Article: What a priest said when he was asked is it okay to leave and have a cigarette while my priest gives his sermon? Last Sunday he spent most of the time saying how bad the "Captain Marvel" movie is


“My priest gives these long, boring, irrelevant homilies. Last week he went completely off script and spent most of the time talking about how bad the new Captain Marvel movie is. I read somewhere that Italian men used to leave during homily, have a cigarette or something, and then come back in when they heard him wrap up. Is that still an option? I know homilies themselves aren’t required for a valid Mass, strictly speaking. I could do without my pastor’s.
Colleen F. from Boston, MA”

“Unsought mortifications can purify the soul faster than elected disciplines: bad preaching gives a chance to grow in patience, temperance and, above all, charity. Just as sand in an oyster can become an irritant or a pearl, banality in the pulpit can tarnish a soul or polish it. That depends on humility. During the homily, pray to his guardian angel, and say part of the rosary for his intention. You might also offer him a gift of some classical meditations: the Office of Readings, or the sermons of preachers like Ronald Knox and Benedict XVI. Then pray that he will become a holy borrower.”

–Perhaps those at Catholic Forums will have more suggestions?

(Published in the “Catholic Herald,” this is at )


More suggestions than the one Fr. Rutler already gave? No. No, I don’t have any, do you?


That’s amazing advice. I’d take it. I once heard a homily all about the Cuban missil crisis back in the “80s”. Bad homilies happen and bad preachers exist.

I’ve also had some pretty awful professors. Did I skip class? No.


Nope, unless you are very ill or an emergency trip to the bathroom is needed you should stay and listen. You will get something from each and every homily.


I’m having this issue right now with a deacon at one of my regular Mass churches. He talks too long and the subject matter just does not move me; at best it’s dull and seems to assume we never have a spiritual thought in our life outside of the one hour we spend at Sunday Mass, at worst it’s downright depressing (on a holiday he preached about a dying cancer patient). The worst part is I bet this guy works really hard on his homilies as he always has a stack of sheets to read from and everything. I try to offer it up when I find myself at a Mass where he is preaching. If it gets too bad I will say other prayers or discreetly read some Scripture.


I spent far too many years in boring and irrelevant meetings listening to someone clueless drone on.

Learn to sleep with your eyes open.

Just kidding of course. As my wife would say “suck it up, buttercup”. If all that is bothersome in your life is a boring homily, offer it up and spend the time in prayer reflecting on the plight of those who aren’t so fortunate: the homeless on a cold winter night, those scraping for enough food to feed their families, those stricken by war, drought, natural disasters, terrorism, etc.


I’d be THANKFUL to just be able to attend the Church of my choice and hear a weekly (or more often) homily.


You’re more disciplined than I am.


I agree with all the previous suggestions to use it as an exercise in patience and charity.

When I’ve been in this situation I set myself a little task to “Listen out for one good thing in the homily” which I’ve never thought of before. This can make it more interesting.


True story, I had an awful analytical chemistry prof in university. He would simply read straight from the lecture notes in a droning voice. One used to be able to buy the lecture notes. He clued in that nobody came to class, because most of us were taught to read in, oh, kindergarten. So he stopped publishing the notes, hoping people would turn up for class. Problem is, he never updated the lecture notes. And still continued to read from straight from them, verbatim, not a jot or tittle changed.

So… you guessed it, a black market in used copies soon developed. Many of us were operating on photocopies of photocopies. None of us actually ever went to class. We did go to the labs though, as that counted into our grade.


So does this mean I’m justified in not caring about the Captain Marvel movie?

I had one class where I did just stop coming. The guy droned on and on, often messing up his live demos, and I realized that what little I didn’t already know could be learned much faster by myself. And I still aced his class, only missing a few points on questions I got right anyways! :rage:

I also had a couple classes where I considered dropping it after the first day and trying with a new professor later. However, that was less due to the professors’ competency at teaching and more them forcing us to use Microsoft’s tech stack. :face_vomiting:


I don’t skip class (as far as I’m aware) because I don’t like the teaching style. If attendance is optional, there’s a good chance I’ll be more liberal with attendance. If the professor is prone to rants that have nothing to do with our course (as I’m having an issue with this semester), I’m more liable to skip it. Other than that, I’ll warm the seat and think about what I’m going to have for dinner later (if I’m not getting writer’s cramp from all the note-taking).


Back when I was in College… I had a Business Professor who read straight from the textbook. So, I would stay for the first 15 minutes of class and leave the classroom as if I was taking a restroom break. Only, I didn’t come back… Nope, I sat in a computer lab the next room over and browsed the internet. :slightly_smiling_face:

I came back for the last 10 minutes of class and zoned out :frowning:


I think the more relevant comparison wouldn’t be about undergrad lectures, but about family dinners.

Would you really ask, “my dad tells these long, boring, irrelevant stories. Is it an option to get up from the Thanksgiving dinner table and go have a cig every time he opens his mouth to speak?”…? Or would you recognize that sometimes, you just stay put because it’s an important family dinner and you’re a member of the family?


I don’t think the cigarette break is really about a cigarette break. I think it was a snyd way for this person to get their rant on about Father’s boring homilies.


The Sunday readings are the same every three years do we have to stay for them? The Sign of Peace annoys me can I go have a cup of coffee then? Do yo see where this leads?


Since the Mass, which is the venue of the Eucharistic celebration which is “the source and summit of our faith”, I am left thinking, “Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?”


It’s not the content I struggle with. Many priests in my region have very heavy accents. These accents are amplified by the audio systems. Missing words is the biggest issue.


Well, I’m more prone to start looking at my phone when the topic of politics comes up. I may even start listening to music at a higher volume than normal.


I have trouble with amplified readings and homilies even without accents (too many years in heavy industry…), even in my native tongue (French) or English, my other fluent language.

All the homilies at our abbey range from very good to excellent. One monk in particular articulates very clearly, another, not so much, but his homilies are usually punchy and fun, the articulate one, more serious and poised.

Interestingly they are very rarely on hot-button issues. They are always related to the three readings of the day, particularly the Gospel.

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