Appreciation for pastoral advice from Msgr. Charles Pope

Re: “Hardened hearts” (Pastoral Answers, March 6).

I just wanted to say that I appreciate the column by Msgr. Charles Pope, especially the response to the question on angels being called saints. That was something I always have wondered about, too.

I enjoy reading Msgr. Pope’s column every week. He is truly someone who knows the Catholic Faith and Scripture, and who always responds with very good answers, giving us readers answers that are well thought out and clearly explained.

Ray Adamczyk, via email

Christ’s knowledge

Re: “‘Young Messiah’ imagines Jesus’ early life” (Culture, March 6).

In all the discussion surrounding the film “The Young Messiah,” it would be wise to keep in mind what the Catechism has to say about Jesus’ understanding of who he is. The article’s statement that young Jesus “knows he is different but does not understand the power or origin of his miraculous abilities” is in direct contradiction to Paragraph 474 in the Catechism, which states, “Christ enjoyed in his human knowledge the fullness of understanding of the eternal plans he had come to reveal.”

I have heard a number of priests proclaim that Jesus had to figure out who he was. He did not. “The intimate and immediate knowledge that the Son of God made man has of his Father” (CCC, No. 473) is never diminished and never needs to be learned. The “wisdom” Jesus gains is that which he could “only learn from experience” (CCC 472), from, as it were, walking in the skin of man. (I would say the highest expression of this wisdom comes on the cross when the Christ declares, “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.”)

As for Mary teaching Jesus about who he is, it is he who teaches her. In the only scene we have from his childhood, he asks her, “Did you not know I must be in my Father’s house?” — a statement that baffles both her and Joseph. He is in fact not only teaching her who he is, but who she is: the Ark of the Covenant, the Temple of the Father — and he is always with her.

James Kurt, Sarasota, Florida

Pope and contraception

Re: “Did Pope Francis endorse the use of contraception?” (News Analysis, March 6).

I am deeply troubled by this article. I am not a Church scholar, just an ordinary person hoping to get to heaven with my family one day. The impression I got from your article is that contraception is OK if you are raped, as since you are not choosing intercourse, you are not choosing contraception during that specific act. So if a woman wants to prevent conception from rape, all she needs to do is stay on the pill, an intrauterine device, or carry condoms around to put on the rapist should she eventually be raped.

What purpose have these things other than to prevent conception? I will concede that some women are on the pill to help normalize their cycles, although from what I have read, there are other, safer methods to do this. But again, if you use a contraceptive solely to prevent conception in the event you are raped, are you not specifically choosing contraception during a raping? And unless you are using a spermicide or barrier method, you may end up aborting a new life.

Becky Haroldson, Derby, Kansas

I think it takes a leap of the imagination to suggest that Pope Francis might approve of the contraceptive pill in certain circumstances, given that the pill is a potential abortifacient. If the pill does not prevent the release of a woman’s egg, it renders the uterine lining incapable of implantation by the embryonic child.

Anna Gagne, Swanton, Vermont

Editor’s note: These letters are in response to the an article on contraception and the transmission of the Zika virus by Dr. Christopher Kaczor. Several days subsequent to the article’s printing, it was followed by a response from Dr. Janet E. Smith, which can be found online at

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