Newman's Development of Doctrine — According to Neuhaus

Having laid down the gauntlet (see my challenge to a duel/dialogue below) in which one of the rules are that, after nomination of a specific “new” official teaching of the Catholic Church which contradicts her earlier stated official teaching, I then rise to the challenge of demonstrating how the contradiction is only apparent and in fact it is a legitimate development according to Newman’s principles on the development of doctrine, I became aware that I had not actually stated what those princples were.

Here, thanks to Fr Richard John Neuhaus, is a good summary:

The Church’s teaching lives forward; it is not reconstructed backward-whether from the fifth century or the sixteenth or the nineteenth or the twenty-first. But through all the changes of living forward, how do we know what is corruption and what is authentic development? Recall Cardinal Newman’s reflection on the development of doctrine, a reflection that has been incorporated by magisterial teaching. He suggested seven marks of authentic development:

  • authentic development preserves the Church’s apostolic form;
  • it reflects continuity of principles in testing the unknown by the known;
  • it demonstrates the power to assimilate what is true, even in what is posited against it;
  • it follows a logical sequence;
  • it anticipates future developments;
  • it conserves past developments;
  • and, throughout, it claims and demonstrates the vigor of teaching authority.

And thus it is, said St. Vincent of Lerins in the fifth century, that in authentic development of doctrine nothing presents itself in the Church’s old age that was not latent in her youth. Such was the truth discovered by Augustine, a truth “ever ancient, ever new.”

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5 Responses to Newman's Development of Doctrine — According to Neuhaus

  1. Past Elder says:

    Holy Moly. You’ve laid down the gauntlet (a thoroughly Roman practice, Empire, not Church, if there’s indeed a difference), established the rules of engagement, graciously agreed to then explain why I am wrong since I must be wrong according to Scripture, er, Newman (if there’s indeed a difference)then invoked a Lutheran apostate to explain an Anglican apostate’s view. Converts are a riot. Oh well, I’m one myself, to Lutheranism.

    I’m afraid I’m not going to follow the rules, again. Then again, how one runs a gauntlet as a response to an invitation to a duel by which is really meant a prayerful dialogue is presently beyond my ability to understand, though I am sure after half an hour of reading the Documents of Vatican II it would all come to-gether nicely in some sort of induced glow.

    Anyway, read the article linked to Neuhaus’ name. Ran along fine, until I came to this:

    Today the criticism is heard that the Catholic Church, for all its magisterial authority, will permit almost anything in teaching or practice so long as one does not formally break communion with the Church. There is truth in that, although I think it not a criticism but a compliment. While what Lutherans call the publica doctrina, the public teaching, of the Catholic Church is lucidly clear, it is true that the Church bends every effort, puts the best construction on every deviant opinion, in order to avoid what Augustine calls “the heinous and damnable sin of schism.” For instance, in the twenty-three years of the supposedly authoritarian pontificate of John Paul II, the number of theologians publicly censured can probably be counted on the fingers of one hand, and the only schism has been that of the integralist Lefebvrists of France.

    Everything is allowed except leaving. This is utter institutionalism, and voids staying of any meaning whatsoever. But it explains what has happened perfectly. It explains why, as long as you don’t leave you can pretty much do what you want and we will do nothing, but if you leave we will stomp on you, not for what you hold but for leaving.

    Actually it is worse than that, if that is possible. The only ones who have been consistently disciplined are those who hold and practice what the Roman Church taught them, as if it were not that but the opinions of a cranky old French bishop who’ll probably die off soon anyway — until he confounded them all by ordaining valid bishops, and then all hell, literally, broke loose, the full fury of the vicious hounds at any who would, what, teach differently than they, practice differently than they, no because all manner of that is tolerated, you may disobey in that howsoever you please and be welcome to stay — with one exception, you may not do what the Roman Church did before we changed it, and if you do we will kick you out and say you left! They fear nothing and tolerate everything, except the Roman Catholic faith.

    The institution is their god, and just like the Roman Empire you may keep whatever religion you like as long as you do not question ours. Behold the Whore of Babylon and its supreme bridge builder (pontifex maximus)!

    As a German priest wrote nearly 500 years ago addressing a situation less dire than the present, how will they ever answer to Christ for letting the people carry on so disgracefully and not attending to the duties of their office for even a moment?

    Fallen, fallen, is Babylon the great!
    She has become a dwelling place for demons,
    a haunt for every unclean spirit,
    a haunt for every unclean bird,
    a haunt for every unclean and detestable beast.

    Come out of her, my people,
    lest you take part in her sins.

    Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,
    for his judgements are true and just,
    for he has judged the great prostitute,
    who corrupted the earth with her immorality,
    and has avenged on her the blood of his servants.

  2. Past Elder says:

    You might profit from this:

    Found it on Father Hollywood’s site, a regular stop of mine.

    The blogger is apparently a convert too.

  3. Peter says:

    David, I think your dual might last longer with a sparring partner who knows which end of the weapon to hold.

  4. Past Elder says:

    It’s duel, not dual, and one does not spar in a duel.

    Gauntlets, duels, prayerful dialogue, now sparring. You gotta love the Brave New Church.

    So much for randori. Guess I’ll go practice my kata.

  5. Past Elder says:

    And relax, Peter, I know the phrase “throw down the gauntlet” as a reference to gloves and specifically a part of armour (the Pope has some nice red ones) and as an idiom for issuing a challenge.

    I am not sure what point of honour is at issue here, or what satisfaction is being attempted. But since our host likes to understand his blogging activity by analogy to our military, may I point out that the Uniform Code of Military Justice directs that duelling itself, assisting in a duel or even not reporting a challenge to a duel is punishable by a court martial.

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