By Cindy Wooden
ROME (CNS) -- The life of a baptized Christian must be marked by a constant effort to say "yes" to God and "no" to the devil and all of his lies, Pope Benedict XVI said.
In baptism, "we are united to God in a new existence, we belong to God, we are immersed in God himself," the pope said June 12, opening the annual pastoral convention of the Diocese of Rome at the Basilica of St. John Lateran.
At the moment of baptism and when baptismal promises are renewed, as at the Easter vigil, Christians renounce Satan, all his works and all his lies, the pope said, offering a 20-minute off-the-cuff meditation on the meaning of baptism.
"Renouncing the glamour of Satan in today's age means rejecting a culture where truth does not matter" and where "calumny and destruction" reign, he said. Christians reject "a culture that does not seek goodness, whose morality is really a mask to trick people and create destruction and confusion."
"Against this culture in which falsehood presents itself as truth and information, against this culture that seeks only material well-being and denies God, we say, 'no,'" the pope said.
Pope Benedict said baptism is not a human initiative, but a response to God's calling people to new life in him.
The pope said he knows many people today ask whether it is a good idea to baptize infants or if it would be better to wait so that they could be educated in the faith and make their own decision to be baptized and join the church.
The question is a sign that people do not understand that the Christian life is the gift of true life and not "one choice among many" or "a burden that we should not impose without consent," he said.
However, the pope said, "life itself is given to us without our prior consent." If parents do not ask their children if they want the gift of life, he asked, why would they think their children should wait to receive the gift of new life, protected by God and supported by the Christian community?