01.6.2010

"Boring mush, unappetising fare and certainly not too nourishing"

Only an Italian newspaper would run a major feature article on priestly homilies, but readers of La Reppublica woke, on the Feast of the Epiphany, to a wide-ranging 'investigation' of the state of homiletics, at least in Italy. It seems to have been prompted by a comment from the secretary of the Bishop's Conference in Italy, who suggested that many sermons were just "boring mush, unappetising fare and certainly not too nourishing".
I am actually astounded at the number of completely text-bound homilies I hear (I mean 'read') even from highly intelligent people from whom I expect better! At the seminary we, at least, were taught how to 'write out' a homily but also how to deliver it so that nobody would have the least idea it might be written down.

The matter of homiletics is just one more element in the 'urgent need for evangelisation' today. Our Province Communications Delegates have a role to play here too, since even La Reppublica in a somewhat (for La Reppublica that is) balanced assessment of things, where it notes the earlier efforts of Cardinal Martini to doing something about the mnatter with consistent and persistent ongoing education for his clergy, and the fact that today's world has changed. Then the immediately following pages in the newspaper give a dramatic indication of just how it has changed, taking up Google, Iphones, FaceBook, Twitter and the like. The question is not so much one of using these media in the process of homily delivery, but noting what they have done to 'mass' communication on the one hand and taking account, on the other, of how to appeal to the heart while plumbing the depths of belief, dogmatic and experiential.
Any thoughts on the matter?

1 comment

Comment from: vcastilino  
Castilino

I certainly support the comment of the Secretary about the homilies and agree to your observation about Priests mode of delivering the homily! The basic issue at hand here, as I see it, is the attitude and the motive with which the homily is prepared and delivered.

Having to hear a homily or a sermon everyday, I have a feeling that most priests just want to ’say something’; whereas I would prefer that they ’speak to the heart’ with a clear intent of driving home a point, not just for the sake of it but to effect a change. If that is the intent, even a total silence ’speaks’ a lot!
Castilino

07/01/10 @ 09:19