“And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18)
I said to myself the other day, “self, what is on your mind?” Self responded, “I’ve been thinking about how important the rock has been in my life.” “What rock is that,” said self-reflective self? “The rock of Peter,” said self in a sort of self-less way. And then self went on to explain what he meant to his self-reflective and thoughtful companion.
“Remember that day when we were walking down the road and we bumped into Mr. Moral Relativism. That guy was slick. He told us he was sure that there were no universal moral truths, and he even introduced us to a few of his friends: Mr. Fornication, Mr. Contraception, Mr. Pornography, Mr. Abortion, and Mr. Anything Goes. We were really taken in by his arguments, and his friends assured us he was right – relatively speaking, they said.”
Self continued, “We might have followed Mr. Moral Relativism and his friends down that wide path which said, ‘Untruth: Unknown and Dangerous,’ but then I noticed a much narrower path just a short distance away which said, ‘The Way, the Truth and the Life’, so we walked over to that path and encountered a kind looking man wearing a white hat, a white robe and holding on to a large staff.”
We asked the man who he was, and he said, “I am the Successor of Peter, and Peter was the rock upon whom Jesus built his church.” This man, whom we came to know as John Paul II, explained to us that there is an objective moral order in the world precisely because the world is an image and reflection of God – its Creator. He told us that he had written and promulgated an encyclical, The Splendor of Truth, in which he not only refuted the theory of moral relativism but reaffirmed with the authority of Christ’s Vicar the universality and objectivity of the moral law.
This kindly man handed me a copy of his encyclical, and I saw that at paragraph 115 he had written the following:
“Each of us knows how important is the teaching which represents the central theme of this Encyclical and which is today being restated with the authority of the Successor of Peter. Each of us can see the seriousness of what is involved, not only for individuals but also for the whole of society, with the reaffirmation of the universality and immutability of the moral commandments, particularly those which prohibit always and without exception intrinsically evil acts” (paragraph 115 of Veritatis Splendor).
“Wow,” said self (to himself), “we almost made a wrong turn. Thank goodness that Jesus established this office of Peter. I mean all of that untruth looked attractive. But I knew deep in my heart something wasn’t right, or rather that something was wrong. Jesus was very wise to set-up the Petrine ministry.” And then self said a prayer, as he walked down that narrow path, “thank you Lord Jesus for protecting me from untruth by building your church on the rock.”
Tom Mulcahy (see commentary below)
Inspiration: For format: Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress.
Link to encyclical: Veritatis splendor – Ioannes Paulus PP. II – Encyclical Letter …
Commentary: It is hard to imagine that a Pope could now write a document touching profoundly upon Catholic morality without setting forth the principles in Veritatis Splendor. Nevertheless, I quote from Father De Souza:
“The drafters of Amoris Laetitia knew that the teaching of Veritatis Splendor posed a serious challenge. That is why, astonishingly for one of the longest papal documents in history, including some 400 footnotes, there is not a single reference to Veritatis Splendor. It is the equivalent of writing an apostolic exhortation on Catholic social doctrine and never referring to Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum, or on biblical studies and never referring to Divino Afflante Spiritu by Venerable Pius XII.” (Quote from Father Raymond J. De Souza’s article, “When the Splendor of Truth is Hidden.”)
See my previous post:
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