The Church does not dispense the sacrament of baptism in order to acquire for herself an increase in membership but in order to consecrate a human being to God and to communicate to that person the divine gift of birth from God.
It would be unjust toward children to introduce them to Christian teaching and existence only as little pagans and catechumens, in order to leave it up to them to choose the Faith on their own responsibility at a point in time difficult to determine.
Even if a unity of faith is not possible, a unity of love is.
To be a child means to owe one's existence to another, and even in our adult life we never quite reach the point where we no longer have to give thanks for being the person we are.
What the Father gives is the capacity to be a self, freedom, and thus autonomy, but an autonomy which can be understood only as a surrender of self to the other.
In Christ, for the first time, we see that in God himself there exists--within his inseparable unity--the distinction between the Father who gives and the Gift which is given (the Son),but only in the unity of the Holy Spirit.
Mary thus learns that the Most High has ever borne a Son in his bosom, and that this Son has now chosen her bosom as dwelling-place.
Her (Mary's) Son first had to be the Child of the Father in order then to become man and be capable of taking up on his shoulders the burden of a guilty world.
What you are is God's gift to you, what you become is your gift to God.
It is to the Cross that the Christian is challenged to follow his Master: no path of redemption can make a detour around it.
Only the Christian religion, which in its essence is communicated by the eternal child of God, keeps alive in its believers the lifelong awareness of their being children, and therefore of having to ask and give thanks for things.
But the issue is not only life and death but our existence before God and our being judged by him. All of us were sinners before him and worthy of condemnation.
Our situation today shows that beauty demands for itself at least as much courage and decision as do truth and goodness, and she will not allow herself to be separated and banned from her two sisters without taking them along with herself in an act of mysterious vengeance.
To be sure, the response of faith to revelation, which God grants to the creature he chooses and moves with his love, occurs in such a way that it is truly the creature that provides the response, with its own nature and its natural powers of love.
Prior to an individual's encounter with the love of God at a particular time in history, however, there has to be another, more fundamental and archetypal encounter, which belongs to the conditions of possibility of the appearance of divine love to man.