Benedict XVI on Peace

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Although the world is sadly marked by “hotbeds of tension and conflict caused by growing instances of inequality between rich and poor, by the prevalence of a selfish and individualistic mindset which also finds expression in an unregulated financial capitalism,” as well as by various forms of terrorism and crime, I am convinced that “the many different efforts at peacemaking which abound in our world testify to mankind’s innate vocation to peace. In every person the desire for peace is an essential aspiration which coincides in a certain way with the desire for a full, happy, and successful human life. In other words, the desire for peace corresponds to a fundamental moral principle, namely, the duty and right to an integral social and communitarian development, which is part of God’s plan for mankind. Man is made for the peace which is God’s gift. All of this led me to draw inspiration for this Message from the words of Jesus Christ: ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God’ (Mt 5:9)”

– Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, New Year’s Message 2013

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John Paul II on Christmas and the Dignity of Humanity

christmas-starAt the dawn of salvation, it is the birth of a child which is proclaimed as joyful news: ‘I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord’ (Lk. 2:10-11). The source of this ‘great joy’ is the birth of the Savior; but Christmas also reveals the full meaning of every human birth, and the joy which accompanies the birth of the Messiah is thus seen to be the foundation and fulfillment of joy at every child born into the world (cf. Jn. 16:21).

-St. John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae

John Paul II on “God is Love”

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“God is love.” These words are contained in the First Letter of St. John (4:16). They are the keystone of the truth about God. That truth is revealed through numerous words and many events until it reaches the full certainty of faith with the coming of Christ. These words faithfully echo Christ’s statement: “God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him may not die but may have eternal life” (John 3:16). The Church’s faith reaches its peak in this supreme truth: God is love! In Christ’s Cross and Resurrection he revealed himself definitively as love. “So we know and believe the love God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him” (1 John 4:16). The truth that God is love constitutes the apex of all that has been revealed “by the prophets and in these days by the Son,” as the Letter to the Hebrews states (1:1-2). This truth illumines the whole content of Revelation, and particularly the revealed reality of the creation and of the covenant. Creation manifests the omnipotence of God the Creator. But the exercise of omnipotence is definitively explained by means of love. God created because he could do so. But is omnipotence was guided by wisdom and moved by love. This is the work of creation. Redemption has a more powerful eloquence and offers a more radical demonstration. Love remains as the expression of omnipotence in the face of evil, in the face of sin. Only omnipotent love can draw forth good from evil and new life from sin and death.

– St. John Paul II, Discourse at the Vatican, October 2, 1985

A Child Speaks of His Conception

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Under the abstract words of paternity…I have come to believe that, far from being endowed with an absolute experience of my own, I am, without having wished or suspected it, I incarnate the reply to the reciprocal appeal which two beings flung to each other in the unknown and which, without suspecting it, they flung beyond themselves to an incomprehensible power whose only expression is the bestowal of life. I am this reply, unformed at first, but who, as I become articulate, will know myself to be a reply and a judgement. Yes, I am irresistibly lead to make the discovery that by being what I am, I myself am a judgement upon those who have called me into being; and thereby infinite new relationships will be established between them and me.

– Gabriel Marcel, Homo Viator

Benedict XVI on Marriage and the Family

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Marriage and the family are not in fact a chance sociological construction, the product of particular historical and financial situations. On the other hand, the question of the right relationship between the man and the woman is rooted in the essential core of the human being and it is only by starting from here that its response can be found. In other words, it cannot be separated from the ancient but ever new human question: Who am I? What is a human being? And this question, in turn, cannot be separated from the question about God: Does God exist? Who is God? What is His face truly like? The Bible’s answer to these two questions unties them, and makes one a consequence of the other: the human being is created in the image of God, and God Himself is love. It is therefore the vocation to love that makes the human person an authentic image of God: Man and woman come to resemble God to the extent that they become loving people.

– Benedict XVI

St. Basil the Great on the Dignity of Women

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“And God made human being according to his image.” “The [masc.] human being,” says the woman, “What does that have to do with me? The man came to be, for it does not say the [fem.] human being,” she says, “but by setting forth the [masc.] human being, it implies the masculine.” But that nobody may ignorantly ascribe the name of human only to the man, it adds, “Male and female he created them” [Gen. 1:27]. The woman also possesses creation according to the image of God, as indeed does the man. The natures are alike in honor, the virtues are equal, the struggles equal, the judgement alike. Let her not say, “I am weak.” The weakness is in the flesh, in the soul is the power. Since indeed that which is according to God’s image is of equal honor, let the virtue be of equal honor, the showing forth of good works. There is no excuse for one who wishes to allege that the body is weak. And why is it simply delicate? But through compassion it is vigorous in patient endurance and earnest in vigils. When has the nature of man been able to match the nature of woman in patiently passing through her own life? When has man been able to imitate the vigor of women in fastings, the love of toil in prayers, the abundance in tears, the readiness for good works?

I have seen a woman secretly committing good thefts, doing good works apart from her husband for the sake of her husband, for the sake of the household’s growth, for the sake of the children’s long life. She gives and hides it from her husband’s knowledge, distributing alms for his sake and concealing it from him. For since the Creator sees the things that are hidden, she does not make public her well-doing.

The good woman has that which is according to the image. Do not cling to the outer human being, it is molded [like clay]. The soul is placed within, under the coverings and the delicate body. Soul indeed is equal in honor to soul; in the coverings is the difference.

Therefore you have become like God through kindness, through the endurance of evil, through communion, through love for one another and love for brethren, being a hater of evil, dominating the passions of sin, that to you may belong the rule.

-St. Basil the Great, part 18, On the origin of humanity, discourse 1

Edith Stein on the Woman’s Soul

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“Just so, woman’s soul is designed to be subordinate to man in obedience and support; it is also fashioned to be shelter in which other souls may unfold.”

“The soul of woman must therefore be expansive and open to all human beings; it must be quiet so that no small weak flame will be extinguished by stormy winds; warm so as to not benumb fragile buds; clear, so that no vermin will settle in dark corners and recesses; self-contained, so that no invasions from without can imperil the inner life; empty of itself, in order that extraneous life may have room in it; finally, mistress of itself and also of its body, so that the entire person is readily at the disposal of every call.”

-Edith Stein, Fundamental Principles of Women’s Education