Liturgical Ministry Information

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Norms for Preaching in the Diocese of Pittsburgh

During the Fall, 2001 meeting of the bishops of the United States, three pieces of complimentary legislation relating to preaching were approved. The norms have been reviewed by the Congregation of Bishops for the required recognition. The approval was granted on November 27, 2001.

In accordance with the decree issued by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the following norms are effective January 15, 2002 nationally and in the Diocese of Pittsburgh:

Preaching

Preaching in churches, oratories and sacred places within the diocese is a principal duty of ordained clergy.
  • Preaching the homily at Mass is always the duty of the ordained clergy: bishops, priests and deacons. Only ordained clergy can preach during the time reserved for the homily in the Celebration of the Eucharist;
  • The diocesan bishop may never dispense from the norm that reserves the homily to the ordained clergy;
  • Under certain circumstances, the bishop can admit laity to offer spiritual conferences, instruction, and talks within churches, oratories and sacred places in the diocese. Those circumstances might involve the shortage of clergy, language requirements, or a specific expertise possessed by the layperson involved. It is reserved to the diocesan bishop to determine when the circumstances are appropriate.
  • In order to preach in churches, oratories and sacred places, lay faithful must receive specific authorization individually from the bishop for each occasion.
  • In addition to their specific expertise, the lay faithful must be orthodox in faith and qualified in the witness of their lives as Christians. This must be verified by their appropriate pastor before authorization can be considered by the diocesan bishop.

Catechesis on Radio and Television

For Catholics who give regular instruction in Christian doctrine locally on radio and television, the following conditions must be met:

  • Catholics giving such instruction must obtain the permission of the diocesan bishop.
  • If the program originates outside the Diocese of Pittsburgh, permission must be obtained either from the diocesan bishop, or the diocesan bishop of the place where the radio or television program is originally broadcast.
  • In order to give such public instruction in doctrine, these Catholics should be qualified by education, adherence to the teaching of the Magisterium, and by the Catholic witness of their lives. This must be verified by their appropriate pastor before authorization can be considered by the diocesan bishop.
  • For members of institutes of consecrated life or societies of apostolic life permission is also required of their superiors.

Radio and Television Involvement

Assuming that their involvement in general radio and television programs would not harm the Church, ordained clergy and members of religious institutes can participate in radio and television programs involving issues of Catholic doctrine and morals under the following conditions:

  • For regular and frequent participation in such programs locally, the permission of the diocesan bishop must be obtained.
  • If the program originates outside the Diocese of Pittsburgh, permission must be obtained either from the diocesan bishop, or the diocesan bishop of the place where the radio or television program is originally broadcast.
  • Ordained clergy or religious who take part regularly in such programs should be qualified by education, adherence to the teaching of the Magisterium and by the witness of their lives. For members of institutes of consecrated life or societies of apostolic life, permission is also required of their superiors.