“Why? Because I am not a Protestant.”

At the National Catholic Register there was an interesting blog post a few days ago by Dan Burke, who recounts how he was beaten to a spiritual pulp by liturgical abuses around Christmas time.

Have a look on your own, but here is a great line:

In the end, I have decided to begin using a particular phrase in response to questions about my expressed dismay at this madness: “Because I am not a protestant.” The implication is clear. Here’s how it looks in a real dialogue: “Why don’t you hold hands at the Our Father?” “Because I am not a protestant.”

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99 Responses to “Why? Because I am not a Protestant.”

  1. Patrick-K says:

    Here’s a few that I had to endure during just one single Vigil “Children’s Mass”….

    - various ad-libbing and personal “flourishes” added to the Mass text (leading to a Mass close to 90 min long)
    - priest led all the children into sanctuary during his “homily” and sang a song with them (the fact that the church had altar rails made this even more awkward, but at least it had them)
    - applause for the schmaltzy children’s song
    - after singing with the children, the priest did manage to give a decent “adult” sermon… but then… went behind the altar, pulled out his guitar and started playing and singing a little song (“homily” approaching 30 min at this point)
    - applause for the priest’s “performance”
    - Concluding Rite approached 10 min long as the priest took the opportunity to blather on about some nonsense I can’t even remember, oh yes, now I remember one of his many “jokes,” which was “save some food for me” (?), and thought it fitting to say “Go Bears! Go White Sox!” during Holy Mass… at that point I started looking around me like “is this guy for real?”
    - applause once again after the exit procession

    What is it about Christmas Masses that people feel the need to turn Mass into Romper Room?

  2. benedetta says:

    I have been following his column on the Register site. Interesting. I like how he refrains from personally attacking congregants as in demeaning stereotypes (i.e. “trad” or “contracepting” to try and demean or dehumanize actual fellow Catholics) and sticks to the what he observes and the effects on our worship. He also brings out aptly that one sometimes has to endure hostility from others who do not understand.

  3. Ray says:

    Having seen all or most of these aberations over the years, I’m still appalled when they occur. The clapping/applause item is especially annoying for the very reasons Mr. Burke so clearly states. We supposedly go to Worship Our God at Mass. Thus, all we do by singing, praying, adoring etc. should be toward Adoration of our God. Why would someone want or expect clapping or applause if that is why we are there participating in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. I’ve brought this up at parish liturgy committee meetings but have not been able to make any inroads toward eliminating it. However, I will never cease trying to make it right. Call me hardheaded.

  4. If, before his death, St. Thomas More could have been plucked out of his own age and set down in ours, he would undoubtedly be shocked and saddened to see how many of the scandalous proposals of the protestants have now been institutionalized in the Catholic Church throughout the West.

  5. That seems like a bit of overkill to me.

    “Hand-holding during the Our Father … is forbidden on the basis that we are not allowed to add or change the Mass.”

    While a priest is not permitted to direct the congregation to holds hands during the Our Father, hand-holding as a (pseudo) spontaneous gesture from the congregation is not an “addition” or “change” to the Mass, any more than holding the hand of your spouse (or your child) during the readings, for example.

  6. Thurorus says:

    Traveling over the Holidays, I went to Mass at one parish where the priest performed a magic show during the homily. I asked one of the congregation about it and he apparently does magic tricks at every Mass. The whole thing felt heartbreaking.

  7. benedetta says:

    Of course further to that is that the adding and subtracting from the Mass was done by actual Catholics, not Protestants, and many Protestants would never demand or expect such a thing from us in order to have a meaningful dialogue. True ecumenism would never expect or impose that Catholics, for instance, give over reverence and belief in the Real Presence. Sad to say, what happened to our liturgy was an “inside job” and one that was fed on a condescending and worst sort of clericalism. One sees though more and more people rejecting that in favor of true, reverent and transcendent worship in the Catholic Mass.

  8. acardnal says:

    I read that article by Mr. Burke a few days ago and took it upon myself to use the same expression.

    I, too, dislike any applause during Mass. Moreover, I dislike holding hands during the Our Father; it’s NOT part of the rubrics and I think it was a Protestant infiltration into the Holy Mass.

    I saw a man remain standing in his pew after he received communion until ALL the communicants had received and returned to their pews. He was the only one. This is an abuse as Mr. Burke notes. I figured he must be a holiday visitor from the west coast because it seems to be popular there.

  9. More specifically, I’ve heard the claim that, when the bishop’s conference was apparently about to pass a motion banning hand-holding in a USCCB meeting some years ago, at the last minute the objection was raised that it’s an Afro-American cultural thing, and so the motion was withdrawn–in effect, to avoid the appearance of discrimination against black Protestants?

  10. Athelstan says:

    I’m tempted to steal that line.

    Probably uncharitable. But I am tempted.

    Brad Miner over at The Catholic Thing had a similar liturgical abuse horror story from Christmas to share: http://www.thecatholicthing.org/columns/2012/winters-of-my-discontent.html

    These stories are almost as bad as my worst Christmas Vigil experience (let’s just say that it involved puppets and liturgical dancing). Which makes me wonder: Is this standard operating procedure at these parishes, or do the ramp up the zaniness just for the big crowds at Christmas?

  11. Scott W. says:

    While a priest is not permitted to direct the congregation to holds hands during the Our Father, hand-holding as a (pseudo) spontaneous gesture from the congregation is not an “addition” or “change” to the Mass, any more than holding the hand of your spouse (or your child) during the readings, for example.

    Technically, you are correct. However, things like this are energy monsters that take on a life of their own so that the spontaneous gesture ceases to be spontaneous and appears to have the force of rubrics. I usually close my eyes, bow and fold my hands at the Our Father, but I’ve had people actually grab and try to pry my hands apart for hand holding.

    I am a stickler not to be a killjoy, but because things like this start out innocent, but inevitably become abusive and widespread, the Church cracks down which leads to a bunch of people acting hurt and bitter because they lost something they were not entitled to in the first place. I’d spare people that.

  12. benedetta says:

    As far as I can tell, what’s happened with the hand holding during the Our Father is that folks who attend Mass together or in a family automatically hold hands as a familial unit but exclude “strangers” around them in the pews from hand holding. I have never been approached to hold hands with someone in the congregation whom I did not know, but I have read here of it happening. But that doesn’t seem to be the typical situation of hand holding during the Our Father. In fact, if it were, I would regard it as more innocuous. But since it is people just holding hands with their significant others and family members, it sort of is divisive and destroys the nature of communal worship as a congregation during the Mass. If I just hold hands with my family members and no one else, it implies that I only feel united to these particular people, and only pray the Our Father with this limited scope in mind, which is not my intent nor does it seem the intent of the inclusion of the Pater Noster in the liturgy. Prayer as a family is something we do in our domestic churches. Prayer with the whole church is what we do at the Mass. We pray for our special intentions each as we have them and don’t single off select groups for sub group prayer during the Mass. I have heard people who attend the EF say that it is a relief to not feel compelled to stop everything and hold hands for a few moments at that point in the Mass. I do think that my objection lends support to Mr. Burke’s assertion that we are to neither add nor subtract. Clearly he is not talking about spontaneous hand holding like if a toddler reaches out to hold one’s hand…he is talking about this specific thing during the Our Father, which makes the gesture an attempt to add a liturgical expression or gesture on the part of the congregation.

  13. anilwang says:

    I’m not sure I understand the response: “Why don’t you hold hands at the Our Father?” “Because I am not a protestant.”

    I think one would be hard pressed to find a single Protestant congregation that held hands during the Our Father. Holding hands is way too “physical” for Ecclesial Deists such as Protestants…well not entirely true…. Pentecostals are definitely into physical signs, but I’m holding hands during the Our Father would be way too constraining and would interfere with getting the full “God Experience”. The orans body position is much more suitable for the Pentecostal since one can put more energy and motion into one’s prayer and one could break out into tongues without causing the whole congregation to fall like dominoes via their linked hands.

    To me holding hands during the Our Father is a lot more reminiscent of the New Age collective “Calling Occupants of Interplanetary craft” type meditation.

  14. tealady24 says:

    I’ve seen and heard much of what is written here. For Christmas I attended a church in Toms River NJ where there are NO kneelers and NO ringing bells. It appalls me, really!
    We go to church in PA and the mass is quite solemn and beautiful, yet when the organist gave of his very “baptist” version of “Soon and Very Soon” on the 4th Sunday of Advent, I felt that all the steps forward had suddenly reversed in one fell swoop!
    God help us, and at the very least, where are you Holy Father!

  15. I get what Mr. Burke means with his reply, “Because I am not a Protestant.” And I suspect most who read Fr.Z’s blog and the NC Register (the anti-fishwrap) also get what he means. However, I wonder if others, including those who ask the “Why don’t you…” question, will actually “get it.” Will they instead think it a snarky and sarcastic retort? Just not sure it will do much to draw our uncatechised friends and relatives back into a fuller understanding of the depth and richness of the Catholic faith.
    “Be of good cheer!” (John 16:33)
    http://www.MerryCatholic.com

  16. Volanges says:

    acardnal says:I saw a man remain standing in his pew after he received communion until ALL the communicants had received and returned to their pews. He was the only one. This is an abuse as Mr. Burke notes. I figured he must be a holiday visitor from the west coast because it seems to be popular there.
    ==============
    Not sure where you get the idea that that’s an abuse since it’s the default posture at that time in the GIRM. It would be an abuse for the priest to impose that posture on everyone until all have received since the CDW has said that we are also free to sit or kneel at that time if we wish when we return from Communion.

  17. Can anyone prove the allegation that holding hands during the Our Father is a Protestant infiltration? Or is that just a convenient excuse to use to avoid considering the issue from different perspectives?

    Moreover, if the first people to hold hands during the Our Father were Protestants, does that make the practice of holding hands in Catholic churches a “Protestant infiltration”, or is it just something that people who HAPPENED to be Protestants did first?

    And have you heard of the Protestant invention of the clerical collar? May God forbid its infiltration into the Catholic Church!

  18. jhayes says:

    Conferences of Bishops have the right to make adaptations to the posture or gestures of the people during Mass. The USCCB lists only two items under “posture” on its website. One has us kneel during the Eucharistic Prayer and the other, “Orans, or Open Hand Prayer Posture”, says:

    Many Catholics are in the habit of holding their hands in the “Orans” posture during the Lord’s prayer along with the celebrant. Some do this on their own as a private devotional posture while some congregations make it a general practice for their communities.

    Is this practice permissible under the current rubrics, either as a private practice not something adopted by a particular parish as a communal gesture?

    No position is prescribed in the present Sacramentary for an assembly gesture during the Lord’s Prayer.

    http://usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/liturgical-resources/posture/orans-or-open-hand-prayer-posture.cfm

    I guess Mr. Burke is of the “Everything that is not explicitly permitted is forbidden” school, but it seems to me that if the USCCB had wanted to forbid the Orans Position (or hand holding) they would have said that in response to that question.

  19. fvhale says:

    As long as we are looking at Burke’s article on challenges from Christmas liturgies, I would like to ask a question:

    Q. In the Roman Missal there are distinct Christmas Masses for (1) At the Vigil Mass (evening of Dec 24), (2) At the Mass During the Night; (3) At the Mass at Dawn; (4) At the Mass During the Day. There are also different sets of Readings for the four masses in the Lectionary. Does any parish in the United States actually use the four different masses and readings at, more-or-less, the times specified? I have really only seen two practices: either a very small community will “pick one,” and have only one mass, or a large community (like a suburban parish) will “pick one” and use that all through many repetitions of mass from the afternoon of the 24th through the morning of the 25th.

    Just wondering if anybody, anywhere, actually does the four Christmas Masses (or, say, two or three at the specified time) and four sets of readings in the books (something not in Burke’s article.

  20. Cathy says:

    Father Z, I don’t know if it would be an appropriate poll, I know my nephews do this and I have noticed it in other young men. Holding hands during the Our Father has become a test of strength and endurance among them, mainly, how hard can I squeeze your hand without you screaming.

  21. benedetta says:

    Jeffrey Pinyan, I don’t think the columnist was asserting that Protestants snuck up and infiltrated. I think what he is saying in his response is that he doesn’t go in for tinkering and new gestures because he is joined in communion to the Mass as celebrated more or less the same for centuries and is not looking to innovate from that more and more, or, in a sense, separate from that in order to make a liturgy more relevant and meaningful seeming. He is holding himself out as wishing to be in solidarity with all Catholics in all times and places, instead of distancing himself in current times and define accordingly himself and his worship. I suppose it is a generalization but one could cite past and current self-designed liturgy and innovation in different denominations of Protestantism. Catholic liturgy, through tradition, rubrics, is not perpetually self-designing and prone to tinkering.

  22. ghp95134 says:

    @ anilwang “…I think one would be hard pressed to find a single Protestant congregation that held hands during the Our Father.…”

    It happens every Sunday at my wife’s Japanese Holiness Church in Campbell, CA. They all hold hands, then raise the linked hands overhead during the doxology. When I visit, I do not participate in that “rite,” nor do I shake hands; I merely place my right hand over my heart, bow slightly, and say “Shu no Heiwa” [the peace of the Lord].

    –Guy

  23. Petros 92 says:

    I say exactly this thing all the time! If I wanted to be a Protestant (for whatever reason…), I would simply BE ONE.

  24. ejcmartin says:

    My archdiocese outlined I their guide to the new liturgy that all were to “remain standing until the end of the Communion Rite.” There were some who enforced this rather rigorously.

  25. Sword40 says:

    I am fortunate enough to be able to attend a low Mass during most Holy Days and on Sundays. I have washed my hands of the OF Masses. I have spent more time in the confessional explaining my anger problems arising from the OF Mass. I recognize that it is valid (in most cases) but I cannot deal with it.

  26. yatzer says:

    I have been in many, many protestant churches because that is what most of my family and friends are, and not once has anyone held hands when saying the Our Father. I was, however, in a parish in the 1980′s where the new pastor ordered everyone to hold hands. I tend to think it was an “inside” job as well, to get us to take our minds of that nasty vertical dimension of the Mass. When at a Mass that includes hand-holding at the Our Father and glad-handing at the Peace, I tend to begin thinking of Mass as an obstacle course…”OK, got through that one, now if I can just get through this next part without flinching.” I would generally love to speak with people after church, but by then they are usually to0 intent on getting out of the parking lot to interact.
    At my home parish we use the altar rail, where folks can stand or kneel and receive on the tongue or hand. The loving, vibrant, substitute presider (sarc) last week yelled at me when I asked if perhaps we could use the altar rail next time should he return in the future, as that is our custom and it works very well for us. It was a simple request, not attitude or reason to go ballistic. Sheesh.

  27. acardnal says:

    Volanges, can you please cite the GIRM paragraph number where it says that after receiving communion one is to return to the pew and stand is “the default posture at that time in the GIRM”?

  28. benedetta says:

    It’s funny, musing on frjim4321′s calumny on another thread that those who attend the EF are an eccentric, catered to subgroup divided from the church, I have found that this is so far from my own experience and feel sad that this old canard is still foisted as a weapon against the ancient rite currently. I have found, since worshipping in the EF, a much greater and deeply experienced connection with fellow Catholics wherever situated than ever before. I feel much more connected to the universal church as well as to fellow Catholics. And, I feel a greater level of peace, and joy, in practicing my faith, even with adversity or hostility from some, than ever before. And I have worshipped in numerous contexts, urban, suburban, rural. And interestingly, I feel more able to pray for Christian unity with a greater awareness of the magnificent roots of the ordinary form in the extraordinary form. Because most Protestant worship is also derived from the Mass even if not embracing the fullness of truth. Where I still feel alienated would be with the types of worship described in the nyt article Fr. Z posted the other week where all elements of ancient roots are stripped away. But worshipping in the EF I feel much more ready and able to pray for Christian unity and I am in greater solidarity with my friends who continue to worship in the ordinary form, or in the ordinary form and EF interchangeably (and there are a great number of these too). The interest in reverent worship in the ordinary form and the EF is only growing and I don’t see any indication that this will lessen in the future.

  29. Mike says:

    Let me make something very clear: I don’t like Our Father-hand-holding at all. I don’t do it, and I wish others wouldn’t, and I will discourage the practice as long as I’m around.

    NEVERTHELESS, Cardinal Arinze once said that it’s fine as long as it’s not imposed on others. So Mr. Burke’s statement that it’s forbidden is not technically true, as much as that would be nice.

  30. Volanges says:

    acardnal says: acardnal says: Volanges, can you please cite the GIRM paragraph number where it says that after receiving communion one is to return to the pew and stand is “the default posture at that time in the GIRM”?
    =================
    As requested:

    43. The faithful should stand from the beginning of the Entrance Chant, or while the Priest approaches the altar, until the end of the Collect; for the Alleluia Chant before the Gospel; while the Gospel itself is proclaimed; during the Profession of Faith and the Universal Prayer; and from the invitation, Orate, fratres (Pray, brethren), before the Prayer over the Offerings until the end of Mass, except at the places indicated here below.

    The faithful should sit, on the other hand, during the readings before the Gospel and the Responsorial Psalm and for the Homily and during the Preparation of the Gifts at the Offertory; and, if appropriate, they may sit or kneel during the period of sacred silence after Communion.

    Note the ‘if appropriate, they may sit or kneel”. That’s because the universal posture after the Consecration is standing until the end of Mass.

    The only reason there is a dubium on this topic is because the original GIRM in 2002 said standing only. the bold part was not in the original version. One bishop asked for clarification, asking if that meant that those who were used to kneeling when returning from Communion could no longer do so. The response was that the standing posture was not so strict that it forbid kneeling or sitting at that time. You don’t go from a posture being the norm to being an abuse.

  31. @benedetta:

    It was “acardnal” who used the expression “a Protestant infiltration” [1:31 pm].

    [H]e doesn’t go in for tinkering and new gestures because he is joined in communion to the Mass as celebrated more or less the same for centuries and is not looking to innovate from that more and more, or, in a sense, separate from that in order to make a liturgy more relevant and meaningful seeming.

    I would say that members of the congregation who wish to hold hands (e.g. a family, or even strangers!) are still celebrating Mass “more or less the same” as it has been, and are not tinkering with the Mass. At least some of the developments the liturgy has undergone in the past 19 centuries has been due to innovation. Some of it was innovation with respect to Judaism, and some of it was innovation with respect to what Christians had been doing up to that point.

    I do not think hand-holding is a gesture that is redolent of “the current times”, nor a gesture that smacks of modernity. It is a sign of unity, of family, of support, of compassion. That’s how I read it when I see it at Mass, at least. I don’t think it makes the liturgy “more relevant or meaningful seeming”; at least, not any more than the “traditional” posture for holding one’s hands during prayer (one flat against the other) or the “folded” posture (fingers interlocked). At one time, the hands-flat-against-each-other was a “modern” posture: the hands were placed together like this and were encompassed by the hands of one’s lord (see Ratzinger, The Spirit of the Liturgy, 204: “A later development [than the orans posture] was the gesture of praying with hands joined. This comes from the world of feudalism. The recipient of a feudal estate, on taking tenure, placed his joined hands in those of his lord – a wonderful symbolic act.”). I would expect the people who prefer to hold hands during the Our Father believe it to be “a wonderful symbolic act”. And a Christian (Catholic) one at that.

    If one wishes to be in solidarity with all Catholics in all times and places, then I do not know which way he should make the Sign of the Cross (right to left, or left to right?), whether he should kneel on Sundays during Paschaltide, whether he should expect to stand for the entirety of the liturgy (except when prostrating himself upon the ground), whether he should speak Latin or Greek or Aramaic (or some other language) during the liturgy, whether he should receive Communion in his hand or on his tongue, whether he should expect to receive the Precious Blood under the species of wine during the liturgy (and that by direct drinking, or intinction, or a fistula, etc.), and so on. Our liturgical practices may not be so utterly universal in time and space as we imagine.

  32. backtothefuture says:

    The thing I love about the tlm, is that it’s intense, with all the focus on God, with little distractions. There’s just too many distractions at the n.o mass.

  33. benedetta says:

    Well I have held hands with people during the Mass…but I don’t think that’s what he’s referring to. I think he is specifically referring to it during the Our Father and it seems that most people aren’t discreetly holding hands as a family or whatever it may be but in fact raise their hands in unison at a certain point. Certainly seems to be adding to worship, not spontaneous familial gesture.

    I don’t care to be the enforcer of sameness but interestingly in my own diocese people are told not to kneel at all during the consecration as “we must be uniform” in gesture and posture during the Mass because Mass is communal worship.

    I missed what acardnal said about it but going back to the columnist Mr. Burke I think he is saying he is not in favor of numerous recent innovations because he doesn’t identify as a Protestant. I suppose one’s gestures can divide and cut one off from communion just as the priest’s choice to innovate at certain points divides and cuts off.

  34. jacobi says:

    The Ordo Missae of 1969, already far removed from Sacrosanctum Concilium, became a complete distortion of that document in the 70s and 80s and ended up as a near copy of a typical Protestant communion service, while remaining in spite of everything a valid Mass.

    This was the policy of the liberals and neo-Modernists, not because they were Protestant, but because it was a convenient, ecumenised, Relativised, lowest common denominator type of service.
    It constituted a liturgical, and by implication, a doctrinal rupture with two thousand years of Catholicism. It has proved to be a disaster for the Church.

    Fortunately the “Reform of the Reform” is under way and over the next decades we will see a re-sanctification of the Mass with the re-establishment of the concepts of the Real Presence, the Ordained Priesthood, and above all, the Mass as a Redemptive Sacrifice.

    This will be done by re-orienting the Mass, restoring the altar rails and sanctuary, reception of Holy Communion kneeling and by mouth and by the laity retreating from their artificial assumed “priestly” roles. Hopefully, Latin will be at least partially used, and we will get rid of excessive hymn singing, in favour of chant.

  35. OUChevelleSS says:

    I always assumed that the practice came about after the priest celebrated versus populum. If he’s doing it to us, why not him? Well, because if he were ad orientem, it is an orans gesture toward God. At Mass, we shoudl really be directing our prayers to God through the priest, who is acting in persona Christi. Raising the hands during the Our Father just like the priest makes it seem like we are all mini-priests in the context of the Mass. Thus, I don’t do it.

    You see this versus populum confusion in other parts of the Mass, too. An example would be “The Lord be with you” (priest raises his hands in the orans gesture). Response: “And with your spirit,” while laity raise their hands as though tossing the Holy Spirit back to the priest.

  36. benedetta says:

    JeffreyPinyan, also all of those practices you cite have a belonging and meaning within specific liturgical rites and contexts. I should think if one spontaneously did one or another in the context of an ordinary form Mass in America at a given time one might feel somewhat disjointed from all Catholics in all places in times no matter one’s inward disposition and intention.

  37. James Joseph says:

    “Why? Because I am not a Protestant.”

    Careful with that line. The ‘moderators’ will ban you permanently from Catholic Forums if they catch wind of it.

  38. acardnal says:

    Volanges, it has never been normative behavior for Catholics in the USA to stand in their pews after receiving communion.

  39. Pingback: Holding hands during the Our Father… a “Protestant infiltration”? | The Cross Reference

  40. I thought hand-holding at Mass came from Marriage Encounter. As to the Protestant provenance of hand-holding, whatever they may do at their respective churches, many of my Protestant friends insist on hand-holding on other occasions, such as saying grace before meals. There are other things we do at Mass that go all the way back to the earliest days of Protestantism: Mass in the vernacular; priest facing the people; laymen handling the Sacred Species. This should give pause.

    Jeffrey Pinyan says: If one wishes to be in solidarity with all Catholics in all times and places, then I do not know which way he should make the Sign of the Cross (right to left, or left to right?), whether he should kneel on Sundays during Paschaltide, whether he should expect to stand for the entirety of the liturgy (except when prostrating himself upon the ground), whether he should speak Latin or Greek or Aramaic (or some other language) during the liturgy, whether he should receive Communion in his hand or on his tongue, whether he should expect to receive the Precious Blood under the species of wine during the liturgy (and that by direct drinking, or intinction, or a fistula, etc.), and so on. Our liturgical practices may not be so utterly universal in time and space as we imagine.

    What unifies us is the Eucharist. We are more or less conscious of this at Mass, depending upon how well or how poorly we perform our worship. But it is a mistake to try to analyze liturgical practices outside their context. The reality on the ground is that when you change immemorial customs, you send a message. Yes, they stand for Communion in the Byzantine Rite; but in the Latin Rite, we knelt, and when that changed, it sent a message. Permitting Communion on the hand sent a message. Turning the priest around to face the people sent a message. And the message does not redound either to our good or the glory of God.

  41. Jeffrey Pinyan: “… any more than holding the hand of your spouse (or your child) during the readings, for example.”

    Although I may have seen a toddler reach for mommy’s hand occasionally, I don’t recall having ever noticed a married couple holding hands at an EF Mass. But I wonder . . . Would this be any more or less appropriate than a couple of strangers holding hands at some point during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass?

  42. benedetta says:

    Anita Moore, well said and I wonder if you know why the hand holding is lifted in unison at “For the kingdom and power and glory are yours…”? When I see this folks are raising their joined hands in unison at this exact moment far over their heads and spiking the air together and then they drop hands. Never understood this before. What is meant to be expressed by this particular part of the gesture?

  43. @bendetta: I think he is specifically referring to it during the Our Father and it seems that most people aren’t discreetly holding hands as a family or whatever it may be but in fact raise their hands in unison at a certain point. Certainly seems to be adding to worship, not spontaneous familial gesture.

    He did not address how high the people’s hands are when they are holding them during the Our Father, so I won’t speculate. But I’ll admit that when people hold hands during the Our Father, their hands are usually not down by their sides but are out from their bodies somewhat.

    If there is a whole family doing this in a pew, is that adding to worship?

    If there is a whole pew of strangers doing this, is that adding to worship?

    If, by custom or expectation (but not at the direction of the priest), the vast majority of the congregation holds hands, is that adding to worship?

    What if, instead of hand holding, the vast majority of the congregation, by custom or expectation (but not at the direction of the priest), holds their hands in the feudal position (described above) or has their hands folded (fingers interlocked) in front of them, is that adding to worship?

    I think we have much bigger fish to fry, liturgically and otherwise.

  44. Volanges says:

    acardnal says: Volanges, it has never been normative behavior for Catholics in the USA to stand in their pews after receiving communion.
    ===========
    That may be so but that doesn’t change the fact that the posture at that time in the universal GIRM has been standing since 1975. The US adaption of the 1975 GIRM mandated kneeling for the entire Eucharistic Prayer but did not change the standing posture from the AMEN until the end of Mass. That parishes didn’t follow the GIRM doesn’t change what it said. That’s why I was surprised by the dubium after the 2002 version of the GIRM came out. I couldn’t understand why they were confused when there had been no change in posture from the 1975 GIRM. It’s as though in all that time nobody had read it.

  45. benedetta says:

    JeffreyPinyan, I agree but his critique was not merely about holding hands while at Mass, nor his response about not being a Protestant meant to attribute certain things to Protestant infiltration. I think the larger point is certainly valid and well stated.

    And, unfortunately and going back to what Anita Moore was saying, in many places one is told not to receive communion whilst kneeling or on the tongue, whereas, lifting hands in the triumph posture at the end of the Our Father and playing volleyball with the Holy Spirit in the orans position is all fine and good. If we are to be heterodox then let it be and stop hassling folks who wish to receive whilst kneeling on the tongue. If we are going to add the triumph pose with hands held among certain designated individuals then have at it but give us a decent reason, at least give people some background as to why. I guess if we feel like doing any number of things what’s to stop us then. Apparently no one has told the Byzantine he can’t prostrate himself yet?

  46. Benedetta, I don’t know where that hand-lifting comes from. I have seen that in a few places, but not everywhere. Regardless, I personally refuse to hold hands as I despise false intimacy and do not like to be touched by strangers.

  47. Scott W. says:

    I think we have much bigger fish to fry, liturgically and otherwise.

    Appealing to a bigger fish to fry (there is always a bigger fish) isn’t an argument.

  48. kellym says:

    My parents hold hands during the recitation of the Our Father and at some point during a visit attempted to coerce me into it with them. Nada. I firmly shook my head no, and proceeded to recite the prayer with my hands folded in front of me. I think they were a little puzzled but continued on.

    I feel extremely uncomfortable with these sorts of touchy-feely moments during Mass; the only thing I wish to feel emotional about is what’s going on at the altar. The Mass is not about me, or about what my neighbors are doing. This goes along with the collective clasped-hands raising when the congregation begins to recite “For the kingdom, the power…..” Ugh.

  49. MichaelJ says:

    benedetta , hand holding during the Our Father may or may not have protestant roots, but the addition of “For the kingdom and power and glory are yours…” certainly seems to.

  50. @Miss Anita Moore, O.P.: things we do at Mass that go all the way back to the earliest days of Protestantism: Mass in the vernacular

    Mass in the vernacular goes all the way back to the apostolic age, long before Protestantism.

    The reality on the ground is that when you change immemorial customs, you send a message. … And [these particular messages do] not redound either to our good or the glory of God.

    What was the message sent when the Latin Rite switched to kneeling for Communion? What was the message sent when the Latin Rite stopped offering the Chalice to the congregation? Did those messages necessarily redound to our good or God’s glory?

  51. Thing is, we do not need all these little ice-breakers during Mass — and they are a distraction anyway, and even a positive hindrance. When we focus on worshipping God, the togetherness takes care of itself. Seek ye FIRST the Kingdom of God, and its justice, and THEN all these things shall be added unto you.

  52. Jeffrey Pinyan says: What was the message sent when the Latin Rite switched to kneeling for Communion? What was the message sent when the Latin Rite stopped offering the Chalice to the congregation? Did those messages necessarily redound to our good or God’s glory?

    My guess is that every time the Eucharist was treated with greater reverence than before, the message necessarily redounded to our good and God’s glory.

  53. @kellym: the only thing I wish to feel emotional about is what’s going on at the altar

    Are you actually that cold during Mass? What about your cares and prayer intentions? I know we are to have our hearts aloft with the Lord, and to set our hearts and minds on heavenly things, but I have (important) earthly cares in my heart when it gets raised up to God.

    @MichaelJ: the addition of “For the kingdom and power and glory are yours…” certainly seems to [have protestant roots]

    That (or a variation thereof) was a part of the discipline of prayer prescribed by the Didache:

    But let not your fasts be with the hypocrites; for they fast on the second and fifth day of the week; but fast on the fourth day and the Preparation. Neither pray as the hypocrites; but as the Lord commanded in His Gospel, thus pray:

    Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, as in heaven, so on earth. Give us today our daily bread, and forgive us our debt as we also forgive our debtors. And bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one; for Yours is the power and the glory for ever.

    Thrice in the day thus pray. (Didache 8)

    It seems as if the default response to something a group of Protestants does that Catholics don’t is that it must be a sin, or at least it must not redound to God’s glorification or our sanctification.

  54. OUChevelleSS says:

    What was the message sent when the Latin Rite switched to kneeling for Communion?
    That Our Lord is so great and so truly present in the Eucharist that we should do what is the most reverent in the Western mindset: kneel. In the East, it is more reverent to stand.

    What was the message sent when the Latin Rite stopped offering the Chalice to the congregation

    This practice is actually in response to Hussite heresies.

    Did those messages necessarily redound to our good or God’s glory?
    Do you see irreverence today? What happened to the Hussites at the time? Yes, they did redound.

    Also, Jeffrey, my understanding that the liturgy was never truly celebrated in the “vernacular”, but was a “High Speech” form of whatever language; i.e. impersonal uses, equivalents of thee and though, etc.

  55. acardnal says:

    Volanges said, “The only reason there is a dubium on this topic is because the original GIRM in 2002 said standing only. the bold part was not in the original version.”

    The statement you bolded is indeed in the GIRM of 2002, para 43.
    http://old.usccb.org/liturgy/current/revmissalisromanien.shtml

    The dubium was submitted for clarification because some bishop(s) wanted to require their faithful to stand in their pews after receiving communion. They wanted them to stand because that is what the faithful do in some parts of Europe, Africa and elsewhere. Why? Because they often do not have kneelers! So they stand respectfully. Orthodox churches in the USA typically have kneelers.

    Although perhaps not an abuse of the rubrics technically, kneeling was never the normative posture after receiving communion in the USA since the Novus Ordo was instituted some 40 years ago. If it occurred, it was an attention-getting innovation or an aberration or, as I have experienced, the church did not have kneelers (I wonder why).

    Thank God and thank Pope Benedict XVI for the TLM/EF Mass where one spends the majority of one’s time on one’s knees – especially at a Low Mass.

    Here is an explanation from Fr. Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy, Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University:

    “(H)aving everybody remain standing until all have received Communion, was already treated in a Feb. 17, 2004, column, and I substantially repeat what I then wrote:

    “GIRM, No. 43, caused some controversy. It affirms that the faithful ‘may sit or kneel while the period of sacred silence after Communion is observed.’

    “Some liturgists, and even some bishops, interpreted this text to mean that nobody should kneel or sit until everybody had received Communion. The resulting debate led Cardinal Francis George, president of the U.S. bishops’ Liturgy Committee (BCL), to request an authentic interpretation from the Holy See on May 26, 2003.

    “Cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, responded to the question on June 5, 2003 (Prot. N. 855/03/L):

    “‘Responsum: “Negative, et ad mentem” [No, for this reason]. The mens [reasoning] is that the prescription of the Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani, no. 43, is intended, on the one hand, to ensure within broad limits a certain uniformity of posture within the congregation for the various parts of the celebration of Holy Mass, and on the other, to not regulate posture rigidly in such a way that those who wish to kneel or sit would no longer be free.’

    “Having received this response, the BCL (Bishops Cmte on the Liturgy) Newsletter commented: ‘In the implementation of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, therefore, posture should not be regulated so rigidly as to forbid individual communicants from kneeling or sitting when returning from having received Holy Communion’ (p. 26).”

    http://www.ewtn.com/library/liturgy/zlitur103.htm

  56. pseudomodo says:

    My response one time was to hand them an excerpt of Notitae 11 (1975) 226.

    (Yes you read that right – it has been forbidden since 1975!)

    http://notitiae.ipsissima-verba.org/

  57. acardnal says:

    pseudomodo, thanks for that link. A good reference in response to future questions.

  58. @OUChevelleSS: This practice is actually in response to Hussite heresies.

    Yes, I know that Rome discontinued a perfectly licit and venerable practice because of a heretical misunderstanding of the doctrines concerning the Eucharist. Why, the Council of Constance even attempted to make it an excommunicable offense for a priest to administer Communion to a layman under the forms of both bread and wine! (That was at Session 13 [June 1415] which was subsequently declared null and void by the true Pope Gregory XII.)

    That sort of severity seems to send the wrong message, to me at least. Can we not condemn an error — and rightfully so — without making everyone pay a price for it? Sure, receiving under both kinds isn’t NECESSARY, but it’s better than merely neutral.

  59. MichaelJ says:

    Jeffrey, would you mind providing a link to the origin of the phrase added to the Lords prayer? Needless to say, that is not my understanding.

    And yes, there is often a reason why Catholics do not do things that protestants do. Simply adopting “protestant practices” in our liturgy in the hopes that they will like us is certainly a mistake if the reasons for these differences are not understood and addressed.

  60. @pseudomodo, @acardnal: Notitae 11 (1975) 226

    De signo pacis

    Num admitti possit usus hic illic vigens quo Missam participantes, loco sibi invicem pacem significandi ad invitationem diaconi, manum amplectuntur dum canitur oratio dominica?

    (EWTN translation: In some places there is a current practice whereby those taking part in the Mass replace the giving of the sign of peace at the deacon’s invitation by holding hands during the singing of the Lord’s Prayer. Is this acceptable?)

    R. Manus amplecti per longum tempus per se est potius signum communionis quam pacis. Ceteroquin est gestu liturgicus spontanee sed privato incestu inductus: non invenitur in rubricis. Nec intelligitur qua ranione supprimatur gestus pacis ad intitationem « offerte vobis pacem » qui tantum habet significationem, gratam et indolem christianum, ut inducatur aliud signum minoris significationis in aliud momentum Missae. Qua de re si agitur de substitutione haec est simpliciter improbanda.

    (EWTN translation: The prolonged holding of hands is of itself a sign of communion rather than of peace. Further, it is a liturgical gesture introduced spontaneously but on personal initiative; it is not in the rubrics. Nor is there any clear explanation of why the sign of peace at the invitation: “Let us offer each other the sign of peace” should be supplanted in order to bring a different gesture with less meaning into another part of the Mass: the sign of peace is filled with meaning, graciousness, and Christian inspiration. Any substitution for it must be repudiated.)

    This question and response concerns the substitution of hand-holding during the Our Father for the sign of peace which would normally come later.

  61. MichaelJ says:

    Others may find this interesting as well:
    http://europeanhistory.boisestate.edu/latemiddleages/heresy/20.shtml

    The Hussites tried to revive the practice of Communion under both Species that had long been discontinued,and did so for heretical reasons. Another part of this heresy was the belief that reception of the Eucharist under both Species conferred more Grace than reception under only one.

  62. Volanges says:

    acardnalYou’re right.

    The question was based on whether the people should remain standing rather than the kneeling they were used to until the period of silence (which in most parishes I’ve been lasts about 10 seconds) after Communion. It still means that as far as the GIRM was concerned, standing was the norm at that time ‘unless’…

    The GIRM was obviously ignored for decades because the text was basically the same in the 1975 US GIRM which I have in my hands. There was no call for kneeling in the 1975 US GIRM other than during the Eucharistic Prayer and that was a US adaptation since the universal GIRM called for kneeling only at the Consecration, exactly as it does today. The US adaptation didn’t call for kneeling after the Agnus Dei as it does in the present GIRM yet I’d be willing to bet that most parishes did so.

  63. @MichaelJ:

    A Google search for “Didache” will yield this as one of the top hits. It is an English translation of the Didache hosted by NewAdvent.org. The phrase in question is an early gloss on the text of the Lord’s Prayer in the Gospel of Matthew, which probably made its way into some copies of that Gospel because of its use liturgically.

    Very early on, liturgical usage concluded the Lord’s Prayer with a doxology. In the Didache, we find, “For yours are the power and the glory for ever.” (Didache VIII, 2) The Apostolic Constitutions add to the beginning: “the kingdom,” and this is the formula retained to our day in ecumenical prayer. (Apostolic Constitutions, VII, 24, 1) The Byzantine tradition adds after “the glory” the words “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” (Catechism 2760)

    St. Cyril of Jerusalem, who wrote a series of catechetical lectures around A.D. 350, does not mention this closing doxology in his lecture on the Our Father. It is possible these words were inspired by the prayer of King David:

    Therefore David blessed the LORD in the presence of all the assembly; and David said: “Blessed are you, O LORD, the God of Israel our father, for ever and ever. Yours, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty; for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours; yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and you are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might; and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name.” (1 Chr. 29:10-13)

    Whatever its origin, its meaning is clear. By praying these words, we deny Satan – “the ruler of this world” (John 12:31) – the kingship, power, and glory that he falsely claims for his own (cf. Luke 4:5-7), and affirm that God is the powerful and glorious King over all creation.

    To continue with your comment:
    there is often a reason why Catholics do not do things that protestants do. Simply adopting “protestant practices” in our liturgy in the hopes that they will like us is certainly a mistake if the reasons for these differences are not understood and addressed.
    Were earlier Catholic liturgies in error for including this doxology? Is it an error for us to include this doxology today? You may also notice that the English text of the doxology we use in the Roman Rite (“For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and forever”) is not even the standard “traditional” text used by most Protestants (“For thine is the kingdom and the power and glory forever”). What is more, it is not technically attached to the Our Father in the Roman Rite; it is, instead, our response to the priest’s embolism after the Our Father:

    Priest: “Deliver us, Lord, we pray … as we await the blessed hope and the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.”
    People: “For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever.”

  64. Athelstan says:

    Hello Scott,

    …but I’ve had people actually grab and try to pry my hands apart for hand holding.

    I have encountered that. Word to the wise: When visiting a new parish and there seems to be a likelihood of the usual touchy-feely customs, sit as far apart from everyone else is possible. At worst, consider standing in the back.

    Hello Anil,

    I think one would be hard pressed to find a single Protestant congregation that held hands during the Our Father.

    I have to agree: Serious evangelical or conservative mainline churches I have attended wouldn’t have anything to do with such emotiveness. And think of the old school Calvinist Protestants that carved this country out of raw wilderness generations ago – hard to imagine any of them putting up with hand-holding like this.

    It is, perhaps, unfair to blame this on Protestants. It seems to be more a consequence of modern therapeutic attitudes and general feminization of worship. Nonetheless, since this sort of thing reached full steam first in liberal mainline Protestant churches, this may not be a bad come-back. It forces them to think for a minute.

  65. @MichaelJ:

    There was also a time, earlier in the Church’s history, when certain heretics would ostensibly avoid the Chalice!

    From the article you linked to: “[T]he Hussite reformers emphasized frequent communion. Somewhere along the line they got the idea that the priests were depriving the laity of something important.” I have to admit, I chuckled. Could it be that Pope Pius X was, in fact, a Hussite sympathizer for promoting more frequent communion?

  66. @Athelstan:

    One Protestant man I know says he holds his hands in a posture resembling a man carrying a few logs of firewood (elbows close to the body, forearms pointed up at an angle, palms facing his chest). Of course, he’s not holding logs. He’s holding… nothing. And that is what the posture/gesture is meant to symbolize (to him, at least): that as he stands before God in prayer, he is virtually empty-handed, emphasizing his (spiritual) poverty and necessity for God’s graciousness. His hands are empty so that he may receive in gladness, and with undivided attention, whatever it is God will bestow on him.

  67. Athelstan says:

    Hello Jeffrey,

    I do not think hand-holding is a gesture that is redolent of “the current times”, nor a gesture that smacks of modernity.

    Well, I do.

    How common do you think mass hand-holding was in *any* Christian worship a century ago? Five centuries ago?

    I don’t chalk it up to Protestants so much as creeping feminization of worship. Part of parcel of Moral Therapeutic Deism.

  68. acardnal says:

    Jeffrey Pinyan, one of the main reasons in today’s times that bishops and the Holy See have put restrictions on receiving the Precious Blood is because of abuses. Until that is corrected through catechesis, preaching and due reverence, it should not return as a norm.

  69. Athelstan says:

    Hello Jeffrey,

    His hands are empty so that he may receive in gladness, and with undivided attention, whatever it is God will bestow on him.

    It seems excessively theatrical to me. But if that is all his gesture signifies, so be it. At least he’s not trying to hold *my* hand.

    From the article you linked to: “[T]he Hussite reformers emphasized frequent communion. Somewhere along the line they got the idea that the priests were depriving the laity of something important.” I have to admit, I chuckled. Could it be that Pope Pius X was, in fact, a Hussite sympathizer for promoting more frequent communion?

    This is what happens when a principle is taken to unreasonable extremes. Heresies usually start from the best of motives. For example: It’s one thing to argue that there’s nothing, doctrinally, to bar laity from reception under both kinds. It’s another to conclude that you must get more grace if you receive both. And that was (one of) the heresies of the Hussites.

  70. benedetta says:

    JeffreyPinyan, so your point with all of your comments is that so long as the gesture is inwardly meaningful to the one carrying it out, it matters not? And it need not be uniform, or reverent, or based in tradition or scripture? So long as the actor can make an interior advocacy that seems consistent with his prayer or sensibility? Do you mean this at the Mass, or at any time during personal prayer or devotion? It sounds lovely but not realistic given the present state of things. For instance, if I would like to touch my head to the floor before receiving communion at my local suburban ordinary form Mass, entirely as much as others like to raise their hands in the touchdown salute at the conclusion of the Our Father, for reasons I can satisfactorily explain to myself, how do suppose this will be received?

  71. acardnal says:

    Fr. Z addressed the subject of the concluding doxology after the Our Father in the Mass here:

    http://wdtprs.com/blog/2011/02/quaeritur-why-is-the-protestant-for-the-kingdom-the-power-the-glory-in-our-catholic-mass/

  72. acardnal says:

    Volanges, I don’t know how old you are but I was raised on the TLM/EF, transitioned to the OF and am now back to the EF as often as I can. I think Americans continued to kneel after receiving communion in the OF because that was the norm in the TLM, and it just carried over as the normative behavior because that is what one did after communing with Jesus in the Eucharist despite what the new GIRM said. Remember, in the TLM one receives our Lord kneeling so it makes sense to continue to kneel in thanksgiving after returning to the pew.

    Throughout the 1960s unapproved innovation and abuse became common in the celebration of the NO/OF Mass. When the NO/OF was promulgated in 1969 and became effective in 1970, Catholic laity and clerics continued the practice of kneeling after receiving the Eucharist as they did in the TLM/EF because for American Catholics kneeling is more reverential, and suitable for prayer and thanksgiving. That is what one did after communing with Jesus. So kneeling prevailed in the USA and the CDW respected that.

    As I said in previous posts, I can count on one hand the number of times I have attended a NO Mass in my 58 years where the congregation stood after receiving communion in the USA. And I don’t like it. I find it distracting, not conducive to reflective prayer and an ego-centric activity. I would not attend that parish. Practically speaking, standing until all the communicants have received and returned to their pews can be an inordinate period of time particularly in a large parish . . . uncomfortable and problematic, especially for the elderly and children. When I travel overseas (and I’ve been to about 100 countries) and standing is the custom – and usually there are no kneelers anyway – then I stand.

  73. JayDeee says:

    I get what Burke is saying. But, I joined the Church last Easter, and before that was a Presbyterian, and attended Baptist churches, for 40 years. Never did I see Lord’s Prayer hand-holding until I started visiting Catholic churches! In my parish now I see couples and families hand-holding, but many more people not doing so, whew.

  74. Whatever hand-holding may or may not be redolent of, all this discussion of lay posture and gestures is certainly redolent of the Novus Ordo. For, although customs have varied from time to time and from place to place, so far as I know the rubrics of the TLM have never prescribed the behavior of the laity at Mass–the attempted micromanagement of which evidently is strictly a Novus Ordo thing, and thus redolent only of recent impoverishment of the normative liturgy. That discussions of the Novus Ordo regularly descend to this level is redolent of …. well, just redolent. Hmm, redolent, to emit a fragrance, to smell. Somehow, I don’t think it’s an odor of sanctity.

  75. fvhale – Yes! My church does all four Masses (and my family attends 3 out of the 4.) We have EF and OF alike, but the EF has a Mass at 9:00 AM on Christmas Eve, which is the Mass of the Vigil of Christmas. Then we have the First Mass of Christmas, EF, at 8:00 PM, followed by an 11:00 PM OF (not sure what readings/prayers they use.) The EF Mass at Dawn is said at 7:00 AM, which in Indiana is pretty close to dawn in December. The Mass during the Day is said in EF at 9:30 AM.

  76. Scott W. says:

    Whatever hand-holding may or may not be redolent of, all this discussion of lay posture and gestures is certainly redolent of the Novus Ordo.

    You got me there. Whatever problems can be ascribed to the EF, the attitude of, “Well, there is no explicit rule against eating the daisies during Mass” isn’t one of them.

  77. OrthodoxChick says:

    Benedetta,

    The “touchdown salute” is extremely distracting, IMHO. It always ends up looking like the congregrants are trying to out-celebrate the celebrant.

    Would it be out of line to suggest a new car magnet slogan? Something like, “Take the ME out of THEE!”

  78. benedetta says:

    Speaking of gestures, here is a reprise from the Jester…note the pdf printout…

    http://www.splendoroftruth.com/curtjester/2012/12/liturgical-referees/

  79. benedetta says:

    Henry Edwards, it’s interesting that you say that. I have found, strangely enough, that the EF congregation is much less, I don’t know, tense? I don’t find lockstep uniformity in the congregation throughout the Mass. Some say the responses. Some sing them. And some don’t. No one, and certainly not myself, seems concerned to enforce some standard. It’s pretty peaceful by and large, I don’t know, serene, and quite understanding of perfectly human things people may and will do, even if on the unusual side. And I don’t find people getting stressed out about kids or babies or any number of things that seem to grip people already concerned at the ordinary form about lack of reverence. I agree, most of what can be done about the ordinary form is really up to the pastor, not the congregation. It’s not the congregation that detracts from the transcendent in the ordinary form. All of the things Burke encountered that he mentioned in his column can be righted by a pastor without too much of a difficulty. And one doesn’t read or hear about a ton of groundswell support like “We MUST hold hands and lift them aloft for the Our Father” or “We simply have to applaud the choir after communion”. None of these things are established custom and where they crop up, to the extent that they detract, they can be easily addressed.

    But it is very funny. All these years I have heard mockery and calumny about the TLM and those attached to it, “trad” this and that and the other thing, and then when I eventually get the gumption to check it out for myself and not believe the hype, and I find that, far from being even close to the stereotype, not only is it not like that at all, but, it’s the exact opposite. It’s a wonderful life.

  80. acardnal says:

    “I guess Mr. Burke is of the “Everything that is not explicitly permitted is forbidden” school, but it seems to me that if the USCCB had wanted to forbid the Orans Position (or hand holding) they would have said that in response to that question.”

    No, not really. The GIRM and the missal prescribe what is to occur not what is notto occur. It would take volumes to denote what is “not” to occur during Mass. One can only imagine. Instead, when questions arise, they are addressed to the appropriate authority for a resolution on a case by case basis.

  81. Charivari Rob says:

    @ fvhale: “Just wondering if anybody, anywhere, actually does the four Christmas Masses (or, say, two or three at the specified time) and four sets of readings in the books (something not in Burke’s article.”

    Yes.

    I grew up in a parish with sizable population and small church building. A regular Sunday was 11 Masses (2 Saturday evening and 9 Sunday).

    When I last lived there, Christmas was at least 13 Masses – one late afternoon/early evening, at least 3 evening Masses (simultaneous at three locations), Midnight Mass, and 8 of the Mass times of a regular Sunday (all but the 5 PM “last chance” Mass). Over the years, I attended enough of the options to see that we did indeed use Vigil, during Night, Dawn, and I’m pretty sure “during Day” as well.

  82. Bea says:

    I read the article a few days ago.
    What struck me as the saddest part, was that there were 2 attacks on posters.
    Posters that were defending the giving of Greater Glory and Honor to God in a properly celebrated Mass.
    And who were those that criticized the posters?
    They, sadly, were 2 priests who did not seem to realize what we were talking about.
    To his credit there was one priest who came to the defense.
    This is to cry for. What kind of training did they get?
    We must double our prayers for priests.
    My New Year’s resolutions?
    Go to confession more often.
    Pray more for our priests.

  83. Gratias says:

    In our parish the pastor consistently directs the congregation to holds hands during the Our Father. Sometimes to stand up during consecration/transubstantiation. Most of the extraordinary ministers and ushers remain standing after communion. But then, we get to sing Taste and See.

  84. fvhale: “Just wondering if anybody, anywhere, actually does the four Christmas Masses (or, say, two or three at the specified time) and four sets of readings in the books (something not in Burke’s article.”

    Yes, one or both of the two priests in my parish (with 8 Christmas Masses) does so every Christmas. This year, on priest celebrated SIX Christmas Masses–first English and then Spanish on Christmas evening, then concelebrated the midnight Mass, then two English and one Latin Mass on Christmas Day itself.

    I suspect that four or five Christmas Masses is the norm rather than the exception for priests in parishes with both OF and EF Masses.

  85. And, counting both text and language, I believe the priest I mentioned used SIX different sets of readings at his six Christmas Masses (though preached on only five of them). The vigil readings in both English and Spanish, the midnight Mass readings in English, the dawn Mass readings at his first Christmas morning Mass in English, the day Mass readings in English in his second Christmas morning Mass, then the day Mass readings in Latin. However, he finally caught a break when the day Mass readings are essentially the same in Latin and English (though the 1st reading selection from Hebrews as twice as many verses in the Latin).

  86. jhayes says:

    acardnal wrote “One can only imagine. Instead, when questions arise, they are addressed to the appropriate authority for a resolution on a case by case basis.”

    When the USCCB was asked about the Orans position during the Our Father, they answered this question:

    [Q] Is this practice permissible under the current rubrics, either as a private practice [or] something adopted by a particular parish as a communal gesture?

    This way:

    [A] No position is prescribed in the present Sacramentary for an assembly gesture during the Lord’s Prayer.

    I take “no position is prescribed” as meaning the choice of position is left to each person – Orans, hand-holding, other.

    I don’t see any basis for Mr. Burke’s statement that hand-holding is “forbidden” unless he meant only that you can’t be required to do it.

    See my earlier post for the full text from the USCCB and the link to their web page. In the portion I have repeated above, I have corrected, in brackets, one word which I think was a typo. I have also added the bracketed Q and A.

  87. MichaelJ says:

    Jeffrey,
    I seem to (once again) have failed to make an important distinction. I have no trouble reciting the doxology, and do not think that the words themselves are of protestant origin.

    What I have trouble with, and do think is protestant, is the attribution of these words – as spiritually uplifting as they may be – to Christ. His “dictation”, if you will, of the Lords Prayer did not include these words, but every protestant I know, and now many Catholics, think that He did.

    Granted, I have been to very few NO masses, but in those I have attended, there was never an embolisim between the conclusion of the Lords Prayer and recitation of the doxology – it was “part” of the Lords prayer.

  88. jhayes says:

    MichaelJ wrote “Granted, I have been to very few NO masses, but in those I have attended, there was never an embolisim between the conclusion of the Lords Prayer and recitation of the doxology – it was “part” of the Lords prayer.”

    I attend the NO Mass every week and have never been at one at which the embolism was not said before the doxology. It is required by the Roman Missal. It would be illicit to omit it.

  89. acardnal says:

    jhayes wrote, “[A] No position is prescribed in the present Sacramentary for an assembly gesture during the Lord’s Prayer.

    I take “no position is prescribed” as meaning the choice of position is left to each person – Orans, hand-holding, other.”

    I respectfully disagree with your conclusion. If what you said is the correct understanding, I would be happy to stand on my head during the Our Father and permit the priest to do a cartwheel after he consecrates the wine.

    As an aside, the USCCB has no authority to add, delete or modify anything in the Missal without the Holy See’s approval (mandatum).

  90. jhayes says:

    acardnal, GIRM 43 deals with when to stand, sit and kneel. It says we should be standing during the Our Father. My guess is that standing on your head doesn’t qualify.

    The GIRM doesn’t prescribe what to do with your hands at that time . That was the question the USCCB was asked.

  91. acardnal says:

    jhayes, you said, “I take “no position is prescribed” as meaning the choice of position is left to each person – Orans, hand-holding, other.”
    AND
    “The GIRM doesn’t prescribe what to do with your hands at that time .”

    What the USCCB said regarding the GIRM that “no position is prescribed” should not be interpreted to mean that one can do anything or that the “choice of position is left to each person”. That’s my point. I disagree with your conclusion.

  92. jhnewman says:

    Petros 92 says:

    3 January 2013 at 2:26 pm

    I say exactly this thing all the time! If I wanted to be a Protestant (for whatever reason…), I would simply BE ONE.

    I say it too, holds quite a bit of weight, seeing as I was one!

    I remember when our fair city was blessed with a visit of the relics of S Therese of Lisieux. The mass of thanksgiving really upset me, it was more “protestant” than anything I’d ever seen in the community I’d been brought up in. Liturgical abuse doesn’t shock me any more, but it still makes my blood boil.

    *offer it up*

  93. Supertradmum says:

    Hey, the church I have been attending as it is the only one close by has at least eight flat screens on the walls for daily powerpoints during the entire Mass except for the Consecration, with all the hymns, readings, responses, music imposing on one and the music is from cds. I go for Communion, but may walk three to four miles for a less abusive liturgy. Horrid.

  94. Charivari Rob says:

    Henry Edwards: “More specifically, I’ve heard the claim that, when the bishop’s conference was apparently about to pass a motion banning hand-holding in a USCCB meeting some years ago, at the last minute the objection was raised that it’s an Afro-American cultural thing, and so the motion was withdrawn–in effect, to avoid the appearance of discrimination against black Protestants?”

    Henry, I respect you. Your comments on this blog are among the most consistently thoughtful and intelligent. Please tell me what you meant because I don’t know what to make of it. Were you saying that the person who told you about the USCCB discussion didn’t know there’s such a thing as black Catholics – or did it mean something else entirely (maybe a comment on ecumenism) that went completely over my head?

  95. Charivari Rob says:

    “…Dan Burke… Here’s how it looks in a real dialogue: “Why don’t you hold hands at the Our Father?” “Because I am not a protestant.””

    Having mulled that over for a day or so, I’ve realized what bothers me about this (besides his shaky conclusion in equating this with Protestant identity).

    His example has only a very tenuous grip on being a dialogue. Yes, it has one person saying something to another, and then the second person replying to the first – technically, I guess we can call that a dialogue.

    Unfortunately, it’s not a conversation. It’s taking someone’s question (however sincere or open-minded it may or may not be) and replying with (at best) a punch line, or (at worst) a put-down.

  96. jhayes says:

    Henry Edwards, i think this may be what you are recalling. It is from an Adoremus Bulletin.

    “Furthermore, the bishops did not forbid hand-holding, either, even though the BCL originally suggested this in 1995. The reason? A bishop said that hand-holding was a common practice in African-American groups and to forbid it would be considered insensitiv

    http://www.adoremus.org/1103OransPosture.html

    I’ve always assumed that the issue had to do with African-American Catholics

  97. Supertradmum says:

    Afro-Americans at the TLM do not want to hold hands. Is not this entire discussion racist from the USCCB? I mean, people are way more individual regarding liturgy than their individual ethnic backgrounds. Is that not part of the reason for the beauty of the TLM? Plus, when in England, my parish is heavily attended by Africans from several countries and they do not hold hands at the Our Father at the NO.

    The only ones I have seen are one family of children and the parents encourage this. I think this was an odd dodge and typical avoidance of the greater good from the USCCB–that is, obedience to Rome.

  98. AnAmericanMother says:

    It isn’t really racism in the strict sense (as a Southerner who treats folk as individuals I have had my belly full of accusations of racism and try not to do it myself).
    What I think it is is the political liberal complete disconnect from reality, along with a good dose of opportunism.
    The bishop LIKES the idea of holding hands because it’s “cool.” So he’s searching around for a good excuse/reason. “African-American” is likewise “cool” although he doesn’t really know anything about the people themselves, has never lived or worked with any, they’re mildly exotic and a good excuse. So . . .

  99. Charivari Rob: “. . . in effect, to avoid the appearance of discrimination against black Protestants?”

    I think my vague memory should plead guilty to having supplied the word “Protestants” here, perhaps led astray by the title of this thread. Though it, and maybe me myself, might well have assumed that the “black groups” the good bishop referred to were largely Protestant, since only a small minority of black Christians in this country are Catholic. And I myself am perhaps in a small minority of Catholics who have actually experienced southern black Catholic worship (though without any observable hand-holding).