Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Our Father Who art holding hands

Karl Keating takes up the origin of the practice of the congregation holding hands during the Lord's Prayer at Mass.
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.

(via Ten Reasons)

Archbishop Weakland took up this topic in his January 7, 2000 letter to the priests of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

Holding hands is another matter. This is not a rubric approved by either the local bishop, or the Conference of bishops, or Rome. It entered the Catholic Church through the Charismatic Renewal and has no tradition among us. Some dislike it very much and will not participate at Mass at certain parishes because of it. Personally, I find it childish and uncharitable -- in that it makes so many people, especially elderly, feel uncomfortable. I have no idea how my successor would deal with it, but my prognosis is that this innovation will not last long.

It's still lasting at St. Al's. Our pastor introduces the hand-holding as showing that we are a family.

He quotes Archbishop Weakland regularly but not on this topic.


Blogger Dad29 said...

So...AA is present at St. Al's?

2:09 PM  
Blogger TS said...

Lord, thank you that I don't belong to St. Al's. Amen.

5:56 PM  
Anonymous DC said...

Interesting, I had just assumed Weakland had been a supporter of the hand-holding. On this side of town I've see the hand-holding at St. Seb's, St. Margaret Mary, St. John's chapel (38th & Keefe), St. Benedict and St. Pius, where it is taken to ridiculous length - people leave their seats to gather in the middle and hold hands. Childish is a good word for it. Pretentious too.

6:45 AM  
Blogger Terrence Berres said...

We go from holding hands to just shaking hands over the course of a few minutes. Just follow the trend and it's no surprise that by the time we get in our cars, we're all strangers again.

7:18 AM  

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