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On the Encyclical “The Splendor of the Truth”

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By Germain Grisez and Russell Shaw

On October 5, 1993, the Vatican released a long, complex new teaching document by Pope John Paul II—an encyclical called Veritatis Splendor (“The Splendor of the Truth”). Its subject is “certain fundamental questions of the Church’s moral teaching.” Why did Pope John Paul consider this encyclical necessary? Because today, Veritatis Splendor explains, it is no longer “a matter of limited and occasional dissent, but of an overall and systematic calling into question of traditional moral doctrine.” This problem exists “even in seminaries and in faculties of theology.” The nature of the dissent to which the encyclical is responding needs to be understood clearly.