The problem reportedly surfaced last weekend, and drew the attention of higher-ups in the diocese.
Here’s more, from the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune (and I’m sure you can spot the glaring factual error in the second paragraph…):
At a recent Sunday mass at St. Edward Catholic Church in Bloomington, a woman stepped to the lectern on the altar — and started to preach.
Before long, the vicar general of the archdiocese was paying a call to St. Edward’s pastor, the Rev. Mike Tegeder, and reminding him that the rules of Vatican II have changed. Lay people, even someone with a master’s degree in theology from St. Paul Seminary like this woman, can’t give homilies anymore. That job can be done only by priests.
“She probably is more competent than most priests when it comes to putting together a good message,” Tegeder said. “She has basically the same training as a priest.”
As many parishes in the country — including in the Twin Cities — struggle with a growing shortage of priests, the St. Edward’s incident points up tensions over the appropriate place for parishioners since the Vatican started limiting what roles they can play.
The archdiocese says it’s abiding by a Vatican policy change that began in 2004, though church leaders here didn’t actually try to enforce it until 2008, just before Archbishop John Nienstedt’s arrival.
After the Jan. 23 service at St. Edward’s, Tegeder said a parishioner notified the archdiocese that Heidi Busse preached the homily, the part of the mass when priests or deacons typically reflect on the Gospel and scripture. Busse is in charge of adult faith education at St. Edward’s and was preaching about the subject, Tegeder said. Busse could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.
Tegeder said that the Rev. Peter Laird, the archdiocese vicar general, told him that lay people could only preach after communion, near the end of mass.
“The purpose of the homily at the mass is to interpret the gospel,” said archdiocese spokesman Dennis McGrath. “Normally a priest is far more qualified to deliver that message. A priest is ordained to preach. Also, there’s an opportunity there for wrong teaching or misinterpretation [with lay preachers].”
Tegeder said Busse is scheduled to preach at an April 11 Lenten penance service at St. Edward’s, which is not a mass. He’d also like her to preach at a mass celebrating Mother’s Day in May. He said he’s not sure yet if he’ll ask her to preach during the homily or after communion.
There’s more at the link, including background on lay preaching.
And is it just me, or does it seem like the last sentence should be, really, a moot point? Why is the pastor still “not sure” about when she will preach, when the law of the Church has already answered that question?