Novus Ordo - Q&A with Congregants


Is it licit for the priest to briefly ask the congregants questions, in the form of question and answer, during the homily?


I don’t know if it’s licit or not, I don’t see why it wouldn’t be though. I’ve seen this done by multiple priests, especially during parish school masses. I’d guess it’s just another method to help the congregation stay engaged.


It is unusual, but I doubt if it is prohibited. Why do you ask?

The General Instruction of the Roman Missal states:

  1. The homily is part of the Liturgy and is strongly recommended,[63] for it is necessary for the nurturing of the Christian life. It should be an exposition of some aspect of the readings from Sacred Scripture or of another text from the Ordinary or from the Proper of the Mass of the day and should take into account both the mystery being celebrated and the particular needs of the listeners.[64]


I’ve seen priests ask questions at the opening of their homily in order to engage or setup what they are going to say and lead into their main point. It is just a technique some priests use, especially as one poster pointed out a children Mass at school. You are not very clear here but made a blanket statement with the obvious intent that you feel it is wrong. If you are so concern, you should ask the priest or call you nearest seminary and ask about it.


A visiting preist put me on the spot once when I was young asking me something during his homily. I didn’t like the question and lied which I had to confess later. More recently I was nearly put on the spot again when I almost had to do a reading at a small gathering for mass where the paper was just passed around though this is a different story. I also thought for sure the priest was going to ask me my interpretation of the gospel (I believe someone else answered) in which case my reply may have been “I came here to hear yours, Father.” I never went back to mass at that parish.


That is the true meaning of a homily, from its Greek origins.


It was a common custom for bishops to question the candidates for Confirmation during the homily at the Confirmation Mass. And this was in the “good old days” prior to Vatican II

As others have said, if you feel there is something wrong with this instead of a personal preference on your part, you should speak to the priest in question for clarification.


They do that at the Spanish Masses I attend. Generally it’s asked of the kids who sit up front.


It’s done frequently at the Sunday Masses at my parish.


Thank you, everyone, for your replies. I find it somewhat alarming, however, that some of you are quick to infer (rather uncharitably) from my question that I personally find something wrong with the practice. My question pertains to law, hence the term “licit.” I don’t make the law, the Church does. And besides, this is a “Catholic Answers” forum. I was merely seeking the Catholic answer.

Yours sincerely, :thumbsup:


I also doubt it is prohibited, but if I were a cleric, I’d personally err on the side of “just because it doesn’t say we can’t/shouldn’t, doesn’t mean that we can/should”.


When I was a teen, my family would attend the family Mass which was held in the Parish Hall at the same time as the “old person Mass”. The Assoc Pastor would always me a question regarding one of the readings. At my current parish, one of the priests will ask a question at the 1st Holy Communion Mass that each and every First Communicant gives an answer to.


The quote from GIRM is a general guide and interpreted and applied in different ways. A priest opening his homily with questions and moves on to explain is following the above. The op isn’t clear nor did they clarify what they saw or are seeing with a particular priest. The best thing for anyone is that if they have a question, go to the priest and ask. Likewise, there are different ways of doing and teaching homiletics and if the OP is so concerned, they could easily contact the nearest seminar and talk to the homiletics professor about what they teach their seminarians concerning the homily and why. Instead they come on the internet and ask a bunch of non trained experts about what priests can and cannot do in their homilies.


I’m sure it is. It is done often at my parish and I have even seen it done at an EF Mass as well.

closed #15

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