“The encyclical on moral problems ‘Veritatis Splendor’ took many years to ripen and remains of unchanged relevance.” (Pope Benedict XVI)

The Vatican recently released a letter written by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI which was proferred as proof that the Pope Emeritus was content with the Francis Papacy. The letter didn’t even mention Veritatis Splendor, the encyclical written by Pope John Paul II, which numerous theologians have cited in support of moral theology errors in Pope Francis’ very controversial Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia. Just today I see that a prominent theologian has written an open letter to the Bishops of the world drawing attention to serious errors in Amoris Laetitia in consideration of Veritatis Splendor. See the following link for that story:

An Open Appeal to the Catholic Bishops of the World

BUT WAIT A MINUTE!! It turns out that Pope Benedict did in fact make mention of Veritatis Splendor in his letter, but someone at the Vatican chose to cut that portion of the letter out of the official version released to the public. Here (in the italicized quote which follows) is the portion of the letter of Pope Benedict which was initially omitted:

“Only as an aside I would like to note my surprise for the fact that, figuring among the authors is also Professor Hunermann, who during my pontificate came to light for having headed  anti-papal initiatives. He took part significantly in the release of the “Kolner Erklarung,” which, in relation to the encyclical “Veritatis splendor,” attacked virulently the magisterial authority of the Pope, especially on questions of Moral Theology. Also the “Europaische Theologengesellschaft,” which he founded, was thought by him initially as an organization in opposition to the papal magisterium. Then the ecclesial thinking of many theologians blocked this orientation, rendering that organization a regular meeting instrument among theologians.”

In light thereof – that is, in light of the full letter, one can see that Pope Benedict XVI vigorously defends the magisterial authority of Veritatis Splendor in his recent letter to the Vatican (the very thing the Vatican was hoping he would not do!). In fact, in the letter the Pope Emeritus singles out in a very unfavorable manner a theologian who attacked Veritatis Splendor, and Benedict seems to be chastising the Vatican for having sent him a small book by the theologian, a book apparently favorable to the Francis Papacy (Professor Hunermann).  Here is a link to the full letter:

Veritatis Splendor has been a thorn in the Vatican’s side ever since the beginning of the Pope Francis Papacy. As Father Raymond J. De Souza points out:

“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”)

Veritatis Splendor is like the tell-tale heart in Edgar Allan Poe’s famous short story. Although hidden away, Veritatis Splendor continues to beat louder and louder each day. It is a scary and odious noise to those in the Vatican, and it won’t go away, no matter how much they try to conceal it. The Splendor of Truth cannot be silenced.

Thomas L. Mulcahy, M.A., J.D.


P.S. See my previous post:



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