From a reader…
I have a serious issue. At my TLM a small group of people have started holding hands during the Pater Noster, they hold them while Father sings the prayer and raise them high during the “sed libera nos a malo.” Then they shake hands among themselves after the priest sings the peace greeting. I tried to talk to them but all they said was that there were no rubrics for lay people at the TLM and something about mutual enrichment. Am I making too much out of this by being upset? Should I go to a different Mass?
Ironically, the (then) Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship “repudiated” hand holding back in 1975. Yep. Cf. Notitiae 11 (1975) 226. Holding hands…
“must be repudiated . . . it is a liturgical gesture introduced spontaneously but on a personal initiative; it is not in the rubrics.” And anything not in the rubrics is unlawful, again because “no other person . . . may add . . . anything [to] the liturgy on his own authority”
It is amusing to think that that applies to the Novus Ordo but not to the Vetus Ordo.
You put your finger on a couple things, or they did: 1) there are no rubrics for people at the TLM and 2) something about mutual enrichment.
The mutual enrichment part crumbles a little because the practice of holding hands as a congregation is not to be invited or encouraged. It is to be repudiated in the Novus Ordo.
I don’t know your community, of course. However, I suspect that these are folks who have found their way to the TLM after having been a liberal-leaning parish where hand-holding and so forth is the custom. It is probably what they know. Not my cup of Mystic Monk, but it is theirs. Shaking hands. Definitely not my thing. But it is what they know.
If that is the case, it is terrific that they are at your place’s TLM!
They are finding their way to a richer experience!
That’s wonderful, isn’t it?
Give them some time. They may have to acclimatize.
I am reminded of the curmudgeon character Clint Eastwood plays in Grand Torino. He is really put off by those weird Hmong people who moved in next door. He and they eventually develop rather grudging mutual respect, but it takes a while and it ain’t easy.
Maybe the best approach is just to smile to yourself, say “They’ll get it eventually!”, and pay attention to your own full, conscious and active reception of the priest saying the Pater Noster.
I’ve been writing for a long time about the demographic sinkhole opening up under the Church here. The fact is that lots of “nones” will stop even pretending to embrace the family religion. Also, the inexorable movement of time is applying the “biological solution” to us all. We will lose a lot of seasoned Catholics and, with them, their financial support. Their children are already going and gone. Corona lockdown melodrama, COVID Theater, has accelerated the opening of the sinkhole. I suspect that quite a few people who barely went to church will disappear pretty much for good.
As the sinkhole widens, two main groups will stay strong, those who want Tradition and also those who converts from an evangelical background and some charismatics with sound devotions.
These groups will find each other.
There will be some friction points along the way, but they will begin to integrate.
That’ll be something to see.
It could be that you are witnessing something of this mutual discovery and friction.
Think about it: Is there anything wrong with people holding hands during the Our Father? Of course not. People should not be brow-beaten into doing it, or exhorted to. People have the right to be left alone at Mass and not hold some else’s hand. But if people in a household who love each other are moved to hold hands during the Pater Noster of the Traditional Latin Mass and then raise them as if in victory and praise at the phrase: libera nos a malo… deliver us from evil… is that really such a bad thing?
I have in mind the psalm priests are to recite when they incense the altar at the offertory of the Traditional Mass:
Let my prayer, O Lord, be directed as incense in Thy sight: the lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice. Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth, and a door round about my lips. May my heart not incline to evil words, to make excuses for sins.
May the Lord enkindle within us the fire of His love, and the flame of everlasting charity. Amen.
There is a strong streak in US trads, I surmise, a desire for order. We like to have things be tidy and predictable. For some people the idea that others are not kneeling at the right time (even though these “rubrics” are rather arbitrary for the congregation and have come to be custom) gives some people the shivers. We have to relax a little. That doesn’t mean chaos. That might mean not worrying if someone is doing something a little different.We are looking at a horizon that portends some real changes. We are going to have to be flexible and agile. We are going to have to learn – different groups of committed Catholics having different styles and emphases – to improvise, adapt and overcome what we face on that horizon, what we face from that yawning sink hole.
I’ve gone from “sink hole” imagery to “horizon” imagery. Sorry. I think you get my meaning.
Oh… about that Grand Torino analogy. It just occurred to me that the end isn’t the very best for your scenario and that the Clint Eastwood character did not take the priest’s advice.
So… ignore that part.