Clarity on a much-misunderstood subject
Can Catholic Doctrine Change?
There is much confusion and misunderstanding, especially these days, about whether Catholic teaching can ever change, whether it has changed in the past, and if so, what this means for an infallible Church.
In a very readable and succinct article entitled “Does Catholic Doctrine Change?”, published in 1947, Fr. Francis J. Connell of the Catholic University of America tackles the issue head-on and, drawing the necessary qualifications and distinctions, shows what part of Catholic teaching can change, what cannot change, and how this relates to the Church’s infallibility and her divine mission to obtain the salvation of souls.
We are making available this invaluable essay in PDF format for free download below:
American Ecclesiastical Review
Vol. 117 (Nov. 1947), pp. 321-331
Needless to say, utterly lacking from Fr. Connell’s treatment is “Pope” Francis’ idiotic concept of the “god of surprises” that speaks through the Bergoglian surprise magisterium. Here are some highlights from Fr. Connell’s article:
Of course, no Catholic could accept in its unqualified form the statement that the teaching of the Catholic Church is subject to change…. At the same time, to exclude all manner of change from the Church’s teachings in different periods and under different circumstances would be contrary both to history and to theology.
The purpose of this paper is to lay down the general principles on this subject and to point the way to the solution of the majority of the problems which center about the unchangeableness or changeableness of the Church’s teaching.
…the magisterium tacitly approves an opinion which is universally taught for a considerable length of time.
…in the dogmatic or moral teaching of the Church, which is included in a practical manner in what is commanded, approved or authorized [by the Church] for the spiritual welfare of all the faithful, by virtue of the protection of the Holy Spirit there can be found nothing that is false or detrimental to souls.
The faithful are obliged in conscience to accept [non-infallible] decisions internally, for even though their correctness is not guaranteed by the charism of infallibility, those who formulate and promulgate them are undoubtedly aided by the Holy Spirit.
…Yet, at times we hear Catholics criticizing such teachings, apparently with the erroneous idea that they are bound to accept only the infallible pronouncements of the Church.
In other words: If the Vatican II Sect is the Catholic Church and Francis is the Pope, then it’s “game over”.
Fr. Connell’s essay is an excellent tool to use against the Vatican II Sect, which has, clearly, substantially altered Catholic doctrine, imposed impious and harmful disciplinary laws, and has issued non-infallible teachings that are heretical, erroneous, impious, and absurd. Therefore, it has irrevocably and definitively disqualified itself from being able to claim to be the Catholic Church founded by our Lord Jesus Christ.
On this topic, it is very helpful to review Bp. Donald Sanborn’s analysis of the errors of Vatican II, and how they differ substantially from pre-conciliar Catholic teaching:
The logical consequence of all this is presented by Bp. Sanborn in this informative and compelling talk:
The bottom line is simply that we know the Vatican II Church is not the Catholic Church because God has given us a guarantee that the Catholic Church cannot do what the Vatican II Church has done. For details, our article “Have the Gates of Hell Prevailed?” is very instructive.
Fr. Francis J. Connell, C.SS.R. (1888-1967), was one of the finest Catholic theologians ever produced by the Church in the United States. A close ally of Mgr. Joseph C. Fenton (1906-1969) and Mgr. George W. Shea (1910-1990), he battled the Jesuit Modernist Fr. John Courtney Murray on the error of religious liberty before Vatican II made the Murray error into its own teaching.