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Catholic Homilies Criticized for Lack of Relationship to Daily Life

December 23, 1989|JOHN DART

The homily, the Catholic equivalent of the Protestant sermon, too often contains pious platitudes that lack any relationship to parishioners' daily lives, according to U.S. Catholic magazine.

Gregory F. Augustine Pierce, writing in the December issue, said the sermon he heard last Easter had an observation something like, "God is not found in strength, ambition or success. God is found in weakness, humility and failure."

The thought may have validity, Pierce wrote, but the priest who uttered it "failed to show what it might be."

Indeed, in a poll conducted by the magazine, almost half of the readership said they would switch parishes if they "could hear realistic homilies about how to live out my faith in the workplace."

The survey, a regular feature in the magazine published by the Claretian religious order, also asked readers to submit examples of "one pious platitude that I never want to hear from the pulpit again." Here are a few:

- "To slow down and take time for God in my life." A reader commented: "I need to learn how to find God amidst the chaos of a job and two small children."

- "The people are hungry for Christ." A reader disagreed: "Few people care about anything except their own materialism."

- "Women have a different but unique place in the church."

- How unworthy "Christmas and Easter Catholics" are.

- "God loves you." A reader complained: "Tell that to a cancer patient (me) or to a mother accepting her child's drug addiction."

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