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January 2008

Hope in Action

THE EDITOR


At the conclusion of a recent interview at the Warsaw office of the traditionally-oriented Polish monthly Christianitas, the Editor asked for my thoughts about the future and whether there was any hope. We both laughed, since I had been pointing out that things in England, as elsewhere, are grim and suggesting they would get much worse both within and without the Church before they get better. "Just being in Catholic Poland gives me hope!" I exclaimed. Ditto Summorum Pontificum. But while we all enjoy these shafts of light, for the believer hope is constant and ineradicable, come what may: abiding in Christ and His promises. So it was not, I insisted, an 'either/or' situation: either hope and cheerfulness or despair and doomsaying. Rather, it is about tempering earthly hopes and expectations with realism.

Those who decry ecclesiastical evils which threaten the Faith and souls are 'hopeful realists.' Indeed, they personify Christian hope in action: eschewing that false-hope which engenders paralysing complacency within the Church Militant.

Fuelled by the humanistic 'power of positive thinking,' false-hope encourages self-delusion by avoiding the harsh reality that exists in favour of a preferred reality created by thinking positively. This is the self-serving neo-con/Novus Ordo mindset which has prevented any serious challenge to the Modernist hegemony. It both sustains the New Springtime fantasy despite the contrary evidence of 40 years, while marginalising as "negative" those who persistently face and state discomforting facts.

In this context, the Holy Father's latest encyclical is timely. His exposition of a selfless "active hope, in which we struggle to prevent things moving towards the 'perverse end'," confirms our positive and generous duty to face the dire reality of the Church today; to see things, as Cardinal Manning said, "in their exact and naked truth," and to act accordingly.

 

 

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