If the Church reconsidered its teachings on certain matters, would you change your lifestyles?

I’ve always wondered about this as a matter of curiosity.
Say the Church changed its opinions on something big, perhaps the use of birth control or sex outside of marriage (suspend your cries of “But they haven’t/ won’t” and please bear with me!) and made certain behaviours permissible would you, knowing that your morals would still be in line with the Holy Father and the Catholic Church, change your behaviours?

I know there are many reasons the Church wouldn’t, but humour me for the sake of argument!

Sorry, but the question is so unreal that I can’t wrap my head around it, to be honest.

What’s your goal in asking a question like this?

It would mean that God is not God and therefore “anything goes”. I know there are people who think nothing would change, but that’s not true. Knowing that God does not and cannot change why ever in the world would I want to do things that I know will displease my Beloved. That would be gross betrayal. And of course, this is never going to happen no matter how much the world clamors for it.

I would follow the teachings of the Pope wherever they may lead. If the Pope is truly infallible I would have to believe he is truly leading the church closer to God in all situations.

If the Church made a behavior permissible that had been a discipline, such as eliminating fast days or days of abstinence during Lent, I imagine I would fast and abstain less on the days previously required, although perhaps not less overall. Certainly if the Church decided to eliminate the discipline by which married men are not ordained priests, I’d be OK with that. If the Church reversed herself on something that she had previously taught was immutable, however, that would be a crisis for me, even if the thing was not something that affected me directly.

Sex outside of marriage is not just something the Church teaches; it is a matter of trust between me and my husband.

Yes it would be a crisis. I’ll indulge your question. In theory, if this happened, I would have to admit that the Church I am in is wrong. I would have to look into Eastern Orthodox Churches, or consider the Sedevecantist position. But again, in theory. It WONT ever happen.

Another way to frame the question is: Do you follow the Church’s moral teaching blindly, or do you have other reasons also for living that way, such as seeing the truth of it?

There are indeed other reasons; the Church’s moral teaching makes sense and fits common experience. In honesty, I do not always immediately see why a given thing is wrong in a particular case; but my experience is that careful reflection on it shows that the Church’s teaching is indeed consonant with reason, and self-consistent.

If you take away one doctrine you don’t just take away the Church or the faith; you also take away order and the fabric of society. As is happening in the world around us…

I wish I could “like” this post.

I’ll give Ad Orientem and you an :amen: :smiley:


We have had severely sinful popes in the past (some even committed sexual sins). It is possible for a pope to promote/engage sinful activity. He is not infallible in everything that he says or does. The pope is only infallible when speaking ex cathedra concerning doctrine and morals. Popes can preach, teach, and write without ever speaking ex cathedra. Most popes have never spoken ex cathedra.

Even if a pope falls, the gates of hell will not prevail. :thumbsup:

The OP answers it for himself… :smiley:

As for me, it seems such an abstract and unlikely situation that I can’t even think of my reaction, knowing of the almost-impossibility of finding out that something they taught is wrong. Not that I do follow the Church blindly (I look up to their logic on their morals, and I see they make very much sense, which is why they’ve gone off the charts in going through the test of time for so long), but changing such well-fundamented morals such as the ones you pointed would be so hard that I’d need centuries of wait to make their new position just as solid. Conclusively, I probably wouldn’t change it. :rolleyes:

Lifestyle change, no. If the Church for some reason decides on something and it contradicts Scripture, I will follow Scripture, but that’s the same lifestyle as now.

I will go out on a limb here.

Yep, I would change in an instant.

I can honestly say that after almost 50 years as a Catholic, I am not a theologian.

That there are teachings of the Church that I do not fully understand. Teachings that I follow out of obedience.

If one of those teachings changed, I would change with it.

I wouldn’t change my views and morals just because the Church did. Frankly, I don’t know what good Catholic would. :shrug:

This is where I fall in this discussion. With all of the misrepresentation of Pope Francis’ words in secular media lately I have thought and prayed about this a lot lately.

I have asked myself this question, “at what point would you consider that you are in the wrong Church?”

Married men becoming priests is not a challenge to anything doctrinal, so this would not qualify. On the other hand, ordination of women would cause me to seek another Rite. If the door is closed, then it is closed. Dogma and divine teachings do not change, therefore if the Latin Rite Church would attempt to mandate change to dogma or DL, I would run! Notice I said change, not evolve or develop.

That depends on which teachings. If the church were to change a discipline such as saying “priests can marry”, all fine and well. If it were a dogma that was going to be changed, such as “homosexuals can marry,” then I’d be a heck of a lot more skeptical abut the change.

This is a ridiculous question. Firstly, the Church’s teachings are not a matter of opinion, they are truths about the world; i.e. artificial birth control is contrary to natural law. These truths have been revealed by God throughout history. It’s not a matter of the Church choosing to change or not change these teachings. Rather the Church is simply speaking what she knows to be true.

Your question is rather like asking, “If the American Physical Society (a professional organization of physicists) changed the laws of gravity, would you stay on the ground?” You know that the question is absurd; just because someone thinks they can change nature and reality by saying so doesn’t mean that they can; only God can. The main difference between your question and my analogy, to be clear, is that the Church is guided in her teaching and her declarations of that teaching by the Holy Spirit and is steered away from making gravely erroneous statements.

I would not do anything that was against the moral law given by God Himself, that is, the 10 Commandments, or the natural law that God placed in the hearts of men. Nothing trumps God’s Commandments.

And if that ever happened, which it never will, I would leave the Church. We are not bound to follow sinful teachings.

If the Pope is truly infallible, he wouldn’t teach against God’s law.

I follow the teachings of the Pope because of this.

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