Prophecy and Diplomacy: The Moral Doctrine of John Paul II : a Jesuit Symposium

By John J. Conley; Joseph W. Koterski | Go to book overview

4. MORAL CONVERSION

Christological Bases for the
Moral Life: Redemptor
Hominis As a Key to
Veritatis Splendor

Ronald A. Mercier, S.J.

SHORTLY AFTER THE RELEASE of Veritatis Splendor, a colleague posed a very important question. How could one hold together the Christological insights of Pope John Paul's first encyclical, Redemptor Hominis, with the structure of the moral life proposed in VS? The first encyclical, with all its attention to the historical and distinctively humanistic Christ “who follows the way of man,” seemed profoundly different from the more static and ahistorical presentation of VS. Had the pope's perspective undergone a profound change from 1980 to 1993? The question proved fruitful, inviting attention to the Christological basis for the pope's theology, and most especially to his presentation of Christian morality.

The text of RH itself lays the groundwork for a distinctively Christological approach to morality. It notes, for example, that “Jesus Christ is the stable principle and fixed center of the mission that God himself has entrusted to man. We must all share in this mission and concentrate all our forces on it, since it is more necessary than ever for modern mankind” (par. 32).1 The encyclical, with its dual emphasis on morality and Christology, makes explicit that the link is both necessary and consistent. Much as the dogmatic elements of the Christological presentation are of great con

1 Paragraph numbers for the text are those provided in Claudia Carlen, I.H.M., The Papal Encyclicals, 1958–1981 (McGrath Publishing Co.), 245–74.

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Prophecy and Diplomacy: The Moral Doctrine of John Paul II : a Jesuit Symposium
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface ix
  • Abbreviations xi
  • Introduction - Prophecy and Diplomacy: the Moral Teaching of John Paul II xiii
  • I - Fundamental Moral Theory 1
  • 1. Ethics of the Person 3
  • 2. Ethics and Salvation 24
  • 3. Moral Subjectivity 40
  • 4. Moral Conversion 52
  • 5. Morality and Society 82
  • 6. Moral Theology 115
  • II - Applied Moral Theory 173
  • 7. Ethics of Culture 175
  • 8. Demographic Ethics 190
  • 9. Economic Ethics 211
  • 10. Marital Ethics 247
  • 11. Relational Ethics 270
  • 12. Morality and Gender 285
  • 13. Morality and Family Rights 293
  • 14. Comprehensive Ethic of Life 306
  • III - Postscript: John Paul Ii's Vision 313
  • 15 Homily 315
  • About the Contributors 319
  • Index 321
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