1. When a deacon or a priest reads the Gospel at Mass, neither are to extend their arms at “The Lord Be With You. Why?
2. When the priest prays the concluding oration of the Universal Prayer, does he use the Oran’s position with his arms or does he keep his hands together?
The priest does not extend his arms at any point in the Roman Rite. In pre-Tridentine Uses (e.g. Sarum, Dominican, Norbertine) he does so briefly at the prayer 'Unde et memores' after the Consecration.
In the Novus Ordo the priest is only to extend his hands, not his arms (the same as in the Roman rite) and does so at the orations, including that at the end of the Prayer of the faithful. So please, no 'orans' position at any time. It's vulgar exhibitionism, and is not in the rubrics.
The deacon has his hands joined when he says 'Dominus vobiscum'. Mgr Bruce Harbert (former Executive Director of ICEL) has suggested that he is saying 'The Lord is with you'. The Latin has no verb, so can be indicative or subjunctive; joined hands imply the former, extended hands the latter.
I had a left-wing loon pastor who always said "The Lord is with you" throughout the Mass. It was very annoying.
Just how common is the 'beach ball' posture in N.America? I've not seen it over here, although I've noticed people (usually women) pray the Our Father with palms held uppermost at waist level, as if they were carrying a large imaginary parcel. Perhaps they are copying the Moslems who pray this way.
Holding hands at the Our Father is (Gott sei Dank) not common practice over here. The idea of the people reciting the Pater Noster with the priest is a recent innovation (1958 at Low Mass, although not generally adopted; 1964 at Sung Mass) and I believe it to be an anomaly. The chant for the Pater Noster is one of the oldest to have come down to us, and it is clear from the music that 'sed libera nos a malo' is a response to 'et ne nos inducas in tentationem'.
Unfortunately the “beach ball” posture (I’m gonna steal that) is ubiquitous in NO parishes. It starts about waist high then is liften heavenward for the toss over to the little doxology. That is why I thought for years that phrase was a Protestant influence because the local Protestants included it seamlessly with the Pater Noster. Holding hands is also universal in NO parishes although it seems to be waning and people will respect you if you don’t offer your hand. Although I have had people grab and pull my hand open as if we were crossing a busy street.
When Vatican II smushed all the old lay devotional practices, people invented new ones.
Because, you know, holding hands during the Lord's Prayer is surely more reverent than gazing at the elevated host, crossing yourself, and declaring, "My Lord and my God!"
I can speak for my territorial Novus Ordo parish. The former pastor hectored people into holding hands at the Pater and demanded they stretch across the aisles to grab those on the other side. How caring, how tender, how genuine. I, of course, refused. When he left most folks stopped this practice but then many of the resident loons assumed the orans position. When I do go to other Novus Ordo parishes I do notice some hand holding and some orans, but the majority there do not persist in either of these phony practices.
I think the extension of hands during the Our Father came out of the Catholic Charismatic movement. I can recall it was very common at Charismatic masses, as was the holding of hands during the Our Father. Everyone assembled would hold hands, extending across the aisles. If not, individuals raised their arms to waist level, palms upward.
That practice (the holding of hands during the Our Father) seemed to come from the practice of holding hands at the closing of a Charismatic prayer meeting. When the meeting was over, everyone would stand and join hands and recite the Our Father. They would add "For the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory are Yours, now and forever. Amen.", extending their joined hands upward for that part. Then when the prayer was done (meeting over) there were hugs all around. At a Charismatic mass, the hugging, kissing, and shaking of hands all around happened during the "kiss of peace."
At a prayer meeting people held their hands at waist level, palms upward when praising God in "tongues" (glossolalia). So I think that posture carried over Mass when addressing the Father in prayer at the Our Father.
Unfortunately, I think when Charismatic people went to Mass at their own parishes they carried over these gestures. If a person was alone they raised their arms (to waist level, extended upward) in "praise" during the Our Father, or held hands if with family or Charismatic others, and then I think people who saw them thought, "Oh, did they (clergy) change something AGAIN and I missed it? Are we supposed to extend our arms during this part? Are we supposed to hold hands now?" and so they just did it too.
I see a lot less of it than I used to now that the Charismatic movement has fizzled out.
We all should consider ourselves lucky the Charismatic custom of the congregation praising God aloud in tongues at the consecration (sometimes lasting 5 minutes or more!) didn't carry over to Sunday mass. :-)
I know from personal experience that there was a lot of sexual corruption in the charismatic movement, including a founder of the movement.
Handholding & orans position for the Our Father still ubiquitous in most churches of my diocese (Rochester, NY). Gives me the creeps: as my wife's uncle used to say, "I'm always afraid someone will lift my wallet."
TJM re the sexual corruption in the Charismatic movement:
I never saw any, but I was not connected to anyone at those higher levels. After a while I began to think many people were seeking some sort of mystical insider experiences with God, and much of the behavior was just emotionalism and not really authentic movement by the Holy Spirit. I wondered where the "quiet" contemplation was, the real listening to God in silence.
I didn't find it there, and when the group at my parish broke up, I didn't go looking for another.
If I say too much here, the identity of the individuals would be known. FYI, the movement was investigated by the Vatican and it seemed the movement lost steam after that.
I have vast experience with the Charismatic Movement having experienced it in Augusta as a layman. There is a large Covenant Community there and in the early 1970's when it formed, it was similar to the one in Washington, DC that eventually was investigated by the Vatican. All these covenant communities have a loose confederation.
Many reforms have taken place over the years and the Vatican insisted that bishops take more oversight over them for a whole host of issues to include spiritual abuse that also opens the door to sexual abuse especially of vulnerable adults.
Three of the most troubling aspects of these communities are their Protestant Pentecostalism foundation as it concerns Scripture and ecclesiology.
This leads to a kind of quasi-non-denominationalism with a Catholic veneer.
They practice deliverance and over the years have actually performed exorcisms using prayers that are only for a qualified priest or bishop to use. This is fraught with spiritual abuse, to say the least, especially if the one exorcising or being exorcised has mental issues.
The most dangerous aspect of their spirituality is what is called "headship and submission" where lay people have spiritual authority over other lay people in the community. Many have been damaged by this.
When mere human beings, be they laity in a a cult like fashion or clergy who form a cult of the personality over the laity, sexual abuse is quite possible, especially with younger people who think these people can do no wrong and do not recognize manipulation.
A well known Jesuit, defrocked, put in jail and now dead and once the spiritual director of Mother Teresa and from the Chicago Province (can remember his name) had ties to this community in Augusta and because of the cult like status accorded him he was able to take advantage of some teenagers/men there.
These cult-like characters like the ones in South America recently defrocked, the founder of the Legionaries of Christ are pathological and use good to manipulate and control and abuse.
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