Monday, August 20, 2007
Bishop Sklba Comments on Lay Preaching
Last year when, for all intents and purposes, St. Francis Seminary closed, its preaching institute was also abolished. One of the purposes of the Preaching Institute, which had been established in the early 1980's by Archbishop Weakland, was to certify lay preachers in the diocese and make sure that they were properly trained. Thankfully, there still are lay some people preaching in the Archdiocese, but Archbishop Dolan has expressed that this should no longer be the case. And with last years closing of the Seminary and the Institute, the training of lay people in the art of preaching ceased.
The interesting twist in this dismal story is that at the inauguration for Cardinal Stritch's St. Clare Center for Ministry Formation on Friday, Aug. 10, Bishop Sklba spoke very much in favor of lay preaching. According to a Catholic Herald article, Bishop Sklba stated that he felt preaching was the primary mission of the church that lay ministers should also be associated with preaching. He went on to state that" [a] compelling question for our day is the challenge to find a way of including our lay ecclesial ministers into the ministry of preaching in a way that respects the integrity of the Eucharist, the needs of our people and the gifts which these individuals can bring to the life of the church.” The reason he states that it needs to respect the integrity of the Eucharist, is that the official theology states that having someone other than the presider preach would make the mass too disconnected.
Intriguingly, Sklba's statement seems to be in direct opposition to the wishes of Archbishop Dolan for our Archdiocese. But at the same time, I do not think the Catholic Herald would print such an article without the knowledge of Dolan. If all the above is correct, I can only assume that Dolan is open to dialogue on the issue. Or at least he is open to his auxiliary bishop raising the question in a public forum. In any case, this is very positive. The next hopeful step would be to reinstate classes for the training of preaching for the laity.
A Faithful Catholic