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Can the Church’s Dogmatic teaching change?

I. “Catholic”?
II. Who is Catholic?
III. What are the true teachings of the Catholic Faith?
IV. Is it necessary to be Catholic to be saved?
V. Can the Church’s Dogmatic teaching change?
VI. What must we do to be truly called Catholic?

Many might object to the many sources I have cited throughout this series thus far.  They think that “well that was the old days” and that “things have changed now”, but actually they haven’t and they can’t.  What the Catholic Church actually teaches is that it teaches the one truth given to us by Jesus Christ and which is unchanging.  No one in the Church, not even a Pope, has the authority to change anything that has been set down under the guarantee of Infallibility and bearing the title of Dogma.

The Infallible Teaching of the First Vatican Council:

“For the holy Spirit was promised to the successors of Peter not so that they might, by his revelation, make known some new doctrine, but that, by his assistance, they might religiously guard and faithfully expound the revelation or deposit of faith transmitted by the apostles.  Indeed, their apostolic teaching was embraced by all the venerable fathers and reverenced and followed by all the holy orthodox doctors, for they knew very well that this see of St. Peter always remains unblemished by any error, in accordance with the divine promise of our Lord and Saviour to the prince of his disciples: I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren [Lk 22, 32].”  (Session 4, 18 July 1870, Ch. 4, #6)

“…that meaning of the sacred dogmas is ever to be maintained which has once been declared by holy mother church, and there must never be any abandonment of this sense under the pretext or in the name of a more profound understanding.” (Session 3, 24 April 1870, Ch. 4, #14)

And Pope Paul VI’s Encyclical Mysterium Fidei, which was promulgated on September 3, 1965 near the close of the Second Vatican Council only reiterates this teaching…

“There are, however, Venerable Brothers, a number of reasons for serious pastoral concern and anxiety… We can see that some of those who are dealing with this… Dogma…that are disturbing the minds of the faithful and causing them no small measure of confusion about matters of faith, just as if it were all right for someone to take doctrine that has already been defined by the Church and consign it to oblivion or else interpret it in such a way as to weaken the genuine meaning of the words or the recognized force of the concepts involved…And so the rule of language which the Church has established through the long labor of centuries, with the help of the Holy Spirit, and which she has confirmed with the authority of the Councils, and which has more than once been the watchword and banner of orthodox faith, is to be religiously preserved, and no one may presume to change it at his own pleasure or under the pretext of new knowledge.”


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