Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

More Lay Homilies in the DoR

February 26th, 2011, Promulgated by Dr. K

A couple more Diocese of Rochester parishes are boasting about lay preaching during the homily. This is a problem, supported and defended by the bishop, which is out of control in this diocese. For the record, and for the millionth time, it is not permitted for laypersons to preach during the homily. The homily can be described as the time between the Gospel and Creed when the priest, deacon,  or bishop preaches about the readings of the day. And since no one is allowed to add or subtract anything to/from the Mass (see Sacrosanctum Concilium, 22.3), the priest may not insert “reflections”, “testimonies”, or “dialogues” into the sacred liturgy.

St. Matthew (Livonia)

Note: The “Roger” listed above appears to be the parish deacon.

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (Hamlin)

Redemptionis Sacramentum says…

“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” (no. 64)


“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” (no. 66)


“If the need arises for the gathered faithful to be given instruction or testimony by a layperson in a Church concerning the Christian life, it is altogether preferable that this be done outside Mass. Nevertheless, for serious reasons it is permissible that this type of instruction or testimony be given after the Priest has proclaimed the Prayer after Communion. This should not become a regular practice, however. Furthermore, these instructions and testimony should not be of such a nature that they could be confused with the homily” (no. 74)



6 Responses to “More Lay Homilies in the DoR”

  1. While I generally discourage anyone from disrupting Mass, I do think an audible “lay preaching is not permitted during the homily” (or words that effect) spoken when the layperson mounts the lectern is appropriate given the pervasiveness of this abuse in the DOR.

  2. snowshoes says:

    I heartily agree, RL.
    As to the question of whether one fails to fulfill his Sunday obligation if he absents himself from the church while this abuse occurs, goes out on the steps, kneels down and says his rosary in reparation for the sinful abuse of the children taking place, thereby committing a mortal sin, as has been charged by certain members of the clergy against him who does so, the counter question must be asked: Does this layperson’s speech constitute a valid part of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and does absenting oneself from it constitute removing oneself from a valid part of the Mass? The obvious answer is no.

    The moral teachings of the Church state that we cannot sit idly by and let such sinful abuse occur, and as long as one returns to the congregation after the abuse ceases, he fulfills his obligation. Permit me to pose the canonical question, is a Sunday Mass valid which does not contain a valid homily?

  3. Ben Anderson says:

    Sunday Mass valid which does not contain a valid homil

    my understanding – the mass isn’t valid or invalid. There are things done that are illicit during mass (lay homily being a big one). The consecration could be valid or invalid, but a lay homily wouldn’t effect that.

    I think you’re right to walk out during the lay homily. Who could object w/ that? – especially if you do it peacefully?

  4. Abaccio says:

    Anon: Here’s the trouble. It’s not as easy as removing Bishop Clark and then he disappears. If you remove him, you risk schism, and that he will run around the country promoting his (lack of) vision. Then, you also have to remember that there’s bigger problems around the world (like bishops getting murdered and persecuted in Asia, the middle east, etc.) 15 months will come soon enough, just keep praying and working for Orthodoxy.

  5. Ben Anderson says:

    Personally, I think it’s pretty hard sell to say that Rome has handled (or not handled) these types of situations properly.

  6. Eliza10 says:

    Alice Miller Nation has been delivering homilies at St. Matthews for years, and before that St. Joseph’s and St. Williams – the lovely old churches that the new barn building called St. Matthew’s replaced. I feel that she and Fr. Hayes are certainly confident that they have their Bishop’s full approval in this.

    She is a nice woman who is a typical product of the DOR, doing only what’s been expected of her here, living a “spirituality” that St. Bernard s would be proud to call their own. Her homilies, that I heard, were pretty tame, but she led one women’s retreat with a Native American prayer, and then opened the general discussion with a reference to God as “She”…

    Fr. Hayes oversaw the building of St. Matthews. At the time, he told people adamently that he “did NOT want to live on church property!” and that he was looking very much forward to buying his OWN house.

    I saw a St Matthew bulletin (this fall, I think) where he told parishioners that he spent the entire day Sunday, after church, cleaning “my entire house” because of guests on Monday. So, I guess he bought his house. I also thought: I don’t want to leave this bulletin where my Mormon friend might see it, because I don’t want her to see what this priest is doing on the Sabbath, because she is so reverent about how she spends the Sabbath – it puts my efforts to shame – and I don’t want her to know she does better than the priest!)

    I don’t know how the diocese operates, really. At the time it seemed to me that priests were being moved around against their will and without much notice. Which made me wonder how a priest could confidently buy a house, not knowing if he was going to be transferred. I never asked anyone about that. Maybe someone here can set me straight on that.

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