The Eastern Churches and St. Thomas Aquinas
Yes, doctrinal development isn't an addition or change to the doctrine. It never goes back on what it said. The development is an explication of the doctrine that is always incorparable in each preceding doctrinal statement, minus the subsequent clarification. These clarifications are in response to attacks on the teaching. In this way, doctrinal development is an unpacking of the dogma by laying out all of the meanings that could be contained therein and then condemning what it is not and affirming what it is. If this new affirmation is then attacked, it is then further unpacked to condemn the new false interpretation and to affirm even more specifically what is meant. Doctrinal developments parse the doctrine and specify in exactly which sense the dogma is to be understood; it doesn't add on additional meanings to the dogma or change the way in which they are to be understood.

A really simplified example of a doctrinal development might be something like this: "Christ is truly present in the Eucharist. He is transubstantially present as opposed to consubstantially present." Such a clarification is not a repudiation of the original doctrinal statement; it is simply a clarification of it by telling us in what exact sense Christ is metaphysically (truly) present in the Eucharist. It is possible that some new heresy could attack transubstantiation, at which point the Church would respond by specifying in exactly which sense a transubstantial presence is to be understood (though, I can't imagine this particular challenge happening today; I think it's as specific as it is going to get).

A really simplified example of a doctrinal mutation might be something like this: "You have heard it said that salvation is only possible in the Church. But now it is understood that salvation is only possible through the Church." 'Through' doesn't mean 'in.' 'Through' (in this particular context) means that something can exist outside the boundaries but can be affected by what is within those boundaries. In this later example, there is a contradiction involved, because 'through' expands the bounderies set by 'in.' Such a contradiction must be rejected. It is not a development.

A legitimate doctrinal development might be: "Actually only those are to be included as members of the Church who have been baptized and profess the true faith, and who have not been so unfortunate as to separate themselves from the unity of the Body, or been excluded by legitimate authority for grave faults committed" (Pope Pius XII, Mystici Corporis Christi). This doesn't break down the restictions set by the boundaries of the preposition "in"; rather, it tells us exactly where that boundary is--that is, who is "in" (who are the members) and who is "out" (who are the non-members). 

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Re: The Eastern Churches and St. Thomas Aquinas - by INPEFESS - 02-11-2012, 04:47 AM

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