Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Faith, Hope, and Charity


I've seen this image from CatholicVote making the rounds on Facebook, and I'm not sure what to think about it. It seems to me that ALL three of the theological virtues of Faith, Hope, and Charity (Love) are present in ALL three men.

Yes, John Paul has famously been described as the "Witness to Hope". Yet he also rescued the Faith from those who would have perverted the Second Vatican Council into a call for the Church to drop its core social teachings in order to "get with the times". And when it comes to Love/Charity, who can forget this man's witness to the dignity of every person ... born and unborn ... from conception to natural death, and his magnificent exposition on the human person in the image and likeness of God in his Theology of the Body?

And Benedict. Yes, the great theologian who worked tirelessly alongside JPII to preserve the Faith and spent almost 25 years as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith before becoming Pope. I've heard him rated among the greatest theologian Popes of all time. Yet, when it came to writing his encyclicals, this theologian Benedict chose to write Deus Caritas Est (On Christian Love - God is Love), Spe Salvi (Saved by Hope), and Caritas in veritate (Charity in Truth). Benedict appears quite grounded in ALL of the theological virtues of Faith, Hope, AND Charity.

And finally, Pope Francis. Inevitably, when I've seen the image above, someone comments "And the greatest of these is Love." I certainly believe that our new Holy Father will be an outstanding Pope. And he certainly exudes humility and love for the least of these, as well as an expressed desire to evangelize the far ends of the earth with the Faith of the Crucified Christ. But he's been Pope for exactly ONE WEEK. I think it rather premature to rush in and say definitively that he is more grounded than the other two in the theological virtue of Love (and therefore "the greatest of these").

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