Radio Inspire

How To Learn Sign Language

What to Do About Gestures During Mass


We go now to Maria in Phoenix,
Arizona, listening on Immaculate Heart Radio. Maria, you are on with Tim Staples.
Hi, I just wanted to ask, well, I heard that you’re not supposed to make any
gesture in mass like the priest, because you’re not co-celebrating the mass, and
my question is kind of two parts, because here in Arizona, like at every Church
just about, there’s parts during the mass where everybody is doing that, like kind of
putting their hands out like the priest, looking exactly like the priest, and
then everybody holds hands at the Our Father, and and I was–and I heard that, you know,
that’s not really a prayer where we’re sharing love with each other, but like,
you know, praying to God. But I also know that if somebody’s standing all
by themselves, they’ll put their, you know, everyone else is holding hands, but
they’re putting their arms out again in imitation, like, looking like the priest,
and my sister is like “Oh, it’s no big deal,” you know, and I just, I mean
obviously I don’t want to offend God, I don’t want to spin in any way, you know. Is it a
big deal or is it not? Maria, that is a fantastic question. And I will tell you
the way I look at it. First, Maria, we have to understand that the Code of Canon Law
tells us that we ought not to do anything for which there’s not a rubric
in the liturgy. You know, there are those who approach the liturgy and say, “Well it
doesn’t say you can’t do this.” Well, that’s not a very good way to approach. I mean,
it doesn’t say you can’t breakdance, you know, on your way up to receive Communion,
but that doesn’t mean you can. What the Code of Canon Law says is, you
ought not to do what is not prescribed in the liturgy. And it says it like this:
No one, not even a bishop, priest, anyone, can add to the rubrics. Rubrics are the
instructions as to what we are supposed to do. That is the rule of thumb, okay? Now
Maria, you asked a very good ques–and that would mean no to the holding hands
and all that. However, the Church has not come down on
the holding of hands and the lifting of hands like that. And so we shouldn’t
either. We can express, “Hey, you know what, that’s technically not in keeping with
the Code of Canon Law,” but the bishops haven’t come–the Pope hasn’t come down on
it, so you know what, I say we just lighten up. Express what we believe the
Code of Canon Law says, and let it lie. The bishops will take care of that, not
you and I.

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