Roman Catholic priests in the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, New Mexico have been threatened with suspension and other disciplinary measures, including the right to preach, if their homilies exceed the prescribed 5-minute hard limit set by the Archbishop.
In an internal memo shared by Journalist Damian Thompson, the Archbishop John C Wester condemns priests for exceeding 5 minutes of preaching, saying that having such an excessively long homily of 7 or 8 minutes would scare the congregants into either not coming to church, or would needlessly expose them to the coronavirus.
“We’ve received reports of some homilies going well over the 5 minute limit set by the Archbishop.
“This not only increases exposure time to others, but increases the discomfiture to many congregants, to the point of some not attending Mass because of it.
“If such long homilies continue, the AB will consider severer actions for subject clergy, up to and including possible suspension of the faculty to preach.”
The Archdiocese still prohibits singing in services, and unbelievably, the time 5 minute limit on the homilies is actually a new relaxation from previous guidelines, which stated that homilies ought to be “very brief” and “three minutes max.”
When reached out for comment, A spokesperson for the Catholic News Agency said:
The intent of Father Glenn Jones’ memo was to underscore the seriousness of the pandemic, Archbishop’s great concern for human life and the health and safety of our parishioners.