Veritatis Splendor's Enduring Message

International Congress Marks 10th Anniversary of Encyclical

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MURCIA, Spain, DEC. 1, 2003 ( In his encyclical «Veritatis Splendor,» John Paul II shows a relativist world that man can know objective truth, said speakers at an international congress on moral theology.

The congress, organized by Murcia’s Catholic University of St. Anthony (UCAM), commemorated the 10th anniversary of the publication of «Veritatis Splendor» and the 25th anniversary of John Paul II’s pontificate.

At the opening session, Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela, archbishop of Madrid, explained that «Veritatis Splendor» is «a response of the Church necessary for the strengthening of its own internal life.»

«The Church knows she is missionary because she knows that knowledge of the truth comes to Christianity from a personal encounter with Christ,» the cardinal said, according to a report by the Veritas agency.

For the Madrid archbishop, postmodern man’s abjuration of the truth has led to a situation in which «it is increasingly difficult to defend the category of the fundamental, inviolable, and inalienable right of the human person.»

José Luis Mendoza, president of UCAM, added that «present-day society lives alienated, believing that life comes to it from power, success, money, sex, and has put its trust in the new advances of science and technology, that is, in gods that can never give life or happiness.»

«In the face of the moral degradation that our society is going through and the loss of Christian values and virtues, the ‘Splendor of Truth’ is what gives meaning to man’s life on earth, and not as a prohibition, but as a code of life,» Mendoza added.

Martin Rhonheimer, professor of ethics at Rome’s University of the Holy Cross, said during the first lecture of the congress that faith is the «empowerment and salvation of reason, in addition to being the latter’s openness not only to what is good but to the good. Through the grace of the Holy Spirit, the subjectivity of what is moral is perfected, which attains connaturality with that good, which is God himself.»

The three-day congress was closed Saturday by its president, Cardinal Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez, archbishop of Santo Domingo and primate of America.

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