Can you leave Mass when the priest gives a bad homily?

A couple of years ago a priest visited our parish. Father’s homily was about feeding the multitudes but instead of saying that Jesus preformed a miracle, he said that it was only Jesus persuading the five thousand people to share what food they had on them. I know this is incorrect and that it was a true miracle preformed that day with only five loaves and two fish.

I really wanted to just walk out of the Mass, but wasn’t sure if that was appropriate. I felt like my staying was showing an approval of this message, but it was the last Mass before I had to be at work and I wanted to fulfill my Sunday obligation. What should I have done?

There may well be extraordinary circumstances when it is appropriate to leave Mass because of a significant liturgical abuse or because of a truly offensive homily. As an ordinary course of action though, I cannot recommend it.

What I recommend instead is that you lift your eyes to the crucifix that should be hanging near the altar. (If there is no crucifix there, that’s another problem, but you can then close your eyes and picture a crucifix.) If you leave the Mass without extraordinary cause to do so, you are unjustly abandoning Christ on the crucifix, much as did most of his disciples on Good Friday. Assuming the consecration is done correctly by a validly-ordained priest, Christ will still choose to be there. Can you not watch one hour with him? (cf. Matt. 26:38-40). Offer up your spiritual suffering over incorrect teachings from the pulpit in union with Christ’s own sufferings, perhaps for the conversion of the priest; but, if at all possible, stay.

Recommended reading:

Was Jesus unique among the Jews?
Will You Also Go Away? by Jack Taylor
Problems in the Church by Jimmy Akin

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