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Violent fairy tales and overly long sermons

You don't even have to read old fairy tales in order to know how violent they were, as this edict's title shows:

"Limitation on preaching with the admonition to refrain from all vicious attacks, fairy tales, and controversies that delight in the abuse of others, and to present instead a short and apt oration. (Prince-bishop of Mainz to the heads of the orders, in particular the Capuchins, Nov. 1789)" (1)

This was mentioned as part of a series of edicts designed to keep sermons from becoming entirely too long, so that "listeners are not inundated, pregant women not discomfited, the poorly dressed do not freeze, and the poor can prepare their meals". (2) One certain sign of a preacher going on too long is if they "speak at length in unknown languages, Greek, Hebrew, and the like". While you're at it, avoid "unnecessary repetitions and so-called tautologies." (4) This is as good advice now for teaching a class or conducting a meeting as it was then for preaching.

(1) Quote quoted from Gerhard Dohrn-van Rossum, History of the Hour. (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1996). p. 265.

(2) (Thorn, 1560-1570) Dohrn-van Rossum, 264.

(3) (Electorate of Saxony 1671) Dohrn-van Rossum, 265.

(4) (Brandenburg-Prussia 1714) Dohrn-van Rossum, 265.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
pockawida
May. 26th, 2004 01:11 pm (UTC)
"listeners are not inundated, pregant women not discomfited, the poorly dressed do not freeze, and the poor can prepare their meals".

but what's really important, I have learned, is getting it into the fifty-minute hour for tv ...
owlfish
May. 26th, 2004 02:50 pm (UTC)
I wonder why there aren't more records of preachers ordering in a round of pizza for their audience and just making a three hour go of it?
pockawida
May. 26th, 2004 02:54 pm (UTC)
It's all relative. I'm told in Trinidad, church is regularly three hours ... even Masses. Whereas our university president is what I refer to as a "fast priest" (from my cantor's perspective, anyway), and even Presbyterians have to shave down their homilies to 20 minutes for tv land. Our Saturday night homilies are actually timed as a run-through for Sundays ... showbiz!
owlfish
May. 26th, 2004 03:11 pm (UTC)
It's funny, I was thinking of this as a historical issue, but it's an ongoing one, you're right. Twenty minutes isn't enough to delay dinners.

Three hours though... I just hope the preachers are worth the time.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )