A. What is it?
“Veritatis Splendor” is an Encyclical by Pope St John Paul II, promulgated on August 6, 1993
“Veritatis Splendor” is a Latin phrase which means “The Splendour of Truth”
B. What does it speak of?
“Veritatis Splendor” responds to questions of Moral Theology that had been raised during the post-conciliar period of the Church (events after the Vatican II Council of 1962-65).
These questions revolve around human’s ability to discern good, the existence of evil, the role of human freedom and human conscience, mortal sin, and the Authority of the Magisterium of the Catholic Church in guiding people.
“Veritatis Splendor” while acknowledging that everyone makes a fundamental choice for or against Christ, also reiterates that certain acts (i.e., mortal sins) represent a fundamental choice against Christ – and potentially forever, unless one repented.
“Veritatis Splendor” consists of three chapters:
(I) Teacher, What Good Must I Do
Christ and the answer to the question about morality
(II) Do Not Be Conformed to this World
The Church and the discernment of certain tendencies in present-day moral theology
(III) Lest the Cross of Christ be emptied of its Power
Moral good for the life of the Church and of the world
C. Pointers for Reflections
- “Veritatis Splendor” speaks against the danger of moral relativism
Moral Relativism is the tendency to view reality as being “all relative” – “there are no absolute values”, “any judgment you make is your judgment from your point of view and there is no objective point of view”.
Pope Benedict XVI called this “moral relativism” as a poison
“Veritatis Splendor” begins by asserting that there are indeed absolute truths accessible to all persons.
- “Veritatis Splendor” reminds us of the reality of intrinsically evil acts
This means that certain acts are always wrong, and that there are never circumstances in which they may be permitted if done knowingly and intentionally
It is never permissible to intend directly something which contradicts a moral order.
D. What virtues/points can we pick up from the “Veritatis Splendor” for this Season of Lent?
- Become aware of the danger of “moral relativism” and how it is very much spread in the thought-philosophies of the world around us
- Realize the gravity of mortal sin and how we must be defiant in staying away from it
E. Tips to practice these virtues
- Study and reflect more on the Catholic Teachings, so that we don’t get strayed away by the “attractive modern” philosophies, which tend to neutralize truth
- Make “Examination of Conscience” a part of one’s daily timetable
May this Lent and the familiarity with this Encyclical “Veritatis Splendor” help us to grow in our acclamation: “Eureka – I have found the Lord”
(The Full Text of the “Veritatis Splendor” can be found at: http://w2.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_06081993_veritatis-splendor.html)
God Bless! Live Jesus!