Graphic Homily

At our parish, the last two Sunday Masses, we have had a guest priest. He frequently celebrates the Mass on Sundays. The last two homilies that he has given have been quite graphic about the brutal murder of two young martyrs and saints. He went into great detail about their torture and deaths.

Here are my questions. I believe he is being too graphic for all the little children at Mass, at least in my opinion too graphic for my kids. Should I say something directly to this priest? Should I say something to my pastor? or, Should I just let it go and move on?

I am a little shocked and offended that so much detail was described, but I just don’t know if it is worth making a stink or if my stink will even be heard.

Any advice? :confused:

In my (admittedly confrontation-leaning) view, I would approach the priest giving the homily directly, in as polite and professional a manner as possible, and say something along these lines:

“Fr. ________, perhaps I am misunderstanding, but is it entirely necessary to go into such depth of detail when dealing with the torture and execution of Martyrs during the homily? I have children, and I feel they might be being shocked/jaded/hurt by that sort of talk.”

As long as you’re polite about it, the ball is ultimately in the priest’s court.

I’m not saying at all that you don’t have a right to your view, especially regarding your children, but I wonder if such information would actually harm children or not. It seems children hear about violence all the time from the media… but in this case, it’s about martyrs. What do you all think? :confused: it also depends on just how graphic the homily was. If you talk to the priest, I suggest forming it into a question, that is less confrontational, and would give him a chance to explain his view too :slight_smile:

God bless

First step, I think, would be to talk to your children about it and find out if it really was too much for them. Your kids might be a little more worldly than you think. The next step would be to talk to the priest (since he’s a guest, if you can’t find him, then talk to your pastor). Just say that although you appreciated the message of the homily, you thought the language and imagery was too graphic for your kids, and that you hope it could be toned down in the future, or at least have a way for you to know which Masses this priest will be saying so you can make sure you’re not there.

Personally, I think it’s probably good for kids to be instilled with a healthy fear and respect for these things. Kids 500, 100, heck, 70 years ago saw tons of disease, executions in the public square, siblings dying in infancy and childhood, animals mating and giving birth, people with war injuries, etc., and they all turned out just fine, if not tougher, more mature, and more resilient for it. They’re your kids, though, so make your own call. :slight_smile:

What I don’t think you should do is “make a stink.” You can present your concerns in a mode of constructive feedback, and it will be heard.

Public executions in 1940? Doubtful.

I really meant worldwide rather than in the narrow context of Suburbia Grove, TX, but is 1936 in Kentucky close enough for you? Or alternatively, here’s a couple of people who were publicly lynched in 1930 in Indiana (incl. graphic photo). Sorry if the round number of 70 that I threw out wound up being a couple of years off, on that one item in the offhanded list I provided, when restricted to the United States.

I understand your feelings, as I always endeavoured to keep details away from my children when they were small. It should also be noted that last week’s Maccabees reading spared us much of the details of the first brother’s torture. I would simply speak to Father and express my concern.

I don’t know how graphic the priest was or how young your children are, but I doubt the priest said anything that would be emotionally harmful.

The truth is, defending the faith has its consequences. Practicing Christianity is not always sweet flowers and soft puppies. People, and children, need to know that people since the apostolic age through now have died for their faith, often in terrible ways, because Christ is real and they stood up for Him against those who persecute the faith. We don’t want to sanitize what happens in real life because that just waters down the great zeal we should have for Christ.

I think this is good advice.

Thanks for the advice. My wife and I talked it over with some other parishioners and decided to just let it go for now.

Some points that were brought up to see what you might think

We attend a University/College parish and someone thought that it was suitable for that age group. I say, it is Mass and it should be suitable for all God’s people no matter their age.

In a church where Christ is hanging on the cross, is hearing about a 14 year old boys feet being cut off too graphic and his head being exploded, I say yes. My kids don’t watch the news or primetime tv or much more than about 30min of tv a week for this very reason.

The last point was whether or not the same point (belief in Christ is worth dying for) can be made without the details. I say yes, the details can be left out and a great and memorable point can be made. I am torn by the Maccabees example though.

What do you think?

First, are the kids even listening to the homily?
Second, Jesus’ death was pretty violent. I am assuming they are familiar with that story.
Third, we live in a violent world.

Abortion is one of the most violent acts out there. Do they know what abortion is? If not, why not? Too many procurers of abortion do not even know what happens, because they have not been educated about it. An abortion victim suffers far worse than just feet being cut off.

Kids can handle it.

Just a couple a years ago there was the video of the poor KBR worker in Iraq that was decapitated by Al Quaeda - I am sure one can still find it on YouTube - I know Al Jazeera showed it world wide - most of us in the military have seen it at one point or another from start to finish. You don’t even have to go back to 1940.

Then there was the execution of Saddam Hussein that went all the way to him stepping to the gallows.

My point - these things have all been on the news or on a computer for your children depending on their ages to download at a friends house with the technological know how of a six year old.

This past weekend yes hearing about martyrs was very appopriate - especially since it is what we are called to do if need be. Many times in our lives we are called to be called soft martyrs. How many of us miss that calling?

Is their a children’s mass you could go to with your children or maybe a life teen mass?

The Maccabees example?? I may be wrong but I believe that was not just the example a couple weeks ago - it was the Liturgical reading.

Yes, it was, but as I pointed out, if you compare that passage in your Bible with what is read in church you’ll see that it is edited to leave out the gory details such as the brother being scalped and fried. No mention of the other brother being flayed.

When I was six years old in a quiet afternoon we went out with my brother to the street and player spy. The only unusual was that we did not spied autos, but dead men. It was the WWII around. My brother win he found 20, I only about 12. This was the reality.

Later on I was meditating long times, should I tell it to my sons, and decided that they are entitled to the truth and hear about it, anything else would be hypocrisy.

The Vietnam War era, showing the horrors of the war, was honest, [edited]

On the same way we are entitled to understand the heroics of the martyrs and that the faith is not some sweet words, joy, but a series of hard decisions.

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