Wednesday, May 18, 2011


In the Catholic Mass there are things that we do in common and then there is some room for personal piety that is, well, personal.

When I was a child, many people after receiving Holy Communion would bury their heads in their hands or even put their forehead to the top of the pew. I thought they were upset or something, until my father told me that is the way they chose to pray and give thanks to God, but not everyone has to do it that way.

We had our First Holy Communion this past Sunday. In our rehearsal, I made sure to tell the children that before they receive Holy Communion, they should bow to the host as this is prescribed as the reverence that is shown prior to receiving Holy Communion in the United States.

However, we also have a custom in our parish and in many other places of making the sign of the cross after receiving Holy Communion.

So our children very dutifully bowed before receiving and made the sign of the cross afterward, one officially prescribed rubric, another a parish custom.

How much personal adaptation should we allow the laity at Mass:
holding hands in prayer?
Raising hands as charismatics do?
standing for the Eucharistic prayer?

What da ya think?


Templar said...

A bow is such a poor replacement for kneeling. Shame we can't teach them how to properly receive versus what the indult permits. As for hand holding and Orans praying, most do it because they don't know any better. If the Church would teach on it the Laity will follow except for the die hard Libs.

Marc said...

[I will answer these questions in a sarcastic manner, but I am completely serious about my content here.]

@SouthernOrders asked:

How much personal adaptation should we allow the laity at Mass:

holding hands in prayer?

Raising hands as charismatics do? NO!

standing for the Eucharistic prayer? NO!

What da ya think? Please, please, please explain to people (1) why we do NOT hold hands during the Our Father, and (2) why lay people do not pray in the orans position during the Liturgy.

I think I'll come into the Church and lie prostrate before entering my pew. That's the way I want to "express myself" during the Liturgy (and of course, the Liturgy is all about me). That is roughly the same as praying in the orans position.

For the love of God (literally): Please make it stop!

Seriously, though, these people get to invent things not in the rubrics by holding hands and praying with their hands in the priest's position. Yet, we cannot put kneelers out so people can more readily receive our Lord kneeling. You know, in the manner that is the norm for the universal Church... the manner that shows the most respect to God.

Who are we catering to, here? What a sad commentary on the state of the Liturgy that it is more "normal" to hold hands (not a recognized norm in the GIRM) than to receive Communion kneeling (or at least on the tongue) (both recognized norms).

Of course, when you have priests who refuse to simply say the black and do the red, is it any wonder the laity feel like they can make it up as they go?

Anonymous said...

I would like to know how the children were trained to receive:




Were they told that the norm for the Church is on the tongue? Were they told that receiving in the hand is because of an indult and that the indult could be revoked at any time?

Not to blame you Fr. Mac, but I think I can guess the answer.

Gene said...

Wow! Marc is right on! The oracular gesture is a Priestly gesture. Some consider it a liturgical abuse for laity to raise their hands in this oracular gesture. When I see people raising their hands like charismatics and holding hands during prayer, it makes me want to throw some snakes out in the Church to make them feel more at home...

People have to be led; they have to be instructed. There are too many passive Priests who go along to get along. Fr. is by no means passive, but he considers well everything he says or does, which is why he is wiser than me. I wish he would take a knotted rope and go whacking people who do some of this stuff..but, then, that is just me...LOL!

Anonymous said...

Since bowing before the Host is prescribed, soes that mean that one should not genuflect before the Host instead?

Anonymous said...

I have seen this as a quote from B XVI but cannot confirm it: “Wherever applause breaks out in the liturgy because of some human achievement, it is a sure sign that the essence of liturgy has totally disappeared and been replaced by a kind of religious entertainment. Such attraction fades quickly - it cannot compete in the market of leisure pursuits, incorporating as it increasingly does various forms of religious titillation.”

I hope he did say, because I agree. Any outward gesture that removes the focus of another person from God and the focus of the mass should be avoided, IMO. The gestures you ask about, Father, I respectfully place in that category.


Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

They all received by intinction, thus by the tongue except for one who received a non-intincted host in the hand. At the rehearsal they were taught that it is permissible to receive a host in the hand and the proper way for doing it was taught to them. I can't deny something that norms allow, except it is not allowed for intinction.

R. E. Ality said...

Hey Marc. You make it so easy. All I have to add is Amen!

As for the Charismatic hands in the air, have you noticed that the really worthy or devout also raise up and then bounce down on their heels?

In the same vein, are Priests permitted or encouraged by the rules to stand down at our level like a performer to deliver their homily?

After Communion shouldn't there be a time of silence while Jesus remains physically within us?

Anonymous said...

Thanks Fr. Mac. I know you can't deny something that the norms allow. I just wanted to know if they were taught that the ONLY way to receive was in the hand, because DRE's love pushing that lie.

Anonymous said...

I can't stand the raising of hands during the Our Father, plus most of the people doing it are doing it half-heartedly, as if they're following along what everyone else is doing but are too shy to REALLY lift them up.
Hand-Holding...where did THAT come from? I just don't get it. Plus, it's not as if that has translated into more 'connectivity' with each other outside of Mass. It's an intrusion of personal space that is in actulity pretending to unite the members of the Body of Christ.

Most of us sheep are as dumb as sheep and just do what everyone else does.
Most of us haven't paid attention enough to learn when one is supposed to sit, stand ,kneel etc. We just do what the crowd does.
If one observes most others receiving in the hand, then that's what one does.

timh said...

Please, no. Orans is for the ordained priest, and that with the piece of string technique; folded hands are for the faithful in the pews.
Please, no.

Anonymous said...

So where are the Religious Educators on this? It seems that most worthwhile institutions are destroyed by their schools and educators.


Gene said...

The "Religiouis Educators?" Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!! Probably out catching up on their latest "social justice" reading.

Anonymous said...

Pinan, if only that were the sole problem with our "Catholic" educators.