Have doctrines in the Catechism changed over time?


#1

Hey everyone. I am talking to a guy who is converting to Eastern Orthodoxy from Catholicism and he says that the some doctrines in the Catechism have changed over time such as original sin. He says that the Catechism used to say that we are guilty of original sin according to the Catechism but now the Catechism merely says that we suffer the effects of original sin. Why is this? :confused:


#2

[quote=Holly3278]He says that the Catechism used to say that we are guilty of original sin according to the Catechism but now the Catechism merely says that we suffer the effects of original sin.
[/quote]

First of all, one must understand that no Catechism is a statement of doctrine. A Catechism is a paraphrase of doctrine. Doctrine (such as the findings of Ecumenical Councils) is eternal, but the language and vocabulary of doctrine may be adapted to suit the needs of time, people, and places. This is WHY the Church issues new Catechisms in the first place.

So the Church uses different language - we call it “Reconciliation” now instead of “Confession,” becuase it seems pastorally prudent (to the Magesterium) to emphasize a different aspect of the Sacrament at this time.

But I think your friend read maybe only one passage and did not read the Catechism in context. Because, though it doesn’t use the word “guilt,” this doctrine is clearly stated.

All men are implicated [guilty participants] in Adam’s sin [CCC 402]

…Evil and death cannot be understood apart from their connection with Adam’s sin and the fact that he has transmitted to us a sin with which we are all born afflicted, a sin which is the “death of the soul.” Because of this certinty of faith, the Church batpizes for the remission of sins even tiny infants who have not committed personal sin. [CCC 403]

How did the sin of Adam become the sin of all his decendants?.. it is a sin that will be transmitted by propegation to all mankind[CCC 404]

Although proper to each individual, original sin does not have the character of a personal fault… [CCC 405]

Our “guilt” in original sin comes as being part of the whole human race, which shares in this guilt. It is not a personal guilt, and using this term may be confusing to modern folks who do not think of the concept of “guilt” in the same way that folks did years ago. So the Church has chosen to express the doctrine in language which emphasizes the fact that

original sin is called ‘sin’ only in an analogical sense: it is a sin ‘contracted’ and not ‘committed’ - a state and not an act. [CCC 404, *cf

Trent DS 1511-1522]


#3

(just an aside: Dear D. Filmer,

In regards to your footnote, please also note that there are just 1010 commandments.)


#4

[quote=DavidFilmer]First of all, one must understand that no Catechism is a statement of doctrine. A Catechism is a paraphrase of doctrine. Doctrine (such as the findings of Ecumenical Councils) is eternal, but the language and vocabulary of doctrine may be adapted to suit the needs of time, people, and places. This is WHY the Church issues new Catechisms in the first place.

So the Church uses different language - we call it “Reconciliation” now instead of “Confession,” becuase it seems pastorally prudent (to the Magesterium) to emphasize a different aspect of the Sacrament at this time.

But I think your friend read maybe only one passage and did not read the Catechism in context. Because, though it doesn’t use the word “guilt,” this doctrine is clearly stated.

Our “guilt” in original sin comes as being part of the whole human race, which shares in this guilt. It is not a personal guilt, and using this term may be confusing to modern folks who do not think of the concept of “guilt” in the same way that folks did years ago. So the Church has chosen to express the doctrine in language which emphasizes the fact that
[/quote]

Ah okay. Thank you DavidFilmer. :slight_smile: Just making sure though but are you quoting from the most recent edition of the Catechism?


#5

[quote=DavidFilmer]First of all, one must understand that no Catechism is a statement of doctrine. A Catechism is a paraphrase of doctrine. Doctrine (such as the findings of Ecumenical Councils) is eternal, but the language and vocabulary of doctrine may be adapted to suit the needs of time, people, and places.
[/quote]

Ok, so all ecumenical councils are doctrine. So what is dogma? I’ve read that the word didn’t even have meaning until Vatican I. Also, what role to encyclicals play in this?


#6

[quote=Holly3278]Just making sure though but are you quoting from the most recent edition of the Catechism?
[/quote]

Of course. You can read it online for yourself at usccb.org/catechism/text/


#7

[quote=lcalise]Ok, so all ecumenical councils are doctrine. So what is dogma? I’ve read that the word didn’t even have meaning until Vatican I. Also, what role to encyclicals play in this?
[/quote]

Hmmmm. The term “dogma” is actually Biblical (or, more specifically, the Greek word from which the English word is derived - but I don’t know how to type the Greek letters on my keyboard). The Greek root word for “dogma” appears in Acts 16:4, Eph 2:15 (and also in the Sept. version of Dan 2:13).

If you are asking, “what is the difference between ‘doctrine’ and ‘dogma’?” then the answer is essentially none. The Catholic Church uses the terms interchangeably. Some theologians may (and some may not) make a fine distinction that “dogma” is doctrine which has been formally defined, whereas “doctrine” has been informally defined, but for the “person in the pew” it makes no difference, because in either case, the doctrine HAS BEEN defined and MUST BE believed. But this distinction is purely in the realm of scholars - the Catholic Church makes no “official” distinction between these terms.

“Encyclicals” are letters by the Pope addressed to various groups (sometimes to small groups of people, sometimes fellow priests throughout the world, sometimes to all the Faithful). They carry Magesterial authority but absolutely are NOT regarded as infallable unless they are specifically said to be so (and this has never happened).


#8

I want to add that there has only been one “Catechism of the Catholic Church” as we know of it today, and that’s the one we have. The previous one that is usually refered to, called the Baltimore Catechism, was a question-answer booklet composed by the United States Catholic Church. It didn’t hold even remotely the level of authority that the Catechism of the Catholic Church does, and even the CCC doesn’t hold infallible authority.

In other words, to claim that “the old Catechism” said something is misleading at worst, and confused at best. There was no universal “old Catechism”, only the documents of the Councils and Papal Encyclicals. The Baltimore Catechism was simply a localized effort to boil down the essentials of Catholic doctrine in a manner that could be easily given to the relatively uneducated, a kind of “Catholic cliff notes”. The actual Catholic Catechism, on the other hand, is the first compilation of affirmed Catholic teaching for use by all Bishops and laypeople, and it contains subtleties of theology that were simply unexpressed in the Baltimore Catechism.

The history of the Catechism of the Catholic Church is discussed in its preface, found here. You’ll notice in particular:

In this spirit, on 25 January 1985, I [John Paul II] convoked an extraordinary assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the 20th anniversary of the close of the Council. The purpose of this assembly was to celebrate the graces and spiritual fruits of Vatican II, to study its teaching in greater depth in order that all the Christian faithful might better adhere to it, and to promote knowledge and application of it.

On that occasion the Synod Fathers stated: "Very many have expressed the desire that a catechism or compendium of all Catholic doctrine regarding both faith and morals be composed, that it might be, as it were, a point of reference for the catechisms or compendiums that are prepared in various regions. The presentation of doctrine must be biblical and liturgical. It must be sound doctrine suited to the present life of Christians."4 After the Synod ended, I made this desire my own, considering it as “fully responding to a real need of the universal Church and of the particular Churches”.5

For this reason we thank the Lord wholeheartedly on this day when we can offer the entire Church this “reference text” entitled the Catechism of the Catholic Church, for a catechesis renewed at the living sources of the faith!

Peace and God bless!


#9

[quote=lcalise]Ok, so all ecumenical councils are doctrine. So what is dogma? I’ve read that the word didn’t even have meaning until Vatican I. Also, what role to encyclicals play in this?
[/quote]

This is an except from CatholicExchange explaining the difference between Dogma and* Doctrine*.

…The term “doctrine” can be used generally to refer to all of the Church’s teachings. In addition, we can say that dogma is a subset of doctrine — all dogmas are doctrines, but not all doctrines are dogmas. A doctrine is a teaching of the universal Church proposed as necessary for belief by the faithful. Dogmas, properly speaking, are such teachings that are set forth to be believed as divinely revealed (Catechism, no. 88; cf. 891-892). When differentiating from dogma, we use the term “doctrine” to signify teachings that are either definitively proposed or those that are proposed as true, but not in a definitive manner (cf. Catechism, nos. 88, 891-92)…

Hope this helps. For the rest of the article go here: catholicexchange.com/vm/index.asp?vm_id=64&art_id=25522


#10

[quote=Ghosty]I want to add that there has only been one “Catechism of the Catholic Church” as we know of it today
[/quote]

Hmmm. What about the Catechism for Clergy and Laity that resulted from the Council of Lambeth (1281)?


#11

It’s my understanding that was a local catechism in what is today England, not a Catholic Catechism. It would fall more into the category of the Baltimore Catechism, in its application if not style.

The Council of Lambeth, after all, was a local Council, not a Catholic (universal) one.

Peace and God bless!


#12

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