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Make it snappy, Father: Pope’s advice to priests to avoid napping in the pews

Priests should keep their homilies short and speak for a maximum of eight minutes to prevent members of the congregation from nodding off, Pope Francis says.

Pope Francis during the weekly general audience at St Peter's square in The Vatican. ALESSIA GIULIANI / Catholic Press Photo.

Pope Francis during the weekly general audience at St Peter's square in The Vatican. ALESSIA GIULIANI / Catholic Press Photo.

The homily, or message delivered by a celebrant during a church service, “must be short: an image, a thought, a feeling”, the Pope said during his weekly audience on Wednesday.

It should not last longer than eight minutes “because after that time attention is lost and people fall asleep, and they are right”, the 87-year-old Pope said.

“Priests sometimes talk a lot and you don’t understand what they are talking about.”

A homily in a Roman Catholic service usually follows a reading from the Bible and is used to reinforce the teaching.

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Francis has spoken in the past of the need for priests not to ramble on in their homilies but his own use of language is currently under scrutiny.

He has caused controversy with reports that he has used a highly derogatory term to describe the LGBTQI community.

Francis apologised in May after Italian media attributed to him the use of the word “frociaggine” – a vulgar Italian term roughly translated as “faggotness” or “faggotry” – during a closed-door meeting with Italian bishops.

However, according to Italian news agency ANSA, Francis repeated the term on Tuesday as he met Roman priests.

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