An international group of Catholic academics has launched an ambitious new project to proclaim the “truth of love” to 21st-century society.
The founders of the Veritas Amoris Project include Fr. José Granados, the superior general of the Disciples of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary and an expert on the theology of marriage and family.
“The project wants to offer, based on the truth of love, a global vision of Christian life and the regeneration of our society,” Granados told CNA.
Members of the project’s scientific council include figures such as Msgr. Livio Melina, a moral theologian who served as president of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family in Rome from 2006 to 2016; Stanis?aw Grygiel, Professor Emeritus of Philosophical Anthropology at the Pontifical John Paul II Institute in Rome; and Tracey Rowland, who holds the St. John Paul II Chair of Theology at the Notre Dame University in Sydney, Australia.
The project has launched a website in five languages: English, Spanish, French, Italian, and German.
Granados said: “The project was born as a response to the need we see to illuminate contemporary culture, especially the crisis regarding the principles of love, the body, and the family. It follows one of the priorities of Pope Francis, as he reflected on convoking the synods on the family.”
“We are teachers that have shared studies and teaching on many occasions, and we think we can provide a service to society and the Church.”
Granados, vice president of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute in Rome from 2010 to 2019, said that the project drew inspiration from Pope Francis and his two immediate predecessors.
“It is an educational project which seeks to form people in true love. This expression -- true love -- seems to us to be the key,” he explained.
“It is inspired, in the first place, by the insistence of St. John Paul II, the pope of the family, that our affections must be filled with light. He spoke of the truth of love, with reference to the wise design of the Creator about man and woman, and the importance of the truth, in his encyclical ‘Veritatis splendor.’”
“We are also inspired by the vision of Benedict XVI, who sought to approach the human being from the perspective of love.”
“And finally, we are assisted by Pope Francis’ Magisterium, especially his encyclical ‘Lumen fidei,’ where you can find this relationship between the truth and love, and also, in the passage about the dialogue between Jesus and the Samaritan, when he explains that the Lord, when approaching the woman, looked for the positive that He could find in her: the desire for genuine love that God inscribed in her heart.”
Granados said that the project’s emphasis on the “truth of love” could serve as a corrective to trends in contemporary society.
“Today people want to love, but it is a love without truth, which means, on the one hand, love without duration; and on the other, love without the ability to transmit to children born of that love a sense of life; finally, love without public impact, because the truth is what unites us with others,” he commented.
“Therefore, to speak of the truth of love is to remember that there is hope for love, that it can be long-lasting and fruitful.”
Granados said that proclaiming the “truth of love” would have an impact on the pastoral care of families.
“For example, the Lord’s mercy is united with the truth, because it is not a mercy that is limited to tolerating our misery and fragility, but a mercy that regenerates us so that we can live up to our vocation to love,” he noted.
“And it is also a truth that reminds us that our love is generative, capable of transmitting the life that comes from the Creator.”
He underlined that the initiative had a pastoral dimension: “to form families in the love of Christ.”
He continued: “The challenges are many: educating children to love, strengthening the conjugal union, especially in the first years of marriage, working for a society that puts the family at the center, protecting the family from ideologies that deny the unitive and procreative meanings of the human body, and even the sexual difference itself.”
The priest said that the Veritas Amoris Project would hold a congress for families each year in a different country, preparing “formators of family ministry.”
The project is holding a seminar for professors in Rome on Feb. 2-4, entitled “Pathways of Truth.”
“There will also be an academic meeting every year in Rome, to deepen the project, which we have collected in 12 programmatic theses,” Granados said.
The 12 theses expressing the project’s vision include statements such as “To speak of the truth of love, one needs to establish the primacy of God as Creator”; “To speak of the truth of love in today’s emotivist climate requires a reflection on the affections”; and “The perspective of the truth of love has great social potential.”
Granados said: “We are also launching the ‘Veritas Amoris Review,’ currently online, as well as a publication project, featuring both original works and translations.”
“We hope little by little to be able to offer courses -- online or face-to-face -- on different topics around marriage, the family, and the vision of God and man that derives from there.”
He said that the project was a sponsor of a three-day symposium in January, “Towards the future with St. John Paul II,” marking the 100th anniversary of the Polish pope’s birth.
Other members of the project’s scientific council include Fr. José Noriega, a teacher of fundamental moral theology at St. John Vianney Seminary in Denver, Colorado; Sr. Alexandra Diriart; Fr. Juan José Pérez-Soba; Monika Grygiel; and Stephan Kampowski, a professor of philosophical anthropology at the Pontifical John Paul II Theological Institute for Marriage and Family Sciences in Rome.
Kampowski told CNA: “The initiative is born out of the need to spread a vision of the family that we all received in our study together.”
“We believe this vision to be fruitful for the teaching on love and on family, and for the pastoral care of families.”
He added that the project “is not intended to replace any other institution nor be in opposition to any other institution. It is an original commitment that we undertook.”