The Pope even joked with the nuns who applauded the request: “They are the victims of our homilies, aren’t they?”
Pope Francis asked priests to give shorter homilies, of “10 to 15 minutes, no more”, in contrast to some “50 minutes on subjects that the faithful do not understand”.
The “ear-pulling” was given yesterday, in good humor, during a speech by Francis on his second day of apostolic visit to Slovakia. He spoke of the Church’s evangelizing mission and, within this theme, he addressed the homilies.
Leaving aside the official speech, Francis highlighted the importance of “finding new ways, ways and languages to announce the Gospel”, following the example of Saints Cyril and Methodius, who brought the Gospel to the Slavic peoples. They even created the Cyrillic alphabet adopted until today in part of Slavic countries, including Russia.
With regard to the homilies, the Pope declared:
“The homily is not a sacrament, as some Protestants claimed, but a sacramental. And it’s not a Lenten preaching, it’s something else. It is at the heart of the Eucharist. And let’s think of the faithful who have to listen to 40-minute, 50-minute homilies on subjects that they don’t understand, that don’t move them. Please, priests and bishops, think carefully about how to give the homily, how to prepare it so that there is contact with people and to be inspired by the biblical text. A homily, many times, shouldn’t be longer than 10 minutes, because people, after 8 minutes, lose attention. Unless it’s really interesting, isn’t it? The time should be 10 to 15 minutes, no more”.
Francisco shared advice based on the example of Jesus:
“A homiletics professor used to say that the homily must have internal coherence: an idea, an image and a feeling. Let people come out with an idea, an image and something that moves their heart. The proclamation of the Gospel is as simple as that, and Jesus preached this: concrete things that people understood”.
The Pope also took the opportunity to joke with the fact that the nuns present showed special agreement with his request for brevity in the homilies:
“I allow myself an evil: the religious started with the applause because they are the victims of our homilies, isn’t it?”