Human Action and the Drama of Accompaniment: The 30th Anniversary of "Veritatis Splendor" - St. Bernard's

Human Action and the Drama of Accompaniment: The 30th Anniversary of Veritatis Splendor

Sep 29, 2023



Oct 1, 2023


“The moral life presents itself as the response due to the many gratuitous initiatives taken by God out of love for man. It is a response of love…” (VS, 10)

Veritatis Splendor was written by Pope St. John Paul II as a response to the Second Vatican Council’s call for the renewal of moral theology:

The Second Vatican Council invited scholars to take “special care for the renewal of moral theology,” in such a way that “its scientific presentation, increasingly based on the teaching of Scripture, will cast light on the exalted vocation of the faithful in Christ and on their obligation to bear fruit in charity for the life of the world.” The Council also encouraged theologians, “while respecting the methods and requirements of theological science, to look for a more appropriate way of communicating doctrine to the people of their time[.]” This led to a further invitation, one extended to all the faithful, but addressed to theologians in particular: “The faithful should live in the closest contact with others of their time, and should work for a perfect understanding of their modes of thought and feelings as expressed in their culture.” [VS 29]

Veritatis Splendor thereby represents a broader postconciliar movement of renewal in moral theology that permeates the pontificates of the last 60 years. Most recently, Pope Francis has called to mind again and again the missionary context of moral theology: “the Church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently. Proclamation in a missionary style focuses on the essentials, on the necessary things: this is also what fascinates and attracts more, what makes the heart burn. . . . The proposal of the gospel must be more simple, profound, radiant. It is from this proposition that the moral consequences then flow.” (Francis speaking to Antonio Spadaro, in A Big Heart Open to God: A Conversation with Pope Francis [New York: Harper One, 2013], 34-35).

The 30th anniversary of Veritatis Splendor, also the 10th anniversary of Francis’s pontificate, seems an appropriate moment to consider the legacy of the renewal of moral theology in the postconciliar era, with a special focus on the text of Veritatis Splendor and its ecclesial reception.

The purpose of the conference is threefold:

  1. To understand and appreciate Veritatis Splendor as the most significant magisterial document expressive of the postconciliar renewal in moral theology
  2. To continue and further the trajectories of inquiry, contemplation, and engagement present within Veritatis Splendor
  3. To manifest a consideration of Church history and pontificates through a hermeneutic of reform (and not of simply continuity or discontinuity), which permits a truly ecclesial reflection on moral theology, human action, and the call to accompaniment, requiring a “discernment [which] can never prescind from the Gospel demands of truth and charity, as proposed by the Church” (Amoris Laetitia, 300).

Conference Details: September 29th - October 1st | Rochester, NY

Keynote Speakers include: Angela Franks, Ph.D., Caitlin Smith-Gilson, Ph.D., Steven Long, Ph.D. and Alessandro Rovati, Ph.D.

Learn More and Register