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Life in Christ

515

2122

“The minister should ask nothing for the administration of the

sacraments beyond the offerings defined by the competent authority,

always being careful that the needy are not deprived of the help of the

sacraments because of their poverty.”

56

The competent authority deter­

mines these “offerings” in accordance with the principle that the Christian

people ought to contribute to the support of the Church’s ministers. “The

laborer deserves his food.”

57

Atheism

2123

“Many . . . of our contemporaries either do not at all

perceive, or explicitly reject, this intimate and vital bond of man

to God. Atheism must therefore be regarded as one of the most

serious problems of our time.”

58

2124

The name “atheism” covers many very different phenom­

ena. One common form is the practical materialismwhich restricts

its needs and aspirations to space and time. Atheistic humanism

falsely considers man to be “an end to himself, and the sole maker,

with supreme control, of his own history.”

59

Another form of

contemporary atheism looks for the liberation of man through

economic and social liberation. “It holds that religion, of its very

nature, thwarts such emancipation by raising man’s hopes in a

future life, thus both deceiving him and discouraging him from

working for a better form of life on earth.”

60

2125

Since it rejects or denies the existence of God, atheism is a

sin against the virtue of religion.

61

The imputability of this offense

can be significantly diminished in virtue of the intentions and the

circumstances. “Believers can have more than a little to do with the

rise of atheism. To the extent that they are careless about their

instruction in the faith, or present its teaching falsely, or even fail

in their religious, moral, or social life, they must be said to conceal

rather than to reveal the true nature of God and of religion.”

62

2126

Atheism is often based on a false conception of human

autonomy, exaggerated to the point of refusing any dependence

on God.

63

Yet, “to acknowledge God is in no way to oppose the

dignity of man, since such dignity is grounded and brought to

56 CIC, can. 848.

57

Mt

10:10; cf.

Lk

10:7;

1 Cor

9:5-18;

1 Tim

5:17-18.

58

GS

19 § 1.

59

GS

20 § 1.

60

GS

20 § 2.

61 Cf.

Rom

1:18.

62

GS

19 § 3.

63 Cf.

GS

20 § 1.

29

1735

396

154