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Benedict XVI’s second Encyclical, “Spe Salvi” which is dedicated to the theme of Christian hope, was published today. The document – which has an introduction and eight chapters – begins with a quote from the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans: “spe salvi facti sumus” (in hope we are saved).

The chapter titles are as follows: “1. Faith is Hope; 2. The concept of faith-based hope in the New Testament and the early Church; 3. Eternal life – what is it?; 4. Is Christian hope individualistic?; 5. The transformation of Christian faith-hope in the modern age; 6. The true shape of Christian hope; 7. ‘Settings’ for learning and practicing hope: i) Prayer as a school of hope, ii) Action and suffering as settings for learning hope, iii) Judgement as a setting for learning and practicing hope; 8. Mary, Star of Hope.”

The Holy Father explains in his Introduction that “according to the Christian faith, ‘redemption’ – salvation – is not simply a given. Redemption is offered to us in the sense that we have been given hope, trustworthy hope, by virtue of which we can face our present: the present, even if it is arduous, can be lived and accepted if it leads towards a goal, if we can be sure of this goal, and if this goal is great enough to justify the effort of the journey.”

Hence, “a distinguishing mark of Christians” is “the fact that they have a future: … they know … that their life will not end in emptiness. … The Gospel is not merely a communication of things that can be known – it is one that makes things happen and is life-changing. The dark door of time, of the future, has been thrown open. The one who has hope lives differently; the one who hopes has been granted the gift of a new life.”

“To come to know God – the true God – means to receive hope.” This was well understood by the early Christians, such as the Ephesians who before encountering Christ had many gods but “were without hope.” The problem faced by Christians of long standing, the Holy Father says, is that they “have grown accustomed to, … have almost ceased to notice that we possess the hope that ensues from a real encounter with this God.”

The Pope recalls that Jesus “did not bring a message of social revolution” like Spartacus, and that “he was not engaged in a fight for political liberation like Barabbas of Bar-Kochba.” He brought “something totally different: … an encounter with the living God, … an encounter with a hope stronger than the sufferings of slavery, a hope which therefore transformed life and the world from within, … even if external structures remained unaltered.”

Christ makes us truly free. “We are not slaves of the universe” or of “the laws of matter and of evolution.” We are free because “heaven is not empty,” because the Lord of the universe is God “Who in Jesus has revealed Himself as Love.”

Christ is the “true philosopher” Who “tells us who man truly is and what a man must do in order to be truly human.” He shows us “the way beyond death; only someone able to do this is a true teacher of life.” He offers us a hope that is, at one and the same time, expectation and presence because “the fact that this future exists changes the present.”

The Pope remarks that “perhaps many people reject the faith today simply because they do not find the prospect of eternal life attractive. … The present-day crisis of faith,” he continues, “is essentially a crisis of Christian hope. … The restoration of the lost Paradise is no longer expected from faith,” but from technical and scientific progress whence, it its believed, the “kingdom of man” will emerge. Hope thus becomes “faith in progress” founded on two pillars: reason and freedom which “seem to guarantee by themselves, by virtue of their intrinsic goodness, a new and perfect human community.”

The Pope mentions “two essential stages in the political realization of this hope:” the French and the Marxist Revolutions. Faced with the French Revolution, “the Europe of the Enlightenment … had cause to reflect anew on reason and freedom,” while the proletarian revolution left behind “a trail of appalling destruction.” Marx’s fundamental error was that “he forgot man and he forgot man’s freedom. … He thought that once the economy had been put right, everything would automatically be put right. His real error is materialism. … Let us put it very simply: man needs God, otherwise he remains without hope. … Man can never be redeemed simply” by an external structure, “man is redeemed by love,” an unconditional, absolute love: “Man’s great, true hope which holds firm in spite of all disappointments can only be God – God Who has loved us and continues to love us to the end.”

The Pope then identifies four “settings” for learning and practicing hope. The first of these is prayer. “When no one listens to me any more, God still listens to me. … When there is no longer anyone to help me, … He can help me.”

Alongside prayer is action: “Hope in a Christian sense is always hope for others as well. It is an active hope, in which we struggle … towards a brighter and more humane world.” Yet only if I know that “my own life and history in general … are held firm by the indestructible power of Love” can “I always continue to hope.”

Suffering is another of the “settings” for learning hope. “Certainly we must do whatever we can to reduce suffering,” however “it is not by sidestepping or fleeing from suffering that we are healed, but rather by our capacity for accepting it, maturing through it and finding meaning through union with Christ, Who suffered with infinite love.” Another fundamental aspect is to suffer with others and for others. “A society unable to accept its suffering members … is a cruel and inhuman society,” he writes.

Finally, another setting for learning hope is the Judgement of God. “There is a resurrection of the flesh. There is justice. There is an ‘undoing’ of past suffering, a reparation that sets things aright.” The Pope writes of his conviction “that the question of justice constitutes the essential argument, or in any case the strongest argument, in favor of faith in eternal life.” It is, indeed, impossible “that the injustice of history should be the final word. … God is justice and creates justice. … And in His justice there is also grace. … Grace does not cancel out justice. … Evildoers, in the end, do not sit at table at the eternal banquet beside their victims without distinction, as though nothing had happened.”



In the Holy See Press Office this morning, Cardinals Georges Marie Martin Cottier O.P., pro-theologian emeritus of the Pontifical Household, and Albert Vanhoye S.J., professor emeritus of New Testament exegesis at the Pontifical Biblical Institute, presented the Encyclical of Benedict XVI, “Spe salvi,” on the theme of Christian hope.

In his talk, Cardinal Cottier explained how “Christian hope has been subject to ever-harsher criticisms” to the effect that “it is pure individualism: by abandoning the world to its misery, Christians allegedly take refuge in an eternal salvation which is exclusive and private.”

“A question remains,” said the cardinal, “a question that cannot be eluded: how did the idea arise that, with Christianity, the quest for salvation became a selfish quest that refuses service to others?”

New problems “have a vital impact on the modern crisis of Christian faith and hope,” and there emerges “a new form of hope which is called ‘faith in progress’ oriented towards a new world, the world of the ‘kingdom of man’.”

“Faith in progress,” the cardinal explained “has become the ever more dominant conviction of modernity, and two categories are becoming increasingly central to the idea of progress: reason and freedom.” Thus, he went on, “reason is considered as a power of good and for good,” and progress, having “overcome all forms of dependency,” is “moving towards perfect freedom. In this perspective freedom appears as a promise for the full realization of man.”

After highlighting the “crisis of Christian hope in modern culture, and its replacement with faith in progress,” Cardinal Cottier identified a “question that returns insistently: what may we hope?” In this context he indicated that “sections 22 and 23 of the document are of vital importance. They explain to us the essential objective of the Encyclical from both a pastoral and a cultural standpoint.”

For his part, Cardinal Vanhoye indicated how the introduction to the Encyclical “immediately makes clear the decisive importance of hope, which is later reiterated on a number of occasions. In order to be able to face the present with all its problems and difficulties, we have an absolute need for hope and for a truly valid and firm hope.”

In sections 10 to 12, on the theme of eternal life, “the Holy Father uses vivid realism to explain the current mentality of many people,” said the cardinal. “Eternal life is the subject of hope, but many people today ‘do not find the prospect of eternal life attractive. What they desire is not eternal life at all, but this present life. … Death, admittedly, one would wish to postpone for as long as possible. But to live always, without end – this, all things considered, can only be monotonous and ultimately unbearable.”

Cardinal Vanhoye explained how the second part of the Encyclical describes the “settings for learning and practising hope,” and thus has a direct and tangible link to Christian life. Three “settings” are identified: “Prayer as a school of hope. Action and suffering as settings for learning hope. Judgement as a setting for learning and practicing hope.”

The Encyclical also presents “the Final Judgement of God as one of the ‘settings for learning and practising hope’,” said Cardinal Vanhoye, but “with a significance evidently different from that of the other ‘settings’ because the Final Judgement is not a present reality like prayer or suffering. Nonetheless, the Judgement gives rise to hope because it will eliminate evil. Here the Encyclical presents profound reflections on the terrible problem of evil and justice.”


Can the Pope’s next encyclical be about anything other than faith? That is my guess. Meanwhile, I will enjoy reading the newest encyclical on hope, which is titled Spe Salvi.

Here is the intro:



1. “SPE SALVI facti sumus”—in hope we were saved, says Saint Paul to the Romans, and likewise to us (Rom 8:24). According to the Christian faith, “redemption”—salvation—is not simply a given. Redemption is offered to us in the sense that we have been given hope, trustworthy hope, by virtue of which we can face our present: the present, even if it is arduous, can be lived and accepted if it leads towards a goal, if we can be sure of this goal, and if this goal is great enough to justify the effort of the journey. Now the question immediately arises: what sort of hope could ever justify the statement that, on the basis of that hope and simply because it exists, we are redeemed? And what sort of certainty is involved here?

Read the rest here.

Why does vegetable oil and apple juice come in almost the same bottle?

I was looking through some pictures from the Mass of the Rings and I came across two very interesting pictures. It seems that the two “deacons” at the Mass were wearing red zuchettos and miters.

I am guessing that they were not deacons, but were serving as deacons. Who are they? I also don’t recall this being allowed. Going to check the GIRM now.

Anyway, click here for the pictures.

Gives a new meaning to Cardinal-Deacon.

Update: I have checked this out and cardinal-deacons do wear the dalmatic at pontifical events. How did I miss this before?

I saw this video a few weeks ago, but I didn’t get a chance to watch it until today. It contains excerpts from “And the world looks at us”, a 1964 Dominican Province of Saint Joseph vocation film written by Fr. Dominic Rover, O.P., and narrated by Dana Elcar. The original film was 28 min in length, but this is only nine minutes long. The scenes included here were filmed at St. Stephen Priory in Dover, MA, the Dominican House of Studies, Washington, D.C., and St. Dominic Church, Washington, D.C. From the archives of the Dominican Theological Library ( at the Dominican House of Studies, Washington, D.C.


At 10.30 a.m. tomorrow, November 24, the Pope will hold an Ordinary Public Consistory for the creation of 23 new cardinals.

The consistory for the creation of new cardinals, according to the new rite introduced during the consistory of June 28, 1991, contains the following points:

Following a liturgical greeting, the Pope reads the formula of creation, and solemnly proclaims the names of the new cardinals. The first of the new cardinals then addresses the Holy Father on behalf of everyone.

This is followed by the Liturgy of the Word, the Pope’s homily, the Profession of Faith and the taking of the oath by each cardinal.

Each new cardinal then approaches the Holy Father and kneels before him to receive the cardinal’s biretta and to be assigned a title or deaconry.

The Pope places the biretta on the cardinal’s head and says, in part: “(This is) red as a sign of the dignity of the office of a cardinal, signifying that you are ready to act with fortitude, even to the point of spilling your blood for the increase of the Christian faith, for peace and harmony among the people of God, for freedom and the spread of the Holy Roman Catholic Church”.

The Holy Father hands over the Bull of Creation as cardinal, assigns the title or deaconry and exchanges a kiss of peace with the new members of the College of Cardinals. The cardinals also exchange such a sign among themselves.

The rite is concluded with the Prayer of the Faithful, the recitation of the Our Father and the final blessing.

At 10.30 a.m. on Sunday, November 25, Solemnity of Christ the King, the Holy Father will preside at a concelebrated Mass with the new cardinals, during which he will give them the cardinal’s ring, “the sign of dignity, pastoral care and the most solid communion with the See of Peter.”

As he places the ring on the new cardinal’s finger, the Pope says: “Take this ring from the hand of Peter and know that, with the love of the Prince of the Apostles, your love for the Church is strengthened.”

Following the morning’s ceremony, the College of Cardinals will have 201 members, of whom 120 are electors. The members of the College, by continent of origin, are divided as follows: 104 from Europe, 20 from North America, 34 from South America, 18 from Africa, 21 from Asia and 4 from Oceania.

As advisors to the Pope, the cardinals act collegially with him through consistories, which meet by order of the Roman Pontiff and under his presidency. Consistories can either be ordinary or extraordinary. In the ordinary consistory, all cardinals present in Rome, other bishops, priests and special guests are convened. These consistories are called by the Pope for consultation on certain important issues or to give special solemnity to some celebrations. An extraordinary consistory is one to which all cardinals are convened, and is celebrated when some special needs or more serious affairs of the Church suggest that it should be held.


Photo by Domini Sumus

I recieved two books in the mail yesterday, “A Challenging Reform” by Archbishop Piero Marini, and ‘The Reform of the Reform” by Fr. Thomas Kocik.

Strangely, the tracking on the package shows that it was delivered on Tuesday afternoon, but it was nowhere to be found. It showed up yesterday afternoon.

It makes me wonder if the package was out in a dark alley somwhere, while the books duked it out.

I finished most of my Thanksgiving preparations, a few minutes ago. The dressing, potatoes, and squash are done; the turkey is brining; the house is clean. In the middle of making the dressing, using my grandmother’s secret recipe I realized what I am thankful for, in addition to God’s loving providence, my husband, and my wonderful son: the woman who taught me how to cook.

I am thankful that I had such wonderful grandparents, who taught me about what really matters in life. I have written in the past about my maternal grandmother, but I have never written about my paternal grandmother. She went to her eternal reward 3 1/2 years ago. While my maternal grandmother taught me about spirituality, my paternal grandmother taught me about the Christian life.

Her grandfather was a Portuguese count, who banished his adulterous son for his indiscretions. He and his wife moved to the United States and my grandmother was born in the beginning of the 20th century, in a small apartment in Fall River. It was a long way from the comforts of the palace, but little changed. Her mother died when my grandmother was a toddler, and her father remarried quickly. Two more children were born and my grandmother was treated much like Cinderella is the old fairy-tale. When she became a teenager, she asked permission to move to Portugal to live with her grandparents and aunt. By this time, the Portuguese revolution had already taken place and her grandparents had lost the palace and their titles.

She loved her life in Portugal and met a young man, who was from a family of bakers. He was just one of several young men who would to serenade her from beneath her window, but he was different. He was a homebody. He went to work, went to church, and didn’t hang out at the local cervejaria (bar). They married and had four children, the second of which was my father. Then WWII broke out and her husband urged her to return to America with their children. They left Portugal in 1944. It was a difficult decision because he would not be allowed to come with them. She would be on her own with four small children, one only an infant.

She waited in America until the end of the war. My grandfather arrived around 1947 and their family was finally reunited. Soon after, they had another child. Their youngest daughter was only a teenager when my grandfather passed away in 1963. After my grandfather’s death, my grandmother moved into a housing project in New Bedford. She watched the neighborhood change many times, but she refused to leave. By the time I was born, it had become one of the worst projects in the city, but it was her home.

She was a firm believer that the way to a person’s heart was through their stomach, and would spend many hours cooking for the neighborhood children. Many of these children did not have parents they could depend on and my grandmother’s apartment was always filled with these kids. She fed their stomachs, minds, and spirits, and even when they were grown they never forgot it. I remember being at my grandmother’s one evening when there was a gang fight outside her window. We ducked under the dining room table in a attempt to avoid getting hit by a stray bullet. I was shocked when after the fight, several of the gang bangers knocked on my grandmother’s door. She opened the door without a care in the world. They wanted to make sure “Grandma” was ok. She assured them she was fine, gave them a stern tongue lashing, and gave them some food.

Sometimes I would visit her and find that she was playing dominoes with some of the neighborhood teens. They knew enough to keep their gang colors in their pockets when they visited her. For a long time I wondered why they had such a connection, but I think I understand it now. She cared; she understood. Although she was in her 80’s she had grown up without the love of her parents, just like them.

Eventually she was unable to live on her own and moved into the suburbs with my aunt. It was a battle to get her to leave. When she left, it was like a piece of her essence had been left behind. A few years later she moved into a nursing home. Dementia robbed her from us in a slow, painful process, but she always asked if I was cooking her recipes. I always lied and told her that I was. She was thrilled when she found out that JP was coming, but sadly died four months before his birth.

I was shocked to see so many of the kids she fed, at her funeral. Some of them had risen from their childhood struggles to become successful adults, and others followed in their parent’s footsteps. All of them remembered the love of a little old Portuguese lady, who made great food and had a place at the table for everyone.

I am thankful that I had that wonderful woman in my life. She didn’t only teach me to cook, she taught me to look beneath the surface and see the child of God hidden “in a distressing disguise”, as Cardinal O’Malley likes to call it. She taught me to be unafraid to give of myself to everyone I meet. She taught me to be strong and independent.

Vavo, thanks for the recipes, but even more thanks for the recipe of life.
God, thanks for giving me so many wonderful sources of wisdom, guidance, and inspiration.

Welcome to this weeks Catholic Carnival. We have a abundance of great posts this week, so make sure to check them all out.

Since I have spent the last two months immersed in the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas, I thought that this carnival should have a Thomistic theme. Plus, when looking through my notebook, I just happened to stumble upon one of the long lost articles from the Summa Theologiae which has been lost for over 700 years. Enjoy!

ST II-II. Q. 190 A. 1

Whether the faithful should participate in the Catholic Blog Carnival

Objection 1. It would seem that none should partivipate in the Catholic Blog Carnival because nowhere in Sacred Scripture is Christ, who is our example and model for Christian living, shown to participate in a Catholic Blog Carnival.

Objection 2. Further, the Philosopher said, “All men desire to know”, but some posts in the Catholic Blog Carnival are primarily for the purpose of entertainment, rather than education.

On the contrary, Cardinal Ruini said that blogs can be a means of “showing [the youth] the true Jesus.”

I answer that, as stated above, Christ is our model for Christian living. Did Christ not teach in the meadow, and mountain, as well as in the temple. The internet is the meadow and mountain of the third millenia.

Furthermore, it is impossible for the Catholic Carnival constitute man’s happiness. For happiness is the perfect good, which lulls the appetite altogether; else it would not be the last end, if something yet remained to be desired. Now the object of the will, i.e. of man’s appetite, is the universal good; just as the object of the intellect is the universal true. Hence it is evident that naught can lull man’s will, save the universal good. This is to be found, not in any creature, but in God alone; because every creature has goodness by participation. Wherefore God alone can satisfy the will of man, according to the words of Psalm 102:5: “Who satisfieth thy desire with good things.” Therefore God alone constitutes man’s happiness, but the Catholic Blog Carnival and those who participate in it likewise participate in goodness.

Reply to objection1. Had the internet existed at that time, it would be fitting for Christ to have participated in a Catholic Blog Carnival.

Reply to objection 2. While it is true that all men desire to know, it is fitting for posts to be of a recreational purpose. Sacred Spripture says, “He Once more will he fill your mouth with laughter, and your lips with rejoicing” Job 8:21

Now that we have St. Thomas’ approval, we can proceed with the Carnival.

Prima Pars: Sacred Doctrine. The One God. The Blessed Trinity. Creation. The Angels. The Six Days. Man. The Government of Creatures.

Jesus taught by analogy – through parables comparing, for example, faith to a mustard seed. At Ho Kai Paulos, Joe briefly explores what analogies mean to us and why they work so well, ending with the ultimate analogy – the one that we each are for God in his post The Power of Analogy

EBeth explains how Catholic parents have a responsibility to be informed in matters of faith, in her post A Word on being a Good Catholic Parent, posted at A Catholic Mom Climbing the Pillars.

Francesco Scinico presents Who Wrote The Pentateuch? posted at What Matters In Life. This scholarly post attempts to explain who the author of the first five books was according to traditional scripture study as well as though the historical-critical method.

Does “Let us go in peace to love and serve the Lord” really give us the sense of urgency which is contained in the Latin, “Ite, missa est”? Herb Ely reviews Gregory Pierce’s book: The Mass is Never Ended: Rediscovering Our Mission to Transform the World in his post, Go, You are Sent Forth which is posted at HerbEly

Prima Secundae Partis: Man’s Last End. Human Acts. Passions. Habits. Vice and Sin. Law. Grace.

In St. John Paul the Great posted at Kicking Over My Traces, cehwiedel presents a glimpse into the life of Pope John Paul II, provided by his assistant — who is now the archbishop of Krakow, Poland

A catholic democrat from ohio presents Consistent Love of Life posted at a catholic democrat from ohio. In this post, it is argued that to be truly pro-life, one must be anti-abortion and anti-war.

The previous post is well rebutted by Denise Hunnell in her post Mother of A Soldier posted at Catholic Matriarch in my Domestic Church aka Catholic Mom. Denise asks us to pray for those who serve in the military and hopes to help us understand their service is not a contradiction of their faith.

Here is my entry titled Missed Opportunities posted at We Belong to the Lord. In this post I describe how little struggles and frustrations of life can be opportunities for personal holiness, if we take advantage of them.

For Lucas is Sarah’s submission from her blog, Just Another Day of Catholic Pondering. In this post she pays homage to the twelve-year ache of losing a nephew. She says that sometimes we wonder why the first arms to hold him were our Heavenly Father and the Blessed Mother, but in the end, our lives have been changed by the impact of his.

Secunda Secundae Partis: Faith. Hope. Charity. Prudence. Justice. Fortitude. Temperance. Acts Which Pertain to Certain Men.

Matthew S is tired of all the conjecture and rumor and thinks we should give Fr. Francis our prayers, as well as the benefit of the doubt because right now, we don’t know and we don’t have the right to know. Therefore, he presents Fr. Francis Mary and EWTN posted at Play the Dad? No, be the Dad!.

Ever wanted to get away from it all, and go somewhere quiet? Brian Brown presents Silent Insight – Consider a Silent Retreat posted at Silent Insight – Daily Catholic Meditations for Faith, Listening, and Peace. In this entry he provides a brief overview of his experience on a silent retreat, as well as a link to a list of retreat houses.

In Jesus, Santa and under the Christmas Tree, posted at A Third Way, Melissa attempts a new-to-her approach to Santa’s contribution underthe Christmas tree.

Jean at Catholic Fire gives her opinion on the story of three young men who were abused and arrested by police while performing pro-life outreach. This post contains that video and information on how readers can help them. See it at Take Action: Police Attack Pro-Lifers in Shocking Display of Abuse

Tertia Pars: The Incarnation. The Life of Christ. Sacraments. Baptism. Confirmation. The Holy Eucharist. Penance.

Denise Hunnell uses the writings of Pope Benedict XVI to to show that rather than being burdensome or oppressive, the authority of the Magisterium is actually liberating in Treasure of the Magisterium posted at Catholic Matriarch in my Domestic Church aka Catholic Mom. She says there is great security “on the rock”.

Christine presents Pope Gets Radical and Woos the Anglicans posted at The World…IMHO. Pope Benedict brings tradition and reverence back to the liturgy and angers the left.

Every heard of the TV Show called “Common Ground”? It’s a discussion between a priest and a protestant minister about what Catholics really believe. Jay from Deo Omnis Gloria says “It’s a great show”. Read about it in his post What Protestants and Catholics Can Learn From One Another.

Red Neck Woman gives her response to being asked how Catholics could possibly equate God-Breathed Scripture to “man-made” traditions in, God Breathed, posted at Postscripts from the Catholic Spitfire Grill Blog

Supplementum Tertiae Partis: Penance (continued). Extreme Unction. Holy Orders. Matrimony. The Resurrection. Appendices.

Brian from Christus Vincit presents an explanation from Catholic Culture which re-iterates the Church’s teachings on which gender qualifies for legitimate Roman Catholic priestly ordinations in Catholic Culture on Poncho Ladies™.

Owen returns to Luminous Miseries with a new purpose and with the permission of his Spiritual Director to bring us his personal reflections on the daily readings of the Holy Mass of the Roman Catholic Church. In his post Gratitude he discusses how doesn’t take much to say “thank you” but how often we neglect this gift.

Did you catch the connection between prayer and work in the readings last Sunday? Kevin from HMS Blog did and he writes about it in his post, Ora Et Labora.

I hope you enjoyed these posts as much as I enjoyed being your host. Have a great Thanksgiving and remember that Thanksgiving is about giving thanks to God for his loving providence.

Deo Gratias!

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