Q6. Does the teaching of the Church always remain the same?
The answer is: yes and no. The doctrine of the Church always remains the same as far as its essential contents is concerned. But there is also a development of doctrine. During the first few centuries, for instance, the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity was gradually clarified. We express this in theology by saying that the true Tradition grows. It is dynamic.
One of the classic exponents of this aspect of Tradition was Cardinal John Henry Newman (1801-1890). Read one of his sermons in which he explains some key concepts: The Theory of Developments in Religious Doctrine, (1843).
The Church has always believed that its true Tradition is not fully expressed in external statements or practices. Tradition also contains the gospel which our Lord did not write, but taught by word of mouth and implanted in peoples hearts, and part of which the evangelists later wrote down, while much was simply entrusted to the hearts of the faithful (Joseph Ratzinger (!), On the Interpretation of the Tridentine Decree on Tradition, in Revelation and Tradition, by K. Rahner and J. Ratzinger, Burns & Oates, London 1966, pp. 50-68.) This Tradition was known as the Gospel in the Heart. The term for it today is latent tradition.
Latent tradition often lies hidden behind other beliefs and practices in the Church. One famous example of this, relating to the ordination of women, can be seen in the age-old devotion to Mary as Priest. For if Mary was a priest, it proves that women as women can be priests. Read more about this:
The underlying Christian faith always remains the same, but its full implications only become clear in the course of time. This applies also to the ordination of women.
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