Can a nun give a homily?


#1

I know the general rules on this but a friend of mine told me that there were some exceptions to the rule, one of which is on “Catechetical Sunday.” Is there such an exception?
Thank you.


#2

If this “Catechetical Sunday” is a Sunday Mass, I am unaware of any exemption from the rule that the homily must be given by a priest or deacon. However, if this is an event that is taking place outside of Mass (e.g., Communion service, RCIA class), Redemptionis Sacramentum (RS) says:

If the need arises for the gathered faithful to be given instruction or testimony by a layperson in a Church concerning the Christian life, it is altogether preferable that this be done outside Mass. Nevertheless, for serious reasons it is permissible that this type of instruction or testimony be given after the priest has proclaimed the Prayer after Communion. This should not become a regular practice, however. Furthermore, these instructions and testimony should not be of such a nature that they could be confused with the homily, nor is it permissible to dispense with the homily on their account (RS 74; emphasis added).

As was already noted above, the homily on account of its importance and its nature is reserved to the priest or deacon during Mass. As regards other forms of preaching, if necessity demands it in particular circumstances, or if usefulness suggests it in special cases, lay members of Christ’s faithful may be allowed to preach in a church or in an oratory outside Mass in accordance with the norm of law. This may be done only on account of a scarcity of sacred ministers in certain places, in order to meet the need, and it may not be transformed from an exceptional measure into an ordinary practice, nor may it be understood as an authentic form of the advancement of the laity. All must remember besides that the faculty for giving such permission belongs to the local ordinary [bishop], and this as regards individual instances; this permission is not the competence of anyone else, even if they are priests or deacons (RS 161; emphasis added).

As is evident from Redemptionis Sacramentum, the Church envisions that extraordinary preaching by laypeople, which includes nuns, should be a rare instance and must not take place during Mass; or, if a testimony given after Communion, must not take the place of the homily during Mass.


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