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Author Archive for Msgr. Charles Pope

A Distinction Without a Difference or a Distinction to Die For? Wrestling With the Subtleties of John 21:16 – Peter, Do You Love Me?

Last week, as we wrapped up the Easter season, we read the beautiful dialogue between Jesus and Peter: “Peter, do you love me?” Analyzing this beautiful text is one of the great indoor sports of New Testament Biblical Scholarship: how to interpret the subtleties in that dialogue between Jesus and Peter. And thus Jesus asks, “Peter do you love […] Read the rest of this entry »

Is There a Vocation to the Single Life? I Think Not and Here’s Why

There are some today who think that the Church should give greater recognition to the “call” to the single life. And therefore when we pray for  vocations to the priesthood, religious life, and marriage in the Prayer of the Faithful (or at other times) some will say, “Why don’t you ever pray for those called to […] Read the rest of this entry »

Beware the Strangest Idol of All – A Reflection on How Even Works of Charity Cannot Eclipse Obedience to Christ

There is a passage in the gospels that breaks conventions and cuts to the core of what has come to be called the “Social Gospel.”  Before looking at the passage we need to define “Social Gospel.” The phrase “Social Gospel” emerged in the Protestant denominations but has also come to be used in Catholic circles […] Read the rest of this entry »

Freedom Is Not Free; It Is Costly – A Memorial Day Recollection

For many, Memorial Day means the beginning of summer. To others, it is a day off to go shopping. But as I am sure you know, Memorial Day is really a day to honor those who have died in the service of this country.   The word “memorial” comes from the Latin “memorare,” which an  imperative meaning […] Read the rest of this entry »

The Fire Next Time – A Homily for Pentecost

What a wondrous and challenging feast we celebrate at Pentecost! A feast like this challenges us because it puts to the lie a lazy, sleepy, hidden, and tepid Christian life. The Lord Jesus said to the Apostles and still says to us, “I have come to cast a fire on the earth!” (Luke 12:49) This […] Read the rest of this entry »

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 »