Tagged: Development of Doctrine

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Such May Be Slain But Not Crowned

St. Cyprian was a bishop of Carthage. He died a martyr’s death in 258. His skill in Latin was so impressive that he was considered the Church’s best Latin writer until Augustine and Jerome. Cyprian was key to resolving the Novatianist schism. As such, he had quite a lot to say about the evils of schism. If you doubt whether this man has something to teach you about faithfulness, just look at his final conversation...

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The Motherhood of God

“The Breasts of His Own Tender Love” Motherhood needs a cultural reboot. Perhaps no institution is as roundly mocked, belittled, and discounted as motherhood. Our society neglects mothers and discards them when it finds them burdensome. There’s an urgent need for a renaissance of the mom. Above all, we need a rebirth of faith in the Motherhood of God. Some think seeing God as our Mother will  undermine the fact that he is our Father,...

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“I’m still teaching the same things I always taught…”

In my spiritual formation as a young adult, the idea of a future schism–refusing to submit to the teaching of the pope–was presented as a “liberal” concept. The idea was that in the name of progress, some Catholics rejected papal teaching on subjects like contraception, same-sex marriage, and women priests. This kind of schismatic believes that Church teaching on these matters hasn’t “developed” far enough, that the truth of their ideas is certain, and that...

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A Reponse to Ross Douthat

Where Peter Is was recently mentioned in the New York Times, in a column by Ross Douthat entitled, “What Will Happen to Conservative Catholicism?” In the piece, he surveys the ways that conservative Catholics in America have responded to Pope Francis. He also analyzes two  potential paths forward for Catholic conservatives other than that of Cardinal Burke or that which he describes as a “schismatic plunge.” The first is: A conservative Catholicism that strains more...

Has the Modern Church Blunted the Sharp Edge of the Gospel?

Dissenters against recent Church teaching–that is, the teaching of the Church since Vatican II and especially Pope Francis’s recent teaching–often try to argue that there are contradictions between the older and the newer teaching. In my experience, Erick Ybarra is one of the more sophisticated of these dissenters. He has argued not so much that newer magisterial teaching contradicts older teaching, but that, while not strictly contradictory, the “spirit” of newer teaching tends to contradict...

You Will Not Become Like the Roots

There is a trend in Pope Francis criticism that makes a big deal about the fact that “anything [the pope says] can be made to sound orthodox”. I’ve seen Feser and now Dan Hitchens bringing it up as if it were a profound point. In an article called “Pope Francis Forgets” Hitchens says: practically any statement can be reconciled with Church teaching, if you try hard enough. Give me a minute, and I can probably...

Human life and dignity: our maturing teaching

In recent days, I’ve been thinking about the Church’s teaching on Human Life and Dignity. Here are some thoughts and reflections on the subject. In the past, we’ve written about Pope Francis’s views on abortion, and last month we shared a quote from his address to Italian pro-life leaders: Voluntarily extinguishing life in its blossoming is, in every case, a betrayal of our vocation, as well as of the pact that binds generations together, which...

We do not Possess the Truth: How the Church Changes Her Teachings

“We must move toward an idea of truth that is evermore inclusive, less restrictive; at least, if we are thinking of the truth of God and not some human truth, however solid it may appear to us. The truth of God is inexhaustible; it is an ocean of which we can hardly see the shore. It is something that we are beginning to discover in these times: not to make us slaves to an almost...

The shock of developing doctrine: A response to Fr. Dwight Longenecker

“We cannot determine whether a professed development is truly such or not, without some further knowledge than an experience of the mere fact of this variation. Nor will our instinctive feelings serve as a criterion. It must have been an extreme shock to St. Peter to be told he must slay and eat beasts, unclean as well as clean, though such a command was implied already in that faith which he held and taught; a...