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Wednesday, November 02, 2005


Luke Perez

Wow, I never knew this was such a hot issue until now. At 25, the new order of the mass was all I have ever know. That was until I started going to the Tridentine Rite service at a local parish where I am attending school. I am originally from Southern California and have never been to a Mass where hand holding didn't take place but in my travels around the U.S. and the world I have noticed that it is not universal. All this leads me to several points.

1. Holding hands during Mass, and likewise shaking hands before it begins, is fine and wonderful provided that it compliment the service. I agree that when I see people stretching like puddy to hold hands with someone across the isle is a distraction, but holding hands and singing, chanting, or speaking the 'Our Father' as a community can be a very powerful thing.

2. It also seems to me that there are two distinct concepts that are being discussed here. Mass as reverence and inter-reflection on the mystery of Christ's Sacrifice and Mass as a celebration of Chirst reborn and sins forgiving. Both are valid and neither takes away from the significance of the Eucharistic.

3. Part of that difference seems to be indicative of the difference between the old and new rite of the Mass. I have only recently found the old rite and I am still trying to decide which I prefer as an individual. Still, all the above mentioned points revolve around one central idea:

The Mass is a community event. It may be true that noone except the Priest is required to be there, however, it clearly is intended, as it always has been, to be an expierence shared with all. That's why we have it in the first place. Otherwise, why go? Whether you hold someone's hand or not is irrelevant. Do it if it's the tradition at your parish or don't, so long as you do it in reverence to the idea that Christ came for all of us.

In Christ,

Luke Perez

Columbus, OH (OSU)

Ruth Anne

Holding hands is meant to be a sign of unity, but it is a false sign. The true sign of unity is Communion. I used to be a hand-holder and now I'm not.


If you don't like to hold hands, then don't. Your reaction to this is as distracting to me as my holding hands are to you. Could you not be a bit more accomodating and welcoming. This is a celebration of a parish family, what's your problem.

Mitchell Hadley

You know, the only problem with this discussion is that, as someone above pointed out, hand-holding during the Our Father is not permitted. I know that it may be one of the milder liturgical abuses, and that just because it's not permitted doesn't mean that it doesn't happen, but for those who really, really like it: you might want to at least make some effort to follow the rubrics, or understand why they are the way they are.

As mentioned in the FAQ on EWTN:

"1) It is an inappropriate 'sign,' since Communion is the sign of intimacy. Thus, a gesture of intimacy is introduced both before the sign of reconciliation (the Sign of Peace), but more importantly, before Holy Communion, the sacramental sign of communion/intimacy within the People of God.

"2) It is introduced on personal initiative. The Holy See has authority over the liturgy according to Vatican II's 'Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy' #22 and canon 838 of the Code of Canon Law."

I understand what some of the proponents of hand-holding are saying, even though I personally disagree with them. But the bottom line is that you can't have a Mass that only suits your own personal preferences. The rubrics of the Mass are layed out in black-and-white; there should be little disagreement over what they say.

Whether we're talking about a reverent Novus Ordo or an Indult Tridentine, we have been given a great gift by the Church: the greatest prayer of them all, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. It's the one outlined in the GIRM. More of our parishes ought to try it sometime.

Why do some of you, say, come on and hold hands, be more accomodating, be more loving, etc. It is not love to disobey. And holding hands at the Our Father is disobedience to the rubrics. at this point.

Paul Ledbetter

I am also not a "hand holder"...I usually keep my hands folded, and eyes closed. It is not supposed to be done, but even in Archbishop Chaput's diocese, it is rampant.


I am so glad that I am no longer Catholic and don't have to deal with these silly arguments anymomre.

Instead of arguing over whether or not the Mass should include a sign of community, why don't you argue over how to actually achieve community in your parish?

And get off your high horse already. If Jesus can submit to a false sentence and cruel punishment he didn't deserve--all without saying a word in protest--then maybe you can put up with holding someone's "yucky" hand for a few minutes.

Blame Hugh Hewitt for me coming here, and now I'm gone. If you don't like this comment then examine your heart and check for pride.

Be wise and accept reproof.


I'm another one who got here via the Hugh Hewitt link.

It's so nice to find that there are other Catholics who don't like some of the modern, uh, shall we say, "innovations" in the Mass.

The hand-holding, the upraised palms, a round of applause at least once during almost every Mass . . . ugh. I could go on (and on, and on), but then this would become a rant.

We aren't Protestants. If I wanted a hand-holding, feel-good community celebration, I'd go to one of those non-denominational community churches. When I go to Mass, I don't want a community celebration; I want a Roman Catholic ceremony.


I once received an elbow to my arm from and elderly gentleman parishoner for not noticing and holding his outstretched hand while I was praying the Lord's prayer with my hands together, my eyes closed and my head down. Subsequently, at the sign of peace this same gentleman frowned at me and turned his back refusing to shake my hand. Go figure....dominus vobiscum to him.

Mark McHugh

I too feel awful complaining, but the hand holding, pre-mass chatter, post mass clapping for the choir, gender-neutral wording make it very diffcult for me to concentrate on and participate on the mass.

Additionally, almost everything is now sung from start to finish. These are not simple tunes and they change from week to week. It seems like the choir is "performing" every week, not adding to the mass. I feel like I'm at a performance of "Jesus Christ, Superstar" or omething. Again, it makes it very difficult to concentrate and participate.

Little Tujunga

Our parish dropped the hand holding a year or two ago with the GRIM revisions, and I am fine with this, I felt it was a little forced. I do hold hands with my wife and kids during the Our Father as sign of unity when I am with my family. Otherwise I generally don't as it is a distraction for me.
I understand the sign of peace to be a chance to let go of any conflicts you have with people before recieiving Communion. So I shake hands with, and wish peace for my immediate neighbors at Mass, as a sort of stand in for those not there that I need to reconcile with. I find this to be very much in the spirit of Mass. I find the extensive handshakes, walking done the aisles and reaching across pews to be very distracting.

Wayne Wolfenbarger

Recently my Parish held a re-indoctrination on the rite of the Mass. Hand holding was specifically discussed and eliminated. I personally hold hands with my children, however I do not with my neighbors. The next topic should discuss the correct procedure for receiving Holy Communion. God Bless.

Carl W.


It is just this simple. Actually read two documents and receive answers to your concerns. The first is the GIRM. It is a short read and can be found on the web. Simply stated, the Orens position by the laity during the Our Father is not instructed per the GIRM. There is only one mention of the Orens position and it is for the presider only. Therefore, its introduction - like hand holding - is an experiment. If you research it further, the USCCB met and voted the experiment down. It is a few liberal-leaning bishops under the influence of very liberal liturgists ramming this experiment down our throats as if it were explicitly instructed by the GIRM. Christ chose the image of Good Shepard, so let's pray for all the sheep - uninformed as well as informed.

The second read is the Catechism. So many of the above responses show a shameful, yet typical lack of knowledge so readily attainable. Some show that they have learned well, or done their homework. Out of concern for our relationship with God and the Church we must take the responsibility to grow in knowledge as well as faith.

Please do some simple research before you express your opinions. For your own sake as well as the love of the Church founded by Christ and placed in our care. We are the Church and we all have different roles to carry out. Growth in faith and knowledge give us the wisdom to understand and fully appreciate the grace of obedience to authoritative teaching.

If you want to learn even more, read the papal letters and encyclicals. There is so much authoritative teaching one can readily and easily access.

Sincerely in grace and peace,


William U.

I also am more distracted by every mass having to be "presented" by the choir. I am more in tune with how much I hate the music I'm being forced to participate with than why I'm there in the first place. The hand holding and community greeting are just more signs that we all have our eye off our purpose of attending-to worship.


What the devil are we saying the protestant doxology after the Lord's Prayer for? Even Luther had the good sense to remove it from his thirteenth or fourteenth revision of the Gospels of Jesus Christ.

The only answer to this nonsense (which is, I suppose self-evident) is the return of the "Mass" -- the Tridentine Latin Mass -- in place of the abomination called "The Liturgy" or in some places the "Hey! Let's Get Together!"

ray martin

re: hand holding
i've never done it and real simple to avoid. i tell people the truth.
"please don't be offended, i am not a hand-holder - i don't even hold my wife's hand at mass"

Claude Maurer

I like holding hands during the Our Farther. I like singing the Our Father. I don't force any one around me to hold hands with me. I let people pray as they want. I want the same thing from them. I like english rather than latin. But true sometimes I don't like my me-and- Jesus thing interupted either.


As a hand holder and a choir member it's good for me to be reminded that just because I like it doesn't make in right or acceptable to everyone. That issue of humility which we all could use a dose of.

Matt Maynard

Why are you a stranger to your fellow church-goers?

Because, Matt, Jesus told us to. See, Matthew 6:5 - 6:8

"And when ye pray, you shall not be as the hypocrites, that love to stand and pray in the synagogues and corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men: Amen I say to you, they have received their reward.

"But thou when thou shalt pray, enter into thy chamber, and having shut the door, pray to thy Father in secret, and thy father who seeth in secret will repay thee.

"And when you are praying, speak not much, as the heathens. For they think that in their much speaking they may be heard.

"Be not you therefore like to them for your Father knoweth what is needful for you, before you ask him."

M. V. Smith

"Please do some simple research before you express your opinions."

Screw that idea, Carl. I got my opinions the hard way, through experience. I don't need any snotty lectures before I express them, either.

The rule is simple: When in the presence of Catholics, keep your hands to yourself.


I had forgotten how antiseptic and ritualistic the mass is until reminded by your comments on hand holding. If you can't even hold hands, how are you going to do this?

"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers."1 John 3:16

But then, if I remember correctly, scripture doesn't mean much in the Catholic church. I'm glad I have a church full of brethren that would even lay their lives down for me.



I'm from the Hugh Hewitt link as well. Love your site. I recently returned to a local Catholic church after years of watching my wife's fellow Methodists clap, dance, hug, sing songs written for 2nd graders, applaud after video presentations, etc.

Anyway...I was uncomfortable with the handshaking in the Catholic church even as a teenager in the 70's and was unpleasantly surprised to see hand-holding during the Lord's Prayer when I returned periodically in the 90s. Hasn't gone away yet, either.

You simply cannot force community feelings on people with symbolic gestures, and holding hands is pure symbolism. And for pity's sake, if you have a cold, please abstain. Not that I'm a microbe-phobe, but even as a little kid my mother warned me away from kissing the crucifix during whatever holiday observance that was.

As for MV Smith, I may lay down my life for all kinds of brothers and non-brothers but since I'm not Jesus and not able to cure influenza and head colds by a laying on of the hands, why should I walk around spreading disease in the cause of phony symbolism? And why do I have to hold your hand during the Lord's Prayer in preparation for laying down my life?

You might argue that God wants introverts like me to come out of our shells and be more involved in the community of extroverts. He may also want hand-grabbing extroverts to back off just a tad.


oops, sorry Mr. Smith. That was intended for AlsoaFormerCatholic.

I'm such a noob.


My kids already give me enough colds and flus.
Why do I have to get other people's colds and flus?

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