Open Homily?


#1

Are priests allowed to turn the homily over to someone else? I don't just mean a representative from the diocese for the diocesan appeal or from the parish council to give an update, I mean turn over to a third-party speaker? Or even to hand the mike around and have 15 minutes of Q & A?

We briefly had a parish priest when I was growing up who liked to do things differently. This was a mostly-older parish, wealthy, with probably 4,000 parishoners attending six masses each weekend. He was the first to push for altar girls in our parish. He wanted to have a gay and lesbian ministry (this is back in the 80s). He offered to have clergy of other religions (including buddhist and ekin kar) come and talk. He would often give very brief homilies. One was "for next week, think about someone whom you have a wrong against, and go forgive them." and he sat down. My mother began avoiding him after his spent an uncharacteristically long homily railing against medical professionals (she is a nurse), and after 3 years he transferred elsewhere.

He started a homily at one point by saying "I have nothing to say today but I want to know what you think about today's Gospel reading". There were a few polite comments, some back and forth on divorce, and 15 minutes later we began the Liturgy of the Eucharist. He tried it again two weeks later, and this time opened up for a full Q & A. Almost 45 minutes later ....


#2

It sounds as if the open homily was the least of his problems.

I had a priest in college who'd have open homilies at weekday Masses at our Newman Center. He'd still steer the conversation though and sometimes it would turn into basically a Q & A with him answering the students' questions about faith and morals. He'd usually limit it to 25 minutes tops, unless the conversation was really going somewhere like when we discussed the Terri Schiavo case and it was a great learning opportunity for all of us. I think in a small weekday Mass setting like we had, it wouldn't be as crazy as your old priest doing it on a Sunday.

I'm interested in hearing what other people on this board have to say.:D


#3

I was a Catholic for some years and went to many different parishes. I never encountered an open homily.


#4

Lay persons giving homilies were one reason why the Vatican issued "ON CERTAIN QUESTIONS REGARDING THE COLLABORATION OF THE NON-ORDAINED FAITHFUL IN THE SACRED MINISTRY OF PRIEST:"

vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/laity/documents/rc_con_interdic_doc_15081997_en.html

Only a bishop, priest, or deacon may give the homily. A little question and answer may not violate this rule, although I have never seen this during a homily.


#5

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