EG 38: A Sense of Proportion

Vasnetsov_Maria_MagdaleneIn Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis writes of the need for balance and proportion.

38. It is important to draw out the pastoral consequences of the Council’s teaching, which reflects an ancient conviction of the Church. First, it needs to be said that in preaching the Gospel a fitting sense of proportion has to be maintained. This would be seen in the frequency with which certain themes are brought up and in the emphasis given to them in preaching. For example, if in the course of the liturgical year a parish priest speaks about temperance ten times but only mentions charity or justice two or three times, an imbalance results, and precisely those virtues which ought to be most present in preaching and catechesis are overlooked. The same thing happens when we speak more about law than about grace, more about the Church than about Christ, more about the Pope than about God’s word.

One of my criticisms of the reform2 movement, to give an example, is the emphasis on the propers as Church texts, not Scriptural texts. They are reduced to formulas for music rather than living expressions of the Word of God.

The notion of balance in preaching is also interesting.  I see many laments about the lack of moral preaching, and I have to wonder: do those complaining feel themselves immoral, inclined to have abortions or practice contraception? Pope Francis’s emphasis on grace and mercy is well-placed for most of Catholicism today, I would say.

About catholicsensibility

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