WDTPRS POLL: length of Sunday sermons

There was recently story on CNA about the "ideal" length of a Sunday sermon/homily. 

First, the person who proposed in a book that "8 minutes" is the Secretary for the Cong. for Bishops, Archbishop Nikola Eterovic. 

Second, while the Archbishop hedges with an "in general", to propose an "ideal" length of a sermon is absurd.

There may be an ideal length "in general" for this community or that, but there cannot be an ideal length for all.

Also, depending on the preacher 30 seconds can be too long, while others can preach for 30 minutes and people still want more.

That said,

One long-time participant here wrote to me about this adding the comment:

"a sermon should not be longer than the Eucharistic Prayer. I recall a 28-minute sermon followed by EP II in 2 min 45 sec, which sent mixed message on the importance of the Sacrifice."

Again, I am not sure about that.  It depends on the circumstances.  I cannot think that it would have been a good idea to preach for only 2’30" in that instance.   Should the Eucharistic Prayer have been longer?  If you think so, then how much longer?  Was it silent as in the Extraordinary Form?

Another issue is that of daily Masses, where there is no obligation (or tradition) of preaching at all, though I recognize that in most places I have been people are so hungry for good things from the Church that they welcome a fervorino even on weekdays.

So, let’s have a little poll.

Cast your vote and then give your reasons in the combox.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. puma19 says:

    To try to say that 8 minutes is fine and longer no good is just plain crazy.
    The Gettysburg address was very short and is a powerful speech.
    The homilies of Benedict XVI are never shorter than 8 minutes and his teaching is very powerful; indeed so much spiritual meat in them to ponder on that length is not important.
    As Catholics we have to be aware that the preaching of the Word is both the power of the Spirit and the work of the human voice through the priest. If the priest has prayed at length, pondered and prepared well then the time is irrelevant really. His message is the crux.
    Sadly many sermons are horrifice and more pyschology talks,or filled with jokes and humour.
    But the real sermon ought be one that is Christ-focused, based on the Scriptures and delivered with conviction and humility – yes, humility as the Spirit needs humble vessels.
    But sadly homily preparation has not been at the forefront of seminary training. And so often there is not enough positive criticism or feedback. The laity take a lot and priests need often to have their sermons ‘reviewed’ for how effective or not they may be.
    Much more needs to be said, but really trying to ‘time manage/limit’ is just plain crazy.

  2. memoriadei says:

    This was hard to answer mostly because of the “as long as it’s good” on all the choices. I don’t feel that way because if we are open to the Holy Spirit as our spiritual director, surely something will strike us from most homilies. So, I chose the 8 minutes is about right. I really do want to learn as much as I can from the priest. And, really, to one the homily is good while to another it may not be. So, how can we really judge the worth of the homily but rather spend time in prayer before the Mass asking for the Holy Spirit to teach us.

  3. catholicmidwest says:

    Unfortunately, most Catholic homilies are terrible, irrespective of length. Jokes just increase the agony too, as well as the duration.

  4. TNCath says:

    Eight minutes maximum is ok, as long as it is good. As a teacher, I have found that attention spans have shortened tremendously over the years, thanks to television, movies, the Internet, and text messaging. In a world where Attention Deficit Disorder has become widespread, people will automatically “tune you out” after about five minutes.

    The homily/sermon, while emphasized as an integral part of the Sunday Mass, is not THE focal point of the Mass, and, many priests have never been known as effective and powerful preachers. Over the years, I have endured 45-50 minute homilies in which a pastor rambled on and on, theologically flawlessly, but just didn’t know when or how to stop. Conversely, I have heard those who have droned on for only 10 or 15 minutes, waxing eloquently, and ultimately saying nothing. Ironically, I have found that those who can get it said in 5-8 minutes can usually have something to say that you can remember and apply to your life.

  5. catholicmidwest says:

    If the priest really actually has something to say from the heart of the church–and leaves his opinion to the side–then I’ll be happy to listen for 8 minutes or even a little longer. Extra attention for homilies that actually explain the scriptural readings. But that’s not usually the case.

    We have this one priest who sings country western songs instead–or in addition–to homilies that sound like reader’s digest summaries of articles long lost. I never have any idea what he’s trying to do, exactly. Those kinds of homilies need to be less than one minute, IMHO. They detract from the rest of mass and confuse people.

    PS, he expects applause too.

  6. pelerin says:

    I ticked the last one – I don’t care how long it is providing it is good. I can honestly say that I have never timed the homily in the church I attend although this has not always been the case elsewhere.

  7. NDPhys says:

    Eight minutes seems quite arbitrary, and quite short compared to homilies I am used to hearing. I would rather see the poll choices say “So long as it is not heterodox”, rather than “So long as it is good.”

  8. Magpie says:

    I don’t mind how long it is, so long as it’s good. The people are STARVING for good teaching, but most of them probably don’t realise. We need to be fed good things. Most of the priests in my parish in Ireland issue bland, meaningless sermons, which do not actually do any good. I think they are afraid of offending people with such concepts as sin.

  9. catholicmidwest says:

    Whenever I’m faced with a priest touting his opinion, particularly if it’s cock-eyed, or faced with a wanna-be performer, I feel like I’m part of a captive audience and I feel like I’m being taken advantage of.

    Catholics are expected to go to mass and not walk out. How can someone use that to get attention for their own opinion, personality or hobby? But I’ve seen it happen-a large number of times.

  10. homeschoolofthree says:

    I could listen to my dear priest speak for hours, he is a wonderful teacher! His homilies are almost always great, and the few occasions they have been bad, he seems to realize he is not doing a good homily and cuts it short! We all have days when our performance is just not up to par.
    As for the priests that give ‘bad’ homilies, God may not have called him because of his skills speaking in front of a crowd, perhaps he is an exceptional priest at the bedside of the sick, or in the confessional he truly saves the souls of the penitent! I would like to think that Christian charity would help us all to overlook the faults of some of our dear priests and find the good!

  11. TNCath says:

    This posting reminds me of a joke I heard at a college graduation back in 1987, told by Jaime Cardinal Sin of the Philippines, about the parish priest who preached ridiculously long sermons. One day, one of the parishioners cut off his microphone. The priest remarked, “There’s something wrong with this microphone,” to which the congregation automatically replied, “And also with you.” Apologies for using the ICEL translation!

  12. robkphd says:

    I don’t think there should be a timer, but some priests, and I am talking across both forms, sometimes take a good homily and diminish its effectiveness by not being clear and/or concise. Anyone who is speaking to a group of people must strive to be effective and verbosity can get in the way of that. This is a fair prinicple – it doesn’t have a time limit, but a homily should be no longer than necessary to effectively and forcefully communicate the message.

    Of course the worst case is a long, unclear homily of questionable theology. These do damage in multiple ways.

  13. Jordanes says:

    I don’t mind “long” homilies at all. I note that the Church Fathers more often than not gave rather long and really meaty homilies. But we are a culture with a very, very short attention span, thanks to t.v. and commercials delivering vapid and rapid-fire images and sensual experiences.

    Before my conversion to Catholicism, I had been raised in a sect in which each “worship service” (in which we did little actual worship — I really didn’t understand what it means to worship God until I became a Catholic, but that’s another subject) included a 10-15 minute “sermonette” and an hour to hour-and-a-half “sermon.” Then during festivals, we were treated to a morning worship service AND an afternoon worship service: TWO sermonettes and TWO sermons on the same day (and I for one always looked forward to the “bonus” sermons and sermonettes)! We were trained to sit quietly and listen. So I’m always amused when I see my fellow Catholics start to twitch in their seats when Father or the Deacon talks longer than 10 minutes, and I smile when I hear people griping after Mass about Father being so longwinded . They just have no idea what “longwinded” means.

  14. If the homily is full of fluff, then I really do wish there was a “shush clock” for these kinds of things, anything that lacks substance ought to be kept short.

    If the substance of the homily is good, then he can go as long as needed.

  15. Dafyd says:

    Ours are around 15-20 minutes. Much longer than that, and they start gathering the fire wood. I find myself pretty disappointed with one shorter than 10 minutes, usually. I’m a big boy. I can take some exegesis.

  16. Ginkgo100 says:

    I ticked the first one… but “more than 8 minutes” is pretty vague. How does it differ from the last choice?

    I used to attend Mass where the priest preached for 45 minutes every Sunday, without exception. That was definitely too long.

    Really, though, Fr. Z is right in that the “ideal length” really depends on the congregation. A group of educated adults might hunger for longer homilies. A congregation full of families with young children might appreciate keeping things short and focused. Ditto a congregation with a high proportion of elderly or people with health problems.

    Whether a sermon is “good” also depends on the congregation. Those educated adults probably hunger for more advanced material, while teenagers need to start with more basic catechism. I teach catechism to high schoolers, and once we had a lay speaker (not during Mass; during class) who had all the catechists on the edge of our seats. Even thirty minutes into what was supposed to be a 15-minute talk on the Eucharist, we were all ready for at least thirty minutes more. The kids, though? Bored silly. It was over their heads. The subject matter was stuff about the Passover as a figure of the Eucharist, the Cup of Blessing and Cup of Consummation at the last supper, the Crucifixion as the first moment of Christ’s Kingdom on earth, all kinds of things that fascinated us catechists, but the kids are still struggling with transubstantiation.

  17. catholicmidwest says:


    You apparently haven’t heard some of the homilies I’ve heard.

    There was the one with the homosexual halloween joke–All Saints Eve 2009, in fact. I don’t even remember what he said after that (long and nasty) joke, but it probably didn’t matter anyway. He could have stopped right then and there. You could tell, looking around the church, that I wasn’t the only one with that perception, either.

    Then there was the 30 minute Teilhard-Chardin-worship-session by someone who clearly didn’t know a philosophy dictionary from a phone book. Luckily most people don’t know who Chardin really was or what kind of garbage he taught, and they were just nodding and being nice. So, it probably didn’t cause much damage. I hope.

    Then there are the “guitar homilies” with applause, which could be considered harmless enough in themselves–an old grandpa type amusing himself–except for the fact that they’re blatant performances to a captive audience.

    Oh, and there have been others. I’m a convert and I finally was forced to develop the most necessary Catholic accessory a few years ago–a good crap filter. It’s too bad, but it’s reality.

    Once in a while, I hear a good homily. When that happens, I’m all ears, but it’s passed the filter when that happens.

  18. fenetre says:

    In my parish, we are blessed with priests who give sermon even at daily Mass. They tend to keep it short during morning Mass, since there are people who need to go to work after. If there is evening Mass during the week, the sermons are usually longer. Sunday Mass sermon is ideally 15 minutes, no more than 20 minutes. I think that’s the internal guidelines set by our pastor, as we have 3 Masses on Sunday morning.

    A good sermon is never too long. A bad sermon is not short enough.

  19. catholicmidwest says:

    Then there was the incoherent homily by the ostensibly angry (and possibly inebriated) substitute priest; followed by what I’m absolutely sure was an invalid consecration because the words were ALL WRONG. The lady next to me turned and said in shock, “Can he do that?”

    That was the innocent Sunday that I was on the schedule as Eucharistic Minister for the very first time. That day, I grew my crap filter.

    I’m still catholic. I still love the mass. But I don’t see these things through rose-colored-glasses anymore. It is what it is. If the homily is good, it’s good. If it’s bad, it’s bad. And if it’s bad, the shorter the better.

  20. Elly says:

    I voted for the last choice but now I’m reconsidering after reading some comments. I personally don’t care how long it is because I don’t have a short attention span but that might not be the case with others, especially children.

    By the way, are the words sermon and homily interchangable? I used to think sermon was more of a Protestant word.


  21. jamie r says:

    This may be a slight overstatement, but any homily is too long if it’s during the mass.

    Before I became Catholic, I was raised Protestant. All those people do is listen to sermons. The point of going to church is to hear a sermon. When Protestants move, they spend a few months church-shopping, looking for the preacher who gives the most interesting sermons. The point of Mass isn’t hearing some guy talk. The point of Mass is hearing the Word of God proclaimed and participating in Communion.

  22. EMKennedy says:

    My aunt always told me, “You have 7 minutes to get your point across. Once you hit 7 minutes I start cleaning out my purse.”

  23. jamie r says:

    I’d like to add that homeschoolofthree hits the nail on the head about what’s wrong with homilies by writing “We all have days when our performance is just not up to par.” The Mass isn’t a performance. If celebrating versus populum is a bad idea, so are homilies, and for much the same reason.

  24. catholicmidwest says:

    Apt observation by your aunt, EMKennedy.

    IF the point isn’t clear after 7 minutes, perhaps there isn’t one.

  25. kat says:

    Your question cracked me up! Our priests give “sermons.” I always think of “homily” as a Protestant word!

    Right now we have a pastor who gives awesome sermons, and I could listen to him all day. We have had priests in the past who were a bit more difficult to listen to; the sermon might be good in content, but just not delivered so well; and sometimes those seemed too long. But I would never want to restrict a priest to certain amount of time.

    On a side funny note, our “awesome speaker” pastor recently told us that while in the seminary, soon after becoming a deacon, he had to preach his first sermon at the Sunday Mass at the seminary. There was a strict rule that it was NOT to be longer than 10 minutes. Our priest’s brother was also a seminarian at the time, so he told his brother to give him a signal when his time was just about up. It just so happened that the rector of the seminary was the celebrant that day, which made our poor man even more nervous. He said he need not have worried about getting his brother’s help: as he went up to begin his sermon, he glanced at the rector, who exaggeratedly picked up his arm and looked at his watch! He said he got so nervous that when he realized his time was just about up, he couldn’t even remember his ending, and just made some fervent comment, and made the sign of the cross. We all laughed at his story. :)

  26. lucy says:

    We have a mixture of priests who come to say the traditional Mass for us at the late hour of 3:30pm. However, I have to say that all of them give superb sermons. Some of them are FSSP (check out http://www.audiosancto.org) and one is a Carmelite, occasionally we have a diocesan priest who gives great sermons, and then there’s our diocesan Rogationist. All very good speakers. As someone earlier said the sermon doesn’t belong in the Mass – well, I disagree. Being a convert and a hungry-for-meat Catholic, I am starving for a meaty sermon every week. I go to Mass to hear the Word of God proclaimed and also hear a good strong sermon from a learned priest. God bless our holy priests.

  27. lofstrr says:

    Trying to make a sermon a certain length is often what lead it to being too long or too short. Say what needs to be said in the most distilled and direct way possible and then stop. Don’t say any more than you need to get the point across. Like food, keep it just slightly on the light side and they will walk away satisfied but wanting more. Stick to 1 main topic and not more than 3 or 4 points to support it. The lectionary makes this ridiculously easy. What is the common thread of all the readings? There is your main topic. Now pull the point from each reading that supports it and boom, you have a sermon.

    But the temptation is usually to put all your thoughts on the topic into the sermon. That is how most sermons get off track. It is not about you and what you think. It is about the topic and how it brings us closer to God. Make it, support it and then stop.

    Of course, when I was preaching it was in evangelical, non denominational churches where a short sermon was 20 mins and long was an hour or more. I was almost a heretic for finishing regularly in 15 to 20 mins.

  28. dtb says:

    I chose the last option, because the appropriate length of a homily depends on many factors: the readings and propers of the day, the needs of the congregation, ability of the homilist, etc…

    That said, priests should be expected every Sunday to give orthodox, engaging homilies that comprehensively explain what Holy Church is trying to teach us through the propers and the readings of the day. To put it bluntly, that’s what they get paid to do! The laity just want our priests to do their jobs – no more, and no less.

    Lay persons have to give extemporaneous speeches or presentations at work to promote their company’s product or ideas, etc. If they were to deliberately fail to engage their audience, fail to provide complete, accurate information, or stray from their employer’s guidelines — that is, if they refuse to do their jobs — they would expect to be fired. Why so many priests think themselves exempt from a principle that governs the professional lives of every other person in society is a profound mystery.

    Thankfully we lay Catholics have well-refined “crap filters,” as catholicmidwest so eloquently puts it.

  29. Lurker 59 says:

    Has anyone timed how long it takes to get through one of Augustine’s, Chrysostom’s, Pope Leo the Great’s, etc. homilies are?

  30. catholicmidwest says:

    Lurker, don’t know. Pretty long, I expect. On the other hand, I don’t have Augustine or Chrysostom or Pope Leo the Great as my parish priest. Do you?

    I expect I, like most parishoners, have Fr. OK Guy with the longstanding C average. C average guys just need to get the idea out there and do the work in good faith, and then it will be as good as it can be, and that’s fine.

    (I used to be a high school teacher. C *is* the average grade, you know. Most people get C grades at least part of the time. SHHH, big secret nobody wants to admit.)

  31. MOP says:

    I ALWAYS bring good Mass appropriate reading material with me in case the sermon is not understandable (foreign priest)or just rambling. I used to get quite upset and it is not worth it, so I switch to my reading until the sermon is over and I am at peace. I always say a prayer to the Holy Spirit for the priest before he begins his sermon and then go to Plan B if necessary.

  32. QMJ says:

    I found it difficult to pick any of the options. As long as the homily is substantial and presented in such a way that it is relevant to the faithful then less than eight minutes is just fine. Regardless of whether it is good or bad, I think more than eight minutes, but no more than 15 is ideal. However, if it’s bad I always hope it is closer to the eight minute mark. ;-)

  33. AnnaTrad51 says:

    We over the years have had quite a variety. One that was very good, he loved to teach and it showed in his sermons, we would be hanging on his every word. One who did not want to be at our parish and his sermons reflected it, many rosaries were said during his sermons. Some that were a dry as dust and one who went on so long we were tempted to pack a snack. Others now who are not afraid to teach many of the things that catholics don’t want to here anymore. All in all it goes show that God calls many different types of men to the Priesthood.

  34. Father Ignotus says:

    I generally preach about eight minutes on Sundays.

  35. Dr. Eric says:

    I have read (and it may have been on WDTPRS) that someone’s grandpa who was a minister was of the opinion that “no one’s soul is saved after 20 minutes.” So, a good 15 minute homily seems to be about right. That’s what the priests and deacons I know try to keep their homilies to that limit.

  36. Lurker 59 says:

    Catholicmidwest — I know, I know.

    Doesn’t mean that Fr. OK Guy who gets C’s cannot read Augustine. The problem is that almost all Fr. OKs and even Fr. Wonderfuls think that they have to say something smart (or witty). –> THEY have to say something. The Homily isn’t the part of the Mass where Fr. gets to throw his two cents in. The whole action of the Mass has Christ as both object and subject. He himself speaks acts and gives of himself to his mystical body his beloved bride. But during the homily too often does Fr. stop being alter christus and reverts to Fr. My 2 Cents and Something Witty because frankly that is what he has been trained to do. There is no shame at all in just reading someone else’s work, because the homily is also supposed to be done through the voice of Christ. Even Fr. Wonderful should read someone else’s work now and then and at least rely heavily upon it in his own two cents.

    The whole eight minute, how long should the homily be is indicative of the problem of Fr. needing to throw HIS two cents in. If the focus was more so on what does Christ, what does the Church wish to say here now at this homily, both by Fr. and the anticipation of the congregation, it wouldn’t matter if the homily was two minutes or an hour, because we would be waiting on Christ. It wouldn’t even occur to people to be bothered by how long or how short the homily was because it would be precisely that which Christ wished it to be.

    (ohhh I do know that. C is the average grade. I also know that teachers need to adjust the difficulty of the material so that the curve has most people get Cs, else administration will have a talk with you.)

  37. Mariana says:

    As a former Lutheran I am SO grateful for the short Catholic sermons. No matter HOW good a sermon is I want to get on with the LITURGY.

  38. stgemma_0411 says:

    I have two very different ways of looking at Sunday Liturgy. First, is that the majority of even faithful Catholics don’t have the proper education/catechesis to understand the issues that effect us from a truly Catholic perspective. To this perspective, I would want at least a very good teaching moment from the homily and those, in my opinion should run about 10-15 minutes, which is an average instructional period to make a point in college class that one would take in a class that was 3 days a week. I understand the 8-minute approach because that is “supposed” to be the average time-span that one can keep their attention on one thing, but rare is the case that a homilist will stay on point long enough to not have recaptured the attention of someone within that time frame, so 10-15 minutes is usually a good range of time. Most MA courses in Education will tell you that in a 50 minute session that you should teach no more than 3 different things during that period of time for maximum absorption by the minds of the students. I would agree with this sentiment as it is better to give quality than quantity. My second way of looking at the situation is that there is a need to have the Liturgy be of primary importance. Of course, there is a large quantity that can be said in relation to this (music, uses of various penitential rites, uses of various Eucharistic Prayers, etc.). But if you are to have the understanding that it is the Mass that is primary and that the homily is secondary, than there should be a renewed emphasis on making that the focal point and not what comes out of the mouth of the homilist. Both points are valid, but in the grand scheme of things, I would rather go with the first way than the second because you can set the tone for the Liturgy of the Eucharist much more effectively than you could with a homily that falls flat. When I was in seminary, there were too many “rules” associated with homiletics that came from the teachers of the homiletic courses. I can understand the need for 8 minute homilies in a parish that has Mass every hour until 5pm as a concern for time for the other Masses to come. But in a normal parish there is plenty of time to expound on the mysteries of our faith that would help give greater emphasis towards an understanding of the reality that is present during the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

  39. Scott W. says:

    8 minutes is good. Anything more than 15 is what I call “Abusing the captive audience.”

  40. nemo says:

    We have an FSSP priest. If he wants to talk all day, it is not too long. We learn so much from him about the spiritual life.

  41. An American Mother says:

    Dr. Eric,

    That was my dear Methodist preacher grandfather-in-law, a/k/a “The Reverend” which is what everybody called him.

    He was an excellent preacher, I inherited all his books and he was a marginal notator so I have the benefit of a lot of his (very clear) thinking. To keep to his 20 minutes he would have his wife sit in the choir loft and lower her pocket watch over the edge of the balcony when his time was running short.

    His problem was saying grace — he would pray for the folks at the table, the President, the Congress, the Governor, the Legislators, the congregation, anybody who was sick, for good weather, etc. etc. The food would get cold. That seems to be a common Methodist failing, not sure why.

    Our priests typically go between 12 and 15 minutes. We have one who is very dry and scholarly but always has something interesting to say, we have one who preaches like a house on fire, very excitable (and exciting). Our third preaches somewhat elliptically, his sermons tend to move in concentric circles, hitting the same point from 3 or 4 different directions. Once you understand his method it makes sense, but until you get the framework you keep expecting the homily to end . . . and it doesn’t.

  42. Last Sunday the Gospel from Year A (Samaritan Woman at the Well) was read. The substitute priest who was with us had not been told until the last minute that we would use that Gospel, and was unprepared. We got a long homily, that was unfocused and nearly had me dozing off and whacking my head against the choir stalls. (I’d say the talk went on for about 20-25 minutes.)

    Last night, at a Mass in the EF, we had the same Gospel (twice, Latin & English); the homily was short, perhaps 6 minutes long, but I will be remembering the connection between Jesus’ “thirst” for the Samaritan woman’s salvation and his cry of “I thirst” on the Cross as his thirst of each human soul’s savlation until I die. It was profoundly moving.

  43. irulats says:

    A priest said this to me regarding the homily. An older priest had told it to him.

    The first 5 minutes is for God…
    The second 5 minutes is for yourself…
    Anything else is for the devil!!!

  44. Father S. says:

    I am torn on what Archbishop Eterovic had to say. I recall reading about this somewhere or other online, and I thought two things. First, a good many priests could take that message to heart. Second, do I need to? My target time for preaching is six minutes. That means that as I form my outline during the week, I try to have few enough points that I can remember without notes and enough points that I will not be disrespectful to the teaching munus of the Church in which I share. Almost every week, however, this gets changed. The reason is precisely that which Fr. Z. has mentioned here, namely, that the determinative factor here is the community. For example, I may have the early morning Holy Mass on Sunday with an older congregation and perhaps fewer communicants because of the time. If I preach there for eight or nine minutes (and try to preach well, mind you) it is not a problem. On the other hand, at the later Holy Mass when there are many, many young children present (a blessing, indeed!) perhaps I may need to be more brief. When there is a constant hum of activity, it can be difficult sometimes to capture attention. Also, I preach each Sunday at Holy Mass in Spanish. This community is entirely different. If I preach for six minutes, people stop me and ask for more.

    Regardless of length, the far more important consideration is quality. This means a clear, relevant, concise message. The biggest issue with preaching today (it seems to me) is not length but preparation. So many priests begin their prep on Saturday morning. A sermon prepared over more days after literally hours of prayer can be far more effective. As a general rule, I try to look at the readings for next Sunday on the evening of the preceding Sunday.

    Other than quality, delivery is easily most important. The priest who reads his sermons is doomed to fail. Further, the priest who reads long, rambling quotes is doomed to fail. Preaching is about communication. The congregation communicates as much as the priest. When the rustling begins or the nodding off, it is time to wrap it up, Padre. A good test, it seems to me, is the pause. Can a priest pause for effect and hear a pin drop in church? Those moments are precious. Also, while I think that jokes have little or no place in a sermon, humor may. I recall my parents saying while I was in the seminary that a little humor goes a long way. This is true, so long as it is not based in sarcasm or ridicule.

    Of course, if you want to see whether or not I follow my own advice, just check out my blog for weekly sermons!

  45. Bl. Humbert of Romans, O.P., (XIII cent.) wrote: “Short sermons are better: when they are good people want more; when they are bad, they are over quickly.

  46. trespinos says:

    “a little humor goes a long way” — yes, indeed.

    There is a priest in a Northwest diocese who, I suspect, has about 50 or 60 “Hubert and Fredolina” jokes in his repertoire. Every homily gets started with one. They may or may not have any relevance to the subsequent Scripture-related homily. Father just appears to have a “soften them up with humor first” philosophy.

    Hubert and Fredolina are sitting on their living room sofa watching TV, and Fredolina says, “Hubert, you’ve changed. When we were first married, you used to give me hugs.” Hearing that, Hubert leans over and gives her a hug. Fredolina then says, “And you used to give me a kiss.” So, Hubert gives her a kiss. Fredolina continues, “Any you used to nibble on my ear.” At that, Hubert leaps up and runs out of the room. “Hubert”, says Fredolina, “what are you doing?” “Hold on”, says Hubert from the next room, “I have to get my teeth.”

    OK, seriously, a six or eight-minute homily at weekday Mass seems to convey everything needed, but at Sunday Mass I do appreciate a slightly longer exposition from a well-prepared and skillful homilist.

    The homilists on EWTN’s daily mass have the disadvantage of actually having to fill in more time (for broadcast length) than is warranted, perhaps, by their material. The quality can tend to suffer because of that fact. I don’t envy their task.

  47. david andrew says:

    I’ll take 3 minutes of solid orthodoxy over 20 minutes of rambling heterodoxy, heresy and lame, pointless jokes any day.

  48. david andrew says:

    And perhaps Churchill was right: “Short words are best, and old words when short are best of all.”

  49. eulogos says:

    It depends what kind of sermon it is. My husband’s Evangelical Anglican priest preaches for the Protestant standard 30 minutes, and he is worth listening to. His sermons are mostly exegetical. I learn a lot from him, although there is often something I have to screen out as not Catholic. My attention very seldom wanders. I absolutely LONG to have someone do scriptural exegesis like that from a Catholic point of view. And this is not a sermon and hymns only service; he goes on to celebrate a very reverent Eucharist, (and quite a bit more ceremonially than many a Mass I have attended. And please don’t bother to tell me about the whole Anglican Orders issue, I know. )
    At daily mass a priest can’t be expected to have prepared long, and a little story about the saint of the day or one point from the gospel is fine, but on Sunday, let’s have some meat, lets have some depth.
    Susan Peterson

  50. Bressani56 says:

    I agree with Ranjith that it should not exceed 10 minutes.

    As they used to tell priests, in the old days, “Say what you’re gonna say, SAY it, and then say what you said.”

    Folks will remember it that way.

    Also, Father, I’m not sure the Canon is allowed to be silent in the Novus Ordo. Not according to the books, at least.

  51. Dr. Eric says:

    Thank you An American Mother. That was a good story about “The Reverend” :-)

  52. TKS says:

    After reading above posts, thank goodness I must be in the minority. I’m thankful for any sermon I can understand since most of the Priests in our diocese are ESL. One I’ve listened to for 5 years, prayed hard to the Holy Spirit so I could understand him, but no such luck. I am very grateful we have these Priests even if we can’t understand them.

  53. catholicmidwest says:

    The problem is that in many cases, Fr. C Average has heard of Augustine in seminary, but can’t remember much about him, and moreover thinks he’s not “Relevant,” an idea he was also pounded with in seminary. Golf jokes are apparently deemed more “Relevant.”

    PS, IF the majority of students get C grades you can hear from the administration too. However, there are many people who perform year after year, in class after class, on assignment after assignment, at just about the 70-74% level. And some lower and some higher. It’s called the bell curve. Teach the general population and you’ll never doubt its predictive power again.

  54. timdburke74 says:

    My opinion is that I don’t care how long a sermon is as long as it’s good. My only issue with long sermons is that I have 5 small children and they tend to get antsy if the sermon is too long.

  55. Matthew16 says:

    When I lived in Rome, NY in the 80s, we had a beloved monsignor whose homilies never exceeded five minutes, but were always relevant, concise, and based on the readings of the day. He clearly knew how to prepare and deliver a thoughtful, well-constructed homily. If applause *were* given for good homilies, he would have received it.

    One priest I knew in the Middle East, in lieu of preparing a homily for each weekday Mass, would read a short summary/meditation on the daily readings, followed by a few words of explication. We all appreciated that he didn’t ignore the hunger of the people for catechesis but recognized he couldn’t prepare a daily homily; his reading of a prepared meditation was sufficient, and the prepared material was always relevant and concisely focused on the readings.

    Father Z, how much time does it typically take you to prepare a well-crafted homily?
    Also Father, a question: I have always heard it referred to as a homily, but a poster above seemed to regard that as somehow Protestant. I distinctly remember being taught in parochial school that Catholics give Scriptural-based homilies, while Protestants go off on wild-eyed tangents known as Sermons. (Really. Ask the good sisters.) A web-site summarized an editorial by Fr. Kenneth Baker S.J., titled “What’s the difference between a homily and a sermon?” by stating that a homily explains a passage of scripture and gives practical applications, while a sermon develops a point of doctrine or morals in a systematic way.

    Which term do you prefer/use; is one more “Catholic” than the other?

  56. nzcatholic says:

    There normally isnt any point to the sermons I hear at the Novus Ordo, full of fluf and Oprah kind of thinking. I go home after mass and then read from St Alphonsus book ” Sermons for every Sunday”. Now thats a good read

  57. As I understand the terms, a homily is an explanation of the readings (or perhaps the collect or the feast); whereas a sermon is any address, theological or moral, that has a base text, but not necessarily the texts of the readings.

  58. Henry Edwards says:

    Has anyone timed how long it takes to get through one of Augustine’s, Chrysostom’s, Pope Leo the Great’s, etc. homilies are?

    I recall reading somewhere that St. Augustine’s sermons were given at the end of Mass, that in his day the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass would not have been interrupted for instruction or catechesis.

    Having originally wondered whether a 28-minute sermon (however good) followed by a hurried 3-minute Eucharistic Prayer could effectively deemphasize the Holy Sacrifice itself, I’m a bit surprised at the lack of comment on what qualities in a sermon might actually contribute to worship in the Mass, rather than catechesis or instruction.

    Protestants with their frequently eloquent and erudite hour-long sermons have a clear understanding of their purpose. I wonder whether Catholics’ lack of focus regarding homilies and sermons reflects a fuzziness regarding the purpose of the Mass itself.

    My experience is that either a long or a short sermon can contribute to sacrificial worship, but that most sermons most people hear detract from rather than contribute to worship, and would therefore better be omitted from the Mass.

    As a postscript, requiring sermons to be shorter than the Eucharistic Prayer might force more priests to use the Roman Canon exclusively, a good thing in itself.

  59. chonak says:

    Priests also should know that they don’t have to give all their material on one homily: the same texts will come back in three years (or two, if it’s a weekday), and they can present more then.

  60. catholicmidwest says:

    Matthew 16,

    As a convert, I can assure you that what the sisters told you was designed by somebody to keep you out of protestant churches and immunize you from their preaching, which is sort of sad and funny all at the same time.

    The quality of Protestant preaching is far and away superior to Catholic preaching, no contest. Protestant ministers are often amazing orators–highly trained and dedicated. That’s because their worship is largely composed of these sermons. *The problem is that they often get interpretations wrong, and therefore conclusions wrong, because they don’t have the Catholic church behind them.*

    *The point of the Catholic mass isn’t, however, to come face to face with a superlative human orator. Rather, it’s to celebrate the sacrifice of the mass.* So the focus of the Catholic priesthood in mass isn’t really fine quality preaching. Now, that’s no excuse for the kind of drivel I often hear in lieu of a homily, but the homily does have a far less important place in worship for Catholics than it does for Protestants.

    Someone above mentioned the sermons of Augustine being outside of Mass. I would concur. There was a time, before television & movies, in a different worldview, when people would come to hear a sermon for their own entertainment or betterment. The famous long sermons of Augustine, Dominic and other catholic orators were of this type. These orators would have had no trouble telling you what the point of their sermons were–to get people to heaven by converting them, period. I know that people still attend “talks” but we’ve largely lost this type of activity in the Catholic Church. Perhaps Fr. John Corapi’s sermons at retreats televised on EWTN are of this sort–imagine those and you’ll get a soft idea of what a sermon like this might be like.

    PS, I still laugh when I hear the word “talks.” As a protestant, I never heard them called that. Catholic’s faces look different during “talks” than Protestant faces look during sermons too. Catholics tend to nod sagely whether they know what’s going on or not–they’re very impressed by even average speakers and they often haven’t a single clue what’s going on. (Catholic laypeople tend to be rather ignorant about scripture. True.) Protestants look up scriptural or historical references or often they have them memorized anyway. Protestants are often a kind but critically tough crowd–you have to be good to pass muster. They’re used to good orators.

    *PS, I don’t recommend you take your information from a protestant preacher–they can be quite wrong*–but you haven’t lived til you’ve seen one of these guys preach fire and brimstone with pounded fists. It’s amazing. Just cop 2 mins of James Kennedy or Noel Jones and you’ll see what protestants talk about. LOL. Beware of the megachurch guys like Joel Osteen–they resemble reptiles in a lot of ways. Some protestant groups even have child preachers and they can be pretty good, believe it or not.

    I’m a convert for a reason: Catholicism is the truth. I’d rather have the mass. But I first heard the gospel from my grandfather, a protestant preacher.

  61. catholicmidwest says:

    PS, we seem to have the same kind of problem understanding music as we do understanding preaching. Catholics want to cram all their preaching efforts and all their favorite music efforts into the mass, but that’s not necessary.

    Just like there’s public (extra-liturgical) preaching, retreat or devotional preaching (Fr. Corapi type), liturgical preaching (homilies)…etc etc…..there’s public religious music, retreat or devotional religious music, liturgical religious music…etc etc. We ought not to confuse them. They have different purposes and different forms, meant for different audiences.

  62. jfk03 says:

    The “right” length depends on the preacher and the circumstances. For a holy priest who is a good preacher, 8 minutes is not enough. For a poor preacher, it is too long.

    In my Eastern Catholic parish, the priest’s sermon typically lasts about 30 minutes. Our priest is an excellent preacher and the congregation listens with attention, because his sermons are filled with information and practical approaches to perfecting one’s life in the Faith. The entire liturgy, including matins, the Divine Liturgy, and the sermon, takes between 3 and 3.5 hours. It is longer on holy days. The anaphora (eucharistic prayer) takes much longer than in a typical NO Mass, so the sermon does not dwarf the sacrifice. Rather, the sermon ties in to the sacrifice and makes it more meaningful. However, a less gifted preacher would do well to shorten his homily lest he lose his flock.

    In other words, there are models of preaching other than the Protestant and NO Roman Catholic ones. I doubt that St. Paul confined himself to 8 minutes when he witnessed to the Lord in the Areopagus. Other notable preachers such as St. Augustine, St. John Chrysostom, and St. Ambrose, clearly did not cram their sermons into a pre-ordained time frame.

  63. catholicmidwest says:

    Yeah, but jfk03, were those sermons delivered inside a mass?

  64. JaneC says:

    We are blessed with two very good preachers in our parish, with different styles. I don’t time the homily, but I would be suprised if it is more than ten minutes. When I sang at an all- chant Ordinary Form Mass, we had a rotation of five or six parish priests and Jesuits, and most would preach for twenty minutes or even longer. They mostly had a lot to say, so it was fine, but it occasionally made people complain, “chanted Mass takes so long!” they didn’t realize it was the habitually long homilies that made it longer than their accustomed parish Masses.
    Also, none of those priests gave twenty- minute homilies in their own parishes. Maybe they felt they had more to say to people who didn’t hear them every week, or that that particular crowd would be willing to listen longer. The ones that came regularly were, but I think that others stayed away because they didn’t have the patience for an 80-minute Mass. It’s silly, but it happened.

  65. Henry Edwards says:

    jfk03 The entire liturgy, including matins, the Divine Liturgy, and the sermon, takes between 3 and 3.5 hours.

    I’ve never attended an Eastern liturgy, but have heard that people feel free to come and go during its length. I’ll bet that Roman Catholic sermons would improve if they were delivered after rather than during the Mass proper — as I understand is the case in many or most Eastern churches — so people could leave after the Mass if they did not anticipate the sermon worth staying for.

  66. jfk03 says:

    Yes, clearly, in the case of Ambrose, Augustine and Chrysostom. Obviously, Paul’s preaching in the Areopagus was not in a Mass context; we don’t know how long he preached during the liturgy as there are no extant records. I would be it was more than 8 minutes!

  67. catholicmidwest says:

    I agree, jfk03. And probably those weren’t homilies but sermons, meant for public consumption. They were intended to educate, convert and inform the general population, not just the people attending mass.

  68. tzard says:

    I did not vote because I didn’t like the universal qualifier “as long as it is good”. I do realize the need for “good” sermons, but they do not need to always be good FOR ME. I hesitate to put that requirement as it’s not really my place. Perhaps as long as it’s “orthodox” would ring truer in my ear.

    But I like long sermons, if it has sufficient content. No padding with jokes and unrelated (and perhaps not original) stories. I’ve heard a perfect sermon which lasted 30 seconds. I’ve heard great ones lasting 40 minutes (yes, and not getting off the point of the scripture reading). Some priests like to stick to a single point, some like to make multiple points along different lines to catch more of the congregation (so to speak).

    I’d say 8 minutes is nice if it’s a socko-punch, but I think 15 minutes or 20 is better, if it can be done. Not all priests can give long sermons well, others just need to get to the point and get going.

    I’ll leave it up to them to make their own prudential judgement. God knows there are plenty of parishioners who will tell him in no uncertain words what he did wrong with his sermon (especially if it’s longer than their minuscule attention span) – but that won’t be me.

  69. catholicmidwest says:

    Partly agree. There probably is a place for a short, very short, homily about the readings, which is what homilies ought to be, AND also a sermon on Sunday after mass, which Catholics should be encouraged to attend but not required. The sermon would be for Catholic education and non-Catholics should be invited if they want to come.

  70. catholicmidwest says:

    If find myself wondering if this downgrade of extra-liturgical preaching in the Catholic church isn’t one of the effects of the Reformation. In the post-reformation period, the Catholic church made some efforts to distinguish itself from the practices of protestants in order to prevent people being misled, ie. the standardization of worship, etc. At the time, the buildings were being swapped around in the countries of Europe and it was a confusing period.

  71. Rob Cartusciello says:

    When I was a missionary in Jamaica, anything under a hour was considered short. The priest was expected to “earn his pay” by delivering a lengthy homily.

    From what I have heard, the same goes in Nigeria. Anything under two hours was an underperformance.

    Rushing the EP after a long homily does no good. I have sometimes found myself taken by surprise when the consecration comes so soon after the end of the homily & Credo.

  72. Genna says:

    The most effective stopwatch for the preacher is when the congregation starts to cough.

  73. Elly says:

    The homily I heard today was probably very good but due to the strange echoes from the microphone I had a lot of trouble understanding it. In this case I think shorter might have been better. But then again there may be other people who had no trouble understanding it so for their sake, I wouldn’t mind it.

  74. vox borealis says:

    Excepting the Pope because he’s, well, the Pope, I am a firm believer in the shorter is better mantra, the more shorter the more better. In fact, I would have no problem if the homily were simply struck from the rubrics altogether. Instead, after mass is solemnly and reverently celebrated, everyone can stick around for Father’s sermon, if they want, outside of the mass proper.

    An extreme view, I recognize. But no homily does have its attractions.

  75. The Egyptian says:

    The fact is some priests are just not as good at speaking as others, There used to be a priest near here 20 years ago who could get more said in 4 than most said in 20. The parish priest of my youth informed us that henceforth all sermons would be at least 20 minutes, trouble was he ran out of material in 8 or so and just repeated himself verbatim. I am now being subjected to a temp assistant priest who is very hippy dippy, goes on for 15 minutes or so and loves props. Placards, a weather vane, once he loomed a pot holder, this week he used a hoe on the carpet to show how we have to dig deep to get out the roots of our sin. The best was his cool crisp refreshing message of Christs salvation, he handed out wintergreen lifesavers, get it, lifesavers. AAAAGGGGGHH

  76. irishgirl says:

    I checked the last one. I’ve heard my share of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ sermons.

    I loved the FSSP priests who used to come to upstate New York-they preached great! And the priests who come to the TLM chapel I now go to also preach very well, though they do more ‘reading’ from their prepared texts. They always start out with a short story.

    A diocesan priest who does the EF Mass always ‘tells it like it is’ in his sermons-especially on moral issues such as abortion. I remember one he did back in 2002, when he made a passing comment about a priest who ‘came out of the closet’: ‘Do we have Masses for thieves? Do we have Masses for murderers?’ When he said those things, I mouthed the words ‘Amen, Padre!’

    Another diocesan priest I know always preached wonderful sermons-for some reason, I always equated him with St. Francis de Sales!

    As long as there’s good content, I don’t care how long the sermons are!

  77. vox borealis says:

    But Irishgirl, good or bad, we should not be hearing “sermons” during mass. The *homily* is supposed to make specific moral points about that day’s liturgical texts, or relate them to daily life.

  78. Homilies should be as long as they need to be in order to deliver the message. How many minutes are required to do so depends on the priest or deacon and the topic. Some more complex topics may require more than eight minutes even from the most concise of men, while other topics can’t (or, at least, shouldn’t) be stretched beyond 4 minutes even by the most loquatious of men.

  79. Jordanes says:

    jfk03 said: Obviously, Paul’s preaching in the Areopagus was not in a Mass context; we don’t know how long he preached during the liturgy as there are no extant records. I would be it was more than 8 minutes!

    Acts 20:7 mentions the St. Paul talked one Sunday (or perhaps it was a Saturday night, that is Sunday eve) until midnight . . . until poor Eutychus fell asleep and plummeted from the third story to his death. St. Paul was kind enough to resurrect the victim of his lengthy preaching. . . so he could hear EVEN MORE of St. Paul’s preaching! St. Luke’s account says the gathering began with the Eucharist, followed by St. Paul’s preaching and the death and resurrection of Eutychus around midnight, followed by another Eucharist, and then St. Paul preached until daybreak.

  80. Random Friar says:

    This month’s issue of This Rock has a very good article by Fr. William Dillard called, “Tell the Good News, Father! Homilies as Evangelical Tools.” (I don’t think it’s online). Anyway, he talks more about the content and purpose of preaching, according to the Fathers and Church documents. Definitely worth a looksie, if you preach.

  81. MarieSiobhanGallagher says:

    I have no time frame on my attention span, as long as it is good. When I start to hear a priest quote random, unCatholic heretics, which is not unusual, I tune right out and open up my prayer book. I recognize, however, that mass is not a conference of long talks, so I would expect the priest to have put in some preparation time and think in advance about what he is going to say, so he can be succinct. The local parish here has three priests assigned to it and each pretty much wing their sermons, it seems, tell secular jokes, restate the gospel, and ramble on for about 10 minutes.

  82. Cath says:

    At Mass this morning Fr. probably went a good 15 minutes. The last couple of minutes a few small children were restless, but everyone else was in awe. The best homily I have ever heard on the Prodigal Son. All of my children who were there commented on how amazing it was and they range in age from eight to 16.

  83. In general, I prefer short and sweet to long and drawn out. At the first parish I attended, the priest had the habit of giving a homily where he it took him somewhere around 15 minutes to get to his point and then another 15 to explicate it. Of course, he also bangs the pulpit to get his parishioners’ attention from time to time.

    The Jesuits, on the other hand, are very good at giving to the point sermons. Some of the best I’ve heard were around ten minutes. At the EF parish, the Sunday homily tends to last 10 minutes if that. So I’d say more than eight if it’s good.

  84. chironomo says:

    Perhaps rather than a “time limit”, the standard should be something more like “as long as it takes to effectively say what you’re trying to say. I’ve heard WAY TOO MANY homilies with a 3 or 4 minute pointless warm-up joke at the beginning, or some long, drawn out story that is only tangentially connected to the speakers actual point. On the other hand, I have heard (recently) an excellent homily on the need for confession and forgiveness that was neither humorous nor anecdote-laced, but which really made the point powefully in only a few minutes (it happened to be at the FSSP Mass, but there is no reason why that should really be a factor).

  85. rinkevichjm says:

    I think almost everyone acknowledges that in general the homily given by the ordinary priest is generally not as good as the sermon of certain denominations in which the service is based on the sermon (AKA sermon sandwich consisting of beginning and ending hymns with a sermon between) because the ordinary priest doesn’t spend as much time on his homily: he has confessions, daily mass, and his daily office to carry on that the sermon sandwich minister doesn’t have. So having time limit that they should try to have their homily go to gives them a little target to shoot for and encourages consistency (but not excellence) in homilies. In summary throughout its history, the Church has never been known for its homilists but rather for its faithful worship.

    Excellent homilists can make long homilies that leave the parish wanting more, and short homilies that are profound and moving. It seems a shame that we don’t produce more of them.

  86. Henry Edwards says:

    For anyone who doesn’t think a priest can say it in 3 minutes, if he actually has something to say:


    “From a man, to a family, to a nation, to a kingdom, God is reclaiming humanity from Satan, having started with Abraham and now ending with his Catholic Church.”

    “But as his people grow larger in number, God reduces his manifestation of himself. God is present throughout the universe, but he manifested himself to Moses through a burning bush, remained with the nation of Israel first as a pillar of fire, and later was a silent presence in the Temple. Then God manifested himself as an infant, whose later sacrificial presence in the Mass is hidden under the appearance of bread and wine.”

    “This decrease in God’s “size”, so to speak, requires an increase in our reverence for the Almighty. Moses, for example, removed his shoes, Solomon constructed a Temple, the Magi brought gifts. And notice something else, with each stage of this increased reverence, Satan increases his attacks on the Divine Presence, from the Golden Calf and the double sacking of the Temple, to the defilement of the Altar at the time of the Maccabeans and Herod’s attempt to kill the infant Christ at the very time the Magi were bringing the tribute of the world. So, our God becomes “small” for us, the faithful grow large for him, and Satan takes full advantage of any cracks in this progression.”

    “If we do not consciously go to the greatest lengths to show reverence to the tiny manifestation of God’s Presence here during the Holy Mass, Satan will come slithering along to take advantage of our complacency, just as he manipulated the complacency of the Jews and Romans when Christ entered Jerusalem. Our reverence must be like the fig tree, growing and bearing fruit, not withering and dying under our neglect.”

    “And I’ll add one final thing. In the 1960’s Satan seems to have entered the Catholic Church in an unprecedented way, tempting priests and the faithful to turn from an attitude of profound adoration at Mass to a casual attitude seeking entertainment, whereby the personality of the priest becomes the god of the parish. Pope Paul VI spoke firmly against this evil in his 1965 message Mysterium Fidei, but by the 1970’s he had to concede that the “smoke of Satan”, as he put it, has indeed entered the Temple of God. We each need to examine our consciences, and discern where your family stands in this unfolding drama.”

    PS: I decided to insert here this whole sermon from last Sunday, because it’ll probably be replaced soon with yesterday’s. But Father says almost as much in 3 minutes in his weekday sermons as well. Samples:


  87. Dr. Eric says:

    Catholic Midwest and Henry Edwards,

    Yes homilies are presented in the Eastern Catholic Churches. The Liturgies of the Eastern Churches are twice as long as the OF. People are not free to come and go, but just like in the Latin Church people still come and go. I used to attend Divine Liturgy in Indianapolis and St. Louis when I lived in the areas and can tell you from experience what is supposed to happen in the Liturgy. I also have a friend who is an Eastern Catholic priest (he married an Ukrainian woman, switched Sui Juris Churches, and was ordained as a priest) who complains that people still show up late and leave early during his Liturgies.

  88. Scott W. says:

    I don’t care how long it is, provided it is good.

    Frankly, this is nuts. There is such a thing as spiritual gluttony.

  89. Carolina says:

    I don’t believe I’ve ever heard a homily that was as short as 8 minutes. Fifteen to twenty minutes seems to be more typical of the homilies I’ve experienced.

  90. My Pastor once said to me concerning Sunday Homilies: You preach 5 minutes for the Father, 5 minutes for the Son, and 5 minutes for the Holy Spirit. Anything after that and your preaching for the Devil. This seems to be a good and wise saying.

  91. Father Ignotus says:

    Father S. said: The priest who reads his sermons is doomed to fail.

    One of the best preachers I ever heard read all of his sermons. And so does the Holy Father. Respectfully, I think you exaggerate.

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