A Catholic Monthly Magazine

Where have all the preachers gone?

I read the other day a rather convincing argument that one of the faults in the Church today is the absence of the old time sermon. I am partly in agreement, though I don’t think anyone would like preachers to revert to the hell-fire thunderings of long ago.

These were usually associated in our minds with the sermons at Missions early in the century. Listen to the missioners of today – from the same Orders – and you will hear of the mercy, not the anger, of God.

It is also obvious that their sermons have been well prepared.

One simply cannot ignore a well-prepared sermon that is from the heart; the message lives. I still remember a sermon I heard at Taupo earlier this year. There was a warmth and a radiance about those few spoken words – words that came from the heart. ...

This is the day of the visual approach, for our minds have been bent in this way by T.V. If the congregation feels and sees that a preacher is revealing his own heart ... then the message goes home and remains. Empty platitudes are lost and forgotten as soon as they are spoken.  

Pat Lawlor, September 1970

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