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Pope: Hope Is Not Just Optimism

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Christian hope is not mere optimism or a “positive attitude” toward the world but a vital link to eternal salvation, Pope Francis said.

The pope spoke Oct. 29 during a morning Mass he celebrated in the Vatican guesthouse, where he lives.

Taking as his text the day’s reading from Paul’s Letter to the Romans (8: 18-25), which deals with the theological virtue of hope, Pope Francis distinguished the virtue from an “ability to look at things in a good spirit and move ahead.”

The pope said that hope was harder to understand than the other two theological virtues – faith and charity – whose results are more evident to the senses. Early Christians represented hope as an anchor fixed on the shore of the hereafter, he said.

“Where are we anchored, each of us?” Pope Francis asked. “Are we anchored right on the shore of that distant ocean or are we anchored in an artificial lake we have made, with our rules, our ways of behaving, our schedules, our clericalism, our ecclesiastical – not ecclesial – attitudes?”