US bishops to consider document on preaching

I saw this article on Catholic World News.

During its annual fall meeting, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops will discuss whether to approve a document entitled “Preaching the Mystery of Faith: The Sunday Homily.” (Good preaching is important! Every priest may not be animated, but they can present the truths of our faith in a clear and unambiguous way.)

“The ultimate goal of proclaiming the Gospel is to lead people into a loving and intimate relationship with the Lord, a relationship that forms the character of their persons and guides them in living out their faith,” states the draft document, which was prepared by a committee chaired by Archbishop Robert Carlson of St. Louis. “The homilist should strive to live a life of holiness” and “see the world through biblical eyes.”

“Preachers should be aware, in an appropriate way, of what their people are watching on television, what kind of music they are listening to, which websites they find appealing, and which films they find compelling,” the document continues. “References to the more popular cultural expressions—which at times can be surprisingly replete with religious motifs—can be an effective way to engage the interest of those on the edge of faith.”

The homily, the document adds, is not a “time for theological speculation,” (Good! Too many priests of a certain age group, preach their own agenda. It’s not about us, we are only emissaries of Christ & His Church!) and “it is inappropriate for the homilist to impose on the congregation his own partisan views about current issues.” (This last point needs clarification! Some will say you can no longer talk about abortion, contraception, same-sex marriage! What does it mean ‘His own partisan views”,)

This is good! Priests need to prepare to preach, especially through prayer – what does the Lord want to say to His people. And of course through study. I would say it’s more important to read current Church documents and Papal statements than to know what the current music, movies, and other cultural mores are. We need to prepare as did St. John Vianney!

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