...and a letter from Alice Von Hildebrand in response:
Optimism Is Not Hope
In the climate of doom that characterizes our era, Joanna Bogle is to be commended for reminding us that the reasons for joy and gratitude are many ("Polyanna Wins," September 2004). I, however, take exception to her using the word optimism. In common parlance it has the connotation of a natural disposition that sees the glass as half full while the pessimist sees it as half empty.
Optimism is characterized by a buoyancy that minimizes defeats and often is linked to a healthy temperament. As G. K. Chesterton put it, the optimist views everybody as good except the pessimist.
Bogle’s message would be more powerful if she had clearly (and not only tacitly) distinguished between the natural virtue of optimism and the supernatural virtue of hope. My dying husband said to me: "The situation in the Church is so grave that only fools can be optimistic; but I have hope." Hope is the Christian virtue par excellence. Its motto is "from natural defeat to supernatural victory." Calvary is not the word; it is the Resurrection.