Find accurate definitions of over 5,000 Catholic terms and phrases (including abbreviations). Based on Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.
DEVELOPMENT OF DOCTRINE
Growth in the Church's understanding of the truths of divine revelation. Also called dogmatic progress or dogmatic development, it is the gradual unfolding of the meaning of what God has revealed. Always presumed is that the substantial truth of a revealed mystery remains unchanged. What changes is the subjective grasp of the revealed truth.
The source of this progressive understanding is the prayerful reflection of the faithful, notably of the Church's saints and mystics; the study and research by scholars and theologians; the practical experience of living the faith among the faithful; and the collective wisdom and teaching of the Church's hierarchy under the Bishop of Rome.
Implicit in the development of doctrine is the will of God that the faithful not only assent to what he revealed but also grow in the depth, clarity, and certitude of their appropriation of divine faith.