Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church


“As part of my homily…”

June 5th, 2011, Promulgated by benanderson

“As part of my homily I would like to ask [woman’s name] to offer a reflection.”  Those are the words spoken by a clergyman at the mass I attended today.  I had to chuckle at the ridiculousness of the wording.  Clearly they know lay-homilies are forbidden, thus the verbiage “as part of MY homily”.  Oh, how very silly – I had to chuckle!  People think by playing games with words they can avoid the fact that they are being disobedient.  It’s almost like someone on a diet saying, “this cookie doesn’t count because it’s after midnight”.  I was in the middle of the pew and didn’t want to cause a big disturbance exiting, so I stayed put.  Otherwise I would’ve walked out and returned when she was finished.  As I zoned out of her be-nice-to-others, American’s-are-too-busy homily, I closed my eyes and contemplated the mental image I had of the interior of the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation.  I also wondered if good art full-proofs a church for bad homilies.  Sacred art contains many theological truths which can be contemplated in a special way.  So if you’re in an art filled church and you get a Reader’s Digest type homily, at least you can meditate on the beautiful images.  Unfortunately, more often than not I’ve found that when I hear a lame homily I’m also in a church with whitewashed walls.


23 Responses to ““As part of my homily…””

  1. avatar Hopefull says:

    I hope you also remembered to offer it up 🙂 No sense in letting that big an opportunity escape unused!

    Maybe there could be a choice at the door: “Disobedient Homilist? or Hairshirt?” Or maybe once all the musical chairs priests get settled in by the end of June, there could be a list of “smoking” vs “non-smoking?” worship sites! Those are some thoughts to consider when stuck in a middle seat!

  2. avatar Sassy says:

    I think his point was that no woman should be giving any part of the homily. It’s at these times where I’m inclined to pull out my rosary and offer it up to the intentions of the DOR faithful.

  3. avatar Sassy says:

    Oops–sorry about that. I was kinda wondering/thinking it was a joke. Great post! 🙂

  4. avatar Jim says:

    Jim M. here: Ben you should attend Our Lady of Victory/ St. Joseph’s…none of that stuff over there!

  5. As I’ve written before, document the abuse, reveal the names of the offenders, and make a very public exit of the church each and every time these vile people spit upon the sacred liturgy.

  6. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    Jim M,
    I typically do go to OLV, but sometimes stay local depending on our weekend plans. My wife and I leave the kids at home, so we alternate who goes where/when.

    I don’t have a problem with your strategy, but it’s a personal and prudential decision. There’s a lot of factors that go into making such a call. Personally, I wouldn’t call it spitting on the sacred liturgy.

  7. avatar md0852 says:

    Ben I feel your pain. Today My family and I had to endure an outdoor mass with no necessity for it, the Glroia with clapping, the Halle song with clapping, a large dose of “social justice” during the homily and how Father believes Easter season ends today but “the church” believes it to be next Sunday. Oh, I didn’t mention the “herding” of the people for communion by one of the lay women. Boy! the Lord really knows how to give you things to offer up!

  8. avatar Eliza10 says:

    ““As part of my homily I would like to ask [woman’s name] to offer a reflection.” Those are the words spoken by a clergyman at the Mass I attended today. I had to chuckle at the ridiculousness of the wording. ”

    But all the many, many disobedient DOR priests say the SAME EXACT WORDS as a prologue to abdicating their responsibility at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Which means, when they parrot that phrase, they are probably being OBEDIENT to their bishop. Which means Bishop Matthew Clark is the TRUE disobedient one.

    Only God knows the hearts of these priests, if Clark chose them for their inability to think for themselves, if they truly have no inkling they are offending God and his Holy Church (and if they even realize the Church is Holy, since maybe they have probably been taught something ELSE) and if they think they are in fact obeying God by virtue of being Bishop Clark’s unquestioning, obedient sheep. Who knows. Only God knows.

    We need to pray for Bishop Clark because God makes it clear as day in His Holy Scripture that His teachers and shepherds are going to be held to far, far higher standsards than the rest of us on Judgment Day. Yes, Bishop Clark: although there are many perks, honors and comforts your chosen career of a Catholic bishop, God will hold you far more accountable for the choices you’ve made than the rest of us!

    And while I CAN’T WAIT for Bishop Clark to be done making a mess of our Diocese, I certainly don’t want him to go to hell over it. That may depend on our [the ones most feeling the offense] prayers.

    Let us pray, with the intercession of Our Mother of Mercy.

  9. avatar annonymouse says:

    md0852 – I don’t quite understand what your problem is with the large dose of social justice during the homily. That’s an integral part of who we are as the Catholic Church, is it not? Unfortunately you had to endure all the other stuff, which probably soured your taste for everything in this liturgy. Also unfortunately, we hear little if anything about perhaps the most critical social justice issue – the scourge of abortion.

    I am at a loss to understand why the DoR persists in this “reflection” thing after the 90-second homily when canon law is so clear. I would be shocked if this practice survives next summer.

  10. I happened upon a gem.–For a special treat and a special blessing, go to You tube and type in – Traditional Latin Catholic Wedding. There is Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. It is the wedding of Anthony and Natalie. It looks like they are in a Cathedral. The inside is extraordinarily beautiful. The choir which sounds like heavenly angels, sings through most of the wedding.The colors are so sharp,vivid,and magnificent. People genuflect and take Holy Communion on the tongue. Holy water and incense is used. There are two priests officiating and three male altar servers. One priest conducts the exchange of vows and the other priest celebrates mass. The manner in which the priest celebrates mass is awesome and inspiring. Both priests administer communion. -I could go on and on, but you would have to see and hear it yourselves.

  11. avatar Scott W, says:

    I don’t quite understand what your problem is with the large dose of social justice during the homily.

    What he means I assume is a homily not on true social justice, but on a kind of social justice which has become a tawdry smokesscreen for secular-progressivist mush-headedness.

  12. avatar md0852 says:

    Mouse, Scott W caught my drift. We need to hear about social justice but in the context our Catholic faith. We rarely hear of the Saints and their heroic example of helping the poor. We don’t hear about how in their actions they spread the faith and brought people to Christ and His Church. We do hear a secular social justice one devoid of faith and one that gives no real hope. I just think that when this subject is spoken about it needs to include the great things the Catholic church and her people have done over the centuries. Thats my take on it….

  13. avatar Bruce says:

    Social justice, as it has been known from the 60s to the present, does not need to be spoken of any further. Like the Grateful Dead, it is dead. What we need is a new clarification of what social justice actually is, and not just a nod to Woodstock and “peace, love, dope.” Social justice starts in the womb, and the most pressing social justice issue of the day is not peace and war, but rather abortion. Until that is addressed, everyday at Mass, we do not need to even speak of war and peace. Abortion weighs more heavily than other social issues (per. Cardinal Ratzinger who is now the Pope, should anyone forget). Put first things first, and right now, the hippy/baby boomer generation lovefest for war and peace needs to be put firmly on the back burner.

  14. avatar annonymouse says:

    Bruce – finally something we can agree on – that abortion is the pre-eminent social justice issue of our time.

    But Holy Mother Church also calls us to have a heart for justice in all areas – with a preferential option for the poor. I don’t think she wishes us to neglect other areas “until that is addressed.”

  15. avatar Bruce says:

    It is clear, per the Pope, that She indeed does, Mouse. Then Cardinal Ratzinger stated clearly that abortion weighs more than other issues.

    And I quote: “Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.”


    So, sure Mouse, feed the poor. But if you’re neglecting to save their lives first, it doesn’t really matter. If you’re dead, you’re not hungry. Abortion first, then all of the other social justice issues after that. And I have the Church to back me on that.

  16. avatar Hopefull says:

    Got a question. If someone does quietly step outside during a disobedient Sunday homily, have they missed Mass? I don’t think so, but am not sure. Looking for input. There used to be a guy at St. Joseph Rush who, when one of the feminist activists got up to preach, pulled out his Sunday newspaper, starting with the comics and read until she was done. What do you think?

  17. avatar JLo says:

    To Bruce’s points, let’s remember what happened at Corpus Christi back in the Mary Ramerman days. They had at least 15 vibrant social ministries going on, with countless volunteers and lots of money, but the heart of Holy Mother Church was missing!! Their “liturgy” was a shambles; and where they did not mock Church doctrine and dogma, they ignored it. Social justice is a NATURAL outgrowth of true Catholicism, but giving worship second place to the contrived constant focus on the poor and destitute (in America?!) and the stranger (those breaking our laws?) and the prisoners (poor abused dears driven to desperation) is just not what our first mission is supposed to be… worship of the Lord in the manner in which he commissioned it via his first bishops. People always go overboard (the human condition via Original Sin), and that’s how some priests and bishops get pulled away from their true calling and become sops for liberation theology. +JMJ

  18. avatar annonymouse says:

    Amen, JLo – we must be in communion with the entire Church first. We cannot leave any part of it out – faithful liturgy first, from which all of our ministries must spring.

    Liturgy that does not bear fruit in our changed hearts and greater love and service to those around us is worthless and dead. An attempt at love and service grounded not on the Sacred Liturgy but on our own aggrandizement (see Corpus Christi) is equally worthless and dead.

  19. avatar Diane Harris says:

    On the issues of current social justice sermonizing, and also on the status in the Church of liberation theology, I commend to you the writing of a well-known author. If you can’t guess who wrote the following excerpts, scroll down for the answer:

    Liberation Theology: “…constitutes a fundamental threat to the faith of the Church;,… an attempt is being made, in all seriousness, to recast the whole Christian reality in the categories of politico-social liberation praxis. This is all the more difficult because many liberation theologians continue to use a great deal of the Church’s classical ascetical and dogmatic language while changing its signification. … The very radicality of liberation theology means that its seriousness is often underestimated, since it does not fit into any of the accepted categories of heresy; … [Liberation theology is an] export to the Third World of myths and utopias which have been worked out in the developed West…a kind of cultural imperialism…an attempt to export [Marxist myth] to the Third World on the part of those intellectuals who actually live outside countries dominated by ‘real Socialism’.”

    “Western culture is hellish when it persuades men that the sole aim of life is pleasure and self-interest.” “What is theologically unacceptable here, and socially dangerous, is this mixture of Bible, christology, politics, sociology and economics. Holy Scripture and theology cannot be misused to absolutize and sacralize a theory concerning the socio-political order….By…mixing up God, Christ and ideologies – they only succeed in producing a dreamy fanaticism that can lead to even worse injustices and oppression…”

    “It is also painful to be confronted with the illusion, so essentially un-Christian, which is present among priests and theologians, that a new man and a new world can be created, not by calling each individual to conversion, but only by changing the social and economic structures. For it is precisely personal sin that is in reality at the root of unjust social structures. Those who really desire a more human society need to begin with the root, not with the trunk and branches, of the tree of injustice.”

    Guess who? Give up? Scroll down.

    Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger in the Ratzinger Report, more than a quarter-century ago.

  20. avatar snowshoes says:


    Spelled it right that time! I was once accused of missing Mass for that very act. I asked a canon lawyer who stated that no, I had not missed Mass (I retreated to the steps, kneeling and praying my Rosary while watching the proceedings, and I returned to my place at the end of the spectacle). The CL indicated that the “thing that took place instead of the homily” was not a valid part of a valid Sunday Mass, and thus did not require our attendance.

    Our Lord gives one of His sternest warnings to the cowardly, those who sit quietly and witness evil and sin. May God have mercy on those who berate the faithful for taking exception to such horrible evil in the very midst of the Holy Mass. And let us pray for them, as St. Francis did for the three murderous robbers. They were converted through St. Francis’s prayer that Our Lord give them repentant hearts. Ss. Francis and Norbert, pray for us!!!

  21. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    It should also be noted that even putting priorities aside (eg abortion is a more dire situation in our specific time and place than economic inequality) – there can be legitimate debate on how best to help poor people. The “social justice” crowd seems to think that a welfare state is the only acceptable solution. That type of narrow-mindedness does not belong in our churches. We ought to be more creative than that. If they want to have that opinion, then fine. But don’t force it on me. I believe that the poor are better helped through more direct methods – at a more intimate and personal level (instead of gigantor bureaucracies). I’m willing to debate that, but let’s have the debate instead of pretending it’s a forgone conclusion that democrats are more charitable to poor people.

    The Church’s current relationship with the state seems somewhat familiar to the 1st Jewish leaders’ relationship with their state.

  22. avatar Thinkling says:

    there can be legitimate debate on how best to help poor people

    The “social justice” crowd seems to think that a welfare state is the only acceptable solution. That type of narrow-mindedness does not belong in our churches. […] I’m willing to debate that, but let’s have the debate instead of pretending it’s a forgone conclusion […] (bold emph mine)

    Amen. This also is reflected in the (non)spat whereas Archbishop Dolan commented on Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget considerations. The Church can say this is wrong, this line must not be crossed or this is wrong, this line must be eradicated. But while it can say this is right, it may not say this is right, ergo you must do it, unless the only alternatives (emph mine) are demonstrably wrong.

    The whole (non)spat about whether Absp Dolan “endorsed” Ryan’s proposal comes down to whether he said it is “the’ proposal, or it is “a” proposal. An honest good-faithed reading of his words can only support the latter.

  23. avatar Thinkling says:

    And just for full disclosure to Ben et al who administer the site, my ears are ringing :). No reply necessary.

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