I see on CNS that the US bishops do indeed have a new document on preaching in the pipeline. Considering that so many good ideas found in Fulfilled In Your Hearing went untouched, I did wonder many months ago why the JPII/B16 American episcopacy felt the need to reinvent the wheel. Or maybe they believe that FIYH has been fully implemented and it’s time to explore new ground. Archbishop Robert Carlson:
Everyone gets a chance to put their oar in the water. That’s what makes it a better document.
Eight USCCB committees is “everyone”? What about the people who have to listen to the homily? Archbishop Carlson on his dad’s input:
My dad used to say, “I know what happened 2,000 years ago. I need to know how to live my life today.”
I wonder if he invited his dad to give input on this new document.
The US bishops were on the right track in the 1980’s when they consulted widely on important matters of peace and the economy. Say what you like about the end result, but in theory, they listened to the laity and considered their broad input a contributing factor to each effort.
I am sure the final result will, if absorbed by the Church’s preachers, improve the overall level of the liturgical homily. The real connection that needs to be made, above bishops-laity, is bishops-priests. You priests out there: do you need a document on preaching from your bishops? And once it comes out, how do you plan to engage with it: individually, in priest support groups, on a diocesan level, with your bishop directly, or some combination?
James A Wallace (ed) Preaching in the Sunday Assembly, (The Liturgical Press, 2011) on page vi mentions that the writing of a new document had been signalled by the US Bishops, so on the basis of thinking on Homiletics and related disciplines over recent years Wallace, who taught Homiletics at WTU, offers critical comments, possible areas of improvement in “Fulfilled in Your Hearing”. And there has been a considerable body of work published since FIYH as the bibliography indicates. FIYH has had an influence well beyond the USA, I’ve seen references to it in writing from UK, Ireland and even in Japanese, here in Japan. Hopefully the consultation process was wide, and that the bishops and the writers reflected well on their own experience. For now I will continue to recommend FIYH to all in formation for ministry, and all young priests I meet.