While I am a fan of Catholic theology particularly and religious sciences and philosophy of religion generally (For example, I am trying to read journals such as Theological Studies from cover to cover, though, I don't always have enough time for that.), I have always been a little bit suspicious about the homilies in my local parish church or in televised Masses celebrated by my metropolitan's bishop. Sometimes such homilies don't take into account the exegesis and philological and historical studies Testaments. Sometimes they take one position in issues that are scientifically contentious. To be honest, the homilies with only spiritual content are the best ones. They leave room for practical interpretation and implementation to individuals according to each one's life experience and wisdom.

But Catholic homilies in Covid-19 times are too much for me - from local parishes up to the Pope. The talks are only about helplessness, about prayers, about discovery of meaning, about coming back to religion and so on, so on.

What I would like to hear:

  • More emphasis on what we can do. E.g. Both these following articles: Coronavirus treatment: Vaccines/drugs in the pipeline for Covid-19 and Coronavirus Covid-19 outbreak: Latest news, information and updates are a life list of vaccines and therapies developments. There are still open calls for more funding, especially by CEPI which focuses on worldwide availability of therapies (opposite to usual operation of commercial drug firms). If we have tools and if we (as a society) have the skills and funding capacity to fight the virus, then we are bound by the threat of sin to use our capabilities for the greater good. If we are not trying to see our capabilities and if we are not reflecting about our capabilities and our duty to use those capabilities, the this is sin. I think that such reflection gives some depth to spiritual life. It makes spiritual life live and there should be place in homilies about that;
  • More emphasis of what we had to do. The Guardian has articles about development of adaptable vaccines (including mRNA vaccines) and the stories are the same - they have been started during previous epidemics (Ebola, H1N1, MERS), but with the epidemics' ends funding dried out (from private investors, from government agencies) and progress has not been fast enough. So - due to lack of enough funding - we are having the first clinical tests of next-generation mRNA vaccines now although tests of similar mRNA vaccines could happen earlier. mRNA vaccines are adaptable and it would be far easier to adapt existing mRNA vaccine with existing experience. So - we should reflect about this sin of Humanity as well - we had money to build big villas and big yachts but we didn't have enough money to fund preparedness for new epidemics and to honor victims of previous epidemics in such a way. Great theme for a homily and for the spiritual growth and life, isn't it?
  • Current homilies are speaking about finding new meaning. Well - I am not having a happy enough life. I have seen hardships in the lives of working men and women. I am not ignoring news from developing countries. While it can be hard to bear this, it gives one nice ray of light in my life - I have meaning! I have hobbies (robotics and AI) that develop tools to ease working life, to accelerate the development of therapies and discoveries. I have no other meaning in life than to help us in an intelligent, meaningful, most optimal way. I have this outlook and homilies can not say anything new. I don't need to search for meaning. Caritas, help for others - what else can there be? But such caritas and help is very practical - some software, some tools in robotics, some software and molecular modelling code for the automatic discovery, some mathematical advancements for AI for automation of the service sector. So - maybe homilies should put more focus on the wider outlook what we as a society can do to help others in intelligent, effective way, using the appropriate tools from science and technology?
  • And the previous 3 points leads to the issue of discovering/rediscovering faith. The current paradigm is that people are feeling helpless and they are discovering faith in such a way. But - as I stated in the previous 3 points - there is no ground to be absolutely helpless. Yes, we can not be sure, but there is a mix of helpless-uncertainties-accidence/capabilities-duties-faith_in_action-living_actionable_faith, there is a mix of what we can definitely leave to the God and what we have to do as our duty, duty bound by conditions of sin. I think that is it very important to put any reflection of faith in such a context, otherwise - if absolute helplessness is the only precondition of the discovery of faith, the such faith will not be strong (even more, even the absoluteness of the physical death is not the fact anymore: The Rejuvenation Roadmap.

So - I have stated some issues which I would like to hear in homilies and which I would like to enliven in my life and my guess is that any knowledgeable and reasonable human being would do the same. My feeling is that priests and even bishops and the Pope are not informed enough about science. E.g. Pontifical Academy of Life does not mention the development of therapies. Pontifical Academy of Sciences (PAS) in contrast clearly states the need for science, basic science and for funding them. So, in theory, PAS has done at least something to inform the Pope and bishops and priests, but still - nothing from that has gone to the reflection and homilies in parish churches.

So - my question is - what is the most effective way to inform the parish priest and the local bishop (and maybe even the Congregations of the Holy See) about developments in science and about reasoning of the ordinary man. And in such a way to guide the priests and bishops in a more reasonable attitude against the Covid-19 pandemic?

So far I have tried to put some (quite short) Facebook comments under announcements made by priests or bishops, but all of them have been ignored. It was the opposite to the local Protestant community in which I suggested to pray for the development of vaccine and for everyone who aspires to become a scientist and develop vaccines, for their efforts - such a prayer suggestion was liked in the Protestant community.

  • Remember comments here are intended for the good of improving the question. Not answering or debating.
    – Peter Turner
    Commented Apr 11, 2020 at 23:47

1 Answer 1


How to suggest more reasonable themes/paradigms for the Covid-19 homilies (sermons) to the Catholic priests and bishops?

If you wish, you are always free to email your local ordinary (bishop) with your suggestions and concerns. Sometimes you may get a reply and sometimes you may not. As with any letter, it should be tempered with genuine charity and love for saving souls.

I have done it on several occasions. I prefer it when I do not get a reply because I have noticed it makes more waves. In other words, I see the good results getting done.

Emailing a pastor may not be so effective at all. I know priests who receive weekly emails criticizing their homilies and as such are rather tired of it. For a parish priest, I would recommend waiting for an occasion to talk to him personally even if that be via the phone because of the coronavirus situation. I can see how a comment on Facebook or in an email are simply disregarded by pastors.

You can always write the Holy Father directly. The best way is to write your concerns in a letter and send it to the apostolic nuncio of your country.

The letter should be sent inside a larger envelope and with a outer letter requesting that it be given to the Supreme Pontiff via the next attaché pouch going to Rome.

Fair warning: Such letters should be in an unsealed envelope, as the apostolic nuncio’s secretariat must read all correspondence destined to be handed over to the Pope in person.

Not many Catholics have personal ties and friendships with cardinals or Vatican officials to circumvent this step.

Go ahead and suggest your ideas in a letter to the Pope. Warning once more: Remain courteous, polite, logical, and politically, scientifically, morally and theologically sound.

The People of God may manifest their concerns about homilies to their pastor, bishops and even the pope as the Supreme Pastor. This is backed up by Canon Law:

Can. 212 §1. Conscious of their own responsibility, the Christian faithful are bound to follow with Christian obedience those things which the sacred pastors, inasmuch as they represent Christ, declare as teachers of the faith or establish as rulers of the Church.

§2. The Christian faithful are free to make known to the pastors of the Church their needs, especially spiritual ones, and their desires.

§3. According to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they possess, they have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons.

Homilies should be able to inspire hope and personal holiness in our times.

Homilies should inspire us to become saints and on the fast track during the Coronavirus-19 pandemic. Do not let the pandemonium of Satan rule our times.

  • 1
    If you do write to your local priest/bishop, wait a few days after they preached. Preaching is an intensive activity, and constructive criticism can feel brutal when given immediately after you finish preaching.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Apr 11, 2020 at 0:10
  • 2
    @curiousdannii True, it should be tempered by genuine charity and love for saving souls.
    – Ken Graham
    Commented Apr 11, 2020 at 0:14

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