The splendor of transfiguration at the heart of the Christian life: The influence of Pope Saint Paul VI on Veritatis Splendor


On the sixth of August, 1993, Pope Saint John Paul II signed Veritatis Splendor. That date, the liturgical feast day of the Transfiguration of Our Lord, is significant for several reasons, each of which reveals a dimension of the “splendor” of truth about which he writes. The point most focused on here is that John Paul II’s identification of Paul VI as the “Pope of the Transfiguration” may be an influence on the document. His admiration of his predecessor’s encyclicals, particularly those that highlight the moral life and the importance of the Church in the world, offer various dimensions to consider about the splendor of truth about which he speaks. This comes to the fore with a close reading of the homilies and addresses that John Paul gave on the feast of the Transfiguration throughout his pontificate. Thereby, the thesis emerges that Veritatis Splendor may be an extension, a response, and even an homage to Paul’s Ecclesiam Suam (1964).3 Paul’s encyclical, also issued on the feast of the Transfiguration, argues that the Church acts as Christ’s source of illumination at the heart of the world. John Paul seems to consider this further evidence of Paul’s deeply personal love of the Church. Such illumination is due to the way that Christians lead their daily lives, in the light of Christ’s law of love. Paul VI says in Ecclesiam Suam that he does not have the space to articulate exactly how the moral life and action work. Yet, he emphasizes how important daily life is for this essential work of the Church. The argument here is that Veritatis Splendor seems to pick up the task of articulating just how such a moral life develops


Christian theology, Roman Catholic Church, “Veritatis Splendor”, Saint John Paul II, “Ecclesiam Suam”, Paul VI, moral life

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