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


Dad29 said...

Bp. Sklba has many controversial opinions on issues.

He's entitled to them.

And Abp Dolan is required to enforce liturgical laws.

Anonymous said...

I was at Stritch. As were others, Bishop Sklba was asked to express HIS opinions on what HE considered that pressing issues surrounding lay ministry. I was not left with the impression that he was expressing anyone else's opinions except his own.
My impression of the Archbishop is that he allows others to have differing opinions. So, don't get too excited yet!

Faithful Catholic said...

Some bishops and congregations of the Vatican are against different opinions. So I get a little excited when discussion is allowed on controversial issues. Thank you for input though.

A Faithful Catholic

Anonymous said...

We need to be very careful. Rome does not prohibit lay-people from preaching. The rubrics allow only ordained to preach in the context of Mass. Authorized lay-people can preach outside of Mass.

Pacem said...

Anonymous is correct. The Church encourages lay-preaching! Just not at Mass. Why do so many people have such a problem with lay-people preaching? After all, it is what we are all to do, share our faith is a positive way. It just so happens that some are called to preach, some are called to other types of service. Let us get on with the mission of spreading the faith and not quibbling at such small matters.

PACEM (Peace in Latin)

Terrence Berres said...

"Let us get on with the mission of spreading the faith..."

Wouldn't this have been a good opportunity for the Bishop to do just that, rather than be asked for his opinions?

Faithful Catholic said...


Bishop Sklba's words indicate that he hopes this preaching can extend to the Mass. Otherwise, he would not have hoped to reconcile a lay person preaching with the integrity of the Mass. And what do you mean by Church? If it includes what bishops say, then the "Church" is at odds with itself. And it often is if you only look at what competing congregations publish at the Vatican.

A Faithful Catholic

Anonymous said...

When put in the context of the day at Stritch, Bishop Sklba and many others did exactly what they were asked to do.
In response to Terrence's comment, the whole day was set up to address the roles of the lay ecclesial minister in the mission of spreading the faith and the issues surrounding those roles.
To me, this discussion is necessary and important.

Terrence Berres said...

"the whole day was set up to address the roles of the lay ecclesial minister in the mission of spreading the faith and the issues surrounding those roles."

Somehow reminds me of sitting with the rest of the Parish Council in the rectory basement with blank sheets of newsprint taped to the wall, trying to figure out what the mission of the parish was.

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