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Brian wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • I was wondering if you could tell me if there are any teachings in the Church that prohibit priests from preaching about sexual ethics or abortion at Mass?

It seems like the most important problems we are facing in our culture are not getting addressed at Mass.

God Bless,

Brian

  { Are there Church teachings that prevent priests from preaching about sexual ethics or abortion? }

Paul replied:

Dear Brian,

No, there are no prohibitions for priests to include these crucial issues in our culture in their homilies at Mass, and thank you for mentioning this. I have been rhetorically asking the same question for decades.

Many Catholics remain either ignorant or unchallenged because they do not hear their priests speaking clearly and persistently on these great evils that permeate our culture; and I would surmise that many fall to the its pressures as a result. Since the devil has led our society through the "sexual revolution" inaugurated by the birth control pill, which I personally call the new fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, parishes have been scandalously silent in combatting the onslaught against the truth of sexuality and human life. It seems like a clear call for us all to shout from the rooftops (Matthew 10:27) Catholic truth.

My advice is to write a note or speak in person to your parish priest about your concerns; writing your local bishops wouldn't hurt either. If you are inclined, there are other ways to help too:

  • teach religious education at your parish
  • become involved with youth ministry
  • get involved with local T.V. and produce a show to educate on these issues
  • get a masters degree and teach high school or middle school
  • create a website and blog, etc.

I encourage you not to waste the wisdom and inspiration you have been given. The devil will fight you every step of the way because this is his domain, but keep your eyes fixed on Christ (Matthew 14:22-23, 2 Corinthians 1:3-5, Hebrews 12:2) and persevere, and you will do much good.

Without them realizing it, countless lives and souls are counting on Catholics (like you) to say yes to the insight and courage that God has given us. Regarding the inevitable temptations to feel overwhelmed or discouraged, always remember Mother Teresa's wonderful line:

"Christ doesn't call me to be successful, He calls me to be faithful."

Peace,

Paul

Mike replied:

Hi, Brian —

I just want to add a bit to what Paul has said.

Priests can discuss moral issues, and should, especially since the state has taken over basic moral issues and made them political.

Though the homilists has to address their sermons to a range of people:

  • the regular attendees, of all ages
  • those who may be coming back to the Church for the first time
  • those struggling to accept Church teachings
  • those who are devout and accept all Church teachings, etc.

    these issues can and should be addressed.

If they are not, seeing most of them have been poorly catechized, they will assume their behavior is OK because the Church has not told them otherwise.

In my opinion, the homilist has to ask the question:

  • Do I preach on this topic that is faithful to the Church, at the risk of loosing a parishioner who would never truly believe in the faith anyway?

There is the concern about addressing sexual issues to the very young in the parish. I personally believe this can still be achieved by using understandable euphemisms.

Hope this helps,

Mike

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