21 August 2012

Demand Better Preaching. . .some examples!

Catholic preaching will not improve until Catholics demand better preaching!

(Repeat three times. . .)

If you want to read some Good Preaching, visit these two Dominican sites:

In spiritu et veritate run by Fr. Gerald Mendoza, OP. . .one of my SDP novitiate classmates.

The Specious Pedestrian run by Fr. Dominic Holtz, OP. . .a Central Province friar living in Rome.

A call to all Dominicans with preaching blogs:  drop me a comment and I will link to you.

Catholic preaching will not improve until Catholics demand better preaching!
Catholic preaching will not improve until Catholics demand better preaching!
Catholic preaching will not improve until Catholics demand better preaching!

Check back for updated links. . .
___________________

Follow HancAquam and visit the Kindle Wish List and the Books & Things Wish List

Click on St. Martin and donate to the Dominicans!  ---->

23 comments:

  1. (Cynicism alert!!) But there needs to be desire and substance in the one to whom you are making demands - otherwise you can ask all you want and ain't nothin gonna change.

    Do priests/deacons know the effect a good homily can have on a listener? We had a fabulous homily from a visiting priest last week - I don't think I've EVER grinned through an entire homily. He mentioned the "C" word (confession) no less than four times, and was passionate and knowledgeable and challenging. Some of us are so thirsty for substance and challenge and Truth...and are exceedingly grateful when we recognize those qualities in a homily (or at least an effort toward).

    Challenge me! Teach me! Show me that you are passionate - and you will bring out the passion that resides in me, and it will be easier for me to actually live out those difficult parts of the Gospel message. I want to live my life for Christ - point me down the right path and keep encouraging me, just as Jesus did (and does). Don't be afraid to be controversial - Speak The Truth!! We need to hear the Truth - the secular world beats us down, leads us down the path away from Truth. I need "more" than trite aphorisms, more than a funny joke -- make me think!! Expect more out of me! Preach audaciously :-)! (Sorry, the Irish in me is really coming out today!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Let your Irish out! Preach it!

      Many priests preach poorly b/c they were poorly trained. Others b/c they are afraid of offending anyone. And still others b/c they don't have anything to say. If Catholics want better preaching, then we must demand it by 1) letting our pastors know when they've hit the mark; 2) when they've missed it; 3) what we need/do not need from them in the homily; 4) encouragement to spend the time and energy on preparation. I'm shocked at how many priests have told me that they think I'm very disciplined b/c I write out my homilies. Never. . .NEVER. . .in my life have I been disciplined. Why is two hrs spent in prep on a homily considered evidence of discipline? Our pastors spend too much time in administration. . .it's safer, easier, and gets immediate results. They need to be freed up to do what they were ordained to do.

      Delete
    2. Fr. P -
      we have a new pastor here, and after his first Sunday sermon, the congregation broke out in spontaneous applause after a clearly delivered homily without the mushy PC stuff. Catholics still left in the pews long for authentic, consistent, faithful homilies. The reaction to our new pastor proves it.
      CordovaJim.

      Delete
    3. I'm glad to hear this, Jim. As the younger generation of priests moves in and up in the ranks, things will change. It will take time and require a lot of patience.

      Delete
  2. Gregg the Obscure2:31 PM

    Y'know seems to me that the more time a priest spends in the confessional hearing the problems the folks are facing, the better he can then speak to those problems - obviously without divulging any personally-identifiable details.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yup, I agree. After hearing confessions for a few months at one assignment, I realized that my folks were functionally Pelagian. I preached on grace for the next few Sundays.

      Delete
  3. I think that faculties for preaching should be separate from sacramental duties. (And I know you need faculties for confessions.) If a priest can't preach his way beyond narcolepsy or triviality or Mr Rogers, he should be restricted to saying the red and doing the black and shutting up until he can prove otherwise. "Mass priests" were not such a bad idea.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm afraid the OP's have to take the blame for opening the door to priestly preaching. Until Dominic came along only bishops were allowed to preach at Mass. We got papal approval for preaching and over time the practice grew. It is certainly the case that not every priest is capable of producing a decent homily. Even good preachers occasionally deliver a dud. Preaching five or six times a week can be more than just a challenge. . .it's a nearly insurmountable obstacle.

      Delete
  4. Anonymous8:37 PM

    So many Catholics who go to church regularly do not think with the mind of the Church because their views on contraception, cohabitation, the practice of homosexuality, modesty of dress have been formed by the media. This is outrageous when we know that the Catholic Church has the truth, has been having the truth and even has the pulpit to promulgate and the Holy Spirit to prod. All we need are priests with courage. Holy priests.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anon., you are absolutely right. However, I'd settle for a few more orthodox priests right now.

      Delete
  5. Victoria9:48 PM

    Catholic preaching will not improve until Catholics demand better preaching!

    I really think that this has to be tried on a case by case basis. My parish priest is a hopeless preacher but as he is also a smouldering wick so we put up with him and treat him gently. There are very few vocations in my neck of the woods and we count ourselves lucky to have a priest.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Without knowing his situation, I'd have to say that he sounds like a Rage Manager; i.e. someone who manages/rules his roost with the threat of imminent rage. . ."Do what I want, or I'll explode!" However, I'm glad you have a priest too!

      Delete
  6. Lawrence Lew, OP12:47 AM

    I'm still posting my homilies here...
    Http://lawrenceop.tumblr.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Consider yourself properly linked, fra. Lawrence. :-)

      Delete
    2. Lawrence Lew, OP4:23 PM

      Cheers!

      Delete
  7. Oh so true...if only the "demand" part wasn't so tricky... :)

    Just the other day I was thinking about this, and what struck me was that priests seem to cling to (or perhaps instructed to do it on seminary/diocesan levels) a Marketing-oriented "need-satisfying" preaching approach (that is: saying what the "customer" wants to hear...), which is great to sell cars and soups but when applied to something actually important such as a homily leads to all the problems discussed here.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Anonymous11:48 AM

    I'll ask your prayers, because I'm a laywoman who teaches Homiletics. The hard part is getting the men on fire. I'm a long way from my native South! Where I live, the dominant Anglo culture is extremely restrained and understated, so it's very, very difficult to get the men to show any enthusiasm for the word of God. Plenty of the priests and deacons here preach with the kind of detached calm you want in your dentist, not your preacher. Please pray for me and the men I teach--everyone teaching Homiletics in the U.S. could use any prayers you can spare. Thanks!!

    Celia

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Celia, I will certainly pray for you and your students.

      This might sound rude. . .but I don't think good preaching can be taught, meaning like any art all we can do as teachers is discourage bad habits and encourage good ones.

      If the fire for preaching isn't there, then no amount of classwork will set someone on fire. And I think this is one of the biggest problems of Catholic preaching: too many of our priests are institutional functionaries and too many of them have their hearts set on their careers and promotion. How many parochial vicars preach bland homilies so as not to draw unwelcome attention and have their chance for the pastor's office upset. How many pastors do the same in the throes of Bishop Fever. . .and on up the chain? We have set too high a value on "not rocking the boat" in order to play well with others.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous5:15 PM

      Why is a laywoman teaching homiletics? She might find her male students "restrained" because of HER; but more convenient to project blame for that --if it is in fact to be blamed-- on the local "Anglo" culture. They might not be "on fire for the Word of God" because she's in the way.

      For a Church that (thank God) restricts the priesthood to men, it often seems to know damn little, and care less, about masculine psychology.

      And while I'm at it, how come we're supposed to kowtow to local culture all the time except when it suits her? Would you countenance a Yankee trying to Northernize Southern seminarians because they are too exuberant?

      And if the culture is restrained, meaning so are the people in the pews, is it not imperialist and insensitive to try to lay an alien (though charming) culture on them?

      I don't like this woman. Not at all.

      Delete
    3. I don't have a problem with a laywoman teaching homiletics. . .so long as she is orthodox. A woman might be able to set fire to a group of men in a way that a male prof can't b/c they see him as someone to whom they must show a restrained countenance. IOW, in this case, I don't think women are necessarily disqualified. There are many male profs out there that I wouldn't inflict on the Enemy.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous10:55 AM

      Thank you, Father. Be assured that I am vigorously, rigorously, and joyfully orthodox. And certainly I don't teach Homiletics alone--many priests and deacons teach the men as well, especially as their ordination approaches. My professional competences complement, rather than compete with, those of the many ordained formators. And my bishop makes a point of knowing all the formators in his diocese, visiting classes, etc.; I talk to him regularly.

      And yes, I agree that good preaching, like good teaching, can't be taught, strictly speaking. Seeing in very concrete ways how grace builds upon nature is very, very rewarding, thanks be to God. Thank you for your prayers!
      Celia

      Delete
  9. Anonymous4:25 PM

    Where is Father Mendoza?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Here's in Austin, TX. Here's his blog: http://inspirituetveritate.blogspot.com/

      Delete