My Photo

Insight Scoop

Catholic World News Top Headlines (

The Curt Jester


Poor Box

Render Unto Us

Tip Jar
Blog powered by Typepad

« Planned Parenthood has a Prayer Breakfast! | Main | Pope Calls for Incentives for Large Families »

Wednesday, November 02, 2005



I have held the hands of hundreds of Christians while praying and have embraced as many in the past couple years. I shake hands frequently in my business. I haven't had a cold or flu for years. That is a phony excuse. Just wash your hands a few times a day and you cut your chances of getting sick by a great percentage.



Holding hands is "pure symbolism"? Can't have any of that in the Mass, can we?


Sure. As long as its at least as effective as "Hands Across America".


Isn't it interesting that several "former Catholics" have chimed in on this issue? They must be missing something in their lives. Wonder what it could be?

Oh, and put me down as a non-hand holder during the Lord's Prayer. What's next, snake handling?

A Current Catholic


I just stopped by here from a link at Hugh Hewitt's site wondering what he was talking about. Believe me, I would NEVER return to the Catholic church. So long.



Hey "AlsoaFormerCatholic," if that is your real name...can we get you to promise never to return to this blog? Now that would be something! The Church and this blog are better off without you.

A Current Catholic


No problem.

Although an aperiodic Mass-goer, I still consider myself to be a full-time Catholic. Also got here from the Hugh Hewitt link.
When I was stationed overseas years ago, we had a couple of Masses on the weekend schedule -- The regular ones at the main chapel (a giant Quonset hut, even in the early '80's) and the Saturday night mass (yes, I know that's not its proper name) up on Security Hill. The "regular" services were pretty good, but the Saturday night ones were especially good for me. Father Rocky would celebrate the Mass with our participation, but without singing songs and carrying signs. It was a very good Mass. Even without overt signs of affection and hale-fellow-well-met, I still felt part of the community.


Boy, former Catholics sure are angry. The hand holding, arm waving and greeting your neighbors before Mass are going strong in our parish. So is walking around to shake hands during the Sign of Peace and shaking hands on the way back from Communion. What all of that has to do with the Mass is beyond me. I especially like the sign of peace when the person behind us has been sneezing and sniffing throughout the service.


To all of the former Catholics who came to this site via Hugh Hewitt and have commented on hand-holding during Mass: Take a cue from Hugh. He is the polar opposite of you who spew anti-Catholic venom while wallowing in ignorance of what the One, True Church founded by Jesus Christ teaches. He is a "former" Catholic, who does not tolerate anti-Catholic blather from his listeners. He soundly squashed anyone who tried it, in particular, during the time between JP II's death and the selection of Pope Benedict XVI. My first experience listening to him was the day he interviewed students from Thomas Aquinas College about their great books program. Show me a Protestant tele or radio evangelist with the chutzpah to do the same. They are afraid to lose their flocks. As for hand holding: it is not in the rubrics. Fin y acabo. All the ecumenical dribble that liberal Catholics want to bring to the Mass is on its way out courtesy of Pope Benedict XVI.

What are you former Catholics so afraid of? That we may be right? Open your heart and come back.

I too am uncomfortable with the hand holding and sign of peace hand shake. I had to shake hands with these two young kids who had terrible colds and spent all the mass rubbing their noses and then coughing. The though of me then having to take communion in my hand which was now covered in cold germs-yuk!


Oh my.. with all the 'once' Catholics and their not so nice posts... makes me wonder why they even bothered to come in here..Ohter than perhaps to find a 'reason' to make them feel better for leaving the chruch in the first place..?? Come on left the chruch.. and now because there are some who don't like holding 'strangers' hands.. that gives you more reason to stay away?? I for one don't like the holding hands..nor do I like the constent 'chatter' in chruch before Mass begins.. I go there to pray..and its rather hard to pray when people all around you are talking.. Church is "GODS" house.. now weither or not you like to hold hands, or give the peace sign.. lets all remember where we are.. and give our Lord some repect, and those around us some as quite in Chruch.. pray.. and medatate..if you want to hold hands then hold hands.. if not then don't.. if you want to talk.. than GO OUT SIDE..the important thing here is to have your attention where it belongs.. and that is on GOD..and for those of you who left the Chruch.. and come in here being snide and rude.. maybe you should ask yourself the real reason for leaving..and then maybe you should ask the Lord for healing..and forgivness..


And those of us who have run people off with closed minded, culturally blinded, insular attitudes, rather than reaching out to others in the Love of Christ also need to examine our consciences and ask the Lord for healing and forgiveness as well. The furor about holding hands is a big argument about not much. The Missal neither allows it nor prohibits it. The Missal does allow for local customs and traditions of the people to be permitted. Each community has its own culture, that depends upon the composition of the community. The clergy permit the practice in some places, and have stopped the practice elsewhere. Is this really a issue that merits such divisiveness? If you don't want to participate, then don't. But please don't criticise a practice that others find a meaningful aid to worship.


Once again, this is more Protestant infiltration and innovation for that matter into the New Mass

Communion in the hand, eucharistic ministers, no more kneeling to receive Our Lord, dress as you are, head veils gone, singing like we are in a rock or opera house, hand holding, clapping and swaying, priest facing the people, the priest bowing to the PEOPLE and not the tabernacle, etc etc

And one wonders why there is little if no reverence and the belief in transubstantiation is gone? Lex Orandi Lex Credendi

Not talking about the validity, but the New Mass is detrimental to ones SPIRTUAL health. Find your nearest traditional mass where one worships GOD and not eachother

Phil Trevathan

As a recent Catholic convert (used to be non-denominational protestant), it saddens me to see the venom being thrown back and forth in this blog.

To you former Catholics who post angry messages: Please ask the Lord to heal your anger. Whoever hurt you, ask Him for the faith and the courage to forgive.

To you current Catholics who respond: Please refrain from spewing back angry retorts to the anti-Catholic posters. It only serves to harden their hearts further and attracts no one to the truth. Please, let none of us give anyone an occasion to stumble.

I consider myself a traditionally-oriented Catholic, in that I believe in following the teachings of the Magesterium and turn away from the voices of dissent and modernism that have creeped into the Church. I also relate to concerns over the modern Mass being too focused on "community" and not enough on our Lord Whom we are there to worship.

Some who are enriched by the more charasmatic-style worship may be thought of as extroverted contemplatives. Those of us who commune with our Lord through the Rosary, Eucharistic Adoration, and other private devotions may not be as far removed from some of the "hand-holders" as it might appear. The people who want to turn the Catholic Church into a community club focused on social justice aren't the only ones holding hands. I hope that, by the manner in which I interact with them at other times, they realize that my clutching my hands to my chest during the Our Father is not directed at them, but is a reflection of a vertical focus during worship.


This is the Lords prayer my sisters and brothers. We say the prayer and include give "us" our daily bread, and lead "us" not into temptation, but deliver "us" from evil. We are the body of Christ. If you dont want to hold hands- thats fine. But some do, and we must respect that as well

Ultimately, I love holding hands. It allows me to share the prayer with those to my left and right before I firmly focus on the body of christ. While I agree with a previous post in that stretching across the pews is really distracting, I dont see a problem taking a hand of a neighbor during the most awesome prayer. Mass is already reflective enough.

Also, the idea in part comes from the fact that in church there are thousands of Angels surrounding us, sitting next to us. Which is why people still do it, when there is no human to their left and right. Technically, there are angels holding our hands during the Lords prayer.
God Bless you all~


I don't understand where many of you are coming from in this blog. I loved holding hands in my church and now utterly miss it now that I'm going to one that is closer to wear I live (I live at college, so...). The fact that as a species we are literally the only species that can do this, speaks volumes of how God made us. To not hold hands makes me uncomfortable because it turns the worship away from the Family of God to our "personal relationship with God" and I don't think that's enough during Mass (the former being one of the many reasons I did not become protestant) . We are a church COMMUNITY, not individualistic private selves. We can pray without holding hands at every other time. But we are God's family and we should show it, too. That and opening your hands to receive another's hand is a symbol of trust, in my opinion. [Note: if I were saying this too you with my voice it would be in a very gentle voice, for those that may believe my voice would be harsh or seems harsh here.]

there's absolutely nothing wrong if you want or don't want and the priest isn't forcing you (and if he is, he's committing a crime against the norms of the CHURCH)

Anthony Buenaflor

I am a fervent catholic and i have no objections on people holding hands at mass. If we will ask Jesus Himself, I believe he would strongly encourage it. The problem with us Catholic is that we have no deep understanding of the mass itself. It is not the priest who is celebrating the mass, it us the people of God. Priests are just presiders ordained to preside over the eucharistic sacrifice. Mass is about unity in worship. How can we say we are good christians, if we deny our hands for others. Are we gonna die by holding the hands of our fellow brother or sister? Logically, holding hands during 'Our Father' is liturgically appropriate.


I don't think it is bad to hold hands during the Our Father but it just seems unnecessary. The prayer is between you and God. You shouldn't even be worrying about holding hands with the person next to you. Christ is right in front of your eyes on the altar! It's obvious that every bit of your focus should be on Him. It's like if Jesus was standing in front of you and you wanted to worship and praise him... o but wait... let me grab my neighbors hand and then I can worship. I just don't thinks it's the time to do that. It is about you having all focus on Jesus. Just celebrating the mass together is enough to show that we are all one body that makes up the church and this is why holding hands is just simply unnecessary.


At the church I used to attend everyone held hands while attempting to imitate the oren pose. I start out presbyterian, lost all faith and then through (insert long story) ended up Catholic. I was impressed by the consistence and history. I go to daily Mass at a local Monestary now. No one holds hands. I have been Catholic for less than a year. Could someone give and official URL with something diffinitive on this matter. I am an RCIA sponsor, at the church I initially attend, this year and need to know the correct answer on this issue.

Patrick I hate that hand holding stuff. I don't do it. I found this at the Catholic Answers website:


The current issue of the "Adoremus Bulletin" says this in response to a query from a priest in the Bronx:

"No gesture for the people during the Lord's Prayer is mentioned in the official documents. The late liturgist Fr. Robert Hovda promoted holding hands during this prayer, a practice he said originated in Alcoholics Anonymous. Some 'charismatic' groups took up the practice."

My long-time sense had been that hand-holding at the Our Father was an intrusion from charismaticism, but I had not been aware of the possible connection with AA. If this is the real origin of the practice, it makes it doubly odd: first, because hand-holding intrudes a false air of chumminess into the Mass (and undercuts the immediately-following sign of peace), and second, because modifications to liturgical rites ought to arise organically and not be borrowed from secular self-help groups.

Periodically, on "Catholic Answers Live" I am asked about hand-holding during Mass and explain that it is contrary to the rubrics. Usually I get follow-up e-mails from people who say, "But it's my favorite part of the Mass" or "We hold hands as a family, and it makes us feel closer."

About the latter I think, "It's good to feel close as a family, but you can hold hands at home or at the mall. The Mass has a formal structure that should be respected. That means you forgo certain things that you might do on the outside."

About the former comment I think, "If this is the high point of the Mass for you, you need to take Remedial Mass 101. The Mass is not a social event. It is the re-presentation of the sacrifice of Calvary, and it is the loftiest form of prayer. It should be attended with appropriate solemnity."

Scot Reyes

I enjoy the holding of hands when praying the Lords prayer during the Mass. My feeling is that we come together as a Catholic community. I grew up in Hawai'i where we pray this way together all the time. What's the big deal? I've spent the time reading most of the postings here and most of the people who complain about the holding of hands during the Lord's prayer sound like immature teenagers or college aged adults who aren't comfortable with their own skin. I understand people have a choice on how they choose to celebrate the Catholic Mass. Yet, it appears people are making such a big deal over holding hands with others in our Catholic and Universal community? Such a secular and American view point on celebrating the mass. What I mean by this is the American way and the secular way is considered "It's All about ME." Even in my faith, "My faith is all about me." This is far from what Christ wants from us. I'm getting a sense that as Catholic's we don't want to talk about or have a tendency of ignoring the idea about celebacy before marriage, but we'll complain to the high heavens about holding hand during mass, and give every excuse about why we're so uncomfortable in doing so.

Scot Reyes

Let's see? I think a lot of Catholic's forget that the Mass is a Celebration of Christ as Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Yes, it is a celebration. To not recognize it as so, limits the reasons we truly celebrate in the Mass. The Mass should never be an individual experience. The Mass is where Christ calls us to express, praise, and pray as God's Universal community. Lot's of American Catholic's have a difficulty getting past the individual aspects of their Catholic Faith which should be a Universal expression. Catholics in places such as Hawai'i, Polynesia, Africa, and South America don't have a problem with openly celebrating their Catholic traditions with the holding of hands. There are Catholics all over the world who walk miles each week to attend Mass just to hold the hands of their brothers and sisters in Christ during the Catholic celebration of Mass. However, we American Catholics with our SUV's have to spend half the morning doing our hair and dressing up for mass, which by way of SUV is about 10 minutes. Plus, we don't even recognize the Mass as a celebration but we don't really celebrate together, except for some prescribed movements authorized by the Vatican.
Half of us either leave early before the our priest processes, or half of us don't even great or acknowledge our fellow parishioners during the mass which includes the the sign of peace. Yet, there are those of us who will take 15-20 minutes to complain and gripe about the simple act of hold another parishioners hand during the mass.


Scott Reyes,

If hand-holding is of such importance for the purpose of demonstrating the communitarian aspect of the Mass, then, perhaps, you can cite something from the GIRM, or other Church documents, which instructs the faithful to hold hands during the Our Father.

Isn't it a shame? Throughout the centuries the Church had it all wrong! It wasn't until recent decades that we found out we weren't worshiping as a community because we failed to form a human chain during The Lord's Prayer!

The comments to this entry are closed.

Pope Benedict XVI Homilies & Statements

Codex of Catholic Blogs

Orthodox Blogs

Blogs From People We Wish Were Catholic