Appeared in Spring 1989, Vol. XV, No. 1

Since the catholic church has chaNged her authoritatiVe teachiNg oN more than one point of faith and morals, there is absolutely no reason why she cannot be expected to change it on others. and, this being the case, to silence dissenting theologians is very possibly to prevent the discovery and propagation of new truths, truths which the church herself will eventually come to ac- cept.” We are all likely familiar with arguments of this sort, arguments made in varying ways by theologians who refuse to accept all the teachings of the church’s magisterium.1 When pressed for speci cs, moreover, the two points on which they generally allege the church has changed her doctrine are the licitness of usury2 and the question of religious liberty. and if the magisterium really has changed on these issues, then it is hard not to concede to them their point. For if the teaching of the ordinary magisterium on usury or

religious liberty has changed over the centuries because of changing social conditions, then why not teach- ing on contraception or divorce? therefore, it seems to me of the greatest importance for orthodox catholics to be able to demonstrate that the church has never changed any point of its magisterial teachings nor can she.

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