Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Out of Curiosity...

When did the whole hand-holding thing become a regular thing at Roman Catholic masses? I mean, it was obviously some point after 1530, and I'm guessing some point after Vatican II, but is this a new thing?

It just looks silly. I've always been a little bit skeptical of the Passing of the Peace; holding hands with an unknown neighbor (especially while singing) is beyond the pale, and I speak as one who has survived being a regular attender at "huggy" services.

Maybe I'm just becoming a crotchety old man fifty years ahead of schedule.

7 comments:

TS said...

I believe that bit of hokum came about sometime during the '80s or so.

Fortunately, it's rare here in Columbus, Ohio. The two parishes I go to have no hand-holding. Same with my parent's parish in Hamilton, Oh.

On those rare times when I'm at a liberal parish, I bring this.

Mike Bradley said...

I first encountered it in 1980 when my family moved back to Roanoke. Not only did they hold hands during the Our Father, they held hands during the entire Eucharistic Prayer (obviously no pews in this parish). I found it weird and creepy holding hands with strangers (I was 11 at the time). The chain of hand holding extended up onto the altar as well. The sign of peace resembled a cocktail party and would last for 10 minutes. I hadn't encountered it in my previous parish (diocese of Wheeling) or when visiting grandparents (Archdiocese of Cincinnati and diocese of Covington). It seems to be more the rule than the exception here in the diocese of Richmond. Many priests know it's an abuse, but aren't willing to correct it. Some because they don't care, but many because it's a minor abuse and pretty far down on the lists of abuses that need correcting in the diocese. I can see where they are coming from. It would be hard to pastorally correct this without coming across as cold. I think many will just choose to ignore it and hope it dies out on it's own. I would prefer not hold hands if given the choice (I was old and crotchety when I was 11 in 1980), but am afraid of offending someone if they reach out to me and I refuse. I just won't move from my spot to get closer to someone to grab their hand.
My brother's parish found a temporary fix last month by asking people to refrain from holding hands due to the flu epidemic.

Slim said...

It's interesting that the hand-holding is labeled as an abuse...at Notre Dame, they call it their practice to hold hands during the Lord's Prayer. I don't have a clue where it came from, and first encountered it in school (us Easter Rite Catholics don't do the Passing of Peace thing, either), but I do know that I once met a Southern Baptist who was accustomed not only to holding hands, but to giving a quick squeeze at the end of the prayer. Don't know if there's some mixing of tradition there...

Christian

Anonymous said...

Rome has reprobated the abuse of holding hands during the Our Father. Before I became a priest, I closed my eyes, held my hands folded, and prayed the prayer and never received any grief for it. You might want to try that.

Cheers, FrMichael

Václav Patrik Šulik said...

Yeah, I see this when I go to Mass with my parents or sisters.

/don't like this forced happy-clappy stuff...

HokiePundit said...

FrMichael,

Yeah, that's pretty much what I do...I just keep my hands together and look at the altar. So far no one's grabbed my hand and forcibly raised it, which is good.

And, oddly enough, last week the congregation began clapping with the band during the last worship song during the LifeTeen mass. Ack.

Tertium Quid said...

You are not alone. I've been around evangelicals, charismatics, and YMCA campers singing "Kum-ba-yah," so it doesn't bother me.

Just as the guy said, hold your hands together in prayer and look straight ahead as if you are one of the children at Fatima, and no one will bother you.