Cardinal Ravasi says priests should use dramatic stories and imagery from the Bible to add colour to their homilies

A Vatican cardinal has appealed to clergy to liven up “dull, flavourless” sermons in an address at a conference in Rome.

Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, claimed that homilies had become “irrelevant” to worshippers who were used to the thrill and excitement of modern technology such as the television and the internet. He said: “The advent of televised and computerised information requires us to be compelling and trenchant, to cut to the heart of the matter, resort to narratives and colour.”

The cardinal described the theological language used by priests in their sermons as “grey, dull and flavourless” and appealed to priests to use the graphic and dramatic imagery of the Bible to illustrate their sermons with colour and intrigue.

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The Bible was “crowded with stories, symbols and images”, he said, which were appropriate for “the children of television and the internet” who grace church pews.

Speaking at the conference the cardinal encouraged priests to use social media networks to communicate the faith and the Word of God. He said: “We need to remember that communicating faith does not just take place through sermons. It can be achieved through the 140 characters of a Twitter message.”

Cardinal Ravasi was appointed president of the Pontifical Council for Culture in September 2007. In November last year Pope Benedict XVI elevated him to the College of Cardinals.

The cardinal, who some see as a possible future pope, blogs regularly for the Italian financial newspaper Il Sole
24 Ore.

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