Development of Doctrine

The New Secular Puritan Covenant

Thanksgiving brings back memories for Americans of the Pilgrims and Puritans, carrying out their “errand into the wilderness” to build a “city on a hill,” surviving that first bleak Massachusetts winter of 1620-21. As a kid, I remember that cutting out Puritan hats from black construction paper and taping them to the school windows was [...]

Mona Lisa’s Mustache

The other day on an obscure channel on TV I saw a fundamentalist preacher interviewing two young Catholics at the Minnesota State Fair. The two Catholics were utterly unable to match wits with the Protestant old-time-religion preacher. It was painful to watch, almost as painful as reading Vatican press releases over the last several years [...]

Getting Scripture Wrong: A Response to Harriet Murphy

Dr. Harriet Murphy has taken a leap off a cliff of her own making in her broadside against my essay in Crisis on the female deaconate. She concludes that anyone (namely, me) who accepts the "literal" interpretation of 1 Tim 2:12-14—“I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man"—is somehow [...]

Can Dissenters Alter the Course of Doctrinal Development?

With the New Year and the Year of Mercy begun, last year's Synod of the Family seems like old news. In a way, it's business as usual for the Church. No new teaching was proclaimed (as if a Synod even had the authority to do that!), no radical changes to Church discipline were announced concerning [...]

San Francisco Protesters Redefine Catholicism

The dispute between Catholic high school teachers and Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone continues. After protests, rallies, and full-page ads printed in metropolitan newspapers, opponents of the seemingly common-sense proposal that Catholic school teachers teach Catholic teaching in Catholic schools have now moved to the time-honored tradition of the “open letter.” Jim McGarry, an organizer of the [...]

Did the Church Change Its Doctrine on Usury?

Orthodox Catholics say that discipline can change and doctrine can develop—in the sense that elements present in the early form of a doctrine can emerge more fully over time—but doctrine in its essence cannot change. In the 1950s and 1960s, Catholic advocates of contraception cited the Church’s teaching on usury as a counterexample to this [...]

MENU