Monday, May 18, 2009

Homiletic Approaches

Fr. Richard John Neheaus spoke about three different understandings of Catholic teaching.
I'd like to look at how these three views looked at homiletics.

1) The Traditionalist approach was to focus on the negative: You are a sinner.

The belief is that by highlighting your mistakes you will be horrified or disgusted and will repent.

2) The VII approach was to focus on the positive: You are called to be a saint.

Like the earlier approach, the goal is to encourage you to be better. Unlike the earlier approach, it does not rely on a guilt trip. It isn't satisfied with spiritual mediocrity either.

3) Finally, we have the current practice, which was a missaplication of the second approach: You are ALREADY a saint.

In the effort to be positive, the Pastor avoids saying anything which might upset you. Unlike the second approach, you are not encouraged to change because there is nothing wrong with you in the first place.

What is interesting is only the first and third approaches have been practiced at a widespread level. It'd be interesting to see how the second one would fare if it was actually implemented. That, one would hope, is the goal of the JPII generation.

1 comment:

  1. i feel like the third approach is the general gist of what some protestant denominations teach.. that everyone is already a saint, because they have already been saved by faith. thus they cannot sin because they are saints.