Monday 20th March 2023

Home » Our Catholic Faith » Currently Reading:

Vices Opposed To The Virtue Of Hope

January 5, 2019 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

By DON FIER

In beginning our deliberation on the theological virtue of hope in last week’s installment, it was noted that human hope pertains to a certain confidence directed toward what is expected, but not yet present.
As portrayed by Christoph Cardinal Schönborn in the third volume of Living the Catechism of the Catholic Church, natural hope is “a human attitude without which there can be no human life: the sick person hopes for recovery; the lover, for the return of the beloved; those afflicted by war, for peace” (p. 49).
His Eminence goes on to state that “someone who has no hope left at all — if that is even possible — cannot live, either” (ibid., p. 50).
This is confirmed in the firsthand experience of psychiatrist Dr. Viktor E. Frankl, who, during his time as a prisoner in the death camp of Auschwitz, observed that it was those who lost all hope who were the first to die: “The prisoner who lost faith in the future — his future — was doomed. With his loss of belief in the future, he also lost his spiritual hold….He simply gave up” (Man’s Search for Meaning, p. 95).
Supernatural hope concerns something of far greater importance — our eternal destiny. As our Christian faith tells us, death is not the end but a gateway to everlasting happiness in Heaven — if we have cooperated with God’s grace. The theological virtue of hope, then, is the virtue “by which we desire and await from God eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ’s promises and relying on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit to merit it and to persevere to the end of our earthly life” (Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 387).
Hope is the “sure and steadfast anchor of the soul…that enters…where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf” (Heb. 6:19-20). Moreover, “hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5:5; as cited in Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC], n. 1820).
We also saw last week, as taught by St. Thomas Aquinas, that “faith precedes hope” (Summa Theologiae [STh] II-II, Q. 17, art. 7). Even common sense testifies to this, for it would not be possible to hope in God unless we “believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him” (Heb. 11:6).
Moreover, says the Angelic Doctor, “Hope…attains God by leaning on His help in order to obtain the hoped for good” (STh II-II, Q. 17, art. 2). Fr. Anastasius of the Holy Rosary, OCD, aptly states that “the object of hope is in one sense, eternal beatitude; in another sense, it is the help of God… Faith, then, is the foundation of hope and hope is the flowering of faith” (The Theological Virtues in the Spiritual Life [TV-SL], p. 34).
What level of certainty is associated with the supernatural virtue of hope? “It is a doctrine of our Christian faith,” states Fr. Leo Trese, that “God gives to every soul he creates sufficient grace to get to heaven” (The Faith Explained [TFE], p. 129).
As St. Paul attests, we have a God who “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4; as cited in CCC, n. 1821). Elsewhere the apostle says, “In hope we [are] saved” (Romans 8:24). However, our all-loving God will not thwart man’s free will — we must freely accept and cooperate with God’s grace to attain eternal beatitude. Thus, as expressed pithily by Fr. Trese, “No one loses heaven except by his own fault. So far as God’s part is concerned, our salvation is certain. It is only our part — our cooperation or non-cooperation with God’s grace — that is uncertain” (TFE, p. 129).
Let us now consider the two opposing vices that are contrary to the virtue of hope: despair and presumption. The first extreme, despair, constitutes the case where one loses or abandons all hope of salvation. St. Thomas attributes to it special gravity because “despair is not only a sin but also the origin of other sins” (STh II-II, Q. 20, art. 1).
He points to St. Paul’s reference to men who “have become callous and have given themselves up to licentiousness, greedy to practice every kind of uncleanness” (Eph. 4:19) as descriptive of those who have succumbed to despair.
The true state of their soul is very often camouflaged under the outward appearance of gaiety and pleasure-seeking. Absent all hope, they live by the motto: “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die” (cf. 1 Cor. 15:32; Eccles. 8:15).
Msgr. Paul J. Glenn, following the teaching of St. Thomas, characterizes despair as a most dangerous sin for it “leads a person to fling himself headlong into all manner of sin” (A Tour of the Summa [ATS], p. 200).
The etymology of the word “despair” is from two Latin words: de- (“the opposite of”) and sperare (“to hope”), or desperario (“hopelessness”). In his Modern Catholic Dictionary (MCD), Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ, defines it as “the sin by which a person gives up all hope of salvation or of the means necessary to reach heaven. It is therefore not mere anxiety about the future or fear that one may be lost. It is rather a deliberate yielding to the idea that human nature cannot cooperate with God’s grace, or that the despairing person is too wicked to be saved, or that God has cast one away. It is a grave crime against God’s goodness” (p. 154).
As specified similarly in the Catechism, “despair is contrary to God’s goodness, to his justice — for the Lord is faithful to his promises — and to his mercy” (CCC, n. 2091).
Despair, then, can be seen to be intimately tied to blasphemy against faith — it implies the negation of God’s mercy, love, and goodness. In itself, however, “despair is not so grievous as unbelief or hatred of God” (ATS, p. 200). In fact, not everyone who despairs has lost or rejected the Faith. “A person may know by faith that all sin is pardonable,” says Msgr. Glenn, “and yet, by a corrupted judgment on his own particular case, may abandon all hope of pardon for himself” (ibid.).
One can see this outlook in Cain after slaying his brother Abel: “My iniquity is greater than that I may deserve pardon” (Gen. 4:13 [Douay-Rheims version]).
The sin of despair is attributed by many theologians and Scripture scholars to Judas Iscariot. One need only recall the experiences of St. Peter and Judas Iscariot at the time of Jesus’ death on the cross. Both apostles sinned seriously and both experienced profound grief. After betraying our Lord, Peter “went out and wept bitterly” (Matt. 26:75), but then repented. Judas, on the other hand, also experienced deep grief but despaired and “went and hanged himself” (Matt. 27:5).
On the other end of the spectrum is the sin of presumption. “Just as, through despair, a man despises the Divine mercy, on which hope relies, so, through presumption, he despises the Divine justice, which punishes the sinner,” teaches the Angelic Doctor.
“Now justice is in God even as mercy is. Therefore, just as despair consists in aversion from God, so presumption consists in, inordinate conversion to Him” (STh II-II, Q. 21, art. 1). In other words, explains Msgr. Glenn, “presumption as a sin against hope is the wholly unreasonable expectation that God will save us despite the bad will in us which makes that saving impossible” (ATS, p. 200).
The etymology of the word “presumption” is from the Latin word praesumere (“to suppose, to take for granted”). Fr. Hardon defines it as “the desire to undertake, or the actual undertaking of, what is above one’s capacity. It is a result of pride, which makes a person overestimate his ability and blinds him to his deficiencies. It also leads one to expect graces from God without doing anything to obtain them, and even when acting the opposite, as when sinning, the person presumes that forgiveness is assured” (MCD, p. 437).

A Crisis Of Hope

As the Catechism teaches, there are two kinds of presumption: “Either man presumes upon his own capacities (hoping to be able to save himself without help from on high), or he presumes upon God’s almighty power or his mercy (hoping to obtain his forgiveness without conversion and glory without merit)” (CCC, n. 2092).
The contrast is evident if one compares the fifth-century heresy of Pelagianism to Martin Luther’s doctrine of salvation by faith alone. Whereas Pelagianism “presumed to achieve salvation through human effort at moral perfection, without the necessity of God’s grace,” explains Dr. Lawrence Feingold, STD, “the original doctrine of Luther presumed to be certain of salvation without the necessity of contrition or works of charity” (Course Notes for Fundamental Moral Theology [FMT], December 2009, p. 160).
“Presumption arises from vainglory,” asserts Msgr. Glenn, “from a prideful trust that a person has in himself as powerful enough to cope with anything, and as a being so excellent that God could not allow him to be punished” (ATS, pp. 200-201). The presumptuous are “the ones who think they have already reached the goal; they have done everything and lack nothing,” posits Fr. Gabriel. “As a result of their supposed adequacy, they become sterile” (TV-SL, p. 38).
As observed astutely by Dr. Feingold, “The modern world is oscillating unstably between presumption and despair, two contrary blasphemies against the Holy Spirit” (FMT, p. 161). It might be said there is a crisis of hope in the contemporary world, a theme addressed by Pope Benedict XVI in his 2007 encyclical Spe Salvi, which we will take up in the next installment.

Share Button

2019 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Twitter Feed

Biden administration pats itself on the back for shooting down China balloon - meanwhile southern border is wide open to the Chinese.

House Republicans approved 2 #ProLife measures.

The first measure would ban #Abortion on babies born alive and require the babies be given medical care and treatment. The other measure condemned a spurt of growing attacks against crisis pregnancy centers.

House Republicans Pass Pro-Life Bills

House Republicans on Jan. 11 approved two pro-life measures. The first measure passed by the House would ban abortion ...

www.theepochtimes.com

Load More...

Vatican and USCCB leave transgender policy texts unpublished

While U.S. bishops have made headlines for releasing policies addressing gender identity and pastoral ministry, guidelines on the subject have been drafted but not published by both the U.S. bishops’ conference and the Vatican’s doctrinal office, leaving diocesan bishops to…Continue Reading

Biden says Pope Francis told him to continue receiving communion, amid scrutiny over pro-abortion policies

President Biden said that Pope Francis, during their meeting Friday in Vatican City, told him that he should continue to receive communion, amid heightened scrutiny of the Catholic president’s pro-abortion policies.  The president, following the approximately 90-minute-long meeting, a key…Continue Reading

Federal judge rules in favor of Gov. DeSantis’ mask mandate ban

MIAMI (LifeSiteNews) – A federal judge this week handed Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis another legal victory on his mask mandate ban for schools. On Wednesday, Judge K. Michael Moore of the Southern District of Florida denied a petition from…Continue Reading

The Eucharist should not be received unworthily, says Nigerian cardinal

Priests have a duty to remind Catholics not to receive the Eucharist in a state of serious sin and to make confession easily available, a Nigerian cardinal said at the International Eucharistic Congress on Thursday. “It is still the doctrine…Continue Reading

Donald Trump takes a swipe at Catholics and Jews who did not vote for him

Donald Trump complained about Catholics and Jews who did not vote for him in 2020. The former president made the comments in a conference call featuring religious leaders. The move could be seen to shore up his religious conservative base…Continue Reading

Y Gov. Kathy Hochul Admits Andrew Cuomo Covered Up COVID Deaths, 12,000 More Died Than Reported

When it comes to protecting people from COVID, Andrew Cuomo is already the worst governor in America. New York has the second highest death rate per capita, in part because he signed an executive order putting COVID patients in nursing…Continue Reading

Prayers For Cardinal Burke . . . U.S. Cardinal Burke says he has tested positive for COVID-19

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke said he has tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19. In an Aug. 10 tweet, he wrote: “Praised be Jesus Christ! I wish to inform you that I have recently…Continue Reading

Democrats Block Amendment Banning Late-Term Abortions, Stopping Abortions Up to Birth

Senate Democrats have blocked an amendment that would ban abortions on babies older than 20 weeks. During consideration of the multi-trillion spending package, pro-life Louisiana Senator John Kennedy filed an amendment to ban late-term abortions, but Democrats steadfastly support killing…Continue Reading

Transgender student wins as U.S. Supreme Court rebuffs bathroom appeal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday handed a victory to a transgender former public high school student who waged a six-year legal battle against a Virginia county school board that had barred him from using the bathroom corresponding…Continue Reading

New York priest accused by security guard of assault confirms charges have now been dropped

NEW YORK, June 17, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — A New York priest has made his first public statement regarding the dismissal of charges against him.  Today Father George W. Rutler reached out to LifeSiteNews and other media today with the following…Continue Reading

21,000 sign petition protesting US Catholic bishops vote on Biden, abortion

More than 21,000 people have signed a letter calling for U.S. Catholic bishops to cancel a planned vote on whether President Biden should receive communion.  Biden, a Catholic, supports abortion rights and has long come under attack from some Catholics over that…Continue Reading

Bishop Gorman seeks candidates to fill two full time AP level teaching positions for the 2021-2022 school year in the subject areas of Calculus/Statistics and Physics

Bishop Thomas K. Gorman Regional Catholic School is a college preparatory school located in Tyler, Texas. It is an educational ministry of the Catholic Diocese of Tyler led by Bishop Joseph Strickland. The sixth through twelfth grade school provides a…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Catechism

Today . . .

">Cardinals Burke . . . SAME-SEX UNION BLESSINGS?

Longtime teacher fired after discussing God in classroom, challenging ‘evil’ LGBT school policy

(LifeSiteNews) — A longtime public school teacher in Idaho was let go earlier this month for being unafraid to mention God in the classroom and voicing his objections to a pro-LGBT policy designed to promote “transgender” ideologies among young people.  Ian O’Connell, a Catholic teacher who served as a substitute in the public institutions of Caldwell School District for over 20 years, spoke on February 13 about a proposed “gender identity and sexual orientation” policy that…Continue Reading

Murder investigation underway in shooting death of LA Auxiliary Bishop O’Connell

The shooting death of Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop David G. O’Connell Saturday is being investigated as a homicide, authorities have confirmed. “This incident is being handled as a murder investigation,” the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) said in a statement Sunday. No additional details were released. “We learned early this morning from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s office that they have determined that the d

FBI whistleblower releases docs showing agency is surveilling ‘Radical’ Latin Mass Catholics

RICHMOND, Virginia (LifeSiteNews) — A document released by an FBI whistleblower indicates the agency plans to intensify its “assessment” and “mitigation” of “Radical Traditionalist Catholics” over the next 12 to 24 months due to alleged concerns that “white nationalists” are increasingly making common cause online with attendees of the Latin Mass.

MN Catholics Pass Radical Abortion Bill

SAINT PAUL, Minn. (ChurchMilitant.com) – Catholic legislators have been instrumental in the nation’s most radical abortion bill becoming state law.  The so-called Protect Reproductive Options Act, or PRO Act, allows for the killing of unborn babies up until birth — by any method, with no maternal age restrictions and for any reason. Minnesota’s Senate passed the lethal legislation on Saturday, following 15 hours of debate. As promised, Gov. Tim Walz, a two-term Democrat, signed the bill into law on Tuesday afternoon.  “We are enacting the most extreme bill…Continue Reading

300th Catholic Church Attacked Since 2020

(Wanderer Editor’s Note: This March 13 article is reprinted from CatholicVote.org with their permission. All rights reserved.) + + (CV News Feed) — An act of vandalism against a Catholic church in Connecticut over the weekend marked a grim milestone: The 300th known attack on a Catholic church in America since the spring of 2020.Police…Continue Reading

St. Veronica And Face-Face Human Relationships

By DONALD DeMARCO The sixth of the 14 Stations of the Cross tells us that “Veronica wipes the face of Jesus.” According to tradition, Christ left an imprint of His face on the veil (or cloth) that she used. Veronica looked upon Christ’s bloodstained face with sympathy, Christ responded with an expression of His loving…Continue Reading

Destroy The Mexican Drug Cartels

By JOSH HAMMER The tragic killing of two U.S. citizens this past week in the border town of Matamoros, Mexico, should, in a just world, refocus American attention on the glaring problem of transnational drug cartels’ de facto control of large swaths of our perilously porous southern border.That the two Americans killed may have been…Continue Reading

“God Really Intervened”. . . How A Priest Escaped From His Kidnappers In Haiti

By DIEGO LOPEZ MARINA SANTO DOMINGO (CNA) — Fr. Antoine Macaire Christian Noah, a Claretian priest from Cameroon, escaped unharmed from a crime gang that had kidnapped him in Haiti last month and has been taken to another country for his safety.On March 2, Fr. Fausto Cruz Rosa, major superior of the Antilles Delegation of…Continue Reading

Utah Legislature Passes Bill Banning All Abortion Clinics

By MICAIAH BILGER SALT LAKE CITY (LifeNews) — A bill to ban abortion facilities in Utah passed the state legislature Thursday, March 3 by an overwhelming majority.After the Utah Senate voted 22-6, the bill now heads to Gov. Spencer Cox, a pro-life Republican, who said he supports the bill, the Associated Press reports.Sponsored by State…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

The Glory Of The Son Of God

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Fifth Sunday Of Lent (YR A) Readings: Ezek. 37:12-14Romans 8:8-11John 11:1-45 In the first reading today, God promises us through the Prophet Ezekiel that He will open the graves of His people and have them rise from their graves. This is the promise of the Resurrection. This needs to be made clear because in the Gospel…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: This series on the Bible is from the book Catholicism & Scripture. Please feel free to use the series for high schoolers or adults. We will continue to welcome your questions for the column as well. Please see the contact information at the end of the column. Special Course On Catholicism And Scripture (Chapter 15) After some fifty…Continue Reading

The Rampage Of The Lawless

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK One supposes that the truth becomes “safe” for liars once they control the levers of power and thus can take credit for finally disseminating it, or allowing it be to spread. The power of elected office or bureaucratic privilege is instrumentalized for its own perpetuation at whim through a manipulation of the facts. We are…Continue Reading

The Conditions For Mortal Sin Are Not That Hard To Meet

By MSGR. CHARLES POPE (Editor’s Note: Msgr. Charles Pope posted this commentary on March 5 and it is reprinted here with permission. Msgr. Pope is the pastor of Holy Comforter-St. Cyprian in Washington, D.C.) + + Recent and public conversations about the nature of mortal sin, the reception of Holy Communion and worthiness to receive the Eucharist have shown how…Continue Reading

Reject Evil And Live For The Son Of God

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Fourth Sunday Of Lent (YR A) Readings: 1 Samuel 16:1b, 6-7, 10-13Eph. 5:8-14John 9:1-41 In the first reading today, we see one of the most typical of human actions: judging by appearances. God sends Samuel to anoint the king He has chosen. Samuel does not know who the man is, but he does know that he…Continue Reading

Crushed But Unbroken . . . The Martyrdom Of St. Margaret Clitherow

By RAY CAVANAUGH The late-1500s were a tough time for Catholics in England, where the Reformation was in full gear. A 1581 law prohibited Catholic religious ceremonies. And a 1584 Act of Parliament mandated that all Catholic priests leave the country or else face execution. Some chose to remain, however, so they could continue serving the faithful.Also taking huge risks…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Bernardine Of Siena (1380-1444)

By DEB PIROCH The year Siena lost its famed St. Catherine, it gained a new future saint; St. Bernardine Albizeschi, later St. Bernardine of Siena, OFM, known as the “Apostle of Italy.” He was a great friar preacher who would win souls for God.Being born in 1380 of a noble family did not protect him from heartache, but the prayers…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)