Thomas More College Professor Narrates Papal Encyclical for Global Audience

by Thomas More College on September 15, 2008

For Immediate Release
September 15, 2008
Contact: Charlie McKinney
Phone: (603) 880-8308, ext. 21

(Merrimack, New Hampshire)— Dr. Christopher O. Blum, Professor of Humanities at the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts, recently recorded a reading of Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical Spe Salvi (Saved in Hope), which is now available for the first time to a global audience via the Internet at  The file can be heard on one’s personal computer, or downloaded onto an mp3 player.

“The experience of voicing the words of the Vicar of Christ was both humbling and strenuous,” Blum said. “I worked very hard to get the rhythm right, to be clear and serious without sounding unduly portentous. It felt a bit like diving into the deep end when you are learning how to swim.”
Promulgated on November 30, 2007, Benedict XVI’s second papal encyclical serves as an examination of Christian hope. It offers insights on the importance of hope, saying hope can truly be found in Jesus Christ.
“I find the encyclical to be very engaging,” Blum says. “Like John Paul II, Pope Benedict seems to be using the encyclical as a means of broadcasting to the whole world the saving message of the Gospel.  It is surprising, however, that the present Holy Father, who is even more academic than his predecessor, has adopted a style that might be called pastoral rather than professorial.  I find the encyclical to read more like a sermon than an academic treatise.  But I suppose that comment might betray my liking for lengthy and well-polished sermons.”

Tony Assaf, the Director of Thomas More College’s Vatican Studies Center and editor of the Arabic edition of H2o News, is currently translating and narrating the Arabic version of Spe Salvi, which will be disseminated broadly throughout the Arabic speaking world.

H2o News released Blum’s narration of this encyclical last month. H2o News is an international Catholic news service operating on a global scale and is headquartered in Rome.  H2o News creates and distributes multimedia news daily in nine languages worldwide, and works closely with Vatican Television Center (CTV), Vatican Radio, Zenit News Agency, Salt and Light Canadian TV, and Teleplace in Italy, among other Catholic media.

The Thomas More College of Liberal Arts is a four-year college that provides the rising generation with an education that forms them intellectually and spiritually within the Catholic intellectual tradition and with full fidelity to the Magisterium.  Additionally, the College has launched entrepreneurial new centers that seek to advance the teachings of the Catholic Church beyond the confines of its campus.  These centers include the Vatican Studies Center, the Center for New England Politics and Culture, the Caroline Gordon Program, and the Center for Faith and Culture in Oxford, England.


If you would like additional information, or would like to schedule an interview with Professor Christopher Blum or President Jeff Nelson, please contact Charlie McKinney at (603) 880-8308, ext. 21 or (603) 913-5939, or by email at

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