Just days after reading the Vatican’s spoilt and decadent bureaucrats the riot act, Pope Francis has switched his attention further afield and is turning his fire on the Catholic priests who bore – or even repel – the flock with turgid sermons.
To put an end to the homilies from hell that are emptying pews faster than church fires, Bergoglio, the reforming Pope, has approved a new nine-point homily guide by the Congregation for Divine Worship.
“There are many complaints in relation to this important ministry and we can’t close our ears to them,” Francis said this week.
The upshot is that priests had better include on their New Year’s Resolutions lists a promise to ensure that sermons are no longer “autoreferential” or “purely moralistic or indoctrinating”.
“The homily should not be a light entertainment show,” but should, nonetheless “avoid sounding like a conference or a lesson”, according to Francis. The priest should appear “like a mother talking to her child’. And of course, sermons must be “grounded a in scripture”. It sounds like a tough ask.
The Pontiff’s latest attempt to reform the Church and put bums on seats, won the approval of La Repubblica, however, which noted that “very often today, priests don’t put much thought into their homilies – and that’s why many churches are empty”.
Last week Francis launched a scathing attack on the Vatican curia – the Holy’s City’s administration -– in which he listed a “catalog of illnesses” that plague the Holy See’s mandarins, including gossiping, lust for power and hypocrisy.
It seems Francis’s determination to take a broom to the Catholic Church won’t let up, not even for Christmas.
Pope Francis gave the traditional “Urbi et Orbi” blessing from the balcony of St Peter’s Basilica (pictured) yesterday.
In his second Christmas message, which he addressed to “the city and the world”, the Pontiff highlighted the persecution of religious minorities in conflict zones such as Nigeria and Iraq.
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