Knights of Columbus   Print This Page | Close This Window
Archived Online Discussion
Topic: Crossing the Threshold of Hope
Date: 5-6 pm (ET)
on Thursday, August 28, 2008
Carl Anderson
Supreme Knight
Carl Anderson:
Thank you all for joining us this evening as we discuss one of the great works of Pope John Paul II.

What is the hope John Paul is talking about?
Carl Anderson:
Pope John Paul II recommended this title himself to journalist Vittorio Messori. He began his papacy with the words "be not afraid" and summarizes this hope in a proper understanding of the words "the fear of God." Correctly understood: "The fear of God is the saving power of the Gospel. It is a constructive, never destructive fear. It creates people who allow themselves to be led by responsibility, by responsible love."

francis goodwin
Shortsville, NY, USA
How will our new FATHERS FOR GOOD activities combat the culture's attempt to abolish fatherhood
and let the rays of the father-son paradigm shine? (page 227)
Carl Anderson:
As Pope John Paul points out in that section, original sin attempts to "abolish fatherhood... placing in doubt the truth about God who is Love and leaving man only with a sense of the master-slave relationship." The idea of our site is designed to strengthen families, and create better loving relationships between fathers and their wives and children. Certainly, one key component of this is prayer, and authentic understanding of God, our father. I would strongly encourage fathers both to visit our site and to read the last chapter of this book, since I think it speaks directly to our relationship with God and can help us to take to heart that relationship in our dealings with our own parents and children.

Paul P
I heard about a Marian Congress that will be held in Phoenix next year. Do you have any details?
Carl Anderson:
We certainly are planning a Marian Congress in Phoenix next year following our Supreme Convention there in August 2009. It will be the first International Marian Congress on Our Lady of Guadalupe, and we will continue to post updates on this event at

District Deputy Robert B. Camilleri
Las Vegas, Nevada
Could you please update us on the status of the process of canonization for Pope John Paul the Great. Also, could you draw any comparisons between Pope John Paul II's Crossing the Threshold of Hope with the writings of Pope Benedict XVI? Finally, it was a thrill to watch the Supreme Convention from Quebec City on EWTN!
Carl Anderson:
First let me say that I am glad that you enjoyed the convention. As has been reported, the process for John Paul's canonization is moving forward, but there is no exact information on a beatification or canonization yet. John Paul in Crossing the Threshold of Hope and Pope Benedict in Salt of the Earth both discuss relations with other religions and the fact that Catholicism cannot be simply seen in numerical terms but must also be seen as something that has great benefits to society far beyond just its adherents.

Donna Rothstein
Clearwater, MN, USA
My question is regarding the virtue of hope. It seems to be the forgotten virtue. We learn a lot about faith and love but hope seems to be neglected. Without it we fall into doubt, then despair. What are some ways we can grow in perseverance and patience in order to have hope real in our daily lives?
Carl Anderson:
Certainly both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have put a great emphasis on hope. John Paul most obviously in this book and Benedict in his second encyclical, Spe Salvi. Benedict is very clear. He says hope is understandable only as we are directed to and linked with right action. So you might say that it is not having greater perseverance and patience in order to have hope that is needed, but hope that is needed to build perseverance and patience. You might say that what is explicit in Spe Salvi is implicit in Crossing the Threshold of Hope.

Gregory Smigielski
Howell, Michigan 48843
Is Joe Biden a Sir Knight? I know that he is a Catholic and pro-life.
Carl Anderson:
Generally, we don't comment upon membership status, but Sen. Biden is not a member of the Knights of Columbus, and in terms of pro-life matters, the National Right to Life Committee has rated him as 0.

Timothy Paul
Was the Pope in great pain when he answered the question?
Carl Anderson:
After the 1981 assassination attempt, the Pope continously experieced a degree of pain from his wounds that varied in severity, which makes this book - and its title - even more impressive.

I thought the Pope was a wonderful leader and person, but I could never finish any of his books. What is his main message here? Is he saying that we need hope even when the world seems so terrible?
Carl Anderson:
The point of the book is that Christ conquered the world; therefore yes we should have hope, even when things, from a practical standpoint, look pretty bad.

Leo Baltierra
Grand Prairie, TX
My question is: What is the KC position on illegal imigrantion. Note I say ILLEGAL.
Thank You.
Carl Anderson:
The Knights of Columbus is on record as supporting the rule of law, which includes the dignity of these people even when in the country.

It seems that Pope John Paul is very clear about the importance of defending every human life from conception to natural death. He speaks of abortion as the taking of a life. Why is there such confusion among our Catholic politicians? Pelosi and Biden come to mind immediately.
Carl Anderson:
Obviously it's not possible to say why a particular individual has come to the conclusion he or she has come to. Similarly, it is almost as difficult to tell how an individual could have confusion about the Church's teaching if he had prayerfully studied what John Paul II and Benedict XVI have written about abortion and the right to life, which continues the nearly 2000 year history of Church teaching in this area. After all, the Second Vatican Council clearly taught that we are obligated to protect life from the moment of conception. All the bishops of the world at that time declared forcefully that abortion was "an unspeakable crime." How could it be made any more clear?

Kyle R. McDonald, FIC
Charlton, MA 01507
Why is it so difficult to explain to non-Catholics as well as Catholics, the nature of suffering and sacrifice relating to the Christian life and the glory of God? Why have the virtues of courage, fortitude, and diligence been replaced by tolerance and the respect for diversity? Can we ever overcome this apathetic moral relativism of our age?
Carl Anderson:
In general, the problem is constant pressure by secular society to impose secular ways of thinking upon individuals of religious faith. As Benedict has pointed out in his encyclicals Spe Salvi and Deus Caritas Est, and as John Paul pointed our repeatedly in many encyclicals, we need to recover authentically and uniquely Christian ways of thinking and ways of living. Part of the problem is that secular society looks at tolerance and diversity too often from the point of view of indifference, while Christianity respects difference as a result of our commitment to the sanctity of conscience and religious liberty, and our commitment to truth.

Sister Angela
This is a book published many years ago. I loved to read it. But why did you pick it at this particular time?
Carl Anderson:
We hear about hope often in a secular context, and this book, along with Pope Benedict's recent encyclical on hope, which we also read for the book club, can help us focus on the true meaning of this virtue, and understand its importance.

Ron Fairly
Los Angeles
I don't understand all the talk about hope. In my day, the priests talked about faith, not just as something we hoped for but as something we could learn. It had a content that had to be believed.
Carl Anderson:
Christian hope is inseperable from Christian faith. You're absolutely right that there is a context to which our faith adheres directly. Therefore catechesis is important. And unfortunately the content of our faith is not taught as well as it has been in other times. An example of this is the confusion that some Catholics have about the sinfulness of abortion. But we now live in a time that is particularly without hope. This is one of the consequences of the spiritual poverty which Mother Teresa spoke about as existing in affluent societies, and which John Paul traces in his book to certain trends in philosophical thought.

Jack Spencer
Paris TN
Worthy Supreme Knight,
How do you compare this book to the writings of other Popes? is this one of the greatest?
Carl Anderson:
It would be hard to say if this is one of the greatest. But it is a great example of John Paul II's determination to use every means to reach as many people as possible with the good news of the Gospel. Whether it was with poetry or plays or books or personal visits, John Paul reached out to the world in every way he could.

Yuma, AZ
You knew Pope John Paul II very well. What do think people can do to further the new evangelization that he mentions in the book?
Carl Anderson:
The most important thing is to understand that the new evangelization is directed towards people and societies who have rejected Christianity. They reject Christianity because they believe it is false; they believe it is contrary to human happiness. The most important contribution we can make to the new evangelization is to live in such a way that we make an authentic Christian witness and that people see that Christianity makes a dramatic difference that is beneficial in our lives and in society.

Copyright © Knights of Columbus. All rights reserved.