Thursday, December 20, 2007

Spe Salvi—Will Hope Save Hughes and Huckabee?

For in hope we were saved... --Romans 8:24, and the theme of Pope Benedict's encyclical
To the Christian, Advent is surely the season of hope, and while the devout Catholic no doubt sees a multitude of hopeful stories at Christmastime, today Fighting Irish Thomas will focus on three, an improbable 80-year-old pope, an unexpected 8th-time mother, and an unlikely 2008 presidential candidate—all tied together by the topic of hope.

Cardinal Ratzinger was looking forward to a peaceful and prayerful retirement when circumstances and the Spirit prompted him to reluctantly accept the role of pontiff. But while Benedict may not be as fleet on foot as JPII was in his heyday, his mind is in its prime, as the "Pope of Hope" once again proved with his latest encyclical.

Regina Hughes had already been blessed with seven children, yet this devout Catholic woman, who looked upon motherhood as a vocation, always believed the Lord had one more in store for her. Still, Regina was approaching her 46th year and prospects for her first child in five years were now growing dim. Yet as many biblical women with miraculous pregnancies, she never lost faith, and never gave up hope ... until she ... like Anne, Elizabeth, and Mary, conceived.

"I had definitely thought about using the name 'Hope' after I heard the good news," said Regina, "so for me, hearing about the pope's new encyclical on the subject was not an inspiration, but a confirmation of what my daughter was to be called." Hope Cecilia was born on Oct. 15 (the Feast of Teresa of Avila), and was baptized on Dec. 2 (the Sunday nearest to Pope Benedict's encyclical's release date of Nov. 30), as well as the first Sunday of Advent, the day the Church lights the Advent wreath's candle which signifies hope.

In Spe Salvi, the Pope comments on Hebrews 11:1, the famous biblical definition of faith and hope, and compares the traditional Catholic translation to that of the reformer Luther. "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the proof of things not seen," is how the passage was translated by the Church fathers, while Luther (who never liked the Book of Hebrews much anyway) went with "Faith is standing firm in what one hopes for, being convinced of what one does not see." Benedict, in support of the Church's accepted verse, notes that hope "is not merely a personal reaching out toward things to come, it gives us even now something of the reality we are waiting for." Certainly Christ's coming as flesh, not to mention Regina's "Hope" coming as "substance," instead of merely "conviction," seems to support this translation too!

In this encyclical, Benedict also talks about prayer as a "school of hope," and he uses the example of the saintly Cardinal Nguyen Van Thuan, who was imprisoned for his faith for thirteen years, and for whom prayer was his only contact with God in an otherwise hopeless situation.

Certainly as late as early fall, the presidential candidacy of Mike Huckabee, with little money and single digit voter support, looked just as hopeless. But the former Baptist minister from Hope, Arkansas, turned to prayer, and he attributes his rise from afterthought to Iowa front-runner to "divine intervention," in part due to the countless prayers of his supporters. But while there is substance to Huckabee's candidacy as well, the battle is far from over. Ironically, the Pope also talks of political hope in Spe Salvi, citing the works of the famous philosopher Immanuel Kant. In his 1792 publication "The Victory of Good over Evil Principles and the Founding of the Kingdom of God on Earth," Kant talks about the possibility of "the gradual transition of ecclesiastical faith to the exclusive sovereignty of pure religious faith," (in other words, a Christian democracy) as the coming of God's kingdom here on earth. Yet, two short years later, a more wary Kant warns, "If Christianity should one day cease to be worthy of love ... then the prevailing human thought would be the rejection and opposition to Christianity, and the Antichrist would begin his (albeit short) reign."

Indeed, astute political observers realize there were two famous politicians from the little town of Hope, one currently bearing the prayers of millions of Christians, the other the predecessor of Kant's other problematic possibility. While Regina's babe and Huckabee's candidacy are indeed proofs of hope, this pope has been around long enough to know that true hope also involves suffering. As any mother knows, and as Benedict reminds us, hope must include "suffering with others and for others out of love." But along with Benedict's definition, comes his final question. "Does truth matter enough to me to make suffering worthwhile?"

Regina Hughes' answer to this question was, like Our Lady's, a resounding yes. But as this Christmas season passes into an election that holds Kant's two dramatically diverse choices, let us pray to Mary, under her new title (from this encyclical), the Star of Hope, that truth matters enough to enough citizens in these United States that we choose the true man of Hope to lead our country out of this present Culture of Death into the Way with the Truth and the Life.


Anonymous said...

Catholics for Mike Huckabee Facebook group:

Anonymous said...

Personally, I believe in order to turn around America and Western
civilization, we need to fear the Lord again. That is why America
and the West were prosperous in the first place. But, not anymore.
We in the West are turning to sin and as a result our enemies are
becoming more dangerous, and us more vulnerable. Why should
God protect us if we don't want Him in our lives? So this is why I
am trying to support Mike Huckabee even if it's just through emails,
etcetera, because I believe he loves the LORD and this is our only
chance to survive. God will bless us again if we follow His ways.
But, If Hillary Clinton wins, I feel it's the end of America.

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble
themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their
wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their
sin, and will heal their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14

I've always liked Michelle Malkin, Anne Coulter, Rush, etcetera.
But, this election has really opened my eyes. What has gotten
into them?! The inexplicable anti-Huckabee sentiment in the
elite wing of the Republican Party is unbelievable!! What is
perhaps most baffling about the punditocracy taking potshots
at Gov. Huckabee is that he has everything for which the
anti-illegal immigration proponents have been calling for and yet they still attack Huckabee for adopting the plan. Nothing Gov.
Huckabee does can assuage these neocons who have no use for a genuine conservative who believes in social conservatism and populist policy. They have no idea what they are wishing for. I am starting to think this really is an attack on God, not Huckabee.

Well, that's all I wanna say right now. Thanks, and I might visit
your site to comment some more. Keep up the good work!

Best regards,
Derek, a Huckabee supporter from Canada

Anonymous said...

Yes, I think some of this is a legitimate attack on the Lord. I've noticed it's mostly the Republican elites that are attacking Huck. They are ruining the GOP mainstream chance of getting a President who will deal with their needs and not only Wall Streets and the Insiders.

For instance, Michelle Malkin whom I really like. Her website, they are attacking Huckabee every day non-stop. And you heard Rush's Hit-Piece on Huckabee. Figure that one out?! Conservative pundits like Robert Novak and Peggy Noonan hate Huckabee. We could go on and on.

Rush, Malkin, Drudge, Coulter and their little minions are fighting more viciously and unfairly than before. I think they're confronted with the prospect of having a REAL Christian President in Mike Huckabee and that scares them. They are fighting for their political lives because if he wins they're in danger of being rejected.

Anne Coulter (whom I've always liked and have her book Godless) she is against Huckabee in the most evil way. I would have thought she'd support Huckabee.

Coulter: Huckabee Not A Strong Conservative Video.

It's shocking. I almost have to think someone put her up to this. I watched that video and wondered why Anne Coulter chose to attack a fellow Christian (probably the most genuine one running) instead of applauding Huckabee for being the first candidate to lift up his hand when asked during one of the debates to "raise your hand if you don't believe in evolution". Huckabee was one of only three who had the courage. Mitt Romney didn't. Pro-abortionist Giuliani didn't. Fred Thompson kept his hand down. Etcetera.

Not a word from Coulter on this, except to attack Huckabee.

I also wondered why Coulter didn't applaud Mike for his awesome Christmas ad? Who else had the guts to speak about the birth of Christ on Christmas.

No word from Coulter on this, except to call Huckabee a "stupid Christian."

More, if you can stomach it:

She has the NERVE to attack Huckabee on Christianity, but says nothing about the fake one of Mitt Romney. As a Christian myself, I am sick and tired of the Mormons telling everyone that they are Christians, because they are not Christians! They want everyone to think they are, but Mormons believe all kinds of strange things. If they wanna be Mormons, go ahead be a Mormon. But, STOP trying to hijack the Christian faith! This is offensive. Huckabee should have stuck to his guns and demanded a comprehensive answer to the question, "Do Mormons believe Jesus and Satan were brothers?" WHY?? Because the official website of the Mormon church explicitly makes the sibling connection between Jesus and Lucifer a matter of official Mormon doctrine!!

Quote from the LDS (Mormon Website):

"On first hearing, the doctrine that Lucifer and our Lord, Jesus Christ, are BROTHERS may seem surprising to some – especially to those unacquainted with latter-day revelations," says the statement. "But both the scriptures and the prophets affirm that Jesus Christ and Lucifer are indeed OFFSPRING of our Heavenly Father and, therefore, spirit BROTHERS. Jesus Christ was with the Father from the beginning. Lucifer, too, was an angel "who was in authority in the presence of God," a "son of the morning." (See Isa. 14:12; D&C 76:25–27.) Both Jesus and Lucifer were strong leaders with great knowledge and influence. But as the Firstborn of the Father, Jesus was Lucifer's older BROTHER. (See Col. 1:15; D&C 93:21.)"

LINK to above quoted material from LDS site.

I have nothing against Romney personally, he is probably a very nice man. While I don't agree with Mormons on just about everything, we could probably learn from them about family values because of their strong devotion to the family. But, the Bible teaches us we should be able to recognize false teachers and "from such turn away." (Matthew 7:15-20)

So when I hear of another Christian body supporting the Mormon Romney, I get worried. It's very dangerous to promote a doctrine of the ecumenical movement which essentially promotes cooperation and understanding among all the different religious bodies, because that in the end has the aimed goal of a one world religion.

It should be interesting if in the end Anne Coulter supports Romney now that her candidate Duncan Hunter will soon be out of the race.

"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, ... trucebreakers, false accusers, ... fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away." (2 Timothy 3:1-5)


Anonymous said...

Did Coulter really call Huckabee a "stupid Christian"? Unbelievable. If you have the link to where she said that, I'd surely like to see it. I looked at your link to the LDS site. You know the reason Huck didn't go into it with Mitt is because everyone would come waaaaaay down on him if he did. I'm certain Huck probably knows all about the strangeness of LDS, don't you think? and he just put it out there to get it in people's minds. But sure as shootin', if he argued the point even with Mormon doctrine right in front of him, people in general would not listen or care or they'd think he was a loose cannon. But it's great so many people are blogging, e-mailing, etc. for Huckabee. I think he has a very solid presence on the Net. Have you found that to be true (other than the folks that SHOULD be for him that is)?


Anonymous said...

Uh-huh yeah, Coulter called him a "stupid Christian".

Here is the video:

Coulter on Huckabee: Stupid Christian

And Huckabee's Response To Ann Coulter

I agree with you on why Huck didn't go more into the Mormon
issue. The media would have twisted it and made things worse
for him, kinda like what Glenn Beck is doing right now. There's
another one I used to like. Beck is a Mormon who tries to make
everyone believe he's a Christian, but at least he was doing a
nice job exposing the threat of Islam and Global Warming lies.
But, since Huckabee's Mormon comment he's joined up with
the Republican elite that are attacking Huck. Shame! shame!

Glenn Beck on The Situation Room: "Huckabee will implode"

Glenn meets Huck face to face here.

I now believe Glenn Beck is a disingenuous person who lies
when it suits his needs and should not be trusted. So sad. We
should pray for Glenn to learn the Gospel so he get's saved.

I know what you mean, it's great people are blogging, e-mailing,
etc for Huck. I hope more rise up and get involved - show the
media et al who the boss really is. We are tired of their lies!

In summary, looking at the overall picture I do think America and
the West are in big trouble. I mean, the fact that we have only one
candidate running for President who genuinely appreciates the Word
of God speaks volumes about the condition of our society. It's even
worse here in Canada. I'm afraid we have reached the day which
the prophet had in mind when he wrote, "Woe unto them who call
evil, good, and good, evil." Isaiah 5:20

And if you want my opinion on why things are so bad, I happen to
believe these are the last days spoken of in the Bible. I think the
signs are everywhere that our world is on the brink of a great
chastening from the hand of God. In fact, I see nothing in Scripture
that needs to occur before the Rapture of the church can take place.

In my understanding of Bible prophecy, it is the next event on the
prophetic calendar. And it could happen at any time.

What we see today are the labor pains of what is yet to come. As
we watch these things happen in our world, as we sense these
labor pains getting closer and closer together, they tell us the
coming of Jesus Christ is near.

Best regards,