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What is the Catholic origin of the "Orans Position" (vanity)
Catholic Answers Discussion Group ^

Posted on 01/13/2005 7:02:20 PM PST by netmilsmom

There is a big discussion going on at this site. I know there are many FReepers there.

Could someone please give me a Catholic perspective on the "Orans" position?

I know the GIRM says nothing about it, but where did it come from? I did a Google seach and found that this is traditional for Muslims but brand new for Catholics.


TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic
KEYWORDS:
I have to get my girls into bed so I will be back soon.
1 posted on 01/13/2005 7:02:22 PM PST by netmilsmom
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To: netmilsmom

I didn't think Catholics were allowed to do it in the Orans position.


2 posted on 01/13/2005 7:04:46 PM PST by ScottFromSpokane
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To: netmilsmom

But seriously:

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11269a.htm


3 posted on 01/13/2005 7:05:32 PM PST by ScottFromSpokane
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To: ScottFromSpokane

>>I didn't think Catholics were allowed to do it in the Orans position.<<

LOL!


4 posted on 01/13/2005 7:07:42 PM PST by netmilsmom (God send you a Blessed 2005!)
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To: netmilsmom

Wasn't it a charismatic invention?


5 posted on 01/13/2005 7:17:20 PM PST by Canticle_of_Deborah
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Comment #6 Removed by Moderator

To: sandyeggo

Indeed it is a very ancient praying position, It isn't common in Orthodoxy these days except among Arab Christians and it definitely predates Mohammedanism. Interestingly enough, full prostrations before the altar or an icon in Great Lent, on certain feast days and in certain liturgies are still done in Orthodoxy, another practice the Mohammedans picked up from the Christians.


7 posted on 01/13/2005 7:32:33 PM PST by Kolokotronis (Nuke the Cube!)
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Comment #8 Removed by Moderator

To: sandyeggo
as a side note:

This position of prayer is a very common stance in the Pentacostal/Church of God/Church of Christ.
I have seen it many many times during Church service. It also looks to be a commonly assumed stance when one is 'receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost' or speaking/translating the gift of 'Tongues.'

I know this is appears to be a Roman Catholic thread and I don't mean this as a flame or anything. Just an observation.

9 posted on 01/13/2005 7:54:00 PM PST by Khurkris (That sound you hear coming from over the horizon...thats me laughing.)
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To: netmilsmom

It is a posture prescribed in the rubrics for the priest during parts of the Mass.
It is not even prescribed for the deacon.


10 posted on 01/13/2005 8:04:48 PM PST by rogator
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Comment #11 Removed by Moderator

To: Khurkris

"I know this is appears to be a Roman Catholic thread and I don't mean this as a flame or anything."

Didn't look like a flame to this RC.


12 posted on 01/13/2005 11:44:02 PM PST by dsc
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To: Khurkris

Good post!


13 posted on 01/14/2005 3:37:09 AM PST by Robert Drobot (God, family, country. All else is meaningless.)
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To: sandyeggo

"Do you know why it isn't common any more?"

Haven't a clue. The priest does use it in the liturgy, though.


14 posted on 01/14/2005 3:59:43 AM PST by Kolokotronis (Nuke the Cube!)
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To: All

Thank you so much everyone!!!!


15 posted on 01/14/2005 5:01:23 AM PST by netmilsmom (God send you a Blessed 2005!)
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To: Canticle_of_Deborah; Tax-chick

>>Wasn't it a charismatic invention?<<

I think so.

TC, what is your take on this?


16 posted on 01/14/2005 5:36:45 AM PST by netmilsmom (God send you a Blessed 2005!)
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To: Khurkris

>> I know this is appears to be a Roman Catholic thread and I don't mean this as a flame or anything.<<

Thank you for coming in and giving an opinion. It truly is most welcome.


17 posted on 01/14/2005 5:38:33 AM PST by netmilsmom (God send you a Blessed 2005!)
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To: netmilsmom

Heh! I see I slept through this :-). FWIW, praying with raised hands is described in the New Testament ("I desire that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands in supplication ..."). Praying with hands folded is never mentioned in the Bible. Because of this, some fundamentalist congregations teach that one should only pray with hands raised.


18 posted on 01/14/2005 5:47:46 AM PST by Tax-chick (I think the world needs a drink!)
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To: sandyeggo; netmilsmom

I just remembered that the "orans" position is mentioned in the 141 Psalm, the first two verses of which we always chant at Vespers:

"Lord, I call upon Thee, hear me. Hear me, O Lord.
Let my prayer arise in Thy sight as incense.
And let the lifting up of my hands be an evening sacrifice. Hear me, O Lord."


19 posted on 01/14/2005 6:14:14 AM PST by Kolokotronis (Nuke the Cube!)
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To: Kolokotronis; netmilsmom

Also in Psalm 63: 4, "So I will bless Thee as long as I live; I will lift up my hands and call on Thy name."


20 posted on 01/14/2005 6:25:06 AM PST by Tax-chick (I think the world needs a drink!)
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To: netmilsmom
Pardon my chiming. I do not know the origin of the orans position, and as far as using it while you are praying in private doesn't seem like a problem to me.

The controversy/problem occurs when the laity use it during the mass, when it is proscribed only for the priest. The subtle or not so subtle message is a diminishment of the unique and distinct role of the priest, who is offering the sacrifice of the mass on our behalf, in Persona Christi.

21 posted on 01/14/2005 6:29:00 AM PST by murphE ("I ain't no physicist, but I know what matters." - Popeye)
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To: Tax-chick

>>Heh! I see I slept through this :-).<<

Hehehe! You are such a peach, thanks for your input! See you at the Family Table....


22 posted on 01/14/2005 6:37:37 AM PST by netmilsmom (God send you a Blessed 2005!)
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Comment #23 Removed by Moderator

To: sandyeggo; Kolokotronis; Marcellinus; netmilsmom; murphE

Kolo - you mention that the orans position is a very ancient one and have shared a beautiful psalm with us. Our pastor encourages us to pray the Our Father in the orans position, during the Divine Liturgy. Given what you posted, it now makes sense. Thank you again!


24 posted on 01/14/2005 8:23:11 AM PST by NYer ("In good times we enjoy faith, in bad times we exercise faith." ... Mother Angelica)
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To: NYer

Makes sense that the Abounna would do this. Like I said, the Orthodox Arabs do this. We have a Syrian/American girl in the parish, a student at the local college, and she always says the Our Father that way. She is very pious, chants and has the voice of an angel.


25 posted on 01/14/2005 9:59:48 AM PST by Kolokotronis (Nuke the Cube!)
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To: murphE; sandyeggo; NYer; Marcellinus; netmilsmom
"The controversy/problem occurs when the laity use it during the mass, when it is proscribed only for the priest. The subtle or not so subtle message is a diminishment of the unique and distinct role of the priest, who is offering the sacrifice of the mass on our behalf, in Persona Christi."

Murph: That's a very interesting observation. You know, the word liturgia is Greek and means "Work of the People". I say the observation is interesting because it demonstrates how the liturgy in the West and the Liturgy in the East have developed in different directions insofar as the phronema or mindset of the Churches is concerned. I can see exactly what you are saying if I look at it in the context of Roman liturgics. No matter how old or venerable the practice may be in the East, it looks like another innovation in the West and it certainly does physically show an involvement of the people in the act of the liturgy to an extent perhaps previously not engaged in for many centuries in the West.
26 posted on 01/14/2005 10:11:12 AM PST by Kolokotronis (Nuke the Cube!)
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To: murphE

You nailed it.


27 posted on 01/14/2005 11:10:16 AM PST by Romulus (Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?)
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Comment #28 Removed by Moderator

To: murphE

I know the priest assumes that posture at several points during the Mass, but is it not the prescribed posture for all during Our Father?


29 posted on 01/14/2005 2:06:42 PM PST by annalex
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To: sandyeggo; murphE; Romulus

"I am not comfortable with using the orans position because of my Roman Catholic upbringing, and it could be easy to suspect a modernistic intent on the part of some in this day and age."

You know, I wouldn't either. It looks hokey to me, but like you, that's my upbringing. I know if I see an Arab doing it, that is what they do and have for 2000 years so its OK. Now I'll tell you, if I saw the orans position in an RC church during the Mass, my immediate reaction would be that some nun in a pants suit came up with the idea to make the Mass more touchy/feely. That is very unfair of me, I know, but I don't react at all rationally to some of the things I see going on in places where I am used to seeing something else entirely!


30 posted on 01/14/2005 2:39:35 PM PST by Kolokotronis (Nuke the Cube!)
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To: annalex

It is not prescribed. Nor is it proscribed. The GIRM makes no mention of it so far as the faithful are concerned because it doesn't contemplate the possibility at all (what planet are these jokers on, I wonder).

On rare occasion I might adopt the position for private prayer, but I would never use it at Mass, for the reasons I've already indicated.


31 posted on 01/14/2005 2:49:55 PM PST by Romulus (Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?)
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To: Kolokotronis
that's my upbringing.

And faithfulness to a liturgical tradition is critical to what we do as Catholics.

I know if I see an Arab doing it, that is what they do and have for 2000 years

Give or take 600 years.

my immediate reaction would be that some nun in a pants suit came up with the idea to make the Mass more touchy/feely.

My reaction would be that it came from a nun all right, but one who had reduced the Mass to its externals and was therefore jealous of priestly "power", without regard for what the priestly office signifies.

32 posted on 01/14/2005 2:54:18 PM PST by Romulus (Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?)
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Comment #33 Removed by Moderator

Comment #34 Removed by Moderator

To: Romulus

"And faithfulness to a liturgical tradition is critical to what we do as Catholics."

Well, we Orthodox are not exactly known as liturgical innovators ourselves! :)

"My reaction would be that it came from a nun all right, but one who had reduced the Mass to its externals and was therefore jealous of priestly "power", without regard for what the priestly office signifies."

That too! The pants suit is usually a dead giveaway!


35 posted on 01/14/2005 3:24:04 PM PST by Kolokotronis (Nuke the Cube!)
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To: annalex

No, in fact it is the specifically stated posture for only the priest. Deacons on the altar are directed not to do it. There is no specific direction for lay people, but if the deacon is not supposed to be in that position...


36 posted on 01/14/2005 3:48:37 PM PST by murphE ("I ain't no physicist, but I know what matters." - Popeye)
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To: murphE; Romulus

I went to mass where I usually go these days, St. Rose in Sacramento (well, I'd usually go on Sunday). It is by no means a liberal parish, very reverent. I noticed some standing with their hands folded. Most, however, hold their hands up, -- which up till now I though was the proper posture, -- and some join hands in a Protestant way.

There was another moment when most held their hands up, and that was at the beginning of the Eucharistic prayer, -- "Lift up your hearts, -- We lift them up to the Lord". Is this also incorrect?

Thank you both for educating me, by the way.


37 posted on 01/15/2005 10:15:36 PM PST by annalex
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To: annalex
Here are some links I found from the Q&A at EWTN. From what I can tell there is no official position for the laity. If you do a search going back "forever" on EWTN Q&A forum you will find a variety of answers from the "experts". Here are some:

Answer #1

Answer #2

Answer #3

Hope this helps, or you could just find a Traditional Latin Mass :-).

38 posted on 01/16/2005 11:16:55 AM PST by murphE ("I ain't no physicist, but I know what matters." - Popeye)
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