Does the Catholic Church change?

Does the Catholic Church change simply by adding new sacred tradition? It seems old sacred tradition has to be understood in the light of new sacred tradition. Therefore, the rules of the game changes according to the new rules added. I just realized this through listening to Tim Staples today on the Catholic Answers radio program… listening to the questions of the Catholics trying to make sense of older sacred tradition together with new sacred tradition. Therefore, it seems to me that the Catholic Church does change since new tradition is always being added to the deposit of faith that was once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3).

No . .I would say the ancient Catholic Church has never changed keeping the 7 EC’s and preserved Tradition down through the centuries.

Do you have a example? Other wise I would say no. As science advances their may be moral/social law changes but no other doctrinal changes as far as the ancient Catholic Church goes.

You have to separate between Sacred tradition and Human tradition.

Sacred tradition does not change. Christ Himself established it. This would be the seven Sacraments, Apostolic succession, infallibility and authority of church, etc.

Human tradition does change. Examples would be the type of music sung, vestments priests wear, and priests being married.

Sure, do you think Pope Benedict could have made this statement of

“The wall is no longer necessary… For this reason Luther’s phrase: “faith alone” is true…” Pope Benedict XVI

during the 16th century in light of the Council of Trent? Of course you have to understand Pope Benedict’s statement on acknowledging Luther’s faith alone in context to his entire teaching on justification (see signature below for link).

Check out the Council of Trent and compare it to Pope Benedict’s teaching about faith alone.

CANON IX.-If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema.

I’m not saying that Pope Benedict’s statement fall under the anathema of Trent, but there is no way he could have taught on faith alone in the way that he did in the 16th century. If the Catholic Church does not change, then why the need of continual new sacred tradition?

I understand that there is a big difference from sacred tradition and tradition in the Catholic Faith. However, the deposit of sacred tradition is much larger than you may think. For example, the Council of Trent is considered sacred tradition, correct? In the 16th century, the anathemas of Trent applied to all Protestants. However, with new 20th century sacred tradition, the application of Trent no longer applies to all Protestants due to new sacred tradition. Do you think that Protestants could be called separated brethren in the 16th century based on the sacred tradition of Trent?

Pope Benedict was not teaching that Luther’s version of faith alone was true, especially when read the context of the statement (which it seems you have a link to in your signature). Pope Benedict clearly qualifies what he is saying, and it is therefore misleading to quote him as you did:

“The wall is no longer necessary; our common identity within the diversity of cultures is Christ, and it is he who makes us just. Being just simply means being with Christ and in Christ. And this suffices. Further observances are no longer necessary. For this reason Luther’s phrase: “faith alone” is true,** if it is not opposed to faith in charity, in love.** Faith is looking at Christ, entrusting oneself to Christ, being united to Christ, conformed to Christ, to his life. And the form, the life of Christ, is love; hence to believe is to conform to Christ and to enter into his love. So it is that in the Letter to the Galatians in which he primarily developed his teaching on justification St Paul speaks of faith that works through love (cf. Gal 5: 14).”

Pope Benedict clearly emphasizes the faith + works. Here is a joint ecumenical statement between the Catholic Church and Lutherans:

"25. We confess together that sinners are justified by faith in the saving action of God in Christ. By the action of the Holy Spirit in Baptism, they are granted the gift of salvation, which lays the basis for the whole Christian life. They place their trust in God’s gracious promise by justifying faith, which includes hope in God and love for him. Such a faith is active in love and thus the Christian cannot and should not remain without works. But whatever in the justified precedes or follows the free gift of faith is neither the basis of justification nor merits it. "

I think you need to define what is “new” and “old” Sacred Tradition, or simply what Sacred Tradition is, because it seems as if you are confusing certain issues.

I’m sorry, could you reference the anathemas please?

I don’t see any conflict with Trent and calling Protestants “separated brethren”. Protestant churches are Christian churches, however we do not believe that they have apostolic succession, hence no valid priesthood. In fact, in the Catechism, we see that Protestant churches are referred to as “ecclesial communities” and not “churches”, which is reserved for communities with apostolic succession, such as the Orthodox Church.

Read the article on Christianity Today which agrees that this is a significant change.

Please read the entire article on the link. Here is a taste of it:

Do the Catholics in ECT right now take the same position on justification as Neuhaus and Dulles?

Oh yes. There are probably 12 to 13 other Catholic [leaders] who hold that position. And now of course the Pope holds it, so it almost doesn’t matter who else holds it, in the way the Catholic Church is structured.

All shifts that take place in Catholicism happen very gradually. Vatican II was an exception. That’s not the way in which theological development occurs within the catholic communion. It occurs in a gradual process in which the pope, and in this case, a cardinal and a couple priests see a way to express something differently and they would argue that there’s no change.

Of course, if you compare it with Trent, there’s a profound change. But they would see it as the development of doctrine. And if it’s contrary to some church council — as this was, clearly — then nothing happens immediately.

Cardinal [Edward] Cassidy took “The Gift of Salvation”] back to the Vatican in 1997 and was teaching it to the bishops. It sort of percolated through the church, and the Pope, who — significantly — was an Augustinian, picked it up. And then a decade later, it ended up in the catechism. That’s just the way change occurs in the Catholic Church./

Sorry, I don’t see it as a “profound change” even if they do (and I notice you have a thread on this subject already 13 pages strong with Catholic views on this).

Please tell me how what Pope Benedict XVI said is different from what the Council of Trent said:

“For, although no one can be just, but he to whom the merits of the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ are communicated, yet is this done in the said justification of the impious, when by the merit of that same most holy Passion, the charity of God is poured forth, by the Holy Spirit, in the hearts of those that are justified, and is inherent therein: whence, man, through Jesus Christ, in whom he is ingrafted, receives, in the said justification, together with the remission of sins, all these (gifts) infused at once, faith, hope, and charity.** For faith, unless hope and charity be added thereto, neither unites man perfectly with Christ, nor makes him a living member of His body**. For which reason it is most truly said, that Faith without works is dead and profitless; and, In Christ Jesus neither circumcision, availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but** faith which worketh by charity.”**

And you may be interested in this commentary from a Catholic on the Christianity today article:

First, please answer if you think the Council of Trent falls under sacred tradtion or just tradition?

Here’s the Council of Trent and the numerous anathemas. Are you sure that calling Protestants sperated brethrens is compatible with the Council of Trent?

Sacred Tradition and the traditions of man

Thank you, yes I am familiar with that website. Can you point out specifically which anathemas you are talking about?

Also, who are anathemas for? Those within the Church or those without it? The answer to that question clearly shows that yes, we can call Protestants “separated brethren”, and still acknowledge that they do not have apostolic succession (in our view of course), hence why they are ‘officially’ referred to as “ecclesial communities” as opposed to “churches”.

Thanks for the link. It’s just a commentary from a lay Catholic, right? We are entitled to our opinions. I’m sure glad that Pope Benedict made his positive comment about faith alone which opens the door of the most important discussion between Catholic and Protestant Christians on the thee most important subject which caused the Protestant Reformation. The doctrine of justification is the central issue that divides us from a Protestant perspective. Put it this way, if Pope Benedict did not make a positive statement about faith alone in reference to Martin Luther, you would not be open to even discussing the doctrine of justification by faith alone according to Paul and Pope Benedict.

Yes, he is a lay Catholic author.

Again, when looking at the 6th session, chapter 7 of the Council of Trent, on justification, I see no difference between that and what Pope Benedict XVI said, so I’m curious as to what you see as this big difference between the two. Perhaps you can link to where in your other thread you define these differences, since Trent clearly is not in opposition to what the Pope said, and even usually very similar language in referencing justification.

Do you mind showing me through quoting Pope Benedict on the doctrine of justification and how it lines up with Trent? Apparently through Christianity Today, many Evangelicals understood what Pope Benedict stated in the same way that I do.

It’s right in the article I gave you. :confused:

Pope Benedict XVI states:
“For this reason Luther’s phrase: “faith alone” is true, if it is not opposed to faith in charity, in love.”

“So it is that in the Letter to the Galatians in which he primarily developed his teaching on justification St Paul speaks of faith that works through love”

“Thus in communion with Christ, in a faith that creates charity, the entire Law is fulfilled.”

The Council of Trent states:

“For faith, unless hope and charity be added thereto, neither unites man perfectly with Christ, nor makes him a living member of His body.”

“For which reason it is most truly said, that Faith without works is dead and profitless; and, In Christ Jesus neither circumcision, availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but faith which worketh by charity”

Again, please show demonstrate to us the differences between Trent and Pope Benedict’s address. I’ll check back in the morning.

perhaps your are misapplying the term change, Change can be a complete reversal of a previous direction or it can be an enhancement to the current direction or something in-between. Like a course correction.

The further development of or the expansion upon a previously established doctrine is not a Change of the type that you may think it is. like learning math
1st the basics addition & subtraction, next multiplication & division, then algebra, etc etc. some teachings there 1st appear to differ from the most basic math but upon further examination & learning the procedures you see how it all comes together…

Much like the Protestant doctrine that Christ didn’t mean what he said & repeated in Jn Chapter 6, They prefer to read into it a NON Literal sense & thus corrupt the text & their own personal beliefs that the Bible is the literal word of God ( except when I don’t want it to be cause it undermines my positions)

That aside the Church can and does change somethings that are non-essentials.
Mass in the vernacular for example.

In short That so-called New Sacred Tradition is nothing more than a better understanding of Old Sacred Tradition in light of new or better manuscripts etc.

So Sorry No cigar for you today!

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