Does Church Teaching Change

Does church teaching change at all because of changing times, or for the most part does it stay the same?

Church teaching gets clarified at times and is certainly applied to new situations, but the truths do not change.

Not all the things that fall under the context of “Church teaching” are the same. For instance, some teachings (doctrine and dogma) will never change (and are, in fact, unchangeable): you will never hear a pope say “you know this whole ‘resurrection of Jesus’ thing? Yeah, we were wrong about that. Just forget we ever said it.”

The doctrinal teachings of the Church may be restated, over time, in order to present these truths in ways that are understandable to contemporary audiences, but these ‘restatements’ will not contradict previous statements of doctrine.

On the other hand, some Church teachings are applicable to particular times and places. These teachings can (and do!) change over time. For a recent example, up until the 1970’s, the Church required that Catholics refrain from eating meat on Fridays. However, Pope Paul VI changed that requirement, substituting a new one: Catholics must refrain from eating meat on Fridays in Lent, and must do some act of penance on all other Fridays (whether that be abstinence from meat or some other penitential observation).

So, the answer to your question is “yes and no” – some teachings are such that they will never change, and some teachings may change over time and in various places.

Hope that helps…

Doctrine does not change so much as it develops.

Public revelation ended with the death of the last apostle. So the deposit of faith is not added to or subtracted from. It is complete and has been so from that time forward. Nonetheless, our understanding of it does grow.

The oft-used analogy is the acorn and the oak tree. If you look at an acorn and an oak tree side-by-side, they look very different. But all of the “DNA” under the surface appearances is the same. You don’t plant an acorn and get the Eiffel Tower. The oak tree is the natural development of the acorn.

The same is true of Catholic teaching. We come to greater understanding of things (such as Marian dogmas), but the Church won’t suddenly say, “Oh, by the way, Mary is the 4th person of the Quadrinity.”

Blessed John Henry Newman wrote a good book on the subject called The Development of Christian Doctrine.

Another way it is often stated is the difference between Tradition (with a capital “T”) and traditions (with a lowercase “t”). Many of the external Catholic practices that people so identify with being Catholic (e.g. celibate priesthood, not eating meat on Fridays) are in the latter category and thus are subject to change. To avoid confusion, I would classify them as disciplines rather than teachings.

The Catechism spells out this distinction pretty succinctly in CCC 83 (note the use of capital and lowercase “t”):

**Apostolic Tradition and ecclesial traditions **

83 The Tradition here in question comes from the apostles and hands on what they received from Jesus’ teaching and example and what they learned from the Holy Spirit. The first generation of Christians did not yet have a written New Testament, and the New Testament itself demonstrates the process of living Tradition.

Tradition is to be distinguished from the various theological, disciplinary, liturgical or devotional traditions, born in the local churches over time. These are the particular forms, adapted to different places and times, in which the great Tradition is expressed. In the light of Tradition, these traditions can be retained, modified or even abandoned under the guidance of the Church’s Magisterium.

I think that the teaching can change. For example:

  1. For 700 years it was taught that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father. It is now taught that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and from the Son.
  2. It was taught that slaves should obey their earthly masters in everything. Now it is taught that slavery is wrong and slaves should be set free.
  3. It was taught that women should wear headcovering in Church and that they should not teach in church.
  4. It was taught that heretics should be burned at the stake. The Inquisition was set up Now it is taught that we should dialogue with those who disagree.
  5. For a while it was taught that the Blood was shed for all. Now it is taught as previously that the Blood was shed for many. It was not a translation issue from latin because even a Pope had used the latin word for all (omnibus) when saying Mass.
  6. Liturgical changes were quite drastic. So much so that there are Roman Catholics who even today do not accept them but adhere to the Old Latin Tridentine Mass.
  7. There has been a change in the reasons allowed for granting a marriage annulment, In 1929, there were about 10 marriage annulments granted in the USA, but recently the number has gone as high as 60,000 per year.
  8. Catholic colleges show filthy plays to the public (V-monologues) and have students participate. One Roman Catholic college in Massachusetts celebrated Ash Wednesday by showing such a play. In the past Ash Wednesday was a day of repentence and fasting. Further they invite pro-abortion speakers to give commencement addresses. This would be unheard of before Vatican II.
  9. In the past it was taught that the pains and ;punishment of Purgatory were similar to that in hell. ewtn.com/library/SPIRIT/READRUE.TXT
    Now it is not taught such.

John 20:22 shows the Holy Spirit proceeding from the Son.

Doctrine is developed not changed.

The Holy Spirit is guiding the Church and keeping her without stain or wrinkle and other blemish, so she will remain holy and blameless.

The original Nicene Constantinopolitan creed said that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father. It was changed later in Spain at about 700 AD.

Tom, I’ve got a question that I’d really like for you to answer. If I said to you that I received a letter written by my friend Jerry, and later I told you that it was written by Jerry and his son, is that a contradiction?

It is a change.

If proceeds from the Father is the same thing as proceeds from the Father and from the Son, why then did they excommunicate people who adhered to the first?
Papal Bull of 1054:
Humbert, cardinal bishop of the holy Roman Church by the grace of God; Peter, archbishop of Amalfi; and Frederick, deacon and chancellor, to all the children of the catholic Church…But as far as Michael, who is called patriarch through an abuse of the term, and the backers of his foolishness are concerned, innumerable tares of heresies are daily sown in its midst…Like Pneumatomachoi or Theomachoi, they cut off the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Son;…
Therefore, because we did not tolerate this unheard of outrage and injury of the first, holy, and apostolic see and were concerned that the catholic faith would be undermined in many ways, by the authority of the holy and individuated Trinity and the apostolic see, whose embassy we are performing, and of all the orthodox fathers from the seven councils and of the entire catholic Church, we thus subscribe to the following anathema which the most reverend pope has proclaimed upon Michael and his followers unless they should repent.

Michael, neophyte patriarch through abuse of office, who took on the monastic habit out of fear of men alone and is now accused by many of the worst of crimes; and with him Leo called bishop of Achrida; Constantine, chaplain of this Michael, who trampled the sacrifice of the Latins with profane feet; and all their followers in the aforementioned errors and acts of presumption: Let them be anathema Maranatha with the Simoniacs, Valesians, Arians, Donatists, Nicolaitists, Severians, Pneumatomachoi, Manichaeans, Nazarenes, and all the heretics — nay, with the devil himself and his angels, unless they should repent. AMEN, AMEN, AMEN.

:popcorn:

If nothing had changed and nothing new was taught why did Humbert, cardinal bishop of the holy Roman Church by the grace of God; Peter, archbishop of Amalfi; and Frederick, deacon and chancellor, excommunicate with anathema Maranatha and with the devil himself and his angels, all those who taught that the Holy Spirit proceeded from the Father?

In the past it was taught that if you did not hold the Catholic faith whole and inviolate, you would perish forever. Pope Gregory XVI, Mirari Vos , Aug. 15, 1832. Now it is taught that a person can be saved even if he does not hold the Catholic faith whole and inviolate.

That is if you’re Catholic.

Tomdstone #14
In the past it was taught that if you did not hold the Catholic faith whole and inviolate, you would perish forever. Pope Gregory XVI, Mirari Vos , Aug. 15, 1832. Now it is taught that a person can be saved even if he does not hold the Catholic faith whole and inviolate.

TheDoctor in #12, has adequately exploded your other attempts to discredit Christ’s Church.
But this one is equally false.

Vatican II vs Pius IX? A Study in Lefebvrism
by Fr. William G. Most

catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=8779
Indifference, Freedom and Coercion: The Documents
Excerpt:

'Gregory XVI in his *Mirari vos * of August 15, 1832, wrote that there is “a most fruitful cause of the evils with which, we lament, the Church is now afflicted, that is, indifferentism.” He then went on to say what he meant by indifferentism: “[1] that evil opinion that souls can attain eternal salvation by just any profession of faith, if their morals follow the right norm . . . [2] from this most foul font of indifferentism flows that absurd view, or rather madness, that one should defend and vindicate for just anyone freedom of conscience.”

‘We inserted numbers for convenience. In #1 the Pope says that not just any profession of faith has the power to save. Therefore, one cannot be saved by just any kind of faith. But can one be saved in spite of errors in faith, if in good faith? Pius IX, who is obviously opposed to indifferentism, taught that "God . . . because of His supreme goodness and clemency by no means allows anyone to be punished with eternal punishment who does not have the guilt of voluntary fault."6 In other words, no one will be damned who follows the moral law as he knows it. What of his faith? There must be at least a minimum faith, that God exists as the just rewarder and punisher. Yet **Pius IX assures us **that somehow — he does not explain the how — God will take care of that if a man does not commit what he knows to be mortal sin. As for #2, Pope Gregory means merely that a man does not have a right to be wrong. It does not deny what Pius IX taught, that a man may be saved not by, but in spite of, erroneous beliefs.

I don’t see how it is false or how it is discrediting the Catholic Church by quoting what the Pope has written? Did not Pope Gregory XVI, Mirari Vos write: “without a doubt, they will perish forever, unless they hold the Catholic faith whole and inviolate.”
Do Catholics today believe that you will perish forever unless you hold the Catholic faith whole and inviolate?

Tomdstone #17
I don’t see how it is false or how it is discrediting the Catholic Church by quoting what the Pope has written?

It is the false notion that definitive teaching has changed because you know so little of the meaning of what you see.

With the admonition that “there is one God, one faith, one baptism” [Eph 4:5], and seen in the context of the Pope’s thought that they should fear having the notion that “the safe harbor of salvation is open to persons of any religion whatever”, the Pope then refers to St Athanasius that “without a doubt, they will perish forever, unless they hold the Catholic faith whole and inviolate.”

That would be if they knew what the Catholic faith taught and required on faith and morals but refused to follow.

In reality, Christ’s Church knew from the beginning that non-Catholics could be saved for Pope St Clement wrote in about 95 A.D. to the Church in Corinth: “Those who repented for their sins, appeased God in praying and received, salvation even though they were aliens to God.” Catholic Apologetics Today, 1986, Fr William G Most, p 145].

That seems to be a change from what Pope Eugene IV taught:
Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, Sess. 8, Nov. 22, 1439:
“Whoever wishes to be saved, needs above all to hold the Catholic faith; unless each one preserves this whole and inviolate, he will without a doubt perish in eternity.”
Later, he also said:
Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, “Cantate Domino,” 1441:
“The Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that all those who are outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans but also Jews or heretics and schismatics, cannot share in eternal life and will go into the everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless they are joined to the Church before the end of their lives; that the unity of this ecclesiastical body is of such importance that only for those who abide in it do the Church’s sacraments contribute to salvation and do fasts, almsgiving and other works of piety and practices of the Christian militia produce eternal rewards; and that nobody can be saved, no matter how much he has given away in alms and even if he has shed blood in the name of Christ, unless he has persevered in the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church."
and
Pope Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctam, Nov. 18, 1302:
“we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff.”"
Is it still taught today that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff?

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