Cardinal Newman wrote a tremendous treatise “The Development of Doctrine” which was hugely influential in our conversion to the Catholic Church.

Fr. Thomas G. Weinandy, OFM., Cap. wrote an excellent article explaining Newman’s thinking on the authentic development of doctrine. It is a must read entitled “On the Relevance and Reality of the Development of Doctrine Today” published by Catholic World Report.

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He asserts that many “progressives” in the Church today see doctrinal development as a break with the doctrine and morals of the past 2,000 years to fit more comfortably with the modern world. There really are no absolutes and what Popes and Councils had infallibly understood and defined in the past need to be set aside for modern realities. What used to be an Oak can now be a Cactus.

Newman would be aghast. Authentic doctrinal develop is not a jettisoning of the absolute truths but a deeper and fuller understanding of truth revealed by Jesus Christ and the apostles. The development is organically the same truth understood in a deeper way. The oak sapling of the first century is still organically an oak 2,000 years later, it has not changed into a cactus or a maple tree.

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Modernists today, including many cardinals, bishops and priests want to change the oak into a radically different kind of tree. This is not authentic development of doctrine; rather, it is a radical new doctrine and incompatible with the authentic tradition handed down from the beginning.

If you are on the correct path and take a wrong turn and realize a mile down the road you are heading in the wrong direction, it is not rigid or backward-looking turn around and go back to get on the right track again.

Progressives say, “Keep going! We need a new way.” The right-thinking person says, “It is OK to go back, if it gets us back on the right track.”

Of course, those who hold to the objective, authentic doctrine handed down infallible by the Church are considered rigid, backward-looking.

Well, call me rigid!

Read the whole excellent article here to better understand where we are in the Church today and the big divide between differing interpretations of “the development of doctrine.”