Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 348
Veritatis Splendor by Pope John Paul II doesn't include many characters. It's an examination of the Catholic Church's teachings and moral theology that encourages church leaders to examine their practices and discusses truth, fulfillment, and happiness.
The "Brother Bishops" that the author addresses are the people to whom he's writing. He wants to convince them that certain aspects of Catholic moral theology and practices should be reconsidered. According to the eNotes Study Guide, Pope John Paul II wrote the text because there were controversies in the church and he wanted to examine certain teachings of it.
Jesus is a major character who the author makes repeated references to in the text. He's the son of God and the savior of mankind. In Veritatis Splendor, Jesus appears in illustrative parables as a reference to his saving the souls of man, and as an ideal to strive for. Following Jesus is the morally correct thing to do for people and is what will lead them to truth and happiness.
God is another important figure in the work. God is the fulfillment of true and perfect happiness. People who are Christian are "new beings" who are attempting, by their actions, to live a meaningful life with God. The truths and moral teachings of the church are supposed to guide people in their quest to seek and find Him.
Adam, the first man created by God, is called "the figure of future man." He refers to Jesus as "the last Adam."
The Popes are people who have led the Catholic church and who created moral teachings for people to follow in a variety of areas of life.
The rich young man is a character the Pope references from the book of Matthew. He asks Jesus how to get to Heaven, and Jesus tells him to follow the 10 Commandments. He also tells him to go sell his possessions and then follow him. The author uses him to show how to listen directly to the moral teachings of Jesus. He says people must consider both the question asked by the man and Jesus's reply.