Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Swiss Controversy on homilies by lay people, an Update

Mid-January the Swiss Bishops' Conference published two controversial documents: In a first document the Swiss bishops address "the people responsible for the liturgical life in Switzerland", and they want to answer some open questions being raised by the instruction "Redemptionis Sacramentum". The second document, which has been compiled by the theological commission of the bishops' conference since August 2000, treats the issue of assigned lay people in the service of the church.

In these documents, the Swiss bishops allow for lay people giving homilies or meditations during Holy Mass, and they condemn the intercelebration of Catholic priests and Protestant ministers.
A Swiss priest wrote in a kath.net article: "Our bishops are real world champions in blandishing crisis". He criticised that the bishops open a lengthy dialogue on liturgical abuses rather than calling their subordinates to obedience. The Swiss bishops state that "in some dioceses of Switzerland certain customs have developed that are not foreseen in the currently valid liturgical guidelines of the church universal." The priest remarks: "Our bishops state this in a way, as it would not affect their authority and responsibility as overseers of the local church." He concludes:"For me, as a priest, all this liturgical disobedience is really wearisome."

Suffragan bishop Paul Vollmar of Zurich told in a radio interview, that during a meeting on liturgical aspects, his German and Austrian colleagues have rebuked the idea to allow homilies by lay people: "Suddenly all of them approached me and said: You Swiss are really the pestilence in Europe."

Bishop Amédée Grab: Homilies by lay people are not allowed
The cmplete article is here.

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