Pulpit Exchange?

Is it permissible for a lutheran minister to give a sermon in a Catholic Church?

Not during Mass.


Are you positive?

Yes, absolutely positive. Only a Catholic cleric may give a homily at Mass; not even a seminarian can give a homily at Mass. From Redemptionis Sacramentum:
64. The homily, which is given in the course of the celebration of Holy Mass and is a part of the Liturgy itself, “should ordinarily be given by the Priest celebrant himself. He may entrust it to a concelebrating Priest or occasionally, according to circumstances, to a Deacon, but never to a layperson. In particular cases and for a just cause, the homily may even be given by a Bishop or a Priest who is present at the celebration but cannot concelebrate”.

  1. It should be borne in mind that 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.This practice is reprobated, so that it cannot be permitted to attain the force of custom.

  2. The prohibition of the admission of laypersons to preach within the Mass applies also to seminarians, students of theological disciplines, and those who have assumed the function of those known as “pastoral assistants”; nor is there to be any exception for any other kind of layperson, or group, or community, or association.
    And from the Directory of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism:

  3. In the Catholic Eucharistic Liturgy, the homily which forms part of the liturgy itself is reserved to the priest or deacon, since it is the presentation of the mysteries of faith and the norms of Christian living in accordance with Catholic teaching and tradition.
    These mean, of course, Catholic deacons, priests, and bishops. A Lutheran minister is, in the eyes of the Catholic Church, not ordained anyway.

Going to the Bishop with this would do no good.

What should I do when the minister gets up to give us his “homily”?

Do not be so sure.

First of all, make certain that you have your facts straight, that the Lutheran minister is in fact slated to give the homily, and not something that is arguably allowed, say a talk before or after Mass.

If it is to be the homily, send immediate written notice to the chancery office by registered mail. Make it very short, give only the facts. It may stop what is happening this time, and it may make it more likely it will not be repeated.

You might also contact the Lutheran minister and let him know that this is not allowed in the rubrics, and that you will take it as disrespectful of the rules of the Church.

Otherwise, if you think it is not your business to do all of this, then just don’t go that weekend at all. Do not go with the plan to make a scene of your displeasure during Mass. If you think you will be leaving, sit in a place so that you may do so quietly.

In all things, try to be as humble and respectful and as charitable about the possible motives of others as you possibly can. Give them no pretext for ad hominem attack.

If the chancery is unresponsive, then, you have every right to submit written notice of what happened, including copies of your letter to the bishop, to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

I have my facts straight. This happened once before there, and the minister stayed in the altar area throughout the entire Mass, even during the Consecration. To his credit, though, he did not make a pretense of con-celebrating nor did he participate in any way during the distribution of Holy Communion.

Not only does the right to complain exist, but they want to know when this kind of thing happens. Done charitably, it is a charitable act, for it “rejoices in the truth.”

It is always important to remain patient, kind, never rude, and in all other ways charitable, to hope that nothing is being done out of a bad motive. Neither is this about bringing anyone down. Nevertheless, the Holy See wants to know when abuses of the Mass of any kind are not being immediately addressed by local bishops.

If the OP fears reprisal of any kind, he can also say that while he hopes a member of the clergy would never use their position to retaliate against a member of the laity or would fail to defend them against reprisals by others, he still fears a reprisal is possible and asks that the complaint remain confidential.

This is just as bad. He has no business staying up there throughout the entire Mass. Even when the Orthodox come to Papal Masses, they are not up there with the Holy Father.

One can hope that this violation is done without any bad motive on anyone’s part. That doesn’t make it right, but wrongdoing can be addressed just as well, if not better, with a merciful attitude.

Both of you just gave new meaning to me of the saying “Ignorance is bliss.”

When will all of this stop? Why do they do these things when they know they are not supposed to? They’re like spoiled and defiant children.

Well, I don’t know. I think this situation would give me shortness of breath, while a pretense of concelebration would give me an out-and-out coronary. It is not as if Lutherans would never consider our Mass comparable to their own celebrations. Perhaps I’ve heard enough lay homilies that I’ve been anesthetized to the comparable seriousness of that particular abuse, but I don’t think so.

One hopes that priests dedicate themselves to a particularly radical pursuit of holiness, but ordination does not make them into a separate kind of human being. Therefore, I think there will probably be priests out there making some misguided decisions as long as there are priests left in this vale of tears, just as there will be sinners out there sinning up until the very Last Day. May God have mercy on us all!

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.