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Sermons Must Be Brief & Simple

Continuing our series on sermon length, we present an excerpt from the instructive work titled The Priest of To-day: His Ideals and His Duties by Rev. Fr. Thomas O'Donnell, President of All Hallows College, Dublin. This work, now over a century old, details the timeless principles that should govern clerical life. Regarding sermons, Fr. O'Donnell comments on the Council of Trent to emphasize the necessity of succinct sermons.


Rev. Fr. Thomas O'Donnell, C.M.


"According to the Council of Trent, a discourse should have two qualities, namely brevity and simplicity. It should be brief and it should be intelligible – brevis et facilis – not tedious and long-drawn-out, on the one hand, nor too elaborate and ornate, on the other, but marked by a noble simplicity, skillfully adjusted to the capacity of one's hearers, and made sharper than a two-edged sword by diligent study and earnest thought ".

Thomas O'Donnell, The Priest of To-day: His Ideals and His Duties,
New York, Benziger Brothers, 1910, p. 220

Posted August 13, 2016