In our time, the word “hope” has become a kind of magnet that attracts to itself all manner of intellectual movements. This is a clear indication of man’s profound dissatisfaction with his life and with the world as he experiences it. He is searching for a new, different, better world. Since the revolution of 1789 and even more through the teachings of Hegel and Marx, the dominant theme of world history has become the building of a new world. But the more man attempts to do this, the more he discovers that the world cannot be made new while its inhabitants cling to their old ways. If the world is to become different, the first requirement is that man become different. Sociology, psychology, the whole gamut of the social sciences, are now trying to discover how this new man is to be created. In the drama of liberation, our contemporaries have been vigorously beating on the bars that allegedly limit their freedom; but it is apparent now that what they are actually demolishing are the pillars so toilsomely erected in the spirit of freedom to support humanity and that, to our horror, primeval barbarism is breaking out again. No century before ours has known such brutal means of torture, murder, and human self-destruction. We are relearning with dread the meaning of heathendom, of the “old Adam”. The search for the new man is an affirmation, not a negation. It is not based on contempt for creation and the obligations and possibilities it entails. Christian hope has nothing to do with anarchy or fanaticism. The Christian does not flee from the obligations of this age; he does not malign the world, but takes his place fully realizing what is demanded of him. To be a Christian means to be realistic. The Christian does not flee to utopia and does not let the present world go to ruin in the name of utopias. His life is built day by day on love and responsibility. Without such Christian realism and the humble love in the small coins of everyday life, the great treasure of a new life and its eternal love cannot come into being.
Ratzinger, J. (1992). Co-Workers of the Truth: Meditations for Every Day of the Year. (I. Grassl, Ed., M. F. McCarthy & L. Krauth, Trans.) (pp. 93–94). San Francisco: Ignatius Press.