Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Superficial Preaching

Msgr. Pope at Holy Comforter-St. Cyprian in DC wants to know what you think of Catholic preaching. The basic problem: 7 minutes.

He links an excerpt of a sermon by Fr. Bill Casey talking about superficial preaching.


There is nothing like a little zeal, sound theology, and a dynamic speaking style to really hook the listener. People are hungry for some meat in a sermon, stop feeding them thin gruel. I know that Jesus loves me -- so what? Challenge me, inspire me, show me how, make me care. Feed both heart and mind.

I can listen to a whole hour of a Scott Hahn lecture and not grow bored. I can listen to 10 minutes of pablum from the pulpit and have trouble keeping my eyes open. Converts from Evangelical traditions are breathing some new life into the Catholic Church at the pulpit. Many former Protestant ministers are coming over to the Catholic Church. I have no problem with the Evangelical style as long as it is informed by good doctrine.

Good preaching comes from a great prayer life, I'm convinced. In the book The Light and the Glory by Peter Marshall and David Manuel, the authors tell of a Protestant pastor who knew he was a terrible preacher and so prayed and fasted 10 hours a day while preparing his homilies. As a result hard men wept and clung to the foundations of the church to avoid being dragged to Hell.

That's some preaching.

1 comment:

Kardinal said...

Monsignor Pope is spot on on all of his comments. I am constantly frustrated at the poor state of preaching in the Church. It's part of why I love Dominicans and it's part of why I love Steubenville.

What particularly frustrates me is the lack of teaching in HOW to do something. Father tells us we should pray more. OK, Father, how? How do we find time? What should we consider deprioritizing? HOW SHOULD WE PRAY? Give us some concrete examples that might help us see how to implement the Gospel in our lives!

I found Deacon Kandra's comments on this article interesting as well:

http://blog.beliefnet.com/deaconsbench/2010/03/the-state-of-catholic-preaching.html

He suggests the possibility of lay preachers to take some of the time burden off the priest and they may be more gifted in this regard. There is some precedent for this, but it is currently forbidden in canon law. I wonder if, sometime down the road, we might see Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Homily?

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