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Saturday, February 5, 2011

Saint Agatha - February 5 - Human Dignity

Saint Agatha
February 5
Patron Saint of those
suffering with Breast Cancer

Today we celebrate the Feast of Saint Agatha, who lived during the 3rd century.  This saint, whose name in Greek literally means good, took a vow of virginity at a young age. Loyal to her vow, she rejected the advances of a pagan consul named Quintianus. 

Overlooking her vow and her unique human dignity, Quintianus had Agatha arrested for being a Christian, and sent to live in a brothel in hopes of corrupting her.  By God’s grace, Agatha’s faith did not waiver and her virginity remained intact. She was sent back to Quintainus for torture.  Saint Agatha was martyred in Sicily under Emperor Decius.

The dignity of our human personhood does not come from our physical appearance, or our accomplishments or even our accumulation of possessions. Our human dignity comes from our unique creation in the image and likeness of God. In fact the reason we actually exist, is because God loved each of us into being, and through this love continues to hold us in existence. God placed his divine image in every person, endowing each with a spiritual and immortal soul.

As Catholics, we understand the uniqueness of our human person as a unity of our body and soul, meaning that our human dignity also includes our sexuality. Any action that undermines the unity of the body and soul, that treats sexuality as simply a physical activity or treats another person as an object to be used demeans the dignity of the human person.

“Children deserve to grow up with a healthy understanding of sexuality and its proper place in human relationships. They should be spared the
degrading manifestations and the crude manipulation of sexuality so prevalent today. They have a right to be educated in authentic moral values rooted in the dignity of the human person. … What does it mean to speak of child protection when pornography and violence can be viewed in so many homes through media widely available today? We need to reassess urgently the values underpinning society, so that a sound moral formation can be offered to young people and  adults alike. All have a part to play in this task – not only parents, religious leaders, teachers  and catechists, but the media and entertainment industries as well. Indeed, every member of   society can contribute to this moral renewal and benefit from it.”  Pope Benedict XVI, Address to Bishops, April 16, 2008

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