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St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle; be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray. And do you, O prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, cast into Hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen. Advertise Now

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REFLECTIONS

"Jesus' Baptism"

Why did Jesus, the sinless one sent from the Father in heaven, submit himself to John's baptism? John preached a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins (Luke 3:3). In this humble submission we see a foreshadowing of the "baptism" of Jesus bloody death upon the cross. Jesus' baptism is the acceptance and the beginning of his mission as God's suffering Servant (Isaiah 52:13-15; 53:1-12). He allowed himself to be numbered among sinners. Jesus submitted himself entirely to his Father's will. Out of love he consented to this baptism of death for the remission of our sins. Do you know the joy of trust and submission to God? Read More »

CARDINAL MARTINO PENS ON POPE'S SPEECHES IN BAVARIA

Cardinal Raffaele Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, wrote an in-depth article on Benedict XVI's recent speeches in Bavaria which appears in the September 25 edition of L'Osservatore Romano.

Cardinal Van Thuân International Observatory for the Social Doctrine of the Church translated the article which pointed out the that polemical target of the Pope Benedict's speeches is self limitation of western reason.

Below is Cardinal Martino's article:

* * *

The "Quaestio de Veritate," Christianity and Other Religions
The Speeches Delivered by Benedict XVI During His Trip to Bavaria

By Cardinal Raffaele Martino

Many of the statements made by the Pope in the course of his journey to Bavaria, from the 9th to the 14th of September, concerned truth, starting from a question that is often present in the speeches and homilies of the Pontiff: Can Christianity still be considered reasonable in the eyes of today's man? We believe in God, "is it reasonable?" he asked himself during the homily at Islinger Feld on the morning of September 12. In fact, the West seems to suffer from a "hardness of hearing" and what is said about God "strikes us as pre-scientific, no longer suited to our age," he said on Sunday, September 10, during the holy Mass at the outdoor site of the Neue Messe in Munich.

According to Benedict XVI, the clarification of the relationship between Christianity and truth, and therefore between Christianity and reason, is important first of all for the re-evangelization of the Western world and is also equally important for establishing a relationship between all religions based on dialogue and tolerance. These aspects must be addressed separately, even though they are connected.

Christianity is the faith in Creative Reason, not Unreason. At Islinger Feld, the Pope asked himself -- "What came first?" -- and provided the two possible answers: "Creative Reason, the Creator Spirit who makes all things and gives them growth, or Unreason, which, lacking any meaning, yet somehow brings forth a mathematically ordered cosmos, as well as man and his reason." However, this second answer is illogical because then our reason would be only a casual product of evolution, therefore the product of an irrational process. Christian faith, concludes the Pope, believes "that at the beginning of everything is the eternal Word, with Reason and not Unreason."

The same concept is reiterated in the "Lectio magistralis" at the University of Regensburg: "Not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God's nature."

The polemical target of these statements by the Holy Father is the self-limitation of Western reason. Christianity does no longer seem reasonable to the Western man because he has adopted a reductive, positivistic idea of reason that accepts as true only what is mathematical and empirical. The Pope described and exposed the limits of this type of rationality in his lecture at the meeting with the representatives of science at the University of Regensburg.

If "only the kind of certainty resulting from the interplay of mathematical and empirical elements can be considered scientific" in the West today, then we understand where that "hardness of hearing" where God is concerned comes from. Western positivistic reason drastically curtails the range of our relationship with reality and is incapable of opening itself to the rationality of faith, which requires a metaphysical drive. In the Aula Magna of the University of Regensburg, in fact, the Pope stressed the need of "broadening our concept of reason."

This is crucial also for the dialogue between religions because positivistic reason and the forms of philosophy based on it claim to be universally valid and therefore capable of dominating the entire planet through technological development. But, in this way, they prevent a genuine dialogue of cultures and religions. They lead to a "cynicism that considers mockery of the sacred to be an exercise of freedom and that holds up utility as the supreme criterion for the future of scientific research"; these were the words pronounced by the Pope in Munich [at] the Neue Messe on September 10.

When he condemned the "mockery of the sacred," the Pope was not just referring to the mockery of Christianity, but to the mockery of any religion. "The tolerance which we urgently need," added Benedict XVI on that occasion, "includes the fear of God -- respect for what others hold sacred." In this way, the Pope criticizes the arrogance of a Western reason that has been reduced to technology and reaffirms the importance of tolerance and dialogue based on mutual respect between religions.

In fact, still at the University of Regensburg, the Holy Father said that "the world's profoundly religious cultures see this exclusion of the divine [exclusion that is caused by positivistic reason] from the universality of reason as an attack on their most profound convictions. A reason which is deaf to the divine and which relegates religion into the realm of subcultures is incapable of entering into the dialogue of cultures."

In Munich, on September 10, the Pope expressed the same concept: "People in Africa and Asia admire, indeed, the scientific and technical prowess of the West, but they are frightened by a form of rationality which totally excludes God from man's vision." And [he] concluded: "They do not see the real threat to their identity in the Christian faith, but in the contempt for God."

When we reaffirm the relationship between Christianity and truth, then, this not only does not prevent dialogue with other religions, but opens a deeper dialogue because, citing an excerpt from a book written by the present Pontiff when he was still cardinal, "If truth is offered, this means a leading out of alienation and thus out of the state of division; it means the vision of a common standard that does no violence to any culture but that guides each one to its own heart, because each exists ultimately as an expectation of truth" [Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, "Truth and Tolerance: Christian Belief and World Religions," Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2004, p. 66].

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LIVES OF THE SAINTS

DECEMBER 1
T. EDMUND CAMPION

St. Edmund lived in the sixteenth century. He was a very popular young English student who was..Read More »

DECEMBER 2
ST. BIBIANA

St. Bibiana's father Flavian had been prefect of the city of Rome in early Christian times. Read More »

DECEMBER 3
ST. FRANCIS XAVIER

St. Francis Xavier, the great missionary, was born at Xavier Castle in Spain in 1506.Read More »

DECEMBER 4
ST. JOHN DAMASCENE

St. John lived in the eighth century. He was born in the city of Damascus of a good Christian familyRead More »

DECEMBER 5
ST. SABAS

St. Sabas, born in 439, is one of the most famous monks of Palestine.Read More »

DECEMBER 6
ST. NICHOLAS

St. Nicholas is the great patron of children and of Christmas giving.Read More »

DECEMBER 7
ST. AMBROSE

St. Ambrose was born around 340. He was the son of the Roman governor of Gaul. When his father died.. Read More »

DECEMBER 8
IMMACULATE CONCEPTION OF MARY

Our first parents offended God by sinning seriously.Read More »

DECEMBER 9
BLESSED JUAN DIEGO

St. Juan Diego is well-known because the Mother of God appeared to him. It was to Juan Diego ..Read More »

DECEMBER 10
ST. JOHN ROBERTS

St. John was born in Wales in 1577. Although he was not a Catholic, he was taught by an elderly priest.Read More »

DECEMBER 11
ST. DAMASUS I

ST. Damasus was born in Rome and lived in the fourth century-exciting times for the Church.Read More »

DECEMBER 12
OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE

We celebrate the event of Mary's appearances on Tepyac Hill in Mexico. The heavenly visitor came..Read More »

DECEMBER 13
ST. LUCY

St. Lucy, the beloved saint, lived in Syracuse, Sicily. She was born toward the end of the third century.Read More »

DECEMBER 14
ST. JOHN OF THE CROSS

St. John was born in Spain in 1542. He was the son of a weaver.Read More »

DECEMBER 15
ST. NINO

St. Nino was a Christian girl who lived in the fourth century.Read More »

DECEMBER 16
ST. ADELAIDE

St. Adelaide was born in 931. At the age of sixteen, this Burgundian princess was married to King Lothair.Read More »

DECEMBER 17
ST. OLYMPIAS

St. Olympias was born around the year 361. She belonged to a great family of Constantinople.Read More »

DECEMBER 18
ST. FLANNAN

St. Flannan lived around the seventh century. He was the son of an Irish chieftain named Turlough. Flannan was educated by the monks.Read More »

DECEMBER 19
BLESSED URBAN V

Blessed Urban's name before he became pope was William de Grimoard. He was born in France..Read More »

DECEMBER 20
ST. DOMINIC OF SILOS

St. Dominic, a Spanish shepherd boy, was born at the beginning of the eleventh century.Read More »

DECEMBER 21
ST. PETER CANISIUS

ST. Peter, a Dutch man, was born in 1521. His father wanted him to be a lawyer. To please him, young Peter..Read More »

DECEMBER 22
ST. CHAEREMON AND ST. ISCHYRION AND OTHER MARTYRS

The third century was marked by Roman persecutions of the Church.Read More »

DECEMBER 23
ST. JOHN OF KANTY

St. John, the Polish saint, was born in 1390, the son of good country folk. Seeing how intelligent their son was, Read More »

DECEMBER 23
ST. MARGUERITE D'YOUVILLE

St. Marguerite was born in Quebec, Canada, on October 15, 1701. Her father died in 1708 ..Read More »

DECEMBER 24
ST. CHARBEL

St. Charbel was born Youssef Makhlouf on May 8, 1828, in a mountain village in Lebanon.Read More »

DECEMBER 25
CHRISTMAS, THE BIRTHDAY OF JESUS

The time had come for the Son of God to become man for love of us.Read More »

DECEMBER 26
ST. STEPHEN

St. Stephen's name means crown. He was the first disciple of Jesus to receive the martyr's crown.Read More »

DECEMBER 27
ST. JOHN THE APOSTLE

St. John was a fisherman in Galilee. He was called to be an apostle.Read More »

DECEMBER 28
THE HOLY INNOCENTS

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the Wise Men came from the east to worship him.Read More »

DECEMBER 29
ST. THOMAS BECKET

St. Thomas Becket was born in 1118, in London, England.Read More »

DECEMBER 30
CST. ANYSIA

St. Anysia lived in Thessalonica toward the end of the second century.Read More »

DECEMBER 31
ST. SYLVESTER

St. Sylvester dates back to early Christian times, to the reign of Constantine.Read More »

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