Homily omitted... not good?


This is not meant to be a complaint (I’m over it), rather a question. Was this the wrong thing to do? Again, I’m not angry or going to go write letters… I recognize it as very rare to occur at my parish… but I want to know for my own sake whether or not I have interpreted liturgical law correctly or not.

The homily today was omitted entirely to discuss building plans for the church. This was about changing the steps to the altar, moving the tabernacle to a more respectable position, taking out a back door and moving it, and building a small grotto for reflection.

It was about 10-15 minutes, and also involved the (lay) architect talking about it. He was the only one who mentioned anything that could be considered similar to a homily (he mentioned the importance of the new place for the tabernacle, and the importance of the grotto).

Can. 767 §1. Among the forms of preaching, the homily, which is part of the liturgy itself and is reserved to a priest or deacon, is preeminent; in the homily the mysteries of faith and the norms of Christian life are to be explained from the sacred text during the course of the liturgical year.

§2. A homily must be given at all Masses on Sundays and holy days of obligation which are celebrated with a congregation, and it cannot be omitted except for a grave cause.

§3. It is strongly recommended that if there is a sufficient congregation, a homily is to be given even at Masses celebrated during the week, especially during the time of Advent and Lent or on the occasion of some feast day or a sorrowful event.

§4. It is for the pastor or rector of a church to take care that these prescripts are observed conscientiously.

Contingent: If it is ostensibly an abuse, let’s say the Archdiocese told the priest to sack the homily and talk about building prep. Would this still be an abuse?


Yes, because the Archbishop doesn’t get to overrule Canon Law.


This is the trouble with those who are not canon lawyers attempting to practice canon law, when all the can do is reference it, without understanding it…we see the same thing when people quickly say a law is clearly unconstitutional by quoting an article from the document, when it takes an experienced and learned constitutional lawyer to put things into perspective.

With that being said, the canonical definition of the “grave” reason in paragraph 2 of the CL you quoted in what needs to be defined. In defending the pastor, a canon lawyer might successfully argue that the building concerns constitutes grave matter, and what a simple copy of CL will not tell us, is there such legal precedence for such a defense.

Canon law is nice to know, but it is best left to experts!


That’s the problem; far too many here at CAF think they are experts.


I wonder what the OP is hoping for in starting this thread. He said this sort of thing was rare. From a purely practical pint of view it seems reasonable that a proposed renovation would be explained when the largest number of people would hear it, and that’s at Mass. People especially need to hear about it if they’re expected to pay for it and if there’s a possibility it will disrupt things as construction is going on. It would be nice if there would have been a homily and time later for the architect, but many parishes have Masses scheduled so there isn’t much time in between them. What would you expect the pastor to do?


You mean they are not all experts??



My goal is to learn whether or not it is ok. Like I said, I imagine something like this to be rare (first time I’ve seen it since I came here). Not intending to complain or approach the priest. I also am aware I am not the one who decides whether or not this is grave (though it is obvious I don’t personally think it is, I never declared it to be)

I thought I took all necessary precautions to make it clear that I was asking a question to further my understanding and not making accusations against the priest.

But the question is answered: it is not clear whether or not it was an abuse and therefore we give the priest the benefit of the doubt.
Thanks all.


I appreciate your plausible scenario in defense of the priest, Suscipe. I agree it gives enough reason to eliminate the question as “open and shut”.
To answer your question, I personally would have printed off enough copies with the info (none of it was critical or complicated) and did the homily, mentioning the changes at the end and the papers you can have if you want the rest… again, I’m not the priest, maybe he simply didn’t think of it or has reason to doubt it was a good plan (perhaps the archdiocese which mandated these changes insisted he discuss it, which is why I included that as a contingent.)


but but but surely I am one of the experts right??? (NOT):smiley:


Perhaps the building work actually links to something from the Scripture read that day? Perhaps a theme of change and renewal was identified?

I have heard some strange homilies about all sorts of things with apparently tenuous links to scripture. Perhaps the discussion of the new changes was part of a homily relating scripture to proposed changes for the community in their church?

I certainly wouldn’t be causing a fuss about it, especially if it is a rare occurrence. The priest is only human, give the guy a break.


Don’t you guys read out notices for the Sunday after communion? Maybe during that period, the priest can discuss the renovation plan. That’s what our Parish Priest usually does…Leave the homily to be the homily…




We have one priest here, a young one, who omitted the homily due to time. Then, I’ve seen him omit it again. I hope it’s not becoming a habit.


Sometimes here, we’ll have Sundays, and for some reason here, they won’t do both readings. They’ll choose to do only one, omit the second, say…more than one Catholic Church here has been doing that.


I believe that, in some circumstances, the priest is permitted to omit one of the readings.


You neither have to be a canon lawyer, or have played one in a movie, to know that it’s probably not a good idea to skip the homily in the Sunday mass. The legality of it really is beside the point.


Money falls under the heading of of “mysteries of faith and the norms of Christian life”.

It’s been my experience that most dioceses have a “Stewardship Sunday” (or other such name) once a year and that the text of the readings has something to do with using our gifts, spreading the Faith, or being good stewards.

Ideally the priest or deacon expounds on the relationship between the readings and the need for people to contribute to the support of the Church. In reality most priests say something like, “Here is Joe Smith to tell you about what we want to do.”

But that one line “IS” the homily, however uninspiring it might be. Contributing funds is a significant way that lay Catholics do what the scriptures ask of us.


SMHW, great insight. Being a recent convert/revert (and bouncing around from place to place) I have not attended this parish more than twenty or thirty times. I was unaware of this sort of tradition of Stewardship Sunday among parishes (he was explaining how a specific donation was going to go to use)

Again, thanks for all the feedback everyone. Next Stewardship Sunday I will be more prepared.


It is *not *ideal (in my opinion) to have someone other than a priest or deacon give such a message at the time the homily is delivered. But at least in the United States there is a long “tradition” of this sort of thing. :shrug:


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