Thoughts? Change occurs in official (non-defined) Catholic doctrine like this:My initial response was:
1. The doctrine is insisted on more and more sternly and vigorously.This is certainly the case with usury, suicide, "the fate of unbaptized infants", the status of the Eastern Orthodox churches, and slavery.
2. Then things go quiet.
3. Then it is allowed that circumstances have changed, so that what may have been universally true is now only usually true.
4. Then a few exceptions are made.
5. Then no real attempt is made to implement the teaching.
6. Then statements are made which indirectly contradict the teaching.
7. Then it is stated that opposite of the original teaching is true and that in fact this is what was always taught, when the original teaching is rightly understood.
I am not aware of any of those being "universal teachings" to begin with. In order for me to comment I'd need to see the alleged original, universal teaching and contrast that with the alleged new teaching.He said:
I don't think it was saying they were dogmatic definitions but were examples of "official (non-defined) Catholic doctrine."I responded:
And I don't think I need to tell you that even "official" but "non-defined" doctrines can change. It is "official" that Latin Rite priests are not married, but this could change too - and there are already some exceptions to that "rule."He said:
The rule that Latin Rite priests are not married (generally) is not doctrine, is it? It's discipline, right?And continues...
I just thought the progression of such changes in what I shared was interesting.I answered:
Well, I would prepare a better answer for you if I had a better premise to start from. I need to see the alleged original "universal" teachings first. Examine them in context and then compare. I've answered several of those already in discussion groups on ACTS - but would be willing to do so again on CathApol.My friend was not real interested in getting into a more formal debate, but I do believe the statements made are commonly made - and thus do deserve an answer.
I continue now:
You are correct, the matter of married priests is a matter of discipline, and one which can change and already is acceptable in some rites of the Catholic Church. In my humble opinion, far too much emphasis is made on this subject. It is a matter of vocation. If one is called to the celibate priesthood, then they should heed the call. If one is not so called, then they should pursue marriage where they can be fruitful and multiply (or at least have the potential for such).
The matter of usury is often related to the charging of interest on any loan of cash, however this perspective has changed - especially with the dawning of the 16th century and the advent of Protestantism, where charging interest became more and more commonplace. Today "usury" would be defined as exorbitant interest which takes advantage of the poor and desperate - which, indeed, is the scriptural root of this concept (see Ex 22:25). I find it interesting that in the parable of the talents, the servants who returned MORE than was given to them were rewarded for it and the one who returned exactly what he was entrusted with was cast out into the place where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth, (Matt. 25:30) and was told that he should have at least invested in the bankers, where he could have earned interest on the money! Scripture actually supports a FAIR collection and reception of interest (Matt. 25:27). So, while challengers to the Catholic Church's position base their argument in a hyper-literal interpretation - they appear to be overlooking a broader interpretation which includes and even encourages participation in interest. I would re-emphasize, this is not a matter of defined dogma and thus the Church can "teach" on the matter and "change" the teaching when it deems the teaching should be changed. This is really a non-issue for apologetics for those who objectively look at it.
I am not aware of any change in Catholic teaching on suicide. Thou shalt not kill includes killing of one's self. It is a mortal sin to murder anyone, including yourself, so the conclusion could be drawn that one who successfully commits suicide has condemned themselves to Hell - but the Church condemns no one to Hell. The teaching is clear, don't do it, but for one who does - well, only God is in the position of the Final Judge over the state of the soul at death. What if the person after committing the act and before completely dying repents? Again, God will judge whether that was sufficient or not. Non-issue.
The Fate of Un-baptized Infants (aka Limbo):
Limbo was never a dogmatically defined teaching, though it was widely accepted and "taught." Again, just because something is "taught" does not make it dogma. If it's not dogma, it can change. The Church does not reject the concept of Limbo - it just does not "teach" it anymore. Again, another non-issue.
The Status of Eastern Orthodox Churches:
The "status" has not changed. They are not in full communion with the Bishop of Rome. The Catholic Church does not reject the legitimacy of Eastern Orthodox sacraments. I am not sure what my friend is getting at here, this is not an apologetics issue.
Again, Scripture itself does not oppose all forms of slavery. The matter is not something which is a change in dogma, but a cultural change in discipline. Again, this is not a matter which needs "defending."
What concerns me as well is my friend is a former Catholic and really should already know these answers. I'm a bit surprised he is throwing these rather weak and stereotypical anti-Catholic arguments.