Overview (Masterplots II: Christian Literature)
Veritatis Splendor, one of the major encyclicals written by Pope John Paul II, addresses the question of moral truth from a Christian perspective. In response to new controversies, John Paul proposes to answer certain fundamental questions regarding the moral teachings of the Catholic Church.
John Paul begins his essay with an exegesis of the famous dialogue of Jesus with the rich young man in chapter 19 of the Gospel of Saint Matthew. In this dialogue, the young man asks Jesus what good he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus answers so as to link moral good with the fulfillment of human destiny and to relate the moral life to acknowledgment of God. Humans are bound to obey the natural law that God has implanted in the human heart. The natural law is first given expression in the Decalogue and reaches fulfillment as the new law of the New Testament. The complete moral path for Christians is to follow Jesus, especially in the new commandment that he gave his disciples: “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12). Humans are able to give a free response of love for God and for neighbor by the grace of the Holy Spirit.
Because of this relationship between the moral good of human acts and eternal destiny, the Church has developed a special aspect of theology referred to as moral theology. In moral theology, the Church assesses what is good and evil in human actions. Humans find answers to...
(The entire section is 815 words.)
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