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Preaching Justice:

Dominican Reflection on Preaching: A Reflection on Our Experiences of the Preaching Charism

There is a profoundly constitutive and intimate relation of action on behalf of justice and peace to preaching. And, yet, in the United States it is difficult to bring the See–Judge–Act and Praxis orientation of action for peace and justice to pulpit preaching, as listeners are strongly influenced by a sacred-secular silent rhetorical contract characterized by the guise of the equal importance and complete separation of church and state, by state rhetoric which refrains from being overly religious, and by solely rhetorical and not overly political participation by organized religion.

[Cf. Roderick P. Hart, The Political Pulpit (West Lafayette, Indiana: Purdue University Press, 1977) and “Twenty-five Years after The Political Pulpit,” a special issue of The Journal of Religion and Communication 25:1 (March 2002).]

The justice promoters have done well in engaging the Dominican charism of contemplation vis-à-vis action for justice and peace. A prime example is the September 2002 Fast for Peace and Nonviolence and “There must be another way” campaign, which received widespread support and solidarity throughout the U.S. Dominican Family.

(cf. A number of other congregational and provincial stances and actions were mentioned, pertaining especially to healing racism and abolition of capital punishment.

It has been more difficult, however, to discern how promoters of justice and promoters of preaching can assist one another in a common project of preaching for peace and justice. Justice packets on preaching to particular social issues do not accommodate easily to lectionary and seasonal liturgical preaching. Yet, preachers can be taught in their preaching preparation to seek out the prophetic dimension which is constitutive to liturgical preaching. Preachers also benefit by immersing themselves in the study of one or two particular social issues, such as are put forward by the justice promoters in their “Call to Action.” As promoters, we are involved together in a common project for preaching peace and justice, in which justice promoters seek to form each member of the Dominican family in a passion for justice and the study of the issues and in which promoters of preaching seek to form each member with an understanding of the prophetic nature of preaching and the study of interpretative tools for preaching the lections of scripture prophetically. This common project might be enhanced by working as promoters of justice and promoters of preaching to jointly sponsor regional conferences on themes pertinent to preaching justice.





facilitated by Gregory Heille, OP, Promoter of Preaching, Province of St Albert the Great USA
North American Promoters of Justice, Peace, and Care of Creation

29 June 2004
St. Louis, Missouri

The justice promoters have done well in engaging the Dominican charism of contemplation vis-à-vis action for justice and peace.

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