Veritatis splendor – morality and the new evangelization

A renewal of morality is a key part of the new evangelization. The new evangelization aims in part at reviving the faith of those who have fallen away due to the dechristianization of the West. This involves a loss of faith and an “obscuring of the moral sense.” The wedge between faith and life is bolstered by “today’s widespread tendencies towards subjectivism, utilitarianism and relativism [which] appear not merely as pragmatic attitudes or patterns of behavior, but rather as approaches having a basis in theory and claiming full cultural and social legitimacy.” (§106) The new evangelization must involve “the proclamation and presentation of morality.”
The renewal of morality requires more than teaching and preaching, it requires witness. The unity of faith and life means faith permeates life in all aspects. “The new evangelization will show its authenticity and unleash all its missionary force when it is carried out through the gift not only of the word proclaimed but also of the word lived. In particular, the life of holiness which is resplendent in so many members of the People of God, humble and often unseen, constitutes the simplest and most attractive way to perceive at once the beauty of truth, the liberating force of God’s love, and the value of unconditional fidelity to all the demands of the Lord’s law, even in the most difficult situations” (§107) 
The beginning of this moral renewal must start in marriage and family. The is much confusion and compromise regarding the second level of precept of the natural law, affirming the good of procreation and the fidelity of spouses. This is why John Paul devoted so much attention to the catechesis on the theology of the body, wrote reflections on Humanae vitae, and a special letter to families. “Through the family passes the primary current of the civilization of love.”
In addition, the renewal must spread out through the world of corporate capitalism. In The Church in the Americas John Paul poses this challenge: “On a continent marked by competition and aggressiveness, unbridled consumerism and corruption, lay people are called to embody deeply evangelical values such as mercy, forgiveness, honesty, transparency of heart and patience in difficult situations. What is expected from the laity is a great creative effort in activities and works demonstrating a life in harmony with the Gospel.”
In Veritatis splendor, Pope John Paul II laid the basis for a renewal of Catholic morality. Our nine meditations have attempted to lay out some of its key ideas.We shall next turn to the theme of evangelization.


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