Redemptionis Sacramentum 161

After a longer exploration of Communion ministry, the CDWDS turns its attention to preaching. There’s been something of a retrenchment in the years between the promulgation of the new Code of Canon Law to this document up to today.

I’ve known many fine lay preachers. Is it important for a ministry such as this to be done fruitfully and well?

2. Preaching

[161.] As was already noted above, the homily on account of its importance and its nature is reserved to the Priest or Deacon during Mass.[Cf. Code of Canon Law, can. 767 § 1] As regards other forms of preaching, if necessity demands it in particular circumstances, or if usefulness suggests it in special cases, lay members of Christ’s faithful may be allowed to preach in a church or in an oratory outside Mass in accordance with the norm of law.[Cf. Code of Canon Law, can. 766] This may be done only on account of a scarcity of sacred ministers in certain places, in order to meet the need, and it may not be transformed from an exceptional measure into an ordinary practice, nor may it be understood as an authentic form of the advancement of the laity.[Cf. Ecclesiae de mysterio, Practical Provisions 2 §§ 3-4] All must remember besides that the faculty for giving such permission belongs to the local Ordinary, and this as regards individual instances; this permission is not the competence of anyone else, even if they are Priests or Deacons.

Lay preaching has been done as a voice for women, or for clergy in training. It makes sense for a bishop to moderate and oversee it. It also makes sense that good preaching is for the people in the pews, perhaps exclusively, and not for the people who deliver it. One hopes that’s the understanding for the ordained.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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