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Baptizing babies, Pope underlines importance of Christian names

Catholic World News - January 10, 2011

Faith is “the most precious thing in life: the most authentic and most beautiful reason to live,” Pope Benedict XVI said as he baptized 21 infants in a January 9 ceremony in the Sistine Chapel.

Following tradition, the Holy Father baptized the babies—children of Vatican employees—on the feast of the Baptism of the Lord. He voiced the hope that the sacrament would be the beginning of “a journey of sanctity and conformity to Jesus.”

The Pope encouraged the parents and godparents of the newly baptized children to help them grow in the faith, warning that such help is particularly necessary today, “in the current social context in which the institution of the family is threatened on many side.” He added that parishes must also help young families, since “the collapse of stable points of cultural reference and the rapid and continual transformation of society make the task of education truly difficult.”

Later, at his regular midday audience, the Pope told the crowd in St. Peter’s Square that the faithful should regain an active appreciation for the great grace of Baptism. He particularly urged parents to recognize the value of giving their children a distinctively Christian name, as “an unmistakable sign that the Holy Spirit causes man to be 'born again' in the bosom of the Church.”

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  • Posted by: extremeCatholic - Jan. 12, 2011 10:27 PM ET USA

    I teach RCIA and because in secular history children acquire no knowledge of the saints, they grow up not even knowing what names are saints names. Sincerely, as adults they wouldn't be able to recognize "Catherine" or "Michelle" as saints names and "Brittney" as not being a saints name.

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