who are currently complaining about the amount of Latin the choir director is bringing into the Mass, but they are in the minority (even if they don't yet realize that).

Paul Zummo said...

I don't see a lot of hand holding, but the orens posture is fairly ubiquitous, and this is a fairly conservative parish. I do notice that it is more common among Asian and Hispanic congregants (though certainly not exclusively), which suggests that there's a strong cultural component to it.

Katie said...

Parishes in our diocese are really into this. Everyone holds hands, and if you're at the end of the "line" or by yourself, you put your hands up. We don't participate in either, and I find it distracting (especially when people try to grab my hands, even though I have them folded in front of me). Even in the fairly conservative parishes people still do it. Glad to see a Bishop speaking out about it!

LouRob said...

"... trying to kill the spirit of Vatican II!!!"

I was a grade-schooler during V2 and I don't remember anything about holding hands during the Our Father. I think this is something from the inclusionist invasion of the 80s or 90s.

And what's so tough about the new translation? The cards are right there in front of you. Just read what it says and you'll learn it. Continuing to gripe about it is just adding fuel to the fire of the haters.

Anonymous said...

When are they going to get rid of the smooch-fest at the sign of peace. That is the number one reason I stay away from the Novus Ordo. It is so distracting from worship. How can the bishops allow it to continue?

Anonymous said...

Oh Wow! Perhaps all the gropes of goodwill will go away. That would be nice.

Anonymous said...

I never liked holding hands except back in college when seated near a pretty coed. Yes, I'm serious. And yes, I know that's pretty lame.

The Coppertop Doll said...

I totally disagree! Maybe it's because I'm a convert to Catholicism, but holding hands and raising hands in prayer feels like a natural expression of worship in community to me.

Paul Zummo said...

At the risk of sounding a bit insensitive, I highlight a few words in the above comment:

I totally disagree! Maybe it's because I'm a convert to Catholicism, but holding hands and raising hands in prayer feels like a natural expression of worship in community to me.

Kudos on your conversion, but this is a fairly Protestant approach to Mass. It isn't about what makes you feel good, it's about the proper approach and discipline in our collective worship.

Anonymous said...

I'm confused how you are able to see what everyone else is doing while praying. I have a hard time seeing through my closed eyelids.

geronkizan said...

As a conservative Catholic (a rarity these days), I don't like holding hands during the our father. For one thing, I was raised to keep to ourselves and pray for ourselves in my rural town of Ottawa, Illinois. When I pray at a church, why should I be forced to hold hands? I had a person nudge me and all I did was stare at them with a scowl. I know its a bit...inappropriate but why should I change my ways...if it ain't going to work for 27 years...why the heck do you think it's gonna change now?

paladin said...

For what it's worth: it seems (at least to me) that the reason for not wanting to retain the 1980's-esque innovations of "laity orans position and hand-holding in communio" are similar to the reasons why it would not be right to introduce flashing neon lights, jazz singers dancing in chorus lines with hats and canes, complementary pairs of comfy and fuzzy bunny slippers for each congregant (or at least encouragement to bring their own from home), etc.: all of the above would DISTORT our perception of the true realities (forgive the redundancy) within the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass; they would distract us FROM the meaning, rather than lead us closer to it. When the laity take the Charismatic-esque approach, and raise their hands when the priest raises his, they blur the distinction between the ordained priesthood and non-priests, between Eucharistic ministers (i.e. priests and bishops ONLY) and extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, between those charged with re-presenting the One Sacrifice of Christ on the altar and those who are not, etc. Granted: if Holy Mass were merely a prayer service, and if the Church were merely a loose collection of believers (as opposed to the Body of Christ, with a Christ-appointed "skeleton"/structure), then it would not matter nearly so much.

At the risk of sounding harsh: one might as well ask why no one offered snacks or comfy chairs or amusements to the Blessed Virgin, St. Mary Magdalene, and St John the Apostle as they watched Our Lord die on Calvary. The entire point of salvation history (whose focal point is the Holy Mass) is to get us OUT of ourselves, not further INTO ourselves (and our personal tastes)! We get out of ourselves by allowing Christ to speak to us through His Bride, the Church (i.e. by listening to the liturgy as His Bride, the Church, GIVES it to us!), rather than interrupting Her with our own banal babblings at every other sentence.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Paladin, there was too many experimentation going on after the Council and even after the New Mass first appeared. Holding hands or sticking hands out may be the norm in other countries and cultures but not in the west. I think that the Bishop is simply trying to follow what the norm is during the New Mass. In the Latin Mass there is little or no room for any innovations or experimentation because the New Mass was a "created banal on the spot product" according to a young Benedict in 1969 regarding the creation of the New Mass by a group of liturgists to strip of all Catholic elements by the two experts who created it in 1967 Buggnini and Lecaro and Paul VI approved it and dismissed those who were opposed to it.

Blackrep said...

Thank God. It is a misery to have your 12 year-old shy and modest daughter's hand grabbed by some sweaty-palmed biker dude she's never met. Totally and grossly inappropriate. You have to earn the right to such intimacy... not just sidle up next to someone in a pew with your God-knows-where-its-been hand stretched out.

Pat said...

This kind of touchy feely stuff always turned me off, but would it be a stretch of me to say it's a turnoff for most men? As I look around my parish, I see mostly middle aged and elderly women, and I often wonder if our approach to the liturgy has anything to do with the lack of men. I see lot's of hand holding and hugs, very sensitive sermons that never mention sin but always talk about what a special community we are. Felt banners with the words "togetherness" and "sharing" on them. Music with Jesus is my boyfriend type lyrics.This kind of sentimentalism is not attractive to most men,and probably a lot of women too, and they vote with their feet.

elm said...

If we pray better and more fervently by holding hands why do we ever let go? Shouldn't the whole mass be attended with hands held? And as far as the smooch fest, I cannot even imagine shaking hands with my spouse or children. The kiss of peace, see how they love one another.

Anonymous said...

Now, if only the bishops would tell our adulterous spouses to repent

and work to heal the marriages they have abandoned.

But, I guess marriages are not as important as trivia like this.

Yes, one should not fault this bishop for trying to ensure that the focus of attention at Mass is not unnecessarily diluted but......

Anonymous said...

The updated GIRM happened about 2003-ish, right? I remember when the Air Force Chaplain at our then-assignment told us that we were free from having to do the hand-holding thing. Probably the best thing that happened in my Catholic parish life, up until the new translation!

And, Pat, I'm a woman -- yes, the touchy-feely approach is not at all attractive to me. I know that the touchy-feely "catechism" I received in the 1970s/early 80s directly contributed to my distance from the Church until I was almost out of college. I spent many years searching for something spiritual that I could sink my teeth into. Happily, I eventually found out that the Catholic Church was about more than holding hands and singing "I'd like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony . . ."

Call me: Disgruntled Gen X-er who has high hopes for the future of the Church!

Pattymelt said...

I always thought that when there was no instruction for or against something (such as hand holding) that it was not a problem to do so or not to do so. In other words, if you want to do, it is okay and if you don't want to do it, don't. But I guess some Catholics might say that obeying their bishop on this matter (and others) is a discipline that one should take seriously.

Anonymous said...

Pat said...
This kind of touchy feely stuff always turned me off, but would it be a stretch of me to say it's a turnoff for most men? As I look around my parish, I see mostly middle aged and elderly women, and I often wonder if our approach to the liturgy has anything to do with the lack of men.

I think you hit the nail on the head!

Anonymous said...

This is simply more "Protestant-creep" infecting the Mass. It is almost universal at my parish except for the ones who are doing the "touchdown" signal, which is almost as prevalent. We are CATHOLIC, folks! ACT LIKE ONE!

bbmoe said...

As a recent convert, I suspected that hand-holding was V2, but the orens hand position seemed very reverent to me- it reminds me of Therese of Lisieux's prayer to God and presenting herself to Him with "empty hands."

On the other hand (so to speak) hand-holding at our parish will be effectively killed by the new translation. So far, no one has picked up on the cue for the Our Father and so aren't positioning themselves before it launches. They are caught off guard and you can see the panicked look on their faces, "O God, please don't change the words on this one!"

Anonymous said...

"If we pray better and more fervently by holding hands why do we ever let go? Shouldn't the whole mass be attended with hands held? And as far as the smooch fest, I cannot even imagine shaking hands with my spouse or children. The kiss of peace, see how they love one another." I don't think you do pray more fervently when you have to make nice social chatter - and that's what it is- with those around you. This moment is very self-conscious for most of us - the very opposite of how we should be at that moment.

Brent said...

Not a big fan of the hand holding and it's nice to hear of a bishop informing people about what is in the Missal and GIRM. I hope more priests will start to inform their parishes about what is prescribed and not prescribed regarding Mass protocol.

One thing that drives me crazy is how some parishes will literally form a human chain where they hold hands across isles. I had someone once literally drag his entire isle over by five feet just to hold hands with me across the isle. Really put me in the uncomfortable position of extending my hands when I usually do not.

Anonymous said...

WWJD

Anonymous said...

The once-Catholic comedian, Jimmy Fallon, attributes the fact that he does not go to Mass anymore to the "hand-holding" and other liturgical antics (frisbees? beachballs?) he encountered in Los Angeles as an adult.

Maybe he has other "issues" as well, but Mr. Fallon is not attracted by these innovations. He has fond memories of being in Church as a child. "I want the old way. I want to hang out with the nuns... Straight up. Just Mass Mass."

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