THE VATICAN, Italy (The Adobo Chronicles, Berlin Bureau) – In Hollywood, Oscar winners are drowned out by music when they exceed the alloted time for their acceptance speeches. In Catholic churches around the world, priests face the gong for homilies over 8 minutes long.
Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, the secretary general of the Synod of Bishops, says homilies should be brief to cater for people with short attention spans. Clergy should also work from an outline, rather than a script, to allow for better eye contact.
In a book called The Word of God, Eterovic proffers suggestions on how priests and deacons can improve the quality of sermons and retain churchgoers’ interest.
“The homily in general should not go over eight minutes – the average amount of time for a listener to concentrate,” he said, adding that clergy should keep abreast of current affairs so that a sermon addresses issues of local or national concern.
In Manila, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) issued a pastoral memorandum addressed to all altar servers in the country to use the church gong to cut off clergy who go beyond the 8-minute limit for homilies.
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