Holding hands during the Our Father… a “Protestant infiltration”?

It seems I comment on blogs far more than I write my own blog posts, so I’m going to start linking to comments I’ve made that I think would have been good stand-alone blog posts.

This afternoon, Fr. Z shared a link to an article by Ray Burke on the web site of the National Catholic Register in which Burke laments liturgical abuses he was subjected to during the Christmas season. The one which Fr. Z drew attention to was the holding of hands during the Our Father; he provides this excerpt from Burke’s article:

In the end, I have decided to begin using a particular phrase in response to questions about my expressed dismay at this madness: “Because I am not a protestant.” The implication is clear. Here’s how it looks in a real dialogue: “Why don’t you hold hands at the Our Father?” “Because I am not a protestant.”

I do not usually hold hands during the Our Father. But I would certainly never say draw a connection between my not being a Protestant and my not holding hands, because there is simply no connection there. Burke evidently sees a connection.

Burke claims that “Hand-holding during the Our Father … is forbidden on the basis that we are not allowed to add or change the Mass.” But if that is the case, then holding the hand of your spouse or child as you sit in your pew to listen to the readings and homily is forbidden. Now, the priest is not permitted to require (or invite) the congregation to hold hands before the Our Father, but the spontaneous holding of hands by the congregation is an entirely different matter.

One commenter on Fr. Z’s web site (“acardnal“) called hand-holding during the Our Father “a Protestant infiltration.” I disagree. So as not to make this a full-fledged blog post of its own, I invite you to read my response and the one that follows it.