Back in March, Monsignor Charles Pope, the pastor of Holy Comforter–St. Cyprian Church in Washington, D.C., couldn’t believe some churches were opting to cancel Mass in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.
I simply ask you: Are we majoring in the minors? Physical health has its place, but spiritual health does too — and its place is vastly more important.
I am concerned that we have lost our courage and our faith and subordinated holy things to the state in this matter. Canceling Mass while bars and restaurants remain open during the day is obtuse and seems to demonstrate a lack of resolve among our leaders. St. Charles Borromeo did not hunker down during the plague outbreak of his day — he went among the faithful and cared for them as a priest should do. He also told the unbelieving civil leaders of his day to acknowledge that faith, public repentance and worship were essential parts of any solution. We have far less than plague today and are far too willing to let a secular government tell us to cancel our public prayers.
This man wanted people to ignore the advice of experts — consequences be damned — because he was deluded enough to think the afterlife matters more than actual life.
He freely admitted people would called him “irresponsible” but he reassured them that souls were dying. So there.
He was still at it a few weeks ago, writing in the same publication that people were “cowering in fear” from the virus instead of dealing with it head on:
What will it take to help people get their courage back? What is the endgame that public officials have in mind? Will there ever be a day when we say, “Let’s all get back to normal?” Will we always have to wear masks? Will we ever be allowed to sing, shout or cheer in public again? Will crowds ever be allowed to gather in common areas and convention centers? Will those who go about living life normally always be shamed and called selfish and irresponsible?
Yes, if you’re living life normally — without masks, in large crowds, ignorant to how the virus is spreading — then you’re selfish and irresponsible.
And now Pope will have to defend his words the hard way… because guess who just got COVID?
Monsignor Charles Pope of Holy Comforter St. Cyprian Catholic Church on East Capitol Street was admitted to the hospital on July 27 after experiencing a high fever. He tested positive for the coronavirus after a rapid diagnostic test that afternoon.
Even after being hospitalized with covid-19, Pope continued to urge followers not to be afraid of the disease. “I wonder, when will be the endgame?” he said in a video message posted Saturday. “When will it be safe enough to play in the park again? That still remains my concern, even after having contracted this.”
Pope says he has no idea where he caught the virus. But while he claims to have worn masks and used hand sanitizer during services, someone urging others to be reckless no doubt had his own lapses in judgment. In fact, one person quoted in the Washington Post says she offered him a mask during the recent protests when he was marching with other Catholics; he declined the offer.
I wish him a full recovery. And maybe when he gets better, he’ll stop telling others to be so damn stupid when it comes to taking care of themselves and others. Attending in-person services isn’t worth the damage it could do to your health. Don’t let an ignorant selfish priest tell you otherwise.
(Image via Shutterstock. Portions of this article were published earlier)