Nowhere perhaps does the modern Catholic draw a stricter line between acceptable and unacceptable religion than over the matter of joy and hope (the title, in fact, of the Second Vatican Council’s declaration on The Church in the Modern World). Yet in the process the nature of these things for the Christian is badly misunderstood. The “gloomy” saints of the Church’s rich history demonstrate the true nature of Christian joy and hope and the fact that, ultimately, these are not dependent on happiness as the world understands happiness, nor are they necessarily manifested in ways which the world will immediately recognize. For Christians life has meaning beyond earthly disappointments. The perspective of eternity, if taken seriously, makes all the difference.

James Hitchcock, Catholicism and Modernity (1979)


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