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POPE-AUDIENCE Nov-21-2012 (480 words) With photos. xxxi
Lives, planet at stake without knowledge of God's truth, pope says
By Carol Glatz
Pope Benedict XVI arrives to lead his general audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican Nov. 21. (CNS/Paul Haring)
Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Belief in God is not only compatible with science, it is ultimately necessary for the preservation of human life on earth, Pope Benedict XVI said.
"Faith, truly lived, does not conflict with science, rather it cooperates with it, offering it basic criteria so that it promotes the good of everyone, asking that it forsake only those efforts that -- by going against God's own plan -- can produce effects that backfire against humanity," he said.
The pope spoke about "the reasonableness of faith as an encounter with the splendor of God's truth" during his weekly general audience Nov. 21.
"It is reasonable to believe," he told 6,000 pilgrims gathered in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall. "Our lives are at stake."
While science is constantly discovering new truths about man and the cosmos, faith reveals what is truly good for humanity and "opens the horizon toward which (humanity) must direct its journey of discovery," he said.
Religion teaches science to see human beings as the governors and custodians of creation, he said. "Man stands at the summit of creation not to exploit it foolishly but to take care of it and render it livable."
"Therefore it is critical that humanity open itself up to faith and knowing about God and his plan of salvation in Jesus Christ."
Science is "a valuable ally of faith" since it helps unlock God's plan hidden in the many mysteries of the universe, he said. Faith, too, helps science serve the good and promote "the truth of man" in fidelity to the divine order.
The pope dismissed arguments that human reason is hindered by Catholic dogma.
"The exact opposite is true," he said, since intelligence and faith are necessary conditions for understanding the meaning and authentic message of divine revelation.
Mysteries of the faith are not irrational but represent an "overabundance of meaning, significance and truth," the pope said. "If reason sees darkness when looking at mystery, it's not because mystery has no light, but rather because it has too much," like the sun which causes blindness in one who stares directly at it.
Faith allows people to look straight at "the sun" of God and receive "all the brightness of God's mystery, recognizing the great miracle" that God became man and made himself knowable and understandable to the limited human heart and mind.
At the end of his general audience talk, the pope noted that the Nov. 21 celebration of the feast of the Presentation of Mary was also a day of prayer for cloistered religious.
He expressed his special closeness to all religious women who have been called to contemplative life.
He urged Christians to offer "the necessary spiritual and material support" for these communities and monasteries adding "We owe much to these people who consecrate themselves" so that they can devote themselves "entirely to prayer for the church and the world."
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Editor's Note: A video report on the pope's audience remarks is available on the CNS Brightcove viewer on client web sites like http://www.catholicidaho.org/en/Pages/RCDBhome.aspx and at http://www.youtube.com/user/CatholicNewsService.
The text of the pope's audience remarks in English will be posted online at www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2012/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20121121_en.html.
The text of the pope's audience remarks in Spanish will be posted online at www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2012/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20121121_sp.html.
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