top of page

Liturgical Abuses

Hands at the Our Father

According to Catholic Answers 1999 article, The Ten Most Common Liturgical Abuses by Kevin Orlin Johnson Ph.D, holding hands at the Our Father is one of the top 10 liturgical abuses. 

Hand positions at the Our Father is not in the rubrics, except for the hands of the priest. Neither the Deacon, nor the laity, should follow the priest's rubrics. Nor should anyone use a gesture which is not in the rubrics.

Everyone using the orans position at the Our Father; liturgical abuse.
Red x indicating incorrect

Abuse: everyone following the priests' rubrics.

Screenshot from YouTube.

Father Edward McNamara, LC explains in this article Deacons Praying with Extended Hands: "...there is no moment when the deacon extends his hands or opens and closes his hands during Mass as this is considered a presidential gesture." There are regional exceptions. As a presidential gesture, Fr. McNamara write, "This is why the Roman rite has no opening and closing of hands during the greeting “The Lord be with you” before the Gospel." For more information, read the article.


In 2011, Bishop Roger J. Foys, Bishop of Covington (KY), issued a letter and decree, which clarifies the confusion over the issue of hand positions at the Our Father. For a short article explaining the decree, read Deacon Greg Kandra's article.


Catholic Answers has multiple articles addressing hand at the Our Father. Search for holding hands. Also see Fr. Charles Grondin's Q & A, Orans Posture at Mass.


For more an extensive discussion of this issue, see this 2003 article by Father Edward McNamara at EWTN

bottom of page