Thanks to the Charismatic “Renewal,” one of the many debates over liturgy is the exact posture of the people during the “Our Father.” Some argue for the orans posture, raising hands. Others advocate the Protestant practice of holding hands. Others hold hands, then raise them at “for the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and forever” (or, “for thine is the kingdom . . . ” which of course is wrong for multiple reasons).
There are no official liturgical norms, one way or the other. Some argue that, in general, “If it’s not in the norms, don’t do it,” while others say, “It’s not in the norms, so we can make up our own rules.”
And this, in most official documents and “Q&A’s,” is the fundamental argument *against* such postures: local parishes imposing innovations on parishioners. If everyone is holding hands as a “sign of unity,” then the person who does not choose to join hands, for whever reason, becomes labelled “disruptive” for something that has nothing to do with liturgical norms.
On a similar note, the argument is that the hand holding signifies unity, but Communion is the real “sign” of our unity, and not just a sign, but the reality of it. The non-Catholics, divorces and Democrats in the congregation cannot show their unity by going to Communion, but they can stand there and join hands as if they *are* in union with the Church. And with the Sign of Peace following shortly thereafter, the gesture is redundant.
Meanwhile, I’ve always heard that the orans posture was wrong, because it’s adopting the posture of the priest, but apparently, the orans posture has been approved by the Vatican for some countries, including Italy. The usual argument is that it “usurps” the posture of the priest, but, since this is a community prayer and not a priestly prayer, that’s not an issue.
Here’s an interesting discussion of the subject with some old Vatican citations, saying that it’s a litugical abuse.
I thought I was gonna blog about a clear liturgical abuse, and now I’m confused.