Friday, April 19, 2013

To preach or not to preach?

I was rather taken by this headline, "Unemployed Sicilian man 'murdered his parish priest because he couldn't bear to listen to any more sermons".

I am one of those priests who preach a short sermon every day, and I suppose preach a little too long on a Sunday. I don't think I am untypical of priests around here.

But I wonder if we actually preach too much, certainly the daily sermon is modern phenonoma, even the Sunday sermon wasn't absolutely necessary before the Council, at least not at all Masses.

A friend tells me he was concelebrating with a priest and asked him to use the shorter version of the Gospel in the Lectionary, because he had rather a lot say. "Oh", said the other priest, "I'll look forward to that, I haven't heard much that is more important than the Gospel of the Lord!"

I don't tend to feel a need to preach at the Extraordinary Form.

I wonder if some priests, obviously not me, preach because they want to "control" the Word of God rather than leave it to work on the hearts of the faithful, is there a bit of mistrust here? or is it a compensation for the absence of silence? or is it insecure priests needing therapy?


Cathy said...

Obviously I speak just for myself but (fwiw) I rarely appreciate daily homilies, unless it is something brief and relevant to the particular feast or saint being celebrated that day. Most of all I dislike bidding prayers during the week, which too many priests do around here.

John Nolan said...

Nobody wants to hear a sermon at a weekday Mass. If it's an EF Mass it can be comfortably said within half an hour, an ideal length. The OF would be over and done with in 15 minutes, so is usually padded out with introductions, explanations and extempore homilies, all of which are usually otiose and invariably tiresome. No-one should preach at the Easter Vigil; the liturgy says it all, particularly in the modern rite where the introductory and explanatory elements are already included.

I remember once at the Christmas Day Solemn Mass at the London Oratory the priest wished everyone a happy Christmas, thanked us in advance for our offering, and announced that he was not going to preach, as we got enough sermons in the course of the year and deserved a rest. I suspect that people were more than usually generous when the collection was taken.

Supertradmum said...

Priests do not preach enough. There are so many "uneducated" and "uncatechized Catholics" out there who need more information on the Faith.

Preach everyday, please. We all need it.

TLMWx said...

I love preaching. Prattling though is quite something else and deserves a firm hand. Murder is a little extreme though. :-)

Jacobi said...

“leave it to work on the hearts of the faithful”

No harm in that Father – provided they know what the Word of God is.

Trouble is that so often today, the laity do not know their Faith. They are either heterodox or just plain ignorant. An example being the reported circa 80% in the recent US poll who do not believe in the Real Presence. The percentage is probably the same here. The schools did not tell them, nor do they (the schools) apparently tell their children.

That leaves priests!

Ps You are right about the EF. Whatever else, they do tend to know their Faith and doctrine.

Pablo the Mexican said...

"Guru, I want to find God"

""Certainly my son. First, go kneel down at the bank of that lake and submerse your head into the water"

The Guru then walked over and held the young man's head under the water.

A few minutes passed, and the young man became worried.

A few more minutes and the young man panicked.

A longer time and the young man began to flail his arms about and tried desperately to raise his head out of the water.

The Guru let him up before he drowned.

"My son, when you seek God as desperately as that, come back and see me"

During the Cuban Missile Crisis, Churches were full beyond capacity with people attending Mass, and the line for Confession wrapped around the block three or four times with people desperate to confess their sins to be absolved by a Priests.

There were no heretics, apostates, or atheists.

Everyone left those opinions behind when death was clearly a breath away.

No sermon was too long.

Latin was not a problem.

The Priest was Numero Uno.

Today the Padre is still Numero Uno when you want salvation.

It is just that fat and sassy people have gorged themselves at Satan's table and think God should accommodate their whims as well.

May God our Lord in His infinite and supreme goodness be pleased to give us His abundant grace, that we may know His most holy will, and entirely fulfill it.

Que Dios nos agarre confesados y comulgados.


Annie said...

Priests talk but they don't say much.

Cosmos said...

The one practice that really bothers me is the use of a story to begin a sermon- almost like an extrad reading. It seems to really distract from the liturgical readings, and suggests that the Bible's imagery is deficient. It is wonderful to explain the scripture for the congregation in contemporary terms, but the gaol should be to make sure they are wlaking away with the scriptures in their head, not some neat story.

parepidemos said...

Fr Blake, Some felt that Benedict XVI went on too long, but I always found his homiliies to be both uplifting and challenging. I completely agree with Ma Tucker and Supertradmum about liking a good 'preach', but substance rather than length, of course.

As for a daily homily, our new Franciscan gives a thoughtful one which is no more than 2 minutes (reminds me of Francis I). He is also very good at inserting appropriate periods of silence, both on weekdays and Sundays.

gemoftheocean said...

I suppose the guy couldn't have just gotten up and gone out for a smoke? *sigh*

At any rate, I guess with weekday sermons it depends on the circumstances. If it is a very early mass, then I'd agree you generally don't want a sermon, as you most likely want to get to work, and sometimes that extra 5 minutes would mean having to skip the Mass or walk out early so as to make it to work on time.

When I was in San Diego, just before I left I went to St. Anne's parish and attended morning Mass in the EF form at 7:15 sharp. Mass started on the dot (the pastor insisted on this) and I had about 12 minutes to get to work and park on the east end of downtown San Diego, which worked *just right.* You could pretty well set your clock within 2 minutes. Most of us were in the same boat. The FFSP priests all gave very nice Sunday homilies very to the point.

But here in England if I go to a morning weekday mass it's at 9:30, and there's usually a little 5 minute sermon. No more. The pastor is quite a gifted speaker and he keeps it short and to the point. Can't say I mind - and given the time of day Mass starts, I suspect few are going on to work afterwards (unless they have a rather late start.) One priest I knew NEVER gave a sermon on Palm Sunday, because he said the reading spoke for itself and "there's nothing more I can add, other than I'd advise you to take full advantage of the Easter Season and to attend as many Holy Week services as possible." People always did appreciate that one. I must say his normal sermons were always a little windy, with 23 minutes being average. Nice, but windy all the same. I used to give the young servers how to stretch their limbs while sitting so as not to be obvious about it. For quite a number of years he did manage to work in sci-fi examples. You always wished you could go out for a smoke yourself if a sermon started off with "suppose" -- then it was almost guaranteed to be 25 minutes.

David said...

My PP preaches at most Masses, preaches long on Sunday, always Scripture-based, delivered without notes - and different at each Sunday Mass. We know that people by-pass several parishes to be at this one. The Mass count has grown every year of the 24 he has been in the parish. Enough said!

Chloe said...

Please preach and give us the Truth. So few know anything about their faith. We need to be taught. Ok, don't go on so long that people stop listening. Incidentally, that poor murdered priest, God rest his soul, was aparently publicly revealing the sins of his congragation. Sins they had told him in confession. Murder is never acceptable, but what he was doing was just plain wrong. Pray for his soul. Chloe

Pablo the Mexican said...

"Without the priest, the passion and death of our Lord would be of no avail. It is the priest who continues the work of redemption here on earth...What use would be a house filled with gold, were there no one to open its door? The priest holds the key to the treasures of heaven: it is he who opens the door: he is the steward of the good Lord; the administrator of His goods...Leave a parish for twenty years without a priest and they will end by worshiping the beasts there. The priest is not a priest for himself; he is a priest for you."

Saint John Marie Vianney


Fr Seán Coyle said...

Where I've been living for more than ten years now in the Philippines I have a weekday Mass, Tuesday to Saturday. Most of the 10 to 30 that attend, depending on the day, are retired but at least one is not. So I rarely preach now.

When I go home to Ireland, occasionally I'm asked to take one of the weekday Masses - I usually concelebrate - and as none of those who attend have to rush off for work, I give a brief homily on those occasions. I know that the people appreciate this. It all depends on the situation. And when there are persons who have to head for work immediately afterwards a homily is not helpful.

From time to time in homilies I give basic teaching about the Mass, emphasising that the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ. This has to be taught over and over again.

johnf said...

I am told that in mediaeval times if the congregation had had enough of their priest's sermon they would shout

"Satis audivimus! Descende!"

I don't know whether the priests took the hint or not.

Have pity on the non Catholics in the 19th century and earlier who had to listen to orotund discourses lasting a couple of hours with the parson having a gigantic hourglass, which he turned over at half time.

The lefties didn't escape scot free. Remember Fidel Castro with his 7 hours homilies/rants?

Joseph Shaw said...

I remember coming briefly to consciousness during an extremely long sermon at the Easter Vigil Mass in Downside to hear the Abbot saying 'for those of you who are still awake...!' (Not the present Abbot, this was years ago.)

Catholic Mission said...

How can the Holy Spirit teach error,Pope Francis ?

Pope Francis PREACHED recently that the Second Vatican Council “was a beautiful work of the Holy Spirit,” according to a Vatican Radio report.

According to whom?

Did the Holy Spirit teach that Lumen Gentium 16 refers to visible- in- the- flesh cases of persons saved in invincible ignorance ?

Or did the Holy Spirit mean that there can be persons saved in invincible ignorance and these cases would not be known to us ?

Did the Holy Spirit say that Lumen Gentium 16 is an exception to the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus as is widely reported in the media over so many years ?

Or did the Holy Spirit mean that Lumen Gentium 16 is irrelevant to the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus and to Ad Gentes 7 which says all need 'faith and baptism' for salvation ?

According to EWTN,Catholic Culture, Catholic Answers, Catholics United for the Faith, Ecclesia Dei's Vice President, the Vatican Curia, Jesuits and popes including Pope Francis- LG 16 is visible and so is a break with the past.This is irrational.

How can the Holy Spirit teach error?

-Lionel Andrades


I really like it when a priest says a short homily during the week. Even if he is just reading the reflection from the magnificat, at least it is a little something.

I appreciate it most of all when a priest uses 'sound bites' whereby the faithful have a chance to remember the primary point.

One local priest gives home work and literally says "Go away this week and consider/pray about or work on ......" I do not think this is such a bad thing.

These days the 'sound bite' is important because the message is otherwise lost. Sad, but true.

nickbris said...

When their eyes glaze over it is a good sign that they have heard enough and as English is not the first language of most of our congregation that can happen quite early on

John Nolan said...

The idea that the homily is part of the Liturgy of the Word is a Novus Ordo conceit. In the Roman Rite the priest removes his maniple before ascending the pulpit, signifying that the liturgy is suspended at this point.

There is a place for good preaching, but I don't go to Mass to hear a lecture, particularly as there is no opportunity of questioning the speaker afterwards. Oratorians can say what they need to say in ten minutes, and so it appears can Pope Francis. "When you strike oil, stop boring!"

Physiocrat said...

Most of use find it difficult to hold attention for longer than it takes to boil an egg, so an egg-timer could usefully be a standard pulpit fitting.

In some churches, no attempt should ever be made to preach a sermon due to the acoustics. I was at a church recently where I hear the sermon several times over - the first time through the PA system, the second time a second later, directly from the preacher's mouth, and subsequently, beginning after another five seconds or so, further echoed versions. Needless to day, it was impossible to make sense of any of it.

Physiocrat said...


as far as I can make out, the vernacular is not the first language of most members of many Catholic congregations these days which make one wonder why the Novus Ordo in the vernacular still has such a hold.

If the priest says Mass silently in Latin, then people can follow in their own language on printed sheets, and the sermon can be a hand-out that people can read during the week.

Unknown said...

On a lighter note back in the fifties the parish I was in had a parish priest and a couple of curates. There were four masses on Sunday morning at 8,9,10&11. The pp always said the 11am mass and preached a long sermon.He was a very educated man and most of what he said went over the heads of a mainly working class congregation.Gradually attendances at his mass declined.To remedy this he decided one Sunday to preach at every mass and due to the length of his sermons each mass over ran. The 11am mass finally got under way about 11.45am.His parishoners may have had difficulty understanding him but they certainly got the message.

Jeremiah Methuselah said...

Father Blake,

Thank you, you are absolutely right to expound the Word of God when you deem it right and proper - “Go ye and teach all nations”, is that not relevant ? But you don’t need me to tell you that of course, sorry for that.

But, listen, you guys posting must simply stop this public criticism of your priests. Got a problem with something he said ? Go and talk with your priest, the chances are he knows what he is talking about and you don’t. It’s simply not on to smear him all over the internet, think before you post such bad stuff, for goodness sake. Once what you have written is on the Net, it never goes away, seems to me some of you are not aware of that undeniable fact. Better wake up.

Except - if he is one of those priests who does all those weird and pointless and offensive things : I remember discussing with my late wife our particular priest who sang “Happy Birthday, Dear Jesus” on the second Mass of Christmas Day. Our decision ? - we decided to make “other arrangements” and, therefore, as it turned out, saved our souls, holding thumbs on this statement, naturally. Thank God for the Old Mass, faced with many alternatives, it is a full-blown (after) life-saver. If you do not know that yet, go and try.

Annie, you going to the wrong churches lass.

Supertradmum - Right on Gal !

John Nolan, maybe it is best not to prescribe to priests what they must do - after all, the person next to you may think you were talking 100% nonsense ? Unless, you are a superior person with an inside track … How dare you ! Are you a bishop perhaps ? A failed seminarian ?

Joe, Yes, I’ve been there more times than I care to admit. That is down to my human frailty, not to the holy priest, I guess you will agree. It’s a worrying challenge for me every single Sunday; I often lose, but - the priest is right, not me.

In my opinion, every Catholic priest has an immensely difficult task these bleak days, they must preach the True Word of the Lord God, without infringing on the opinions or commands of their bishops, or even their cardinals (especially if they uphold the Faith of Our Fathers in Austria, afflicted with the domineering presence of the “cardinal” Schönborn, a man who has enormous difficulty interpreting the command of Our Lord to “Go ye and teach all nations”.

Support your priest, don’t knock him. He needs all the help he can have, it’s your duty to help him, very few of his superiors are batting for him. Just imagine yourself as a priest in the Archdiocese of Westminster, what a Calvary.

Lord, grant us priests, holy priests and many holy priests.

Fr Ray Blake said...

There is nothing unkind here, that I can see.

Catholic Coffee said...

Never mind sermons on weekdays - I'd be glad if I could get to Mass on a weekday. Unfortunately the Church in England seems to cater only for the 3Rs (rich, retired, religious) on weekdays - who else could go to a Mass at 10.00 a.m.?

Physiocrat, I don't know why you assume that people can read better (in any language including their native language) than understand the spoken vernacular but in some regions in England around 80% of people have a reading age of 12 so reading sheets of the text of the Mass is not an option. This aside, I don't want to read any printed sheets in any language during Mass - I want to watch and hear the priest offer the bread and wine and then consecrate them, so Novus Ordo for me.

Tony Flavin said...


Sue Sims said...

Just been reading a book by Mgr Benson, Oddsfish!, set towards the end of the reign of Charles II. There's a nice anecdote of a court preacher who, annoyed by the snoozing of the King but, of course, unable to rebuke His Majesty, snapped at a dozy courtier: 'You'll wake the King with your snoring!'

Physiocrat said...


If you can follow the priest's words with attention ie without wandering off in your thoughts, all the way through the Canon of the Mass, then you must be very unusual.

What do you think the 80% of the population with a reading age of 12 make of the new English translation, whether they are listening to it or reading it on a piece of paper? And what about the large number of people in many parishes for whom the vernacular is not their first language? And what about the priests ditto who read the Mass in a heavy accent which is difficult for everyone to understand? And what about people who have difficulty in hearing, either due to their own hearing or because of the acoustics of the building or the quality of the public address system or both?

There is a good case for introducing a standard language in the church, and also for the priest celebrating quietly, with people following. There could even be translations made which were suitable for people with a reading age of 12. In fact they must be needed for the instruction of children,and there is no need to dumb them down which is what the old ICEL translation did.

Then all priests could celebrate Mass in any country they happened to be and the people would find the same Mass wherever they were, and participate actively in the Mass as intended by Vatican Two. As it is at the moment you can go to the next parish and not know any of the hymns or even what is going to happen.

Pétrus said...

@Catholic Coffee

I agree with you. It seems that only those in London can avail of Mass early enough to attend before work.

IanW said...

How's this for a plan? On ordination as deacon a seminarian would be granted a licence to preach for three minutes. At suitable intervals thereafter his preaching would be assessed by a mixed panel of clergy and laity for effective delivery and ability to stick to the point. The panel would have the right to vary the licence by half a minute either way.

Zephyrinus said...

Dear Fr,

Excellent Post. Thank you.

BTW. That's a doozie of a Pulpit in the picture.

When you've finished with it, can we take it off your hands ?

It will fit nicely in the new Blackfen Minor Basilica.

in Domino.

JARay said...

It would be a very strange situation if the priests around here missed out on a sermon at any Mass. Unfortunately most are not native born Australians and their "English" is very hard to follow! I find myself switching off most of the time.

Tabernacle of David said...

The important thing is "what" is being preached. Actually I think since catechesis is so lacking in today's Church one could argue that a priest has a moral duty to preach as often as possible.

In the TLM, the gospel is in Latin and the common man in the Anglophone world is left to read it in a $60 missal (provided he knows where to flip). The FSSP does read the gospel before the sermon, but this is not necessary to the rite.

For the good of souls, I hope you don't stop your daily sermons or homilies. Every priest can at the very least grab an excerpt from St. Alphonsus Liguori's devotional works or a similar saint's devotional work. Or at least the priest can read the daily hagiography. No prep time. And the faithful actually continue to learn the faith in the midst of a faithless generation.

This doesn't lessen the awareness of the nature and efficacy of the Eucharistic Sacrifice. The opposite is true.

Anonymous said...

Interesting thoughts, Father. I always rather like the homily if it is a good one. Both priests at my parish are very good preachers. However your post made me think--is it necessary?

Gratias said...

Pope Francis preaches a sermon every single day at the Domus Santae Martae guest house.

Having attended about 10 masses there while Benedict was Pope, I never heard a homily. The Church has changed a lot in one month.

Physiocrat said...

Surely the liturgy IS the homily? The Introit, Gradual, Offertory and Communion, as given in Graduale Romanum or Liber Usualis, form a coherent whole. As long as people get to see them translations that should be sufficient, and those texts provide a hook for the priests to hang a few words on.

The EF scripture readings and Proper seem to be better put together from the point of view of coherence.

Catholic Coffee said...

I definitely can follow the words of the consecration, listening and watching. This means I am more present at Mass than if I was reading a book in Latin; and it is definitely more than if I were at a non-dialogue Latin Mass where because of the silent canon I would not even know when the consecration happens. Apart from this I do what I can and yes, I can often concentrate during most of the canon. This probably comes from coming from a country where no one uses missals and photocopies/Jerusalem Mass sheets are unheard of - you are expected to listen to what is being said.

"What do you think the 80% of the population with a reading age of 12 make of the new English translation, whether they are listening to it or reading it on a piece of paper?"
It does not matter what they make of it - it is the official English translation. But whatever they make of it, the fact remains that many who understand the words when spoken would not be able to read them.

The vernacular in England is not my first language either. When I am in Spain hearing Mass in Spanish, Spanish is not my first language either. I would encourage everyone to learn the language of the country they live in - this also helps with getting a job etc.

If a priest speaks with a heavy accent, maybe he could work on it instead of the whole congregation having to read the Mass?

Those with hearing impairment usually wear some sort of hearing aid.

" at the moment you can go to the next parish and not know any of the hymns or even what is going to happen."
You know the Gospel is going to be read, there will be consecration and communion. This is why I go to Mass and I know this is going to happen at any parish (otherwise it's not a Mass). Hymns and other variations in liturgy, which may be different in different parishes do not affect what Mass is about.

Physiocrat said...


If you can maintain your attention throughout a homily lasting more than three minutes, and the canon as well, then you are most unusual and to be congratulated in this skill.

Most people over the age of about 50 have some sort of hearing impairment but few of them wear hearing aids. Then there is the issue of the poor acoustics of many buildings and the poor quality of public address systems, without which it would not even be practicable to say Mass aloud. The reality is that priests with heavy foreign accents do not always work on them, and they may be short-term visitors and are doing well to say the Mass in the local language at all. But the exercise is pointless. I am not alone in hearing not more than about a third of what is said, and the rest might as well be rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb.

If you are happy to hear Mass in Spanish, and go to a parish where "you know the Gospel is going to be read, there will be consecration and communion", then what have you got against it being in Latin, which is consistent world-wide?

If it is "silent" you know exactly when the consecration takes place because a bell is rung, first when the words of consecration begin, and again, three times when the host is elevated and three times more when the chalice is elevated. That is enough to get anyone out of their daydreams.

Another reality is that people are not going to learn the language of the country they are in. It is a considerable investment in time and money. They may be just passing through eg on holiday, or the language may be so obscure as not to be worth learning unless they are going to live their permanently, or too difficult, or both eg Finnish, where Latin seems to be quite popular, perhaps for that reason.

Hymns and variations in liturgy have a great deal to do with what Mass is about, as the Vatican Two documents emphasise in their call for "active participation". How can anyone actively participate if they are expected to sing things they have never heard before? In fact, I have been to Masses abroad and been able to join in because the music was the same even though the language was different. And of course with Latin one can join in the whole thing and the music will be familiar too, which is the point of being a Catholic ie Universal church.

Catholic Coffee said...


- I believe most people and even small children can concentrate for more than 3 minutes. (No one would be able to obtain any qualification if this were not so; people listen to audiobooks; etc.)

- People with hearing impairment are a minority. It is unreasonable to deprive the majority of hearing the Mass just because a minority cannot hear it.

"what have you got against it being in Latin"
- Latin is not the vernacular for anyone, so everyone would have to learn it, which is unreasonable since the majority of people speak the language of the country where they live. This is true for the UK but even more so for other countries, most of which are much less multicultural than the UK. The county where I work is 95.4% white British. You would have all these people learn Latin just to hear Mass because...?

-I do not daydream in Mass. Mass is too precious and I can only attend maybe 2-3 times a week. My attention does wander on occasions, mostly during hymns or if children are loud but I'd rather hear the words of the consecration than a silence between two bells.

- When I was talking about learning the language, I was referring to people who live in a country other than where they were born. As regards holidays: how many holidays do most people take a year? How many Masses will they hear during these holidays? This in the context that I live in a place where you can find 13-14-year-olds who have never seen the sea, which is 5 metro stops away; and in many areas most people have never been further than 30 miles from their home town.

- Mass is about the Gospel, consecration and communion. Everything else is embellishment and negligible. Which is why it changes from culture to culture. The Gospel and consecration do not.

- "Active participation" - so you feel the lack of it if you don't know the hymns, but not in a non-dialogue EF Mass?

However, Physiocrat, I do not think it is fair to turn Fr. Ray's post into a debate between us. Because of this I will come and read your response (if Fr. approves this post and if you respond) but I will refrain from responding again.

Physiocrat said...


You seem to be living an a part of the country suffering from extreme deprivation.

In the "non-dialogue" Mass there as much opportunity for vocal participation as in the Novus Ordo. There are the responses and the whole of the Ordinary and the Creed, and the Marian hymn at the end.

It is not necessary to learn Latin to any high academic level in order to understand what is being said in the Ordinary of the Mass. The other parts of the Mass need to be studied as part of catechesis anyway.

It would do children nothing but good to be exposed to the little bit of Latin needed to grasp the Latin of the liturgy - the more so in the sea of cultural poverty you are describing. It would, at the very least, improve their life chances. It would indeed open up whole new worlds to them.

I have never understood where this purported problem with Latin came from. Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and French speakers do not have much a problem with it as the languages are similar. It is more difficult where the languages are Germanic but nothing that can not be overcome with a bit of decent teaching.

Jewish children seem to be able to master Hebrew by the age of six, with another alphabet as well, and this may have a bearing on their fact that the fact that they are generally able to overcome a poor start. Muslim boys learn the Koran in Arabic, often unfortunately without knowing the meaning of the words but that is just bad teaching. Children on the whole do not have problems with other languages but just accept what they hear. I came across a 12 year old the other day who could do Arabic, Swedish and English and was just starting French.

Hidden One said...

Whether priests talk too much is a matter of opinion, but I think it's almost always true that they say too little.

Physiocrat said...

We had a 25 minute sermon this morning. I can remember a couple of sentences said in the first three minutes. I would think that my recall was better than the average.

Note to priests: get an egg-timer and keep it on the pulpit.

Pablo the Mexican said...

54 minute sermon at the 7 p.m. Mass.

The Faithful stayed until 11:30 p.m. talking with the Padre.

Sometime during all this someone mentioned to the Padre who flew in from 928 miles away and said Mass before that in a city several hundred miles away from that one, some one mentioned the hour.

The Padre shrugged it off and said "I am here for souls"

The little old ladies would give their lives for this Catholic Padre.

I recorded the sermon and put it on you tube.

A Catholic Priest feeds his sheep.

They are content.

The goats never are.


Physiocrat said...


I hope that the congregation knew beforehand that the Mass would include a 54 minute sermon.

The liturgy IS the sermon. It includes, or should include, the Entrance antiphon, readings, Gradual and Offertory and Communion verses. These have been carefully selected and form a coherent and concentrated whole. This is more so in the Extraordinary Form.

A good sermon will draw attention to the theme and remind the congregations of the connections - this is particularly noticeable in the series of readings from the start of Lent through to Trinity Sunday.

A good sermon can do this in under five minutes. A diamond weighing a fraction of an ounce is worth more than a truckload of gravel, is it not.

When there is more to be said, like your 54 minute sermon, it can more usefully take place within the context of a separate talk afterwards. Mass is not the place for lectures.

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