When Brandon Vogt announced his “Support a Catholic Speaker” project, I immediately thought about the most moving Catholic speech I have ever heard.
During a rain storm in a parking lot, I was waiting in the truck with one of the babies, while my teen son was inside a business building filling out a job application. Concern for teens, the future of the world they will grow up to lead, and the storms that can toss them about, were all on my mind. On my phone’s Facebook feed, I saw a homily from Monsignor Charles Pope given at the Youth Rally and Mass for Life, and sitting there with my worries and baby, I watched the whole thing, riveted by his words and enthusiasm.
He preached to approximately 17,000 young Catholics that day at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., and it was wonderful to see how he touched, speaking the words of Christ, the hearts and minds of so many young people. “I am wonderfully and fearfully made…”
I absolutely love the reaction from the crowd beginning at 5:00. Watch the whole video, but be sure to catch that cheer, and see if it doesn’t make you smile!
Monsignor Pope also maintains a blog at the Archdiocese of Washington website. From his biographical information:
Msgr. Charles Pope is the pastor of Holy Comforter-St. Cyprian, a vibrant parish community in Washington, DC. A native of Chicago with a bachelor degree in computer science, his interest in the priesthood stemmed from his experience as a church musician. He attended Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary and was ordained in 1989. A pastor since 2000, he also has led Bible studies in the U.S. Congress and at the White House in past years.
Here are some of my favorite posts, with some excerpts of Monsignor Pope’s marvelous teaching:
On Martyrdom and the Cost of the Faith This should be read every day by the laity as we strive to fulfill our mission to bring the Gospel into the world in which we live.
Now is not the time to be ashamed to be a Christian! The world will try to shame us by calling us intolerant, bigoted, homophobic, judgmental, narrow minded etc. But do not be ashamed of Jesus and his teachings! Now is the time to testify to a sinful and adulterous generation.
Catholic Orthodoxy is Not Bigotry Well, I had to include this one.
As Catholics we strive to act out of a principled reading of the Sacred Scriptures that is both comprehensive and respectful of the fact that God is its author. Though some may wish to call us hateful, that does not make us so. I am not aware that I hate anyone. But I cannot therefore give blanket approval for everything that everyone does, including myself. Even our opponents in this matter do not do that. That I do not approve of something does not ipso facto make me a hateful, bigoted or phobic.
A Meditation on the Virtue of Acceptance That word “acceptance” means so much, and I appreciated the exploration of this virtue, Latin roots included.
Acceptance, which is not the same as approval, is a person’s assent to the reality of a situation, wherein we come to recognize a situation (often a negative or uncomfortable) for what it is, without attempting to change it, protest, or leave it. The word is derived from the Latin roots ac (to) + ceptus (take or receive). The concept is also close in meaning to ‘acquiescence’, which is derived from the Latin ‘acquiēscere‘ (to find rest in).
A Reflection on the Benedictine Vow of Stability This article addresses something we all know to be true, but probably don’t stop to think about, especially in this day and age.
Instability is pandemic in our culture and it has harmed our families, our communities, our parishes, and likely our nation. Almost no one stays anywhere for long. The idea of a “hometown” is more of an abstraction or a mere euphemism for the “town of ones birth.”
The layers of extended family that once existed were stripped away by the migration to the suburbs and the seeming desire to get as far apart from each other as possible. Old city neighborhoods that for generations nourished ethnic groups and identities emptied out, and now, most neighborhoods, cities or suburban, are filled with people who barely know each other and who seldom stay long in one place anyway.
The economy both feeds and reflects this instability. Gone are the days when most people worked for the same company or even in the same career all their life. Accepting a new job or promotion often means moving to a new city. Businesses often relocate to whole new areas of the country. Lasting professional relationships are threadbare as well as long-standing relationships between businesses and customers, tradesmen and clients. The American scene and culture has become largely ephemeral (i.e. passing and trendy).
Hell Has to Be: My Response to Recent Blog Comments I love this article because it shows what a down-to-earth teacher, kind and loving, Monsignor Pope is, guiding his flock in a fatherly and gentle — yet firm — way.
Perhaps a brief story will illustrate my point. I once knew a woman in one of my parishes who in many way was very devout. She went to daily Mass and prayed the rosary most days. But there was one thing about her that was very troubling, she couldn’t stand African Americans. She often told me, “I can’t stand Black People! They’re moving into this neighborhood and ruining everything! I wish they’d go away.” I remember scolding her a number of times for this sort of talk. But one day I thought I’d make it plain. I said, “You know you don’t really want to go to heaven.” She said, “Of course I do Father. God and the Blessed Mother are there. I want to go.” “No you won’t be happy there,” I said. “Why? Want are you talking about Father?” “Well you see there are Black people in heaven and you’ve said you can’t stand to be around them. So I’m afraid you wouldn’t be happy there. And God won’t make you live some place where you are not happy. So I don’t think you want to go to heaven.” I think she go the message because I noticed she started to improve.
Also, enjoy this interview that Brandon did with Monsignor Pope earlier this year.
And one final fun bit of news. Look for Reverend Monsignor Charles E. Pope as the celebrant at the traditional Latin order of marriage followed by a traditional Latin Solemn High Nuptial Mass for the union of Archduke Imre and Archduchess Kathleen. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!