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Mommy, where do homilies come from?

By Fr. Paul Mankowski, S.J. (articles ) | Mar 30, 2003

The reading list blogged last Wednesday by Diogenes provides a pretty good inventory of the intellectual furniture installed into their students by most English-speaking seminaries. Basil Pennington makes the roster five times; no Ignatius Press author gets on the scoreboard. The prospective priest won't know that there is a monitum on Anthony de Mello or where to find Aquinas's Five Proofs, but he'll learn that it's OK for men to cry.

If you've ever wondered how it's possible that so many of the sermons you've heard can be almost wholly contentless, you might skim the list and simply ask yourself what sort of preacher this instruction is most likely to produce.

A couple years ago, leafing through a lectionary at a parish where I was visiting, I found a slip of paper containing the pastor's homily notes. It's such a perfect specimen of its genre that it deserves a place in a Museum of Contemporary Catholicism. I transcribe it verbatim:

GOLF: Don'ts + Do's

CATHOLICS: Fasting - Holydays - Marriage - Meat on Fridays -- DON'T ATTITUDE

World sometimes sees us -- The DON'T People.

REALITY: do'ers -- community, unions, education, health, missionaries.

GOSPEL: Jews had become limited. Jesus says be total.

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