Q. 1. I am wondering if the Catholic Church rules have changed regarding the preaching of homilies during the Holy Mass. It used to be, without exceptions, that the priest preached from the ambo (pulpit).
Now the priests preach from wherever they wish to preach. They walk around in the front of the congregation or in the middle aisle, telling jokes, speaking of their unknown families and their travelling. This form of preaching is identical to the Protestant preaching with the exception of the aisle walking. With the Protestants, their ministers are on the front stage. The people sitting in the front seats do not have to twist their neck to look at the preacher who is behind them in the middle of the aisle.
What is happening here? Is this the "new" normal?
A. 1. On March 27, 1975, when the "General Instruction of the Roman Missal" was released in the United States, it stated:
# 97. "The homily is given at the chair or at the lectern."
When it was revised on November 27, 2011, it stated:
# 136. The Priest, standing at the chair or at the ambo itself or, if appropriate, in another worthy place, gives the Homily..."
As noted in the aforementioned, the words "or, if appropriate, in another worthy place" were added. These few "vague" words have left it up to the priests to decide where they want to preach. These few "vague" words have left it up to the priests to decide what is "another worthy place." To some, this is obviously in the aisle in front of the congregation. To others it means walking up and down the centre aisle with their back to those who are sitting in the front pews. To others, it might mean to preach from the choir or even on a speaker in the sacristy. "Whatever the priest decides is what goes." This is how sad the situation has turned out to be.
To worsen the situation of preaching anywhere and everywhere, the priests have now taken the liberty of telling jokes during their homily. They talk about their family members who mean nothing to most of the members of the congregation who do not know them. And then those same priests brag about their holidays and travelling. The worldly ways have taken over the Lord's weekly hour when most of the faithful should be enjoying this opportunity to hear something spiritual and uplifting.
Why is this happening? It is because these priests are lowering themselves to the equal of the laypersons. They are laicizing the clergy. They are placing themselves on the level of "friends," not "leaders" or "chosen ones," or "called by God to lead." Such a behaviour is a "false humility." The priests were not called to be friends of the people by telling them what they want to hear. The priests were called to lead the faithful in the teachings of Jesus Christ, even if it means to offend a few who are sinning so that they may repent from their ways and be saved by the grace of God.
No one is saved by listening to jokes on Sunday! No one is saved by listening to stories of the priest that are associated with his family! No one is saved by hearing about the advertures and travelling of the priest! All of this is garbage! It is worldly! It opposes God's way and what is spiritual.
If such a behaviour is what you must put up with on Sundays, then it is time to change Church. It is time to go to another Church where the priest is faithful to the teachings of the holy Catholic Church. Your financial support should go towards a Church that has a priest who will spiritually uplift you in his preaching. Anything less is not worth your time!