Author Archive for Msgr. Charles Pope

Triple Troubles and Quadruple Quagmires – As Seen in a Commercial and Commented on in Scripture

Sometimes when you’re having a bad day, troubles multiply. I’m not sure why. Perhaps one distraction leads to another, one trip leads to successive stumbles until we fall headlong. Trouble sometimes comes in threes or in longer sequences. The poor soul in the video below is having such a day. Some of the following psalms came to mind […] Read the rest of this entry »

Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen, Nobody Knows but Jesus: A Meditation on a Grief Observed

As a follow-up to the recent post on comforting the sorrowful, I was led to consider the grief of my parents and the difficulties they faced in raising a daughter with serious mental illness. My father died eight years ago, and except for essential papers related to his estate, I simply boxed up most of his papers and […] Read the rest of this entry »

What Is the Deepest Root of Sin? It’s Not in Your Wallet and It’s Much Closer Than You Might Think

In polling friends as to what they think is the deepest root of all sin, I got three main answers. One was a shrug indicating no answer at all (i.e., “I dunno”). Another was to refer to Scripture: For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils (1 Tim 6:10). I’ll discuss below why this is an […] Read the rest of this entry »

Comfort the Sorrowful – A Consideration of the Fourth Spiritual Work of Mercy

The fourth Spiritual Work of Mercy is to “comfort the sorrowful.” Sometimes it is listed as to “comfort the afflicted.” This description broadens the work just a bit and also fits more with the original notion of the word “comfort,” as we shall consider in a moment. But of all the spiritual works of mercy, comforting […] Read the rest of this entry »

Considering Cremation? A Reflection on the Reverent Interment of Cremated Human Remains

I have written off and on about some of the problems that are setting up around cremation. Of course there has been very little explicit teaching or information available to Catholics to help them to frame their thinking. To assist modestly in that refelction I wrote the following flyer for my own parish. What follows is the […] Read the rest of this entry »

A Reflection on the “Prayer of the Faithful” at Mass and Why The Intentions Are So Often Disappointing

One of the parts of the Ordinary Form of the Mass that was “restored” from antiquity is the “Prayer of the Faithful.” However, there is (in this author’s mind) a certain disappointing quality to the intentions as they are used today. They are either overly particular and ideological or, at the other end of the spectrum, perfunctory and flat. […] Read the rest of this entry »

Love Lifted Me – A Homily for Ascension

In more dioceses than not, the Feast of the Ascension is celebrated this weekend. The liturgist in me regrets the move, but here we are anyway. So let’s ascend with the Lord, three days late! This marvelous feast is not merely about something that took place two thousand years ago. For though Christ our head […] Read the rest of this entry »

On the Balance of Virtue, As Seen in Two Videos

I have remarked before on this blog that what we call “balance” is really more a range than a fixed point. That is to say, balance is achieved not so much by staying still on a fixed point as by moving within a range around that point. The videos below feature unicyclists and tightrope walkers.  The tightrope […] Read the rest of this entry »

Not Crowded, but Close – A Brief Reflection and Clarification on the Communion of Saints in Heaven

Many of you know that I write the weekly “Question and Answer” column for the Our Sunday Visitor newspaper. Every now and again I get a question that stands out as unique, one that I had not thought of before. And such is the case with the question below. I had never thought of Heaven as […] Read the rest of this entry »

Reflections on the Latest Pew Survey Documenting “Religious Decline” – Not So Fast

A well-publicized Pew Survey given publicity in yesterday’s Washington Post announced a kind of “doom” for traditional religion in this country. I do not dispute most of the results as an accurate snapshot of today. But snapshots have a way of recording things that eventually are replaced by other realities in the ensuing years. It is […] Read the rest of this entry »

In the Darkness We See Farther – Pondering the Paradox of the “Dark Knowing” of Faith

As human beings we are very visual and there is a certain demand of our flesh to see on its own terms. But of course God, who is pure spirit, will not be seen in this way. How can the human eye perceive what is spiritual? It is not designed to do so. We cannot […] Read the rest of this entry »

What Does the Arrest of St. Paul at Philippi Teach a Sometimes-Timid Church?

In daily Mass we are following the missionary journeys of St. Paul. Yesterday we heard of his going over to Macedonia and of the baptism of the first “European” converts: Lydia of Thyatira and her family. Unfortunately, in today’s reading (Tuesday of the 6th Week of Easter) important lines are cut out that describe why Sts. […] Read the rest of this entry »