Preaching versus the Mass


[size=3]Humbert de Romanis, general of the order of the Dominicans, d. 1277, in a much more elaborate work,

2071 pronounced preaching the most excellent of a monk’s occupations and set it above the liturgical service which, being in Latin, the people did not understand. Preaching is even better than the mass, for Christ celebrated the mass only once, but was constantly engaged in preaching. He urged the necessity of study, and counselled high thought rather than graceful and well-turned sentences, comparing the former to food and the latter to the dishes on which it is served.

Found in

I bolded the one sentence, which clearly expresses more of a Protestant attitude towards preaching than a Catholic one.

Has that work, footnoted as “de eruditione praedicatorum”, ever been translated into English? Is it accessible? I would like to look at it.

But the wider issue is a good point. Catholic practice highlights the Mass and downplays Jesus’s own emphasis not on the Mass but on preaching. Jesus did not go about confecting the Eucharist daily but preaching and healing.



Mass is better.

Preaching should be done more, I think, but there should also be more Masses that happen too. Never enough of a good thing!


St. Paul would agree with the general. Read Romans chapter 10, especially v17 "So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes from the preaching of Christ."
The Mass, being in Latin, does not enlighten the heart to engender faith. It is rather the prayer of the believer to the Father. The preaching of the good news through sermons, homilies, exhortations, etc. is more valuable to the unbeliever. Once faith is attained through the gift of God acting through the agency of the preacher, the Mass is the primary source of spiritual sustenance. Remember that the Dominicans are an order dedicated to preaching to the unbelievers or to those deceived by misunderstanding. The Mass in Latin would not help in this ministry, but clear, well prepared preaching was paramount. The context of the general’s statements must be understood as background for his statement.



Not only is it available in English, but I have a copy - & you can’t have it: so there :smiley:

It only seems Protestant because Protestantism has preserved some Catholic things better than Catholicism has. Blessed Humbert of Romans O.P., who was Master General of the Friars Preachers, would never have understood the Catholic dismissal of preaching that seems to have developed :frowning: Nor would the Fathers before him, or Blessed Giacomo della Marca, Bourdaloue, Bossuet, St. Alphonsus Liguori, Paolo Segneri & Newman after him.

**The ****Reformers were outstanding preachers. It is no fault of theirs if the Church did not stand in the old ways. :frowning: **

**Jesus preached. Peter preached. Paul preached. Even in the apocryphal acts of Apostles, the Apostles preach. The Liturgy is not neglected but neither is it given the unbalanced position it has since acquired. Augustine & Chrysostom have left hundreds of sermons: not five-minute semi-sermons, such as so many Churches, Rome included, supply. **


When and why did the RCC cease preaching?


Did it? The homily within the Mass explains the Word of God=Preaching.
I also agree with St. Francis, “Preach always, and if necessary use words.”


##** Oh, it preaches - but preaching is now the poor relation of the Mass; for Blessed Humbert, “the Mass” was not “everything”; other things matter, not just the Mass. Good solid preaching is one of them. Otherwise the Church ends by being malnourished :frowning: **


The Eucharist is the summit of our faith–preaching gets us there!


From my testimony on my blog:

I missed the beauty and the spiritual food of the Eucharist. I now realized what that hunger was. I now knew why, after I finished a sermon, I felt as if I wasn’t finished.
What was missing was the Eucharist!!


CCC 1322 The Eucharist is “the source and summit of the Christian Life.”

In the Mass, we are first fed with the Word of God in Scripture and then with the Eucharist. The Mass is celebration of the saving power of our Lord Jesus Christ.


Preaching is even better than the mass, for Christ celebrated the mass only once, but was constantly engaged in preaching.

That’s equivalent to saying Our Lord’s preaching was “even better” than His sacrificial passion and death for our salvation.

I think the monk was mistaken.


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