Man, this has got to be taken from a chapter of the Joseph Ratzinger Manual for Public Relations. I can’t think of a worse time to throw a wrench from the Hermeneutic of Subtraction into the Catholic liturgical works. How about adding something to the liturgy?
- What about encouraging thirty, or even twenty seconds of silence in the liturgy in between the readings and orations to get into the spirit of Advent?
- What about singing penitential act form 3 to get people used to it?
- What about everybody taking more time to distribute the Eucharist?
- What about asking every priest to spend fifteen minutes every Friday afternoon to prepare the new translation of the orations?
What is it with these guys who are always trying to find ways to subtract something from the liturgy, and to do so in such a way to encourage Catholics to line up on both sides of a fence over it?
For the record: there is no rubric for the laity to do anything at the Lord’s Prayer, so we can pretty much do anything that harmonizes with the spirit and decorum at the Mass. The rubrics don’t instruct me to hold my wife’s hand during the homily, either. So do I stop doing that? The rubrics don’t tell us how to calm an upset child, how to pick up a dropped host, or what to do when our cell phone goes off. Do we just freeze like a liturgical deer in headlights? I think not. We do what is necessary. No more. We do not need imprudent clergy to tell us what to do on this point. We do not need another wedge driven into Catholic unity. We definitely do not need another pep rally with two sides attempting to outshout the other.
And as for the practice of holding hands during the Lord’s Prayer, it’s not a favorite of mine. Progressive liturgists were naysaying it a generation ago. I remember a liturgy conference in San Antonio where one of the presenters spoke against it. And wouldn’t you know, at the concluding Mass, everybody around her held hands, practically the entire attendance list. And her wish not to do so was respected. I think nearly everywhere the wish to not hold hands is noted and respected.