Doctrines versus Disciplines


I posted this under Ask an Apologist but didn’t realize it might not be answered. I recently had this response posted to me on another forum in response to my post about doctrine versus disciplines of the faith:

"Communion under both species for members of the congregation. Mass said in local vernacular instead of Latin. Congregants as participants in the Mass, not witnesses. Women on the altar for purposes beyond cleaning and setting the flowers, e.g., as sacristans, eucharistic ministers, and chaplains. Evolving re-definitions of relationships with other faith communities, particularly Episcopalian, Lutheran, Jewish. Off the top of my head right after waking up… Hmm. Add support of chattel slavery, attitudes towards remarriage after divorce…

Anyone who thinks the Roman Cathholic church is doctrinally unchanging is ignorant of the history of his or her own church. TheMom has noted that many conservative American Catholics are locked into 1955 and the church of their childhood, thinking that’s the Way that Catholicism is, was, and will be."

Are these doctrinal changes over the years or merely disciplines, practices, or attitudes that have changed. Is there a website I could refer this person to that would explain the difference between the two? I want to be accurate. Thanks in advance - I need a little help!


As I understand it, before the age of exploration, the Church had no formal teaching on chattel slavery. Subsequently, every teaching of the Church on chattel slavery has been to condemn it. Granted, these teachings were not heeded and the Church in this time lacked the willpower to discipline it, but there has been no doctrinal change.

With divorce-- again, we are seeing examples of excessively liberal applications of the annulment process, but the teachings have not changed.

Much of the liturgical things you mentioned are matters of changeable disciplines, but I’m no expert on that.

Sounds like this person you quoted has a case of the sour grapes.



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