How to explain why only ordained ministers can say the homily?


#1

Someone asked me why only bishops, priests or deacons can say the homily, when maybe a lay member of the community may do a better job.:rolleyes:

I gave two reasons:

  1. Because only they, as ordained ministers, can speak in the name of God.
  2. Because, in the case of priests and bishops, they have confessed many members of their community and know what troubles them, what issues interest them, what they need to hear.

I am not sure if I answered this right. :o
Are these reasons good enough?, is there another reason I should have mentioned?

Thanks!

:blessyou:
Alma


#2

[quote=Alma]Someone asked me why only bishops, priests or deacons can say the homily, when maybe a lay member of the community may do a better job.:rolleyes:

I gave two reasons:

  1. Because only they, as ordained ministers, can speak in the name of God.
  2. Because, in the case of priests and bishops, they have confessed many members of their community and know what troubles them, what issues interest them, what they need to hear.

I am not sure if I answered this right. :o
Are these reasons good enough?, is there another reason I should have mentioned?

Thanks!

:blessyou:
Alma
[/quote]

I can see point 1 being acceptable but not your point 2 as deacons are members of the clergy and able to preach but they do not hear confessions.

Also there is no way to know that those being confessed are members of the community.

I would say that it goes to education, as the clergy went though some Church sanctioned schooling, seminary in the case of priests, and they have been trained in homiletics. Also look to the Bible, do we see just anyone writing books or speaking? or is it just the apostles and those designated by them?

There is also a matter of obedience as this is spelt out in the Code of Canon Law.

Thats what I think.


#3

I believe that the answer is a combination of point 1 from the original poster and both obedience to Canon Law and education, as mentioned by ByzCath.

Much as I can get upset with the poor preaching of some priests, I try to listen for God’s message in their preaching. Sometimes it’s hard to sort it out!

No matter how poor the priest or deacon might be at preaching, we need to listen with our heart and soul more than our ears…


#4

The priest (or deacon) as representative of the bishop who is the Teacher of the Magisterium for the local Church is thus the only one duly ordained and delegated to present the Church’s teaching within the context of the Church’s liturgical worship.


#5

The sacrament of orders also confers an indelible mark on the recipient.


#6

Thank you for answering this, you’ve been very helpful!

:tiphat:

Alma


#7

Alma:

I think you captured much of what is important in your first point. Another poster also made this clear - a presbyter or deacon is a representative of the bishop (who is THE teacher of the community).

Bishops grant faculties to presbyters and deacons to teach and preach in their name. Every cleric must have faculties from their bishop to licitly preach.

The indelible mark placed on a man brings about an ontological change in him. That is why after ordination to the diaconate a man is no longer a layman (and can’t become one again). He has become a cleric, a member of the clergy.

With the reception of the Sacrament of Holy Orders, grace is also given to the ordinand to exercise sacred power in the name of the Church.

It is thus the ontological change of one’s soul, the faculties (permission) of the ordinary and the grace of ordination that allows a man to preach during the Liturgy in the name of the Catholic Church.

Without these things, one might be a good speaker, but their thoughts and sharing are simply their own, and not those of the official Church. That’s why a layperson can’t give a “faith talk” in place of the homily. Not because they aren’t a good speaker, but because they lack:
[list=1]
*]The clerical state
*]Faculties of the ordinary and
*]The graces given during Sacred Orders to exercise such teaching / preaching
[/list]
May God bless you all,


#8

Bishops grant faculties to presbyters and deacons to teach and preach in their name. Every cleric must have faculties from their bishop to licitly preach.

A thoughful answer was just posted, especially in relating the ministry of the Word back to the bishop, and I would only add a clarifying remark regarding the question of faculties.

In canon 764, the law itself gives priests and deacons the faculty to preach licitly unless restricted or revoked in some way: “With due regard for the prescription of can. 765, presbyters and deacons possess the faculty to preach everywhere, to be exercised with at least the presumed consent of the rector of the church, unless that faculty has been restricted or taken away by the competent ordinary or unless express permission is required by particular law.to preach by law.”

So particular legislation could require permission in addition to the faculty given in law. As well, a competent ordinary could restrict the preaching of a particular individual. Otherwise, though, the faculty is in the law itself.

However, canon 765 adds: “Preaching to religious in their churches or oratories requires the permission of the superior who is competent in accord with the norm of the constitutions.”

While sacred power is attached to the Sacrament of Orders, preaching is part of the teaching function rather than the sanctifying function of the Church (the third function being the governing function). In reality, the two functions overlap in the sense that the Church teaches when she sanctifies and teaches by sanctifying. (There are better ways to say that, though.)


#9

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.