Funny conversation I must share about “dogma” theme Sundays

From a skype conversation with one of my witty interlocutors:

"[08:31 AM] … : Next week in the Novus Ordo is Trinity Sunday.  We hate these dogmatic "theme" Sundays.  People could care less about dogma.  I wish the Novus Ordo had "Why Humanae Vitae is Infallible Sunday" and "Why Women Should Take Their Proper Place in Church Governance Sunday – None – and Why Sunday".  How about, "Why People Do Go to Hell Sunday" and "Surprise!  God Does Speak Through the Magisterium Sunday"?  People would come flocking to listen to those homilies!"



About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Lighter fare, Mail from priests. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Father Nicholas Schumm says:

    Those are brilliant! And why not, “Celibacy is a Gift (and we shouldn’t throw it out even if a priest can’t keep his vows) Sunday”?…just a thought.

  2. Resurrexi says:

    On different Sundays of the liturgical year in the Eastern Churches, the first seven Ecumenical Councils are commemorated.

  3. LCB says:

    I roared in laughter.

  4. Jake says:

    I’m not exactly sure why “Why Women Should Take Their Proper Place in Church Governance Sunday – None – and Why Sunday” included NONE. Women can certainly have a place in Church Governance… I’m inclined to agree that proper roles need to be addressed but this post smacks of an elitism I’m not comfortable with.

  5. Aelric says:

    People could care less about dogma.

    Speaking of witticism, an excellent read in this regard are Dorothy Sayers’ essays “The Dogma is the Drama,”The Greatest Drama Ever Staged,” and “Creed or Chaos?”

    Three quotes:

    Q.: What is the doctrine of the Trinity?
    A.: “The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the whole thing incomprehensible.” Something put in by theologians to make it more difficult – nothing to do with daily life or ethics.


    It is the dogma that is the drama – not beautiful phrases, nor comforting sentiments, nor vague aspirations to living-kindness and uplift, nor the promise of something after death – but the terrifying assertion that the same God who made the world, lived in the world and passed through the grave and gate of death. Show that to the heathen, and they may not believe it; but at least they may realize that here is something that a man might be glad to believe.


    But if Christian dogma is irrelevant to life, to what, in Heaven’s name, is it relevant? – since religious dogma is in fact nothing but a statement of doctrines concerning the nature of life and the universe. If Christian ministers really believe it is only an intellectual game for theologians and has no bearing upon human life, it is no wonder that their congregations are ignorant, bored, and bewildered.

    pp. 25, 27-8, 37. The Whimsical Christian, Dorothy L. Sayers, Collier Books, New York, 1978.

  6. For us, today is the Sunday of the Holy Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council. Dogma is the faith. Those who find it irrelevant find Christianity irrelevant.

  7. Sacristymaiden says:

    How about a “The Eucharist is not just a symbol Sunday” or “Fact: WymenPrests do not exist Sunday”?

  8. JC says:

    “The Eucharist is Not Just a Symbol” Sunday is Corpus Christi.

    It was instituted in the Scholastic era, when enlightened Averroeist Aristotelians said that science had proven the Eucharist was just a symbol.

    As for the rest, I thought it was the rule in the pre-conciliar church that certain dogmas and moral teachings had to be addressed in homilies at least once a year.

  9. Laura Lowder says:

    I laughed at this – and wonder how many things about the MOF I thought had always been, that aren’t –

    But speaking of the Trinity, I think it was Madeline L’Engle who wrote of a Japanese gentleman talking about the incomprehensibility of the Trinity – actually, she was retelling a story from Dorothy Sayers: “Honorable Father, very good. Honorable Son, very good. Honorable Bird I do not understand at all.”

  10. Carlos Palad says:

    “Next week in the Novus Ordo is Trinity Sunday”

    Yes, just like in the Forma Extraordinaria.

  11. peregrinator says:

    I like the “dogmatic” Sundays (although I tend to think of them as \”mystery\” Sundays… just like other feasts.) Especially Corpus Christi and Trinity Sunday.

    Mind you, I come from a parish where the above proposed themes would be rather less relevant than in other places.

  12. Ray says:


    Y’know – I can understand why the Skype convo is humorous, but seriously, the “Dogma” Sundays are quite beautiful. I recently read Quas Primas, on the institution of the Feast of Christ the King, where it explained that the feast was instituted as a reminder to both the faithful and the clergy of the centrality of Christ in our entire lives, private and public, and to encourage and strengthen them towards that goal. Given the imperfection of human nature and concupiscence, these reminders are both necessary and encouraging. How many Catholics these days actually have a Trinitarian spirituality? How many see the Trinity as a model for relationships? Yes, I should hope that all priests teach on this point when necessary with boldness, hope and charity, but for those priests who perhaps are struggling with lukewarmness or are perhaps not entirely in line with what the Church teaches, these ‘Dogma’ Sundays also offer opportunities for conversion as they research a topic that wouldn’t necessarily be of their choosing. Lastly, it seems prudent to me to remember that these are feasts given to us by the Church in Her wisdom. We should not be so quick to scoff at them. If the people could care less about dogma, then perhaps we need to start giving them reasons to care about it.

  13. Joe says:

    I too like the Dogma Sundays. The ones I would do away with are the “Social Communications Sunday”, “Catholic Education Sunday”, “Catechetical Sunday”, even “Vocations Sunday”. Those are all important themes but why impose them on one particular Day of the Lord like that?

  14. Is is possible that so many of you lack a sense of humor?

  15. Will says:

    I don’t think that’s very funny, Fr. Z!

    Seriously, I like these Sundays, and particularly next Sunday which is my parish’s Name Sunday.

  16. Nancy McClintock says:

    Funny this comes up now. Every Trinity Sunday without fail, at the Masses
    I attend, the homilist bemoans the difficulty of his topic. My goodness!
    This is a mystery we’re talking about. No need to analyze it to pieces,
    or worse, complain about it. A few words well said just might stir up awe
    in the listeners. Nothing more is necessary. The most vivid moment in my
    high school career came when I had just read the standard description of
    the Trinity: The Father begets the Son and the Spirit is the love between
    them. I sat stunned at my desk, my religion book open before me, unable to
    move. Granted, that presupposes a certain receptivity, but might not some
    people in the pews reach such a moment? They certainly won’t from turn-off
    remarks about the Trinity being tooo haaard.

  17. David, S.J. says:

    “Is is possible that so many of you lack a sense of humor?”

    Do I detect the possibility for a new (and perhaps needed) “themed” Sunday? You should mention this to some of your friends next time you’re in Rome, Father!

  18. I can appreciate the humor but I also like the theme Sundays… makes one more aware of what we believe.

  19. Ray says:

    “But Father, But Father!”

    Sense of humor = yes.
    Cynical, sarcastic sense of humor = no.

    Perhaps I’m reading cynicism into the Skype quote (I don’t know the interlocutor or the context within which the quote was extracted), but I’m of firm belief that cynicism and sarcasm work against Hope. There’s a difference between constructive criticism and cynical criticism. How should we categorize the above quote?

    Ironic, isn’t it, that the very failing in my own post (misreading of intent) is the very thing I feel I’m being accused of. Irony… now there’s a type of humor I can get on board with. :)

Comments are closed.