Reading:"Veritatis Splendor (regarding certain fundamental questions of the Church's moral teaching)," by St John Paul II. If you plan to read it electronically, you can access a very readable version by clicking here.
In last month's discussion on Blessed Paul VI's Humanae Vitae and Elizabeth Anscombe's Contraception and Chastity, we analysed the Pope's and Anscombe's assessment of what then was a new type of contraceptive (the pill), in the context of the Church's traditional teaching on marriage.
Date: Tuesday the 2nd of October 2018.
The ideas in Humanae Vitae, which itself had followed Pius XI's Casti Conubii, would be further expounded in John Paul II's apostolic exhortation Familiaris Consortio. This is an example of what Blessed Cardinal Newman called an "organic development" of the Church's teaching--in this particular case on married life.
Twenty-five years on, however, the confusion existing in very specific fields of the moral teaching of the Church had spread to many others, often propounded by theological analyses based in deficient philosophical reasoning. The "Philosopher-Pope" on request of many bishops undertook a fully-fledged and philosophically grounded update of Catholic moral teaching to respond to the challenge of moral relativism. Shortly after the publication of the current Catechism of the Catholic Church John Paul II released Veritatis Splendor in 1993.
In addition to "Love and Responsibility," on Catholic sexual morality, which he wrote in 1960, Karol Wojtyla wrote extensively in moral and anthropological philosophy. His most important philosophical work is "Person and Act" published in 1969. He is also author of the encyclical that gives name to our group and whose 20th anniversary we celebrate this Friday 14 September: Fides et Ratio.
For purposes of your preparation for the next session, the whole of Veritatis Splendor is hugely important, however if you are pressed with time and have to choose, start with Chapter II "The Church and the Discernment of Certain Tendencies in present-day moral theology," and note how much philosophical reasoning is used in the analysis and assessment of those tendencies.
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