May women deliver the homily at Mass?

By March 29, 2015 4 Comments

Full Question

Recently at my parish women have begun to give the homily after the Gospel reading at Sunday Mass. Sometimes they call it a “faith talk.” Is this allowed now?


No. The Code of Canon Law states,

Among the forms of preaching the homily is preeminent; it is a part of the liturgy itself and is reserved to a priest or to a deacon; in the homily the mysteries of faith and the norms of Christian living are to be expounded from the sacred text throughout the course of the liturgical year. Whenever a congregation is present a homily is to be given at all Sunday Masses and at Masses celebrated on holy days of obligation; it cannot be omitted without a serious reason. (canon 767)

Furthermore, the instruction Inaestimabile Donum, issued by the Sacred Congregation for the Sacraments and Divine Worship and approved by Pope John Paul II on April 17, 1980 also condemns the practice you describe. Among the liturgical abuses condemned in the foreword of this document is “homilies given by lay people.” Under the section on the Mass, subsection 3 states that “The purpose of the homily is to explain to the faithful the Word of God proclaimed in the readings, and to apply its message to the present. Accordingly the homily is to be given by the priest or the deacon.”


  • Maria Lott says:

    Where are all these answers coming from? The bible or are they man made laws for us Catholics??? I am a practicing Catholic and some of these answers are very confusing and disturbing to me… Thank you

    • Godfred says:

      Maria, we should also remember that the Bible is a collection of writings. The collection was done and compiled by man, for man. This is tradition and the bible itself is a product of tradition

    • Deacon D. says:

      Christ gave his Church authority to decide such matters.
      In the Holy Bible, Jesus Christ told Simon whose name was changed to Peter, “You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church. And the gates of hell will not prevail against it. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Mt. 16). See also Vatican II documents.
      With all due respect, if you are a practicing Catholic, this should be neither confusing nor disturbing.
      Your brother,
      Deacon Dennis

  • Bonnie says:

    I have a question as well, I am a female extraordinary minister of Holy Communion and I take communion after Mass on Sunday to an elderly lady confined to her room in her home for a variety of medical reasons. I read through the Word Among Us Mass readings and prayers and after reading the Gospel I give her a brief account of the homily Father gave at the Mass I had just attended. Is this wrong for me to be doing? I write down notes so I get all the important details.

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