After reading about the conflict between love and truth for the umpteenth time, it should be stated with straightforward simplicity that the truth of love is the gift of self. The New York Times today (Sunday, September 27, 2015 – page 1) offers the contrast in Cardinal Muller of the Sacred Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith sitting in front of a TV watching Pope Francis in Philadelphia and commenting: “If the pope speaks about social justice, everybody will embrace him, no? It’s not so difficult. But to speak about moral values, and the field of sexuality and matrimony and abortion and these values, is more conflictive.”
Notice what is presupposed in Cardinal Muller’s remarks. Morality is truth based, and therefore depends on nature. The pope’s attitude and rhetoric is social and love-based, and therefore presumed not to be truth-based, but subjective. The presumption is that the subject is misty consciousness, feeling and therefore not necessarily true.
But suppose that truth is a person, and by person we mean divine person as the Son of the Father who declares Himself to be the way, the Truth and the Life, and that He reveals Himself as true by obeying to death on the Cross for us. That is, truth is an action of being for others; in short, the truth is the giving of the self.
I would dare say that this is the underlying topsyturvydom that is at the basis of John Paul’s “Veritatis Splendor.” It began: “The splendor of truth shines forth… in a very special way in man, created in the image and likeness of God. It seems that the core of the encyclical’s argument is to engage the notion of ‘image’ as the coupling between freedom [love] and truth in God and freedom [love] in man. It consists in affirming that if only God is good [Mark 10], and if the meaning of freedom [love] and truth takes on different dimensions within the noetic of the trinity, and if man has been created in the image and likeness of God, then the Trinitarian meaning of freedom/love and truth… will apply (analogically) to the human person.
Notice that the truth about worshipping God is equivalent to loving the other. The lawyer who engaged Christ about the law: Thou shalt love the Lord your God with your whole heart, whole soul…. and your neighbor as yourself. The lawyer asks: And who is my neighbor? Christ responds with the Good Samaritan – with whomever meet on your way in life. The truth of God is service of self gift to the other.
Notice, the entire truth of sexual morality is found in the radical giving of the self to the other, and a fortiori, the truth of the union between man and woman because only between a man as donation and a woman as reception can there be a one flesh union, an unum in the flesh (a sacrament) , that images the one triune God.