Friday, June 17, 2011

New Document on Preaching

During the first day of their spring Assembly, the U.S. Bishops approved the writing of a 50 page document on preaching for next year. Based on input from bishops at this assembly and from when the topic came up in previous meetings, it can be assumed that this document will shift the focus of preaching from a reflection on how God is acting in our everyday lives as seen through the eyes of scripture to an emphasis on doctrine.

In one sense, this may be necessary. The average post-Vatican II Catholic's knowledge of the faith is not something to brag about. But I hope that this document does not bring us back to pre-Vatican II sermons that prooftexted a Gospel in order to catechize on an element of the Catholic faith, usually with the desire to cover the basics of the faith during a one year cycle. I can almost see it now: Week 1 - Abortion; Week 2 - Birth Control; Week 3 - Marriage (anti-gay); Week 4 - The Sacrament of Penance, etc.

Although Catholics are less knowledgeable about their faith, they have computers and information at their fingertips that was not available before. With a move towards catechesis in preaching, I hope that there will be an emphasis on inspiring the faithful to learn more about their faith outside of Mass by illustrating how the truths of the faith are meaningful in their everyday lives - particularly the truth of Jesus Christ. People are thirsting for spirituality, which I define as doctrine in action. Preaching needs to touch on both aspects of spirituality to move people.

A Faithful Catholic

1 comment:

CatholicSoldier said...


You might be able to benefit from increased catechetical preaching. I do agree that at times (more often than not perhaps), the preaching leaves a lot to be desired. It is important that the Church utilizes the homily/sermon as a means of instruction (not exclusively) for the faith since most Catholics won't spend the time (unfortunately) informing themselves.