Hand posture during baptism

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q:  You have noted elsewhere that “The RBC was one of the very first rituals out of the starting blocks following Vatican II, and the rubrics are not very tight.” (https://paulturner.org/gospel-reading-for-baptism/). I have found this to be especially true in a lack of directions for hand posture during many of the elements of the rite. There are two specific times it seems to be the presider should take on specific gestures even though they are not indicated, and I was wondering what you take on it would be. 

1. During the Blessing of Baptismal Water which is the same prayer as during the Easter Vigil it seems that the prayer should be said “with hands extended” as is done during the Easter Vigil. 

2. During the Blessing and Dismissal which follows the form of a Solemn Blessing in the Missal it seems that it should be said with “hands extended over the people” as would be done at Mass. 

There are two times I am less sure on what posture should be taken:

1. The Prayer of Exorcism: It seems like the Orans position would be appropriate as it follows the form of a collect while using the shorter ending. 

2. The Lord’s Prayer: I know during Mass the priest uses the Orans position, but I have been told that this is not done during Morning or Evening Prayer, so I am not sure how this would apply to Baptism.


A:  I checked the Ceremonial of Bishops, and it offers no further clarifications. So with regard to the prayer of exorcism and the blessing of water, I think the presider can use his best judgment because the rubrics are silent.

But for the Lord’s Prayer and solemn blessing, my opinion is to use the postures for Mass because those elements are incorporated into the Liturgy of the Eucharist when baptism is celebrated at Mass. It seems unlikely that the same prayers would call for a different posture outside Mass, especially since the Lord’s Prayer is begun at the altar.