Habemus Papam! Ok, today we have a different Pope. Not Pope Francis. But Monsignor Charles Pope from the Archdiocese of Washington. I heard a talk by him at the ICC (Institute of Catholic Culture) but in my Diocese of Arlington, and I instantly became a big fan. For the traditional Catholics, you might like him too as he is all about celebrating the Extraordinary Form of the Mass.
So, being his next fan, I got a copy of Pope’s book, Catholic and Curious: Your Questions Answered. I’ve been asked plenty of questions contained in this book having worked for the Catholic Church for 9 years at the parish level, but today, we’ll go through really interesting questions in the book that I have never been asked!
- “The Legion of Mary handbook describes Mary’s relationship to God the Father as ‘that of daughter.’ Is this correct?” We, Catholics, commonly refer to Mary as the “Mother of God” and the Spouse of the Holy Spirit. But those are how Mary is related to 2 of the 3 persons of the Trinity! Pope wrote,
“Mary is rightly called the daughter of God in terms of her relationship to God the Father. She, as a creature like us, calls God her Father.”
- “I was surprised to learn that the practice of assigning names to holy angels should be discouraged. Please explain this.” This rule is stated in the Directory on Popular Piety in the Liturgy: Principles and Guidelines. Obviously, this pertains to angels not having already been given a name to us by the Church, as with Gabriel, Raphael, and Michael. Pope gives us 2 reasons. The first is that it’s commonly known and accepted that angels are higher than us in regards to their nature. We name children and animals as they are in our care. It would therefore be arrogant for us to name a person above us. This arrogance makes more sense when we look at the second reason. Pope wrote,
“Most biblical names are deeply meaningful and descriptive. But it is presumptive to think that we can know enough of the essence of a particular angel to be able to assign a name. Therefore, assigning a name seems inappropriate.”
- “I think that the reception of Holy Communion is probably the most precious time a person can have to commune with the Lord. Why, then, are we forced to sing hymns the entire time Communion is being distributed, making it impossible for us to converse with the Lord.” Pope references the very first Holy Communion! He wrote,
“at the Last Supper, the apostles did not go off and have private conversations with Jesus. Rather, they experienced Him corporately, and the Scripture says that after partaking of the sacrament, they ‘had sung a hymn’ (Mt 26:30). If we extend the first Mass to the foot of the cross, there, too, those who made it that far stayed together and supported the Lord and one another.” (emphasis added)
Bonus Material: Pope answers a question regarding the Church approved Marian apparition at Fatima. The question specifics asks about ways to make reparation to Mary for our sins. Commonly known ways are going to confession and praying the Rosary. But Mary, at Fatima, also asked us to stay fifteen minutes after Mass.
Peace and goodness (a motto from the Franciscans)