Feb 10, 2022·edited Feb 10, 2022

By a sort of ecumenical and irenic condescension to the demands of the Orthodox, the Latin Church has admitted that the Greek version of the Niceno-Constantinopolitan creed is the one creed binding on the universal church. That version does not contain the filioque, even though we Latins believe that the Spirit does in fact "proceed from the Father AND THE SON". I think, moreover, that this belief of ours is, for us, de fide, even though it is not in the one universally binding creed.

What does that ultimately mean for ecumenical relations and the prospect of ultimate unity? It means we will either 1) have to find a way to reconcile our different understandings of "procession" [like Lutherans and Catholics did recently regarding the meaning of the word "justification"], or, 2) one of us will have to admit that its church is wrong.

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Feb 10, 2022·edited Feb 10, 2022

I think something that is almost always missed when discussing, inter alia, whether doctrine changes, how it changes, what scope of change is legitimate, and so on, is this: the first person in our religion to change doctrine was Jesus Christ Himself.

And He did so based on a combination of two things: His observation of the specific facts pertaining to how people were living in His day, on His particular insights known from being in the nature of God.

The mode of doctrinal change always involved the application of His human reason, whether in announcing the new doctrine or in explaining it.

And lastly, the change was always made in continuity with, and explicitly in respect to--while simultaneously being clearly distinguished from--the doctrine which was already existing and received by the People of God in His day before He began His teaching.

I think that we should look to His example when it appears that the Holy Spirit may be urging us to once again observe the facts of how people are living in our day, and forming within us convictions about what, if anything, should develop, and how it should develop.

And as I ponder that, I think that is more or less the process that unfolded during Vatican II.

I mentioned above that the changes He made were made "while simultaneously being clearly distinguished from" previous doctrine. It is that portion of Christ's model which, if followed today, would be problematic for the Church in its present self-conception as being something which solely receives, and which receives a single thing, unchangeable, though expressed in different ways over time.

Yet it is undeniable that doctrine changes over time. If this model of the Church is kept foremost in mind, however, the consequence is a schizophrenic reaction to change. We have seen this evidenced throughout the history of the Church, where there are always some people who say: "the Church cannot change; therefore, the proposed change [fill in the blank] is not of God."

To me, this means that the Church's self-conception as an institution that is faithful to a deposit once made for all the saints, must be re-formulated. The truth is that using human reason and, hopefully, inspired by God Almighty, the Church does in fact change doctrine. If it does so, then it is better to explain the change in reference to previous teaching than to pretend, as so many do, that the change is in reality no change at all.

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There is an interesting question - to have lived at the time of Christ or to live now? The first alternative is the chance to be with our Lord in the flesh and to have lived with the first Christians. The second alternative is the benefit of perspective that 2,000 years offers to understand the things that Christ taught. Either way, the goal is heaven.....

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American bishops didn’t need to change the language of the liturgy. It may be closer to the original Latin, but some of the lines are clunky and don’t flow well. With the Creed, we should stay because we are stating the principles of our faith as a group, not as individuals. Consubstantial is a term that sends people diving for a dictionary. One in being with the Father sounds simpler. With all the ICEL changes, parishes had to spend big bucks to get revised sheet music and hymnals.

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