Expert Answer Forum

Orans posture and reviving ancient practices QUESTION from Andrew MacDonald January 11, 2000
Hello, this is my first post to this list. I have been reading a lot about the use of the Orans posture for the laity during the Our Father at Mass. In conjunction with this is the near indiscriminate adoption of almost any ancient practice (Communion in the hand, standing during the Canon, etc.., etc..). Where do we draw the line? I get confused because I don't know how to answer someone who claims that the way it is done now is the right way because the Early Church did it that way, even though I have problems with it. Also, I would like to know why the Orans posture is being reintroduced, and does it have any symbolism attached to it as a posture to be reserved for the Priest? Also, is it wrong to not receive standing and in the hand - even though the Early Church did? ANSWER by Mr. John Miskell on January 12, 2000
Dear Andrew Your observation is right on. The Church is not reintroducing the orans position. The practice most recently started with the charismatics and has worked it's way into use by the laity during the Mass. The liturgical documents call for the celebrant and in some cases, the concelebrant(s) to use the orans posture as they pray ON THE BEHALF of the community. Note that it is never done by the Deacon, who does not represent the People before God but assists him who does. Nowhere do the rubrics call for the laity to assume this posture. The Holy See has pointed out that confusion has entered the Church about the hierarchical nature of her worship, and this gesture does nothing but to contribute to that confusion. In the early Church we had public penance, and Catechumens had to study for three years before being received into the Church. Do you suppose those who appeal to antiquity would find this appealing? Keep praying - your prayers are both important and effective. In Christ, John Miskell Back to Index Page

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