Life in Christ
“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.”
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.”
“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.”
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.”
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.”
Since it rejects or denies the existence of God, atheism is a
sin against the virtue of religion.
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.”
Atheism is often based on a false conception of human
autonomy, exaggerated to the point of refusing any dependence
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.
19 § 1.
20 § 1.
20 § 2.
19 § 3.
20 § 1.