From a reader…
I have seen a certain posture at Mass:
Why do you think people do this? Why do they choose this non-Roman posture instead of the orans posture?
And what posture should I do at home? Just stand but with hands doing nothing? and at Mass? Do nothing with the arms and hands?
That photo, in the email, is from Amerika.
I suppose we might call that “I’m So Pious” posture or “Sloppy Orans”.
You will see this more in some places than others, probably because there were liberal priests and/or “liturgists” who told them that this was more meaningful than folded hands because it was more … well… Protestant.
There could also be a measure of imitation of the priest at the altar (versus populum, of course). Priests are required to use the orans posture at certain times during sacred liturgical worship. Lay people who are present are not.
To be clear, there are no rubrics for lay people concerning what they do with their hands during Mass… with the exception of the reception of Communion (quod Deus avertat!) on the hand.
Neither this nor the hand-holding things (blech) during the Our Father are prescribed.
There is a little more to be said about Sloppy Orans, however.
Back in 1997 the Holy See’s Pontifical Council for the Laity issued a document entitled Instruction On Certain Questions Regarding the Collaboration of the Non-Ordained Faithful in the Sacred Ministry of Priests.
§ 1. Liturgical actions must always clearly manifest the unity of the People of God as a structured communion.(89) Thus there exists a close link between the ordered exercise of liturgical action and the reflection in the liturgy of the Church’s structured nature.
This happens when all participants, with faith and devotion, discharge those roles proper to them.
§ 2. To promote the proper identity (of various roles) in this area, those abuses which are contrary to the provisions of canon 907 are to be eradicated. In eucharistic celebrations deacons and non-ordained members of the faithful may not pronounce prayers — e.g. especially the eucharistic prayer, with its concluding doxology — or any other parts of the liturgy reserved to the celebrant priest. Neither may deacons or non-ordained members of the faithful use gestures or actions which are proper to the same priest celebrant. It is a grave abuse for any member of the non-ordained faithful to “quasi preside” at the Mass while leaving only that minimal participation to the priest which is necessary to secure validity.
Hence, Sloppy Orans shouldn’t be used. As a matter of fact, it should be discouraged through proper liturgical catechesis.