Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Is a call to 'update' Church teaching a call for doctrinal change? Nope.

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | May 21, 2014

From time to time you’ve probably noticed a news story on this site with the parenthetical note that the story has been “updated.” Did you think, when you saw that note, that we were repudiating our earlier version of the story? I hope not.

When we say that we’re “updating” a story, that note is entirely neutral. Occasionally it does mean that the original story contained an error. More often, however, it means that we’ve come up with new information, and/or a new perspective on the issue.

So earlier this month, when Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri was quoted as saying that the Church should “update” the teaching of Familiaris Consortio, we didn’t think that comment, by itself, merited headline coverage. Some Catholic analysts jumped to the conclusion that the cardinal was calling for wholesale changes in Church teaching. But his actual words did not give a clear indication of the cardinal’s attitude, positive or negative, toward the document by St. John Paul II.

Cardinal Baldisseri pointed out that Familiaris Consortio is now 33 years old. That’s a simple matter of fact. He said that the Church’s teaching should be expressed in ways that people will understand today. It’s hard to argue that. But did he, or did he not, want to change the Church’s teaching? The Belgian interview did not answer that question.

Now we have the first direct answer by Cardinal Baldisseri to the question of whether Church teaching should be changed. And that answer is a resounding No.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Progress toward our April expenses ($33,195 to go):
$35,000.00 $1,805.25
95% 5%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

There are no comments yet for this item.

Subscribe for free
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org
Shop Amazon

Recent Catholic Commentary

The first steps toward liturgical renewal 18 hours ago
Boycott Apple? No; the effort is doomed to fail. 21 hours ago
Church Fathers: St. Justin Martyr March 31
Zooming toward Easter March 31
Why homosexuals need not worry over the Indiana law March 31

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope announces Jubilee: a Year of Mercy CWN - March 13