Jesuit Novices preaching during Mass

St. Ignatius encouraged Novices to preach, and I know there’s a widespread custom of having Jesuit novices preach the homily during Mass. Pope Paul III gave blanket permission for any member of the Society to preach anywhere in the world on any occasion provided he was approved for it by his superiors. So this is traditional for the Jesuits, and it is practiced in Jesuit Novitiates today.

That said, Redemptionis sacramentum expressly forbids “admission of laypersons to preach within the Mass,” which applies also to seminarians and students studying theology. It also says “any previous norm that may have admitted non-ordained faithful to give the homily during the eucharistic celebration is to be considered abrogated by the norm of canon 767 §1.[145] This practice is reprobated, so that it cannot be permitted to attain the force of custom.” This would seem to make Novices preaching illicit.

How do the Jesuits get away with it in all their novitiates? Is it just institutionalized dissent, or have they received a dispensation? I ask because someone I know is considering entering the order, but is worried this custom will put him in a position where he’s forced to sin. Novices aren’t allowed to opt out.

Maybe they have made it to the level of a Deacon. Deacons can give homilies.

I doubt that your friend has to worry that he would be asked to sin or would be sinning because he was asked to preach. That just does not make sense to me. Perhaps this is the best way for their superiors to assess their abilities at preaching and the purity of their intentions. Having to speak publicly can reveal a lot more than people expect.

Hopefully JReducation will chime in.

No, these are novices in their first year who have not been ordained and won’t be for years. It’s the equivalent of having a first year seminarian preach the homily at Mass. I agree that it’s useful, which is why St. Ignatius wanted it, but my point is that everything I’ve found suggests that in the modern Church, it is illicit and not allowed.

Well, then I think your Priest might be the best one to answer this. I never thought of it really, but only knew that Deacons could preach, as well as Priests.

If the person you know perceives the Jesuits as being all about “institutionalized dissent” and forcing people to sin, I’d suggest he’s not only looking at the wrong order, but his whole discernment process might need some further reflection.

One can have a real vocation to an order and still acknowledge the order has fundamental problems. All the major orders have struggled with dissent to some degree, but God still calls people to these orders despite their defects. It’s pretty much a given that if you want to be a Redemptorist, Salesian, Jesuit, etc. there will be people in your formation process who aren’t orthodox. The question is whether one can navigate the waters without endangering one’s soul, which is exactly what this thread is meant to find out.

Your friend needs to be doing his own investigations and be talking to his vocation director. Having a friend solicit opinions from strangers on a forum (even a catholic forum) isn’t an appropriate way to discern.

The novice director will tell them what the rules are when and if they are asked to do this. He and you also need to remember that the Jesuits have many legitimate exceptions that other orders or congregations do not. Information about what is appropriate for a Jesuit should come from the Jesuits.

I posted because I want the answer myself. The Jesuit he spoke to about this was unable to provide an reference concerning the liceity of this custom. Only that he knew it was mentioned in Redemptionis sacramentum but was still part of the order’s formation.

At any rate, this thread was never meant to be about discernment. Only to find an answer to the question I ask in the original post, which is whether Jesuit novices have special permission to preach at Mass.

As I said: information about what is appropriate for a Jesuit should come from the Jesuits.

And that is about as rock solid an answer as could ever be given.

If it’s part of the order’s formation, then it’s part of the order’s formation and they are exempt. It’s been mentioned by Brother JR before that if the rule conflicts with the rule of the founder of the religious order, then the founder’s rule must be followed. Exceptions to the rules are the Jesuit norm. Jesuits are not bound by structure :stuck_out_tongue:

I remember reading in a book about Dominican life that some think it would be good for Dominicans who are not ordained to preach at Mass (as preaching is a part of their charism), but it is not allowed at this time. Crazier things have happened during liturgies, so I’m tempted to think this might be a liturgical abuse rather than a legitimate expression of their charism.

Wouldn’t charity, however, require the opposite, that we assume the Jesuits have an indult?

Remember the Jesuits are an order of Papal right. You wouldn’t find this indult with your local conference of bishops, it would come directly from the Holy Father.

That was my thoughts as well.

And I believe that the Order of Preachers (Dominicans) DO have something similar.

I do not think charity would require this. I am not saying the novices themselves are sinning by doing this, or that anybody necessarily has bad intentions here (any more than most people who hold hands during the Our Father have bad intentions). That still doesn’t mean it is right.

In the book “The New Wine of Dominican Spirituality: A Drink Called Happiness”, the author, Paul Murray O.P., said that lay people aren’t currently allowed to preach, and that it would be nice if the brothers could preach at Mass because they are all a part of the Order of Preachers. He said this in a way that suggested that no special permission has been given to the Dominicans. Even with the Dominicans, however, their novices would not be the ones doing this if this were ever allowed. Seminarians don’t preach at Mass, why should any religious community’s novices be given an exception. [edited] It is not charitable to “give them the benefit of the doubt” and assume nothing is wrong until I see more clearly otherwise while allowing those who don’t know any better to think that what they are doing is OK.

effectively the answer has been given; and it is in two parts; 1) the Jesuits are the ones who need to answer this question, and 2) their rules are direct from the Pope, and can and in circumstances are different from secular (diocesan) priests and bishops, and from other orders. The term in civil law would be sui generis - that is, specific to them, not others.

I don’t know the answer to the question, but I do know where it can be obtained, and that is from the Jesuits.

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