How can we know what is a development and what is a corruption? In other words, while doctrines may develop, the principles that rest underneath those doctrines do not change. For example, while social and moral doctrines of the Church develop, the underlying principle of the dignity of the human person does not change. Facts and opinions, which have hitherto been regarded in other relations and grouped round other centres, henceforth are gradually attracted to a new influence and subjected to a new sovereign. They are modified, laid down afresh, thrust aside, as the case may be.
The Development of Doctrine
Newman on True vs. False Development - The Catholic Thing
An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine. John Henry Newman. However beautiful and promising that Religion is in theory, its history, we are told, is its best refutation; the inconsistencies, found age after age in its teaching, being as patent as the simultaneous contrarieties of religious opinion manifest in the High, Low, and Broad branches of the Church of England. In reply to this specious objection, it is maintained in this Essay that, granting that some large variations of teaching in its long course of years exist, nevertheless, these, on examination, will be found to arise from the nature of the case, and to proceed on a law, and with a harmony and a definite drift, and with an analogy to Scripture revelations, which, instead of telling to their disadvantage, actually constitute an argument in their favour, as witnessing to a superintending Providence and a great Design in the mode and in the circumstances of their occurrence. This is the true God, and eternal life. They are like unto children sitting in the market-place, and calling one to another, and saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced : we have mourned unto you, and ye have not wept.
Newman's Argumentations on the Development of Christian Doctrine
Enhance your purchase. An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine , reprinted from the edition, "is rightly regarded as one of the most seminal theological works ever to be written," states Ian Ker in his foreword to this sixth edition. He then delivers a sweeping consideration of the growth of doctrine in the Catholic Church from the time of the Apostles to his own era. He demonstrates that the basic "rule" under which Christianity proceeded through the centuries is to be found in the principle of development, and he emphasizes that throughout the entire life of the Church this principle has been in effect and safeguards the faith from any corruption. Read more Read less.
Eduardo J. Saturday, August 24, Note: We promised last week to bring you a series of columns on various aspects of the thought of the great Cardinal John Henry Newman as we approach his canonization on October Today, as the second in the series, we have some deep reflections on one of the concepts Newman tried to clarify: the Development of Doctrine.