POPE’S MESSAGE | Name given at baptism gives sense of identity, belonging

Paul Haring | Catholic News Service
Related Articles: 

VATICAN CITY — Naming a child is an important task for parents, because it gives children a sense of identity and belonging to their family and to God, Pope Francis said.

"Without a name, we remain unknown, without rights and duties. God calls each one of us by name, loving us individually in the concreteness of our history," the pope said April 18 in his weekly general audience.

"Therefore, the name is important. Parents think of the name to give to their child already before birth," he said. "This, too, is part of the expectation of a child who, in his or her name, will have an original identity, including for the Christian life linked to God."

Continuing his series of Easter-season talks on baptism, the pope said that a person's name, asked during the welcoming rite of the sacrament, "takes us out of anonymity" and is the first step in a person's journey as a Christian.

"Baptism ignites the personal vocation to live as Christians, which will develop throughout one's life. It implies a personal response and not a borrowed answer that is 'copied and pasted,'" he said.

Another important designation given to children and adults who receive baptism is the sign of the cross, the pope said.

Making the sign of the cross, he added, "is the badge that shows who we are: Our way of speaking, thinking, looking and working is under the sign of the cross, that is, the love of Jesus until the end."

Departing from his prepared remarks, Pope Francis once again asked parents and grandparents to teach their children how to properly make the sign of the cross, which at times "is not done well."

"To make the sign of the cross when we wake up, before eating, when facing danger, to defend against evil and at night before going to sleep means telling ourselves and others who we belong to, who we want to become," the pope said. 

Gospel calls Christians to reject economy that exploits

VATICAN CITY — The Gospel requires Christians to "denounce personal and social sins committed against God and neighbor in the name of the god money and of power for its own sake," Pope Francis wrote.

Finance and the economy effect every person and every society, playing a large part in "determining the quality of life and even death" and the degree to which a person's life is worthy of his or her God-given dignity, the pope wrote in the introduction to the book "Potere e Denaro" ("Power and Money"). The book was released April 12.

Written by Michele Zanzucchi, editor of Citta Nuova, the magazine of the Focolare Movement, the volume examines what Pope Francis has said and written about the economy and business, social justice, poverty and care for creation.

In line with his predecessors and with the social teaching of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis wrote in the introduction, he knows that the Gospel message applies to social and economic questions as well as to questions of personal spirituality and Church life because "God does not abandon His creatures to the clutches of evil."

While the global economy has allowed billions of people to attain well-being, he stated, "the economy and markets have had a role in the excessive exploitation of common resources, increasing inequality and the deterioration of the planet."

The world has enough wealth to feed, house and offer medical care to all its inhabitants, but resources are concentrated in the hands of a few people and millions of others struggle to survive. A particular concern, he stated, are the billions of dollars private individuals and companies make from manufacturing weapons, "funds that prosper from innocent blood."

People must become more aware of how the economy works and how much wealth is produced by exploiting people or the environment and by speculation or investing in money rather than in companies that employ people and produce useful products and services, the pope wrote.

"Sin has and continues to stain the original goodness" of human beings and of all creation, "but it cannot cancel the imprint of the image of God present in every person," he said. "Therefore, we must not lose hope: we are living in a difficult age, but one full of new and unheard of opportunities."

— Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service 

No votes yet