QUAERITUR: “The homily consisted of rap music…”

From a priest reader:

I recently attended an international conference in Omaha, Nebraska.  The homily consisted of rap music, dialogue with the deacon, dancing, racing back and forth across the "stage" (it was in a convention center), and the like (actually worse).  I can’t really find documents on the homily that prohibit this kind of "performance".  Know of any official documents?


Everyone… I haven’t the time today to dig into this and find the documents.

Will you help?

In the meantime, I warmly recommend that this be addressed also to the Congregation for Divine Worship, sending documentation of what happened… photos, videos, eyewitness testimonies, etc.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in ASK FATHER Question Box. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. dmwallace says:

    Two documents:

    General Instruction on the Roman Missal

    136. The priest, standing at the chair or at the ambo itself or, when appropriate, in another suitable place, gives the homily. When the homily is completed, a period of silence may be observed.

    Redemptionis Sacramentum, CDW, 2004.

    67. Particular care is to be taken so that the homily is firmly based upon the mysteries of salvation, expounding the mysteries of the Faith and the norms of Christian life from the biblical readings and liturgical texts throughout the course of the liturgical year and providing commentary on the texts of the Ordinary or the Proper of the Mass, or of some other rite of the Church.[147] It is clear that all interpretations of Sacred Scripture are to be referred back to Christ himself as the one upon whom the entire economy of salvation hinges, though this should be done in light of the specific context of the liturgical celebration. In the homily to be given, care is to be taken so that the light of Christ may shine upon life’s events. Even so, this is to be done so as not to obscure the true and unadulterated word of God: for instance, treating only of politics or profane subjects, or drawing upon notions derived from contemporary pseudo-religious currents as a source.[148]

    147. Cf. Ecumenical Council of Trent, Session XXII, 17 September 1562, on the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, Chapter 8: DS 1749; Missale Romanum, Institutio Generalis, n. 65.

    148. Cf. Pope John Paul II, Allocution to a number of Bishops from the United States of America who had come to Rome for a visit “ad Limina Apostolorum”, 28 May 1993, n. 2: AAS 86 (1994) p. 330.

  2. PS says:

    Also from RS:

    39. “In the songs, the melodies …the giving of the homily … the occasional explanatory remarks … there is ample possibility for introducing into each celebration a certain variety by which the riches of the liturgical tradition will also be more clearly evident, and so, in keeping with pastoral requirements, the celebration will be carefully imbued with those particular features that will foster the recollection of the participants. Still, it should be remembered that the power of the liturgical celebrations does not consist in frequently altering the rites, but in probing more deeply the word of God and the mystery being celebrated.”

    Would seem to pretty strongly discourage the sort of thing described. Hard to see how rap, asides to the deacon (or whatever) “foster[s] the recollection of the participants” and encourage participants to “prob[e] more deeply in the word of God and the mystery being celebrated.”

  3. ssoldie says:

    I have one word ‘Disgusting’

  4. mhittle says:

    That’s terrible. Omaha has a wonderful PFSP presence. I thought that buffoonery had been banished from the town.

  5. Dauphin says:

    Who needs documents? How about a basic sense of the spirit of the liturgy? How about some simple common sense?

    What good will documents do when the bare essentials are missing and the people are fundamentally disoriented? They simply won’t understand.

    [Documents. Think about what St. Thomas More said about laws v. Satan.]

  6. Dave N. says:

    I’m thinking the questioner is describing a “praise session” of the followers of charismatic “called-out-of-the-cloister” Mother Nadine Brown. They are based in Omaha and have an annual conference often described as “international” called “New Covenant Power.”



    In my experience Omaha is a very difficult place to be Catholic.

  7. Rose in NE says:

    I’m familiar with this group since two of their priests were assigned to my former parish. We had more than one “rapping mass” and once the homily was a skit. If no cantor was available, we might sing “If you’re happy and you know it” as an opening or closing hymn. On Ascension Thursday one priest put a dancing, singing, mechanical toy chicken directly on the altar. It was after that mass that I began to wonder, “Can he and should he do that?” I didn’t know, but I did know I could no longer go to mass with a knot in my stomach, wondering what was going to happen next. Even our kids were questioning what was going on and knew that something wasn’t right.

    We are now at the local FSSP parish. The TLM has been a tremendous spiritual boost to our family. This parish is a wonderful place to be Catholic in Omaha.

  8. Dave N. says:


    Your experience matched a number of mine. Happy you found your peace in Omaha. I couldn’t stand it any longer.

    Mother Nadine’s Intercessors of the Lamb also seems to have close ties with a womens’group called Magnificat. They celebrate a quarterly “Magnificat Prayer Meal.”

  9. markofmo says:

    I posted the original question. Thanks for the responses. You may be right about nothing will help, but I believe that these people do aim to be obedient. I am familiar with all the documents posted on the homily. But one can make an argument that the priest WAS preaching on the Gospel and using every technique he could to bring the message home. His racing back and forth could be construed to be preaching from an “appropriate” place – the document doesn’t specify, just as many documents don’t specify. If someone else comes up with anything, I’d appreciate it!

Comments are closed.