Fr. Stephanos, O.S.B has a couple of good posts up.
LITURGICAL DANCE: the kind that the Vatican WANTS you to do
Holding hands really adds nothing to the Mass
I have a simple suggestion for getting rid of hand-holding during the Our Father. Simply add it as a rubric in the GIRM. You hardly ever see somebody do an actual rubric such as striking their breast during the Confeitor or bowing during part of the Nicene Creed. Put it in the GIRM and people will find a reason why they shouldn’t do it.
Our hand-holding seems to have come to a stop with SARS. Before that, it was everywhere, then we were warned not to hold hands when there was that outbreak in Toronto, and people mostly haven’t gone back to it. Maybe it’ll creep back eventually.
Although there’s nothing objectively wrong with holding hands, it was very distracting, holding people’s sweaty or dry hands all through the Our Father, and I’m glad to see it gone. The handshake during the Sign of Peace is just a quick thing, but the handholding could be really uncomfortable.
Would it be overkill for me to buy a copy of the GIRM? Should I pick a more user-friendly guide? I want to be sure I know what I’m supposed to do when…and although my parish is pretty orthodox, they didn’t get into a lot of nuts-and-bolts details about what you do when in the Mass.
My understanding is that hand holding is not part of the GIRM. Of course, the way my life has gone, they’ll change it by the time I finish this.
Wow, Jeff! Thanks for sending the visitors!
Your first link, however, doesn’t go to the precise place.
I’ll go look up where I downloaded a free copy of the PDF of the G.I.R.M.
If I don’t find the link, then I’ll e-mail you a copy.
The GIRM is available in .pdf format from the USCCB at this address:
The best liturgical dance is a Holy Mass offered correctly. The movement of the priest, deacon (if present) and servers is a joy to observe when done correctly. Of course, the Classical Roman Rite has a more intricate liturgical dance, and it too is a thing of beauty.
IIRC, the hand holding started as an outgrowth of the Mass at the end of marriage encounter weekends back in the 80’s.
Father Stephanos in the combox at the second linked article made a good point. It’s rather silly to insist on an off-the-books gesture and then not do something prescribed.
Holding hands, though, is an easy thing to just pick up if everyone around you seems to be doing it. Bowing your head at things outside the Creed, though? I was almost thirty before I even saw priests doing it, let alone anyone in the congregation–it was a question I wouldn’t even have known to ask. At first I thought it was something just the priest did, like reading the Gospel or giving the final blessing.
Judging by the “I’d rather just sit; all that moving around is distracting” comments I sometimes hear, we might not be ready in some places to even discuss these dancing/hand-holding issues.
The nuns that taught me in grade school back in the 70s/early 80s instructed us back then to head-bow at the name of Jesus. I didn’t see any priests doing it then, but I’ve recently seen it performed the last couple of years. Love it.
Our priest said he was taught that also, its also a great cure for breaking the 2nd commandment.
Yikes! I do the bowing and the breast striking! Am I in trouble?
Only in LA, I think.
Yeah, we don’t have this problem at the indult Tridentine parish I go to. Everyone kneels when “et incarnatus est de Spiritu Sancto” is sung.
I wish more Novus Ordo parishes would go back to chanting the Creed. It is such a wonderful thing.