One of my holiday/summer projects is to reconfigure the homiletics program at NDS.
In my hubris, I've concluded that the problem with Catholic preaching is Catholic homiletics. Not the academic study of Catholic preaching as such, but the overall approach that most homiletics texts tend to favor: preaching is a personal performance rooted in the subjective experience of the preacher and relies almost entirely on an affective mood in tone and content.
To counter this tendency, I want to introduce seminarians to a wider literary understanding of the imagination; that is, I want to give them some literary tools with which they can re-imagine the Gospel and present it to a contemporary Church. This entails reading novels, poetry, and creative non-fiction in a way that prompts the preacher to address real existential issues and questions through Gospel lenses.
Along with a number of other (better qualified and more experienced) preachers, I've also concluded that catechesis must take a backseat to evangelization in Catholic preaching. Preachers can teach all day long, but if their people haven't experienced Christ as a living presence in their lives, teaching is just mental work: memorization, recitation, etc. This doesn't mean that there is no place in Catholic preaching for teaching, it just means that the first focus of the homily needs to be on bringing our people to an encounter with Christ.
I have no idea where any of this will lead. . .St Dominic, pray for us!____________________
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