Homily or Sermon?

I’ve always wondered about this- what is the difference between a homily and a sermon? Is there any difference at all?
I always thought that Catholic Priests (and Deacons) gave homilies, and other denominations gave sermons. Am I wrong about this?
Thanks :slight_smile:

On one hand, Protestant (especially Evangelical) denominations tend to call them sermons rather than homilies, but on the other hand the learn-how-to courses in the seminaries are called homiletics. Go figure.

The way I learned it was that a sermon can be about anything. A homily is specifically opening-up, explaining, teaching about, and making relevant the Scripture of the day in the context of a liturgical service.

I also am under the impression that a sermon is a talk on certain topics. For example a Priest could give a sermon on the evil of abortion. On the other hand, as Tarpeian Rock pointed out, a homily is a talk about the readings of the day. So if the Priest talked about the readings for last Sunday he would of spoken about the dead man being carried to his grave in Naim and this would be a homily.

In definition, this is correct, but a sermon can also be the same as a homily. My priest is from the FSSP, and in the EF there is a sermon, but my priest actually gives what by definition is a homily, but still calls it a sermon.

When one comes right down to it, there is no difference. IOW, homily = sermon, and sermon = homily.

Theoretically, as someone has already noted, a “homily” is supposed to reflect on the readings of the day. That’s a lovely theory but, as one who has listened to endless “homilies” over the years (not to mention one who has (reluctantly) experienced homilteics training, but never mind that), I can tell you that it is far different in practice. The mere suggestion that the “homily” regularly reflects on the readings is a laugh and a half to me. Sure, it usually starts out with some vague reference to the readings, and then goes its own way. Oh, (and, yes, I know I’m going to get slammed for this but it is what it is. And no, I will not engage in discussion on the matter), so very often it’s sliced and diced and pulled and twisted, IOW stretched, to give the general impression that the talk is about the reading, but most often that exercise amounts to putting a square peg in a round hole. In the end, the result of a “homily” is suspiciously like that of a “sermon” :hmmm: now let me see … if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck …

I’ve been Catholic my whole life, and known them as homilies. However, Archbishop Fulton Sheen sometimes called them sermons. It could go either way, but I’ve never heard of a Protestant preacher giving a homily. Homily is by far used mainly by Catholics.

I didn’t think there was a difference, but I guess the previous posters are better informed on this than I am.

I used to think that “homily” was a Catholic name for it, and “Sermon” a Protestant one.

Now I think it’s more of an old-language/new-language difference. Like saying “narthex” instead of “vestibule.”

Every liturgical church I’ve been to calls hem homilies, Protestant and Catholic.

In the Extraordinary form, the homily or sermon is not technically part of the order of the mass, but an authorized interruption of the liturgy.

I think homily is the proper term. If I’m talking to a non-Catholic, I say “sermon” because they are probably more familiar with that term.

A homily is a particular type of sermon. In other words a homily is a subset of the set of all types of sermons.

As was mentioned earlier, a homily is a sermon that addresses the specific readings of the day.

I know that, but this question wasn’t asking about that. Because of that, it’s also the same time we get the announcements, which often turn into mini-sermons when our priest starts going off on an tangent. :smiley:

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.