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  #1  
Old 29th January 2010, 03:32 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Default Veritatis Splendor commentary

on sections 1 and 2
http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/jo...lendor_en.html

"Truth enlightens man's intelligence and shapes his freedom, leading him to know and love the Lord."

God is truth, and so an effective search for moral truth must include faith in God.

1. Morality and holiness are based on obedience to truth.

"Man's capacity to know the truth is also darkened, and his will to submit to it is weakened" that is, by the effect of original sin called concupiscence.

"But no darkness of error or of sin can totally take away from man the light of God the Creator."

The natural law is accessible to each human person by the light of reason, by free will searching for truth through reason. And so no human person who has the use of reason can have complete invincible ignorance in every area of morality.

2. "Consequently the decisive answer to every one of man's questions, his religious and moral questions in particular, is given by Jesus Christ"

Although natural law makes all moral truths available to us, moral truth is more easily known, with greater certitude, through Jesus Christ, who is truth incarnate. For God is Truth, and Christ is God.
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  #2  
Old 30th January 2010, 09:58 PM
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3. "The Church knows that the issue of morality is one which deeply touches every person; it involves all people, even those who do not know Christ and his Gospel or God himself. She knows that it is precisely on the path of the moral life that the way of salvation is open to all."

The Catholic Church offers faith, morals, and salvation. We believe, therefore we life a moral life, and thereby we attain salvation. This salvation is available to all persons, even non-Catholics and non-Christians, provided that they either avoid all actual mortal sin, or repent from every actual mortal sin. Those who openly reject God and/or His Church can still attain to eternal life, either by repenting of this sin, or, by reduced culpability, if this objective mortal sin is not, for them, also an actual mortal sin.

However, the path to salvation is much easier and the goal of salvation is attained with much greater surety, for believing practicing Catholics than for any other persons.

4. The teaching of the Church "represents a constant deepening of knowledge with regard to morality". The understanding of moral truth of the Church on earth continually becomes ever more profound. The moral law does not change, nor does Divine Revelation change. The whole moral law is accessible to reason alone, by natural law. And the whole moral law is revealed in Divine Revelation. But our understanding of the moral law becomes ever better as time passes.

Next, Pope John Paul II explains that he wrote Veritatis Splendor because of a serious problem within the Church on the topic of moral theology:

"In fact, a new situation has come about within the Christian community itself, which has experienced the spread of numerous doubts and objections of a human and psychological, social and cultural, religious and even properly theological nature, with regard to the Church's moral teachings. It is no longer a matter of limited and occasional dissent, but of an overall and systematic calling into question of traditional moral doctrine, on the basis of certain anthropological and ethical presuppositions."

"In particular, note should be taken of the lack of harmony between the traditional response of the Church and certain theological positions, encountered even in Seminaries and in Faculties of Theology, with regard to questions of the greatest importance for the Church and for the life of faith of Christians, as well as for the life of society itself."

My opinion is that this severe problem in moral theology, within the Church, still persists today.
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Old 1st February 2010, 12:21 AM
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5. "to write an Encyclical with the aim of treating "more fully and more deeply the issues regarding the very foundations of moral theology", foundations which are being undermined by certain present day tendencies."

Still today, the very foundations of moral theology are being undermined by certain tendencies among theologians, and among the faithful.

"with the intention of clearly setting forth certain aspects of doctrine which are of crucial importance in facing what is certainly a genuine crisis, since the difficulties which it engenders have most serious implications for the moral life of the faithful and for communion in the Church, as well as for a just and fraternal social life."

This is a very serious problem that is mostly being ignored by those theologians who at least are not part of the problem.

"The specific purpose of the present Encyclical is this: to set forth, with regard to the problems being discussed, the principles of a moral teaching based upon Sacred Scripture and the living Apostolic Tradition, and at the same time to shed light on the presuppositions and consequences of the dissent which that teaching has met."

This is an ambitious goal, one that had never before been undertaken by a Pope or Council. Veritatis Splendor has met that goal by being the single most complete and comprehensive magisterial document on the fundamental principles of morality.

6. "The dialogue of Jesus with the rich young man, related in the nineteenth chapter of Saint Matthew's Gospel, can serve as a useful guide for listening once more in a lively and direct way to his moral teaching:"

The teaching of Pope John Paul II in this encyclical is based firmly on Tradition and Scripture.
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Old 1st February 2010, 11:17 PM
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7. "For the young man, the question is not so much about rules to be followed, but about the full meaning of life."

Morality is not only about avoiding sin, but also about living in accord with the teaching of Christ, who is Light and Life.

8. "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. Christ is the Teacher, the Risen One who has life in himself and who is always present in his Church and in the world."

Although we can say, in a sense, that the moral law is based on reason and on natural law, ultimately it is based on God. For God is the author of reason and of natural law, as well as the author of Divine Revelation. In order to understand the moral law, we must understand the will and plan of God.
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Old 3rd February 2010, 12:46 AM
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9. "Only God can answer the question about what is good, because he is the Good itself. To ask about the good, in fact, ultimately means to turn towards God, the fullness of goodness."

God is the basis for all morality. God is Goodness itself, by His very Nature. All search for moral truth is a search for God.

10. "For the one who loves God it is enough to be pleasing to the One whom he loves: for no greater reward should be sought than that love itself; charity in fact is of God in such a way that God himself is charity". (St. Leo the great, Sermon XCII, Chap. III)

Our love for God compels us to strive to become moral persons, avoiding sin, and doing good in cooperation with his grace. Morality is based on the love of God above all else. Whoever does not love God above all else, cannot avoid committing many sins.
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Old 4th February 2010, 01:31 AM
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11. "Acknowledging the Lord as God is the very core, the heart of the Law, from which the particular precepts flow and towards which they are ordered."

All the positive and negative precepts are based on the holiness of God, "because God alone is the One who is good." The entire moral law, every principle of right and wrong, every truth about what is sin and what is moral, is based on the eternal truth that God is Goodness itself, that God alone has infinite Goodness as His Nature.

We can only hope to do good, and to be good persons, finite created persons, by "the offer of a share in the divine Goodness revealed and communicated in Jesus" and granted to us through grace.

12. In order that we might be able to know good from evil, and do good, and avoid doing evil, God gave us the natural law, which is "the light of understanding infused in us by God, whereby we understand what must be done and what must be avoided. God gave this light and this law to man at creation." And so, by use of free will and reason applied to all that can be known about creation, we perceive good and evil, and we distinguish good acts from evil acts.
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Old 5th February 2010, 12:11 PM
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13. "The different commandments of the Decalogue are really only so many reflections of the one commandment about the good of the person, at the level of the many different goods which characterize his identity as a spiritual and bodily being in relationship with God, with his neighbour and with the material world."

All the Commandments flow from the single threefold commandment to love God, neighbor, self. All sin is contrary to the good of the human person, the plan of God for Creation, and our relationship with God and one another.

"The beginning of freedom", Saint Augustine writes, "is to be free from crimes... such as murder, adultery, fornication, theft, fraud, sacrilege and so forth. When once one is without these crimes (and every Christian should be without them), one begins to lift up one's head towards freedom. But this is only the beginning of freedom, not perfect freedom..."

To be truly free, one must avoid sin.

14. "This certainly does not mean that Christ wishes to put the love of neighbour higher than, or even to set it apart from, the love of God."

The love of God above all else is the first commandment, the second related commandment flows from the first, to love your neighbor as yourself.

"Both the Old and the New Testaments explicitly affirm that without love of neighbour, made concrete in keeping the commandments, genuine love for God is not possible."
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Old 5th February 2010, 02:01 PM
Pontifex Pontifex is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Conte View Post
"Both the Old and the New Testaments explicitly affirm that without love of neighbour, made concrete in keeping the commandments, genuine love for God is not possible."

John
{15:12} This is my precept: that you love one another, just as I have loved you.
{15:13} No one has a greater love than this: that he lay down his life for his friends.

Ron, can we say that the love for our friends surpasses that of our neighbours, family, spouses, children ?
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Old 5th February 2010, 02:41 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pontifex View Post
John
{15:12} This is my precept: that you love one another, just as I have loved you.
{15:13} No one has a greater love than this: that he lay down his life for his friends.

Ron, can we say that the love for our friends surpasses that of our neighbours, family, spouses, children ?

No. Jesus was using the word friend to include everyone, including family. Similarly, He used the word neighbor to include everyone, even those living far away. We are all friends; we are all neighbors. Jesus even called Judas Iscariot friend (Mt 26:50).

Our love should be a true spiritual detached love. We should not prefer our friends over our family. We do have a moral obligation to our family members that we do not have toward our friends, expressed in the commandment: "Honor your father and mother" which includes, to a lesser extent, honoring all family members.
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Old 7th February 2010, 12:53 PM
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15. "Christ is the centre of the economy of salvation, the recapitulation of the Old and New Testaments, of the promises of the Law and of their fulfilment in the Gospel; he is the living and eternal link between the Old and the New Covenants."

The Old Covenant has not passed away, nor been replaced. The Old Covenant has been transformed into the New Covenant, so that the New both includes and exceeds the Old. Nothing of faith, morals, and salvation found in the Old is lost. Even the disciplines of the Old, which are no longer in force, are still in force in their spiritual meaning, i.e. in the truths that they teach by the figure of those disciplines. And the disciplines of the Old have also been transformed into the disciplines of the New.

"Therefore, the Mosaic Law is an image of the truth"
The Old Testament was a prefigurement of the New Testament.

"Jesus shows that the commandments must not be understood as a minimum limit not to be gone beyond"

Morality is not only about avoiding sin, but about doing as much good as possible.
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