Suscipe Domine Traditional Catholic Forum

The Church Courtyard => Non-Catholic Discussion Subforum => Topic started by: Xavier on January 20, 2019, 12:47:04 AM

Title: St. Vincent of Lerins on how religion/theology progresses in the same sense.
Post by: Xavier on January 20, 2019, 12:47:04 AM
We all know the Vincentian canon, what was believed "always, everywhere, by all". Some think this means doctrine never develops, in the way a seed develops into a tree. But other passages in St. Vincent confirm that that understanding is wrong. What St. Vincent condemns is evolution of dogma into something substantially different; as a monkey cannot become a man, neither will the seed God planted become a totally corrupted tree. But the seed does grow and develop in every age, as theology progresses and knowledge advances, but always in the same sense and in the same meaning, and St. Vincent says it would be "hateful toward God" to say differently. Many non-Catholics deny this. Do you think Catholic theology is a science that progresses, in the sense that St. Vincent says?

"But someone will perhaps say: is there no progress of religion in the church of Christ? Certainly there is progress, even exceedingly great progress [plane et maximus]! For who is so envious of others and so hateful toward God as to try to prohibit it? Yet it must be an advance [profectus] in the proper sense of the word and not an alteration [permutatio] in faith. For progress means that each thing is enlarged within itself, while alteration implies one thing is transformed into something else. It is necessary, therefore, that understanding, knowledge, and wisdom should grow and advance vigorously in individuals as well as in the community, in a single person as well as in the whole church, and this gradually in the course of ages and centuries. But the progress made must be according to its own type, that is, in accord with the same doctrine, the same meaning, and the same judgment [eodem sensu eademque sententia]." (23.54; trans. Guarino)

This is also cited in Vatican I, and true development distinguished from a false evolution, "let the understanding, the knowledge, and wisdom of individuals as of all, of one man as of the whole Church, grow and progress strongly with the passage of the ages and the centuries; but let it be solely in its own genus, namely in the same dogma, with the same sense and the same understanding.'' [Vincent of Lerins, Commonitorium, 23, 3].