Without confidence (hope), we could despair and rebel.

Our spiritual leaders are not giving us much hope.

They use our spiritual and economic resources to foster personal goals

rather than the common good, and fail to give hope for positive change.

While elections and term limits provide some hope for needed change,

these are not available in our church anymore.

Until the sensus fidelium (the sense of the faithful) is again

acknowledge and honored, we are hopelessly stuck with the leadership

(or lack thereof) foisted upon us.

Pope Benedict recently reminded us (Spe Salve) that our hope

ultimately lies in God's saving love for us

rather than in human leaders or the razzle-dazzle of technology;

but then the pope's own hope-filled words of kindness and peace

resound against his actions:

Does he reflect God's hope by turning a deaf ear to the sense of the

faithful or in suppressing subsidiarity and participatory decision making?

Is there any hope in the secrecy of "the private boys' club"?

What hope does he offer by grasping at the power and control of

mandatory celibacy at the cost of neglecting the spiritual needs of people?

Is there hope in fearfully rejecting the gifts of women, or living in the

1950's "signs of the times"?

The Latin Mass offers nostalgia for the past, not hope for the future.

Hope is a COMMUNITY virtue. Faith and confidence in God's love (hope!)

is nurtured and reflected in our community spirit and worship.

We empower each other by our kindness and care and by reflecting out

the love of God within, and seeing it in others.

Listen hopefully to the words of our spiritual leaders, but don't count on

them for hope-filled, confidence-inspiring actions.

The mission is simply too important to leave it to them.

Rather, as individuals in community, we might follow the model of

the Good Samaritan for giving and receiving hope.

Human hope can start with a dream, but it must not end there.

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