More on the Our Father

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I spent the major portion of my compositional time this morning responding to a comment made by Rick Lugari. Because of my own liturigical ignorance and the need for more light and less heat, I pull both from the Comments box and make of them a separate pot on which those better informed than I am can comment. I will say at the outset that I believe my position to be a minority in St. Blogs, and I am going to try very hard NOT to respond to anything other than a direct question so as not to derail the flow of conversation if any--I will strive to avoid the type of conflagration I inadvertently caused with a previous post--but I will ask pointed questions where something is said that I need clarification on. The truth is far more important than my level of comfort with it. And if this is something that admits of elucidation that comes with conversation, then let it be so. If not, that will probably out as well. (Poor Rick, I literally drown him in a sea of verbiage--but as Pascal said, "Had I more time, I would have written a shorter letter."

Hi Steven,

Meaning no disrespect to you or your always balanced viewpoint, as one of the liturgical nazis around town I would like to bring up a couple of aspects of the debate that I think warrant consideration.

First, (and I know you know these things, but I need to state them to make my case) the liturgy is a prayer and an expression of our beliefs. Traditionally every action was to have a meaning.

Our actions and posture are an integral part of prayer and help to convey a meaning (i.e., your example of how the orans seems most appropriate for the Our Father - I understand and can relate to that sense, though would not do it myself). Holding hands conveys a meaning as just as genuflecting, beating your breast, and kneeling does. Many of us rigid types, along with (and/or informed by) many clerics who have spoken on the matter think the meaning of hand-holding gives the wrong meaning to what is taking place at that moment.

It's not that I don't like my neighbor or don't think of ourselves as one in Christ, nor am I a germophobe or anything of the like. During the Our Father we are addressing the Father along with the Son and the Holy Spirit. It is an entirely vertical prayer and whatever posture one assumes should reflect that. Holding hands, IMHO, does just the opposite. The ultimate communion is Holy Communion when we are all united as one with Christ.

In defense of those who would object strictly or primarily from a rubrics standpoint, I will note that if I had my way I'd be kneeling for everything except the Gospel (standing) and the homily (sitting). I don't do it because the liturgy is not something for me to make uniquely mine, even if kneeling suits my sense of piety best. So, I don't feel like a hypocrite expecting people to refrain from doing any ol' posture they feel like doing, and I think it's prudent for the Church to discourage such things.

I don't know if any of this carries any weight, but it is a perspective that I think has merit.

God bless,

Posted by Rick Lugari at April 24, 2006 09:38 PM

Dear Rick,

I read this last night and started to respond and then thought better of it lest I precipitate another "universalism" blowout. Although I did not take offense or umbrage at anything said, and did not see the same cause; because the issue is sensitive, it requires greater thought.

I have always had a problem with the line of reasoning you put forth here and it stems from several sources. First, I fail to see how holding hands in any way detracts from the motion of the prayer. Indeed, I see it as the appropriate gesture when praying to "Our Father." In holding hands, at least in theory, the many separate I's are gathered into one family under God and offer as one the prayer that is said. Now, compare that, on the other hand, to the creed, which, when properly prayed states, "I believe." In fact, that is the most I can say in the Church, because I haven't a clue what the person next to me in the pew might or might not believe. There is a false solidarity there that can have no base because we cannot know the state of mind or soul of a brother, sister, mother, or father, much less a stranger. Were we to hold hands during that prayer, I would find it quite awkward and in antithesis to the meaning of the prayer.

However, when we pray, "Our Father," the case can be made that the many individuals should in some wise be gathered into a family.

What I see in this particular rubric is a virulent fear of protestantism. As I was raised in my house, every important family occasion and prayer was said with the entire family holding hands. The Thanksgiving blessing, the blessing over the food, even the prayer and song after funerals "Let the Circle Be Unbroken." We declare the cohesive unity of the family in this gesture. Still, on every occasion of importance and gathering, we hold hands in prayer, becoming for a short time one unit rather than three, four, six, or eight individuals. There is a true solidarity there.

So, I look at Our Father and say, what gesture, what position, what motion might suggest our unity rather than our separateness. Why, holding hands, of course.

That said, I can acknowledge that this is at best a forced unity, a coerced solidarity, and the symbol may not speak for all; whereas the ultimate neutrality of not holding hands and standing with arms at side during the prayer, at least does not impose anything on anyone. This argument, I can buy and so I do not advance my own with the vigor that I might otherwise do. That some are made uncomfortable, that some are unused to it, that some would see it as specious, is perfectly reasonable and feasible. I have no problem with that--and so the reasonable solution is the neutral solution--one that does not force anything on anyone else.

Nevertheless, I do like the symbolism of holding hands. I even like the slightly uncomfortable notion that is reinforced by this that we are all one family praying as a unity before the Lord, gathered and connected in the body of Christ. I used to be quite uncomfortable with it for all of the reasons that have been suggested--the forced intimacy of it, the forced nature of it, the ultimate non-reality-in-fact in the physical world of it. But through the gesture I have come to accept my own parish and community more and have come to understand the meaning of the body of Christ and of the family of God better.

It is evident from discussions that others would not feel this way. It is for that reason, I believe that my bishop has been mysteriously silent on the topic, even while enforcing all sorts of outré and odd differences as suggested by the GIRM (standing during the consecration portion of the Eucharistic prayer--which later he reversed). It would seem to depend uniquely upon the congregation. It is my opinion that it is so strongly rooted in some communities that undoing it would be a source of such community pain and anguish, with so little to gain, that it would seem unwise. Again, with the recent changes in GIRM, the bishop hand us standing for the Agnus Dei, kneeling for the "I am not worthy" and standing again as we waited for reception of the Eucharist, and then sitting or standing after reception. While people attempted to comply, it just made a huge mess of Mass. So too with the specific instruction on reception of the Eucharist, I see head nods, body bows and genuflections--no one is certain what to do and the head-bowing instruction is insufficient to most--they cling to something else.

I've gone on too long, but you get the point. I'm not saying that you are incorrect, merely that I fail to see the reason of it. I don't understand, and I mean this literally, I fail to comprehend how holding hands in any way detracts from our attention to God--but do keep in mind the background I have outlined for you. I suspect there are a great many protestants who feel this way.

One note I would add though, is that whatever one feels about the matter, one should not make oneself the center of attention and fuss. There are some who do not wish to hold hands while the whole congregation is doing so--that is fine. Fut I have seen people physically move way down the aisles, stare, glare, and fuss until you got the impression that Mass was all about them. The proper way to address any such abuse is to speak to one's pastor, and if that does not resolve satisfactorily, to continue the protest to the Bishop.

My understanding of obedience, however, suggests that the chain of command must be followed, and if there is no satisfaction at the level of the Bishop, then one must pursue one's own course in not holding hands. If, however, a local priest tells me, "Let us join hands as we pray in the words our savior gave us," I will join hands with anyone willing--because that is what obedience calls me to at the time. I will not, however, force this on anyone who chooses not to hear or obey; nor will I say that such obedience is incumbent upon them, because I could understand how one might say that refusal to hold hands is in fact obedience to a higher authority. Rather than get tied up in all of that, I choose simply to celebrate Mass as the local congregation sees fit. If we hold hands, fine. If not, that also is fine. Further I will admit that according to present instruction the latter may be the more perfect way of celebrating at the present time.

But my codicil is that changes in rubrics and in matters of practice almost always flow from the people and not from instruction imposed from on high. Creole Masses, Drum Masses, Mariachi Masses, Liturgical Dancing and other such things are normative in different parts of the world, and even in different communities in the United States. That is one of the wonderful things about the Catholic Church, her rituals and rites are so plastic that they can incorporate cultural differences without ever losing their intrinsic meaning.

I hope this did not sound either too defensive or too arrogant. I really don't intend it to; but I feel that given the integrity and sincerity of you comment, you are entitled to at least of glimpse of my thought, however incorrect it might be, in the matter. I stand ready to be obedient--if the Bishop tells us to stop doing this, I shall stop; however, as I've said, so far there has been no instruction at all regarding this from him--no correction of perceived abuse, etc. So, I will let it be for now and adapt myself to the local practice. Whatever way it is done, so long as I am in the presence of the Lord, it really doesn't matter to me. The critical thing is God alone.



One note I would add to this already long post is that I could not agree more about the need for some uniformity in what everyone is doing at Mass. I pity the poor priest who will have to predict whether a new congregant will kneel, bow, head nod, genuflect, receive in hand or on tongue, etc. On the other hand, none of that is my business anyway if I am properly keeping my eyes on God--something I really need to learn to do better.

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I seem to recall that the bishops' liturgy committee has advised that, if anything, people should have an Orans posture, and should NOT hold hands. I'll try to look it up if anyone's interested (it's online somewhere).

So too with the specific instruction on reception of the Eucharist, I see head nods, body bows and genuflections--no one is certain what to do and the head-bowing instruction is insufficient to most--they cling to something else.

Have you ever been to an Italian church, or to a Hispanic Mass? There's a complete lack of unity in the people's posture and actions. At communion time, people rush en masse to the priest, or sit awhile and wait for the line to clear, then go up for communion. Some people stand at the consecration; others kneel; some who kneel do so from the beginning of the Eucharistic Prayer through the consecration; others only for the consecration. People walk in and out of the church; beggars sit out front and ask for money. Some hold hands for the Our Father; most assume an Orans position; some just stand there. The Russian church I've visited is not quite so chaotic, but people still approach communion en masse, rather than in the straightjacket fashion of the American church, row-by-row.

Yet everyone present is reverential and attentive to God, as far as I can tell. In fact, I'd say that they're *more* reverential and attentive to *God* than most Americans, although not to the details of the Mass. It's a glorious example of not missing the foreset for the trees, and IMHO American Catholics could learn something from it.

Dear Jack,

I had a friend in the Byzantine Church who always boggled at what she called "the Roman mania for structure, linearity, and conformity."

She pointed particularly to the Eucharistic prayer in the two Churches. She said that the Romans could ring a little bell at the moment of consecration and direct everyone's attention to it, whereas the Byzantines said that the consecration occurred "somewhere around this part." There was no bell to ring, no pronouncement, no linearity or structure.

I think your point is well taken--the American Bishops write out of a peculiarly American viewpoint of strict individualism and individual determination. They cannot help but do so, because it is the founding theme of the country. Therefore, the rubrics tend to accentuate that aspect. It also explains to me why a great many Catholic Churches really haven't a clue about building up community and why many Evangelical Churches are making such astounding forays into the Hispanic communities in my area. For many Americans the Church is not a home the way it may be for people of other cultures.

Thanks for the observation.



Interesting comments on the Byzantine liturgy. I don't think clarity is such a bad thing. Since there is no clear moment of consecration in the Eastern liturgy, when the gifts come around in procession I'm never sure what I'm making a sign of the cross to.

I wonder if those who import handholding or even dance into the Mass actually respect and carry out all the physical movements the Church already requires at Mass.

- - -

275. A bow signifies reverence and honor shown to the persons themselves or to the signs that represent them. There are two kinds of bows: a bow of the head and a bow of the body.

(a) A bow of the head is made when the three Divine Persons are named together and at the names of Jesus, of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and of the Saint in whose honor Mass is being celebrated.

(b) A bow of the body, that is to say a profound bow, is made in the Creed at the words Et incarnatus est (by the power of the Holy Spirit ... made man).
- - -

When we begin the Mass, we are to make the Sign of the Cross as the priest says, "In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Here, the three Divine Persons are named together, so we are to bow our heads. At the end of Mass, the priest blesses the people by making the Sign of the Cross and again names the three Divine Persons together, so we are to bow our heads for that also.

We are to bow our heads at the name of Jesus. In observing this myself, I have come to notice that in some passages of the Gospel of John the name of Jesus is present in practically every sentence. Before my priestly ordination, instead of bobbing my head up and down repeatedly as I listened to the Gospel of John, I would simply bow my head the first time I heard the name of Jesus and keep my head bowed until the Gospel reading was over. Now that I am a priest, whenever I read the Gospel of John aloud during Mass I simply look down at the page (thus bowing my head) each time the name of Jesus occurs. Paying attention to bowing makes me pay closer attention to the text.

Notice that we are to bow at the name of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and of the Saint in whose honor Mass is being celebrated. I wonder how many handholders or so-called "liturgical" dancers and "liturgical" dance promoters do this. Do they prefer to do their own thing, that is, import something foreign to the Mass rather than do what the Mass already requires?

I find the greatest irony in comparing the number of people who hold hands during the Lord's Prayer (a gesture not even mentioned in the guidelines for Mass) versus the number of people who make the required profound bow "in the Creed at the words Et incarnatus est (by the power of the Holy Spirit ... made man)." It seems the majority holds hands. Almost no one makes the profound bow or any other bow.

In holding hands, at least in theory, the many separate I's are gathered into one family under God and offer as one the prayer that is said.

It seems to me that "unity" is an insufficient reason for holding hands. Whether we holds hands or not, whether we even have hands, or are amputees, we are already one in Christ. We are already One Church, we are already in communion, not only with the saints in heaven, but with all the faithful on Earth.

And given that we are already united, it seems that, far from adding to this unity, hand-holding actually detracts from it because it promotes the false idea that we are not united and one unless we are clinging on to the sweaty palm of the guy next to us. And it promotes the false idea that, because we cannot hold hands with people on the other side of the world, or people that lived 1,000 years ago, that we are not united with them. We already are. Thus, it is seen that this symbolism of holding hands is based on a falsehood, a lie.

I haven't a clue what the person next to me in the pew might or might not believe. [Without hand-holding] there is a false solidarity there that can have no base because we cannot know the state of mind or soul of a brother, sister, mother, or father, much less a stranger.

Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. A lack of hand-holding would be a "false" solidarity if Christ were not involved, but He is involved. He is the solidarity, He is always the solidarity, He is the only True solidarity. It is the holding of hands that is a false solidarity, a solidarity that is based on the mere touching of skin, rather than the touching of souls.

Maybe there is a good reason for holding hands. I don't know. But it is clear that unity and solidarity, etc., are not the reason.

Besides, Rick Lugari is known to flirtatiously rub his thumb on your palm during such hand-holding. All the more reason not to hold hands.

DEar Flexo,

Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. A lack of hand-holding would be a "false" solidarity if Christ were not involved, but He is involved. He is the solidarity, He is always the solidarity, He is the only True solidarity. It is the holding of hands that is a false solidarity, a solidarity that is based on the mere touching of skin, rather than the touching of souls.

I'm sorry, my point about the creed was obscured and is not the point I ws trying to make. My point was that the proper praying of the creed requires each person to state what he or she believes. The translation presently used implies a corporate belief which may or may not represent reality. It is the reason that Credo should be translated "I believe" rather than "We believe." It was this "we believe" translation that I was suggesting creates a false solidarity, not lack of or imposition of hand-holding. Sorry for the confusion.

As to your point of joined spirits--I agree--however, we are talking symbolism, and the Church has never balked at making concrete in the physical world what is known about the spiritual world. Therefore there would be no "false solidarity" as I see it, but rather an outward expression of an eternal reality. But that's just one way of looking at it.

Thanks for the comments.



Dear Father Stephanos,

Thank you, you make some excellent points. And I appreciate your insight into what to do about the names of the Holy Trinity. (I was ignorant of the rule about the Blessed Virgin and the Saint of the Day, but will now observe it) You'll save my neck a lot of wear and tear at Mass. I have also noted the lack of the profounf bow to the point where I have thought that I must be doing something wrong; however, a quick thumbing through the missalette shows that a profound bow is indicated at that portion of the creed, so I am one of few who do it. (So far as I have been able to observe, none of the priests make this gesture at my parish. But then I'm bowing, so I probably miss it. )

Thanks again.



Dear TSO,

I don't know that it is so much a matter of better than/worse than-good/bad as it is a sense of "different." Difference for its own sake is not something that is necessarily to be celebrated, but differences that allow people access to God in different ways under the same central truths, that is something to be celebrated.

By the way, you know the person from whom this statement was paraphrased.



Dear Steven,

What you said!

Holding hands while praying is kind of a post-VII thing and many Catholics are still not comfortable with it.

Much of what a congregation does (or doesn't do) depends on education: the education of the parish priest by the local bishop and of the congregation by the parish priest. In my Diocese (Oakland, CA), Bishop Vigneron is trying to bring us into conformity with the GIRM and our pastor is doing his best to lead us along. The changes that were made were not all that major, but did lead to some confusion when first implemented.

However, we still hold hands during the Our Father. In fact, the altar servers join with Father at the altar to hold hands and return to their seats after the Kiss of Peace.

(That ~thunk~ you hear is Rick Lugari's jaw hitting the floor. ;)

Oh yeah I instantly knew of whom you were speaking which was pretty cool. Small world as they say, which we proved last week. :)

Very interesting comment from Fr. Stephanos. It seems that the bow hasn't caught on even though it's in the rubrics while the hand-holding caught on even though it isn't. I wonder if has to do with people being self-conscious when it comes to acts of piety but also self-conscious when it comes to not holding hands if others in front of them are. I wonder if it's a symptom of being more interested in pleasing other people than God. (Which began with Adam in the garden, who just wanted to please his wife after all.)

Besides, Rick Lugari is known to flirtatiously rub his thumb on your palm during such hand-holding.

Bender, I didn't realize that was you. You should have said something, we could have had a nice chat on our way p to Communion. ;)

March Hare,
Don't worry, my jaw is in tact. I've seen that before...and worse! I am from Detroit, don't ya know? We rank number 2 in the country for crime of all types: murder, rape, battery, and liturgical abuse.

You never sound defensive or arrogant, so never you worry...

This may come as a big surprise, but I'm still not convinced that the practice of holding hands at the Our Father is a thing of no matter, let alone an undesirable thing.

I'm not afraid to admit that I don't like it because stuff like that simply turns me off. However, I have sincerely tried to separate my personal tastes from the arguments on the matter and have not tried to select the facts that support my desired outcome.

i.e. It's not much of a secret around town that I can't stand the Sign of Peace. I don't like it. I find it uncomfortable and most importantly totally distracting. Rome has stated that it should be done in a sober manner, but i have never witnessed it done in a sober manner, and I question whether it can be done so. Nevertheless, it is an approved option, so out of obedience I participate in it (note, it is an option, which you would never know by it's almost universal use in this country). I am quite pleased when I have the good fortune of not having anyone seated near me because then I can raise my head, give someone a nod and a smile and then get my mind back on track. I harbor no ill will against anyone in parish - in fact, I harbor no ill will toward anyone, so it's not like I'm holding a grudge with my neighbor because I don't care to have my attention diverted from preparing to receive Our Lord to catching up on the latest events with Fred and Gerty. I can do that after Mass.

But I digress. The point is that even though I would consider the Sign of Peace a less fitting liturgical practice (strictly my personal opinion) than holding hands at the Our Father, the SoP is approved by the Church and hand holding wasn't.

If the hand holding was nothing more than a spontaneous thing between husband and wife or something, it wouldn't be a big deal. But the reality is that it is much more than that. It is not spontaneous because it occurs at one particular part of the Mass; and it is not limited to people who have an intimate relationship with one another. The mere fact that we are talking about it here demonstrates that it is indeed a bona fide liturgical gesture that is being introduced by priests and laity. That in fact is a liturgical abuse. So it shouldn't be allowed until Rome approves it.

I also don't think it would be doing undue violence to outright prohibit it either. After all, forty years ago the ancient Mass was stripped away and replaced with a new one, changed to the vernacular (with an atrocious translation), the altars and communion rails ripped out, organs replaced with folk bands, crucifixes replaced with bare crosses or resufixes (you know the litany, I'm sure). I think the hand holders can cope with waiting an extra fifteen minutes until after Mass to hold hands. ;)

I know I just took this conversation down from the more meritous aspects of the debate and turned it into a free-for-all rant of sorts, but I don't want to start over. So I'll click the send button along with this apology.

Peace, friend

What's the priest supposed to do with his hands during the Lord's Prayer and what immediately follows?

The Missal clearly tells him ... as follows.


The priest sets down the chalice and paten and WITH HANDS JOINED sings or says on of the following:
"Let us pray with confidence to the Father...."

He EXTENDS HIS HANDS and he continues....
"Our Father...."
With HANDS EXTENDED, the priest continues alone:
"Deliver us, Lord, from every evil...."


For the kingdom the power....

If the priest is obeying the instructions, HE CANNOT HOLD HANDS.

Even though we are together in church when we pray the Lord's Prayer, let's recall that when our Lord taught us this prayer in the Gospel according to Matthew he told us to go into our rooms and shut the door behind us to pray to the Father in secret. This is meant to be a prayer of great personal one-on-one intimacy with the Father, even though it is addressed to OUR shared Father. The correct moment for "hand-holding" comes after the Lord's Prayer: the Sign of Peace.

Dear TSO,

Is it that, or is it that few are taught anymore how exactly to bow and so everyone is somewhat awkward in the attempt, whereas everyone knows how to hold hands. I honestly can't say, but I would suggest that holding hands in a natural action whereas bowing comes from and era of courtesy and ettiquette that has all but passed us by. I'm amazed when I see anyone benuflect any more, as that is even more alien, but at least something taught in youth. I can tell you that I feel very awkward during the profound bow and while I know it is called for in the rubrics, it nevertheless has exactly the opposite function that it is supposed to induce. While doing it I am completely aware of myself doing it and almost completely out of touch with God. Nevertheless, there is much to be said of obedience.

Dear Rick,

Not at all. I owe to you great thanks for allowing me to extend the conversation. I did note one interesting point, which, tellingly, probably seals you as a traditionalist. (;-)

The mere fact that we are talking about it here demonstrates that it is indeed a bona fide iturgical gesture that is being introduced by priests and laity. That in fact is a liturgical abuse. So it shouldn't be allowed until Rome approves it.

But how would Rome ever approve it if it were not introduced. More often than not Rome approves ex post facto--a good tendency, as they are a strong gravitational pull toward not changing everything willy-nilly. As I think I may have pointed out before, receiving the Sacrament of Penance used to be a once-in-a-lifetime thing. Over time, through what might be called "sacramental abuse" it became common and even encouraged to receive this sacrament frequently.

So I see as well, things come up in the liturgy and some are expressly suppressed (as I believe the case with Liturgical Dancing in the U.S.--although I may be incorrect on that measure. ) However, in the matter of holding hands, Rome may be tight-lipped about holding hands, but pastoral consideratins seem to have hindered them from expressly prohibiting it. That may come; but it may not. The Vatican is a source and a magnet for tradition--they will not allow the Mass to stray from its course regardless of what I want or anyone else wants. But as with the tradition of Christmas trees and other such appurtanences, the Church seems to have learned that it isn't the best of ideas to uproot things that are too entrenched.

I don't know the end of it, and I will be obedient to whatever the last word from my Bishop or my Pope is. I will not insist upon my own way because the Mass is not mine. Nor will I even go so far as to agitate to have what I prefer set up as the official way of doing things, nor even as an option. While I have my preference, the more important point is to go with God's preference which will come out of authoratative endorsement or prohibition. I see the present time as a bit nebulous--in transition.

However, I do see all of the points you make--and I promise if I know you're standing in Church next to me, I'll be certain that I keep my hands to myself! :-)



Thanks Steven,

I definitely have a preference for traditional practices, devotions and the Tridentine Mass (the low Mass in particular). However I balk at being labeled a Traditionalist because the word has as many definitions as there are people who apply it, and many professed trads would argue that I am not a trad at all because I recognize the NO Mass as legitimate and in fact attend the new Mass weekly.

When I reverted back to the faith about 10 years ago I attended the indult Mass across the border in Windsor, Ontario. I then ventured into the SSPX - always stating that if I became convinced that I should not be there whether because of schism or legitimate obedience that I would leave. That in fact happened after a few years and I decided that I would have to find the most respectable liturgy around and offer up my distaste for certain aspects of the liturgy and any abuses I might encounter.

Fortunately, I found a humble little parish (which is slated for closing now) that has a hard working, orthodox priest who is reverent and goes by the book. Not that all is perfect there, but it is the best in my area and you can at least pray the Mass there to the extent that the NO allows.

Anyway, I refrained from mentioning something earlier because I don't necessarily think countering issue after issue - often times merely splitting hairs - is productive to decent conversation.

However, a particular subject (or supposition, if you will) has come up again and I think it is something worthy of analysis. I've heard many arguments in favor of hand holding, but you are the first I heard point to a bigger picture, that being the development of the liturgy and what drives it.

Certainly, you are right in observing that some things were introduced first, then approved by Rome. Communion in the hand being one of those things. But that does not mean it is the way it is supposed to be, nor does it mean it is a desirable method of change, not does it mean that any changes brought about that way are positive changes.

In recent years, there have been a number of things that slipped in (Communion in the hand, girl altar servers) that have started out as a liturgical abuse and became so widespread that Rome decided to approve it rather than upset a lot of people. It doesn't mean that Rome thought the practices were necessarily good ideas to begin with and perhaps even lamented being forced into that position.

Historically speaking, you observe that at one time confession was a once in a lifetime thing, and that the Church changed the attitude and rules for the better. Indeed. However, the reality is that the liturgy was heavily influenced by local customs, and it was only as a result of the True Reformation, that the Church said this is ridiculus and undesirable. St. Pius then codified the Roman Missal, onlt allowing liturgies that existed for 400 years (IIRC) to continue unchanged. The mind of the Church became - and remains - that the liturgy should be controlled by the Bishop of Rome.

So, I think the argument for bottom-up driven liturgical changes is flawed both in practice and in the mind of the Church. I don't know how long we will suffer through (my hyperbole) these things, but I believe eventually Rome will say "enough is enough" and reel everything back in and start enforcing the rules and practices.

If you dare consider the thoughts of this half-wit, I would say in essence what you are advocating by the bottom-up method of liturgical change is disobedience. Disobedience in hopes of getting thier will rewarded with approval. Personally, I wouldn't consider there to be any virtue in that at all.


Dear Rick,

First, an apology. I did not mean to offend by the label "traditionalist." What I tend to have in mind is the etymological meaning "conservative." To explain, in my mind the traditionalist wishes to conserve and preserve what is best in Church tradition. So once again, I beg your pardon, any offense tendered was entirely unintentional. I actually meant it as praise because I find the instict to preserve and conserve laudable. Change should not occur on the spur of the moment as soon as we think up something new to do.

Let me fulfill my promise and not talk too much about the rest--allow your post to stand as is for its own argument. I will say I respectfully disagree on a number of points, but I would have to do considerably more study before I could say anything cogent in the matter.

Once again, please accept my apologies if I offended--it was not intentional.




I wasn't offended at all, and I doubt you could ever offend me anyway. Feel no need to apologize. I know you're in this with an equally pleasant or better spirit than I. ;)

There are other readers here, and as humans we tend to think ahead and establish preconceived notions about a person's viewpoint based on how they label themselves or are labeled by others. I was just trying to shed some light on what my personal prejudices may and may not be, lest someone dismiss my arguments based on a flawed notion of my objectivity or lack thereof, rather than they see no merit to my argument whether it be because of flawed logic or errors of fact on my part.

I didn't exactly expect you to say, "Wow, the moron from Detroit is right after all." So feel free to shoot me down. I'm lazy when it comes to penance and usually fly from humiliation, so it would be an act of charity on your part to give me a very public theological body-slam. :)


Dear Riok,

I didn't exactly expect you to say, "Wow, the moron from Detroit is right after all." So feel free to shoot me down. I'm lazy when it comes to penance and usually fly from humiliation, so it would be an act of charity on your part to give me a very public theological body-slam. :)

Even if it were within my capacity to do so, I would refrain from doing so, particularly in public. The point, however, is moot, because all I have presently is a relatively uninformed opinion and an intuition about obedience that may be dead wrong. But thanks for the invitation. I think our statements define the field fairly well and when I have more to say about obedience (when I'm better informed) I'll probably make a full post of it, because I think its one place where we would all benefit from a great deal more clarity and a lot more practice.





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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on April 25, 2006 9:55 AM.

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