Question about dogma / infallible teachings

This is simply factually incorrect. The way interest is calculated and charged today would absolutely have been forbidden under the old rules. How has interest changed in the last few hundred years? It hasn’t. What has changed is the Church’s understanding of whether and when interest is morally permissible. An act that was once held to be always and everywhere sinful, is now held to me morally permissible.

Morality doesn’t point to prohibitions for the sake of prohibitions. Can the Church abolish a prohibition? That’s not the question.

Morality points to a good and evaluates human actions in reference to that good.
A human being is made in the image of God.
It is good to be alive.
It is good for human society to protect life and help it flourish.

A mass murderer is a human being who’s life has dignity. But if he threatens the life of others capital punishment is justified due to the circumstances involved in protecting the good of human life.
If he can be incarcerated then capital punishment is inadmissible.

When people get attached to prohibitions for their own sake rather than seeing the good end they serve, we get off track morally.

Why do you care to argue this?

The church taught and still teaches that the death penalty is not intrinsically evil, and therefore such acts CAN be good. It further now says that “these days” it would be wrong to pursue it.

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you are wrong.

The church’s teaching on usury has not changed. Usury is still a sin.

What has changed is our understanding of the nature and function of money, neither of which has doctrinal status. Once the understanding of money changed, the sin of usury ceased to be identified in any simple way with charging interest on money.

What part of this do you not get?

No, that is the question. Why is it not?

I think we actually agree. Once the Church changed its understanding of money, it changed its teaching on the morality of the act of charging interest. It did not change the moral teaching on financial exploitation, but it came to understand that the act of charging interest is not necessarily against that moral teaching. That is what I have been saying, and what you are now saying.

What we may disagree on is whether the Church will ever change its understanding of anything else, such that an act now considered sinful will come to be understood as not sinful. I say that it has happened before, and can happen again. Will it? What will it be? I cannot answer those questions. Is it impossible? No - we have demonstrated that it is not impossible.

Because, as they rest of my thoughts alluded to, prohibitions aren’t considered for their own sake in isolation from the good they serve.

yes, now we are saying the same thing. So essentially this is not a good example of the church saying something was sinful yesterday and now it is not sinful anymore. Wouldn’t you agree?

Yes, I believe the church will never declare an act that has been taught as morally sinful will ever be taught as no longer morally sinful.

so can you name an instance where something has been declared morally sinful and is now OK to do?

Because as you have stated, usury is still sinful but charging interest with our current understanding of money as a fertile product is not a sin.

And I say it is impossible for the church to declare something morally sinful and then to reverse church teaching to declare that it is no longer morally sinful. But if you have a good example I’d like to see it.

When Benedict XVI explained the need for a hermeneutic of reform, he used religious freedomas the example of change in Church teaching:

The Second Vatican Council, recognizing and making its own an essential principle of the modern State with the Decree on Religious Freedom, has recovered the deepest patrimony of the Church. By so doing she can be conscious of being in full harmony with the teaching of Jesus himself (cf. Mt 22: 21), as well as with the Church of the martyrs of all time. The ancient Church naturally prayed for the emperors and political leaders out of duty (cf. I Tm 2: 2); but while she prayed for the emperors, she refused to worship them and thereby clearly rejected the religion of the State.

The martyrs of the early Church died for their faith in that God who was revealed in Jesus Christ, and for this very reason they also died for freedom of conscience and the freedom to profess one’s own faith - a profession that no State can impose but which, instead, can only be claimed with God’s grace in freedom of conscience. A missionary Church known for proclaiming her message to all peoples must necessarily work for the freedom of the faith. She desires to transmit the gift of the truth that exists for one and all.

The Second Vatican Council, with its new definition of the relationship between the faith of the Church and certain essential elements of modern thought, has reviewed or even corrected certain historical decisions, but in this apparent discontinuity it has actually preserved and deepened her inmost nature and true identity.

The Church, both before and after the Council, was and is the same Church, one, holy, catholic and apostolic, journeying on through time; she continues “her pilgrimage amid the persecutions of the world and the consolations of God”, proclaiming the death of the Lord until he comes
Benedict XVI. To the Cardinals at Christmas 2005

Since I am quoting Benedict XVI, I thought I should post his comments while he was still a cardinal:

A similar process can be observed in the more recent teaching regarding the doctrine that priestly ordination is reserved only to men. The Supreme Pontiff, while not wishing to proceed to a dogmatic definition, intended to reaffirm that this doctrine is to be held definitively, since, founded on the written word of God, constantly preserved and applied in the Tradition of the Church, it has been set forth infallibly by the ordinary and universal Magisterium. As the prior example illustrates, this does not foreclose the possibility that, in the future, the consciousness of the Church might progress to the point where this teaching could be defined as a doctrine to be believed as divinely revealed.
Congragation for the Doctrine of Faith. Doctrinal Commentary on Ad Tuendam Fidem.

this is not the type of change the OP was referring to. The original statement concerned ‘can something be a sin today but not tomorrow?’

No, I think you are changing your position. You agreed that the Church once taught that lending money at interest was sinful. It now teaches that same act is not sinful. How is that not a direct change in the teaching regarding that act?

Yes, I just did and you did,too.

It is an example of an infallible teaching using the language expressed HERE

No I said that the church teaches that USURY is sinful. Usury has a different understanding of money and goods as illustrated in the Bible.

Biblical usury and modern day finance that uses interest charges are NOT THE SAME THING. You keep insisting they are the same and that the church ‘changed’ the sinfulness of usury. It never did!

so can you name an instance where something has been declared morally sinful and is now OK to do?

I’m sorry, but this makes no sense to me. Are you saying that the Church changed the definition of Usury, and that is the reason that lending money at interest is now not sinful? That can’t be right.

Can you explain how you believe finances have changed such that interest was once sinful but now is not?

I will provide an example that may help. In medieval times if I were to loan you $100 for a year and asked you to repay me $105, that would have been condemned as sinful by the Church as Usury. Do we agree on that? But today, I could do the exact same act - loan $100 for a year and ask for $105 in return, and the Church would say that is not sinful. Right? So what has changed to make that act sinful in the past but not sinful now?

Yes, I understand that that is your position.

I was just quoting the opinion of Cardinal Ratzinger, writing for the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith.

You do not agree on whether papal infallibility was active when Ordinatio Sacerdotalis was issued.

Then restate it in terms of performing a sin, ie Pius IX taught that it was a sin to allow a non Catholic to practice their religion.

The hermeneutic of reform implies continuity and discontinuity together on different levels. As a general principle, it recognizes discontinuities like those you are denying.

At one point in time, to cut off an arm would have been considered sinful. At one point in time, that physical act could be nothing but mutilation. Mutilation is a sin. Now, the same physical act is most often not a sin. Because it is not mutilation.

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