Did Church change doctrine?


National radio talk-show host and historian Michael Medved said on 3/14: ‘The medieval Catholic Church was corrupt. The Institutional Church was corrupt. Its doctrine was corrupt. It needed to change its doctrine; it needed a reformation. Thank God it got one.’

Why does Medved continue to insist that doctrine was changed and the Reformation was a wonderful thing…did the Church change doctrine?


Dear 1rich,

I can’t answer for Mr. Medved, for whom I have great respect. The reformation the Church received came from the Council of Trent. It changed discipline, but not doctrine. It formed seminaries, regularizing the education of the clergy. It unified the liturgy. It clarified doctrine, but did not and could not change any of it. As a result, the Catholic Church remained consistent in what it had always taught. Such consistency remains to the present day.

The work of the Protestant reformers resulted in the continuous dividing of churches over the interpretation of Scripture, each new denomination insisting on its own as authentic. But of course, since they all contradict each other, they can’t all be correct! The divisions continue to this day—thousands of them. If this is reformation, I’d hate see chaos!

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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