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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 497

"Veritatis Splendor" is an encyclical (doctrinal letter written by the standing Pope) by Pope John Paul II in the early 1990s outlining the Catholic Church's ideas on absolute truth and the nature of evil. He also expresses some Catholic doctrine and opinions regarding birth control, which, at the time, was a major point of debate in the Catholic Church.

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Here are some quotes from the text that are very pertinent to its teachings:

People today need to turn to Christ once again in order to receive from him the answer to their questions about what is good and what is evil.

This quote illustrates the main point of the entire text. Dealing with the issue of moral relativism, which is the belief that there is no objective good and evil, the Pope is hoping to clarify, first of all, that God has outlined a true and absolute law that frames the ideas of good and evil, and second of all that the only way to truly find and understand what good and evil are is to seek Christ.

Later on, the Pope quotes further from the Biblical story of the rich young ruler, which is his guiding text for this cyclical, and he makes the following point:

Not only the rich man but the disciples themselves are taken aback by Jesus's call to discipleship, the demands of which transcend human aspirations and abilities.

The Pope is saying here that, while God has outlined good and evil, Christ is making what seems like an impossible claim—to forsake everything you have and follow Christ—in order to be saved. However, Christ reassures them that with God all things are possible. The Pope expounds upon this idea by saying that God has provided the strength needed to follow through on good actions and following the letter of the Mosaic law. So, while there is absolute truth, it is difficult to...

(The entire section contains 497 words.)

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