The Teaching Function of the Church
» The Ministry of the Divine Word
» The preaching of the word of God
The people of God are first united through the word of the living God, and are fully entitled to seek this word from their priests. For this reason sacred ministers are to consider the office of preaching as of great importance, since proclaiming the
Gospel of God to all is among their principal duties.
Bishops have the right to preach the word of God everywhere, even in churches and oratories of religious institutes of pontifical right, unless the local
Bishop has expressly forbidden it in particular cases.
Without prejudice to the provisions of can. 765,
priests and deacons, with the at least presumed consent of the rector of a church, have the faculty to preach everywhere, unless this faculty has been restricted or removed by the competent
Ordinary, or unless particular law requires express permission.
To preach to religious in their churches or oratories, permission is required of the Superior who is competent according to their constitutions.
The laity may be allowed to preach in a church or oratory if in certain circumstances it is necessary, or in particular cases it would be advantageous, according to the provisions of the Episcopal Conference and without prejudice to can. 767
§1 The most important form of preaching is the homily, which is part of the liturgy, and is reserved to a priest or deacon. In the course of the liturgical year, the mysteries of faith and the rules of christian living are to be expounded in the homily from the sacred text.
[NB see Authentic Interpretation of canon 767 §1, 20.VI.1987]
§2 At all Masses on Sundays and holydays of obligation, celebrated with a congregation, there is to be a homily and, except for a grave reason, this may not be omitted.
§3 It is strongly recommended that, if a sufficient number of people are present, there be a homily at weekday Masses also, especially during Advent and Lent, or on a feast day or an occasion of grief.
§4 It is the responsibility of the parish priest or the rector of a church to ensure that these provisions are carefully observed.
§1 Those who announce the word of God to Christ’s faithful are first and foremost to set out those things which it is necessary to believe and to practise for the glory of God and the salvation of all.
§2 They are also to explain to the faithful the teaching of the magisterium of the
Church concerning the dignity and freedom of the human person; the unity, stability and duties of the family; people’s social obligations and the ordering of temporal affairs according to the plan established by God.
Christian teaching is to be explained in a manner that is suited to the condition of the hearers and adapted to the circumstances of the times.
At certain times, according to the regulations of the diocesan Bishop, parish priests are to arrange for sermons in the form of retreats and missions, as they are called, or in other forms adapted to requirements.
§1 Pastors of souls, especially Bishops and parish priests, are to be solicitous that the word of God is preached to those also of the faithful who, because of the circumstances of their lives, cannot sufficiently avail themselves of the ordinary pastoral care or are even totally deprived of it.
§2 They are also to take care that the good news of the Gospel reaches those living in their territory who are non-believers, since these too, no less than the faithful, must be included in the care of souls.
§1 In the exercise of the office of preaching, everyone is moreover to observe the norms laid down by the Bishop of the diocese.
§2 In expounding christian teaching on radio or television, the provisions of the
Episcopal Conference are to be observed.
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