The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly

Volume 23, Issue 4, Winter 2023

The Thirtieth Anniversary of Veritatis Splendor

Mary Ann Glendon
Pages 553-562

Veritatis Splendor and the Crisis in Human Rights

The engagement of the Catholic Church with the post-World War II international human rights project has been marked from the beginning by strong support coupled with pointed reminders of larger issues left unaddressed. In the 1990s, when the Universal Declaration of Human Rights came under assault from many directions, the Catholic Church was the strongest institutional defender of the entire body of principles in that historic document. Today, with the human rights project in crisis, its future may well hinge on how its defenders deal with problems to which Church leaders have repeatedly called attention. Prominent among these is the question of what happens to freedom when man “goes off in search of an illusory freedom apart from truth itself ”(John Paul II, Veritatis splendor, n. 1).