Development?

The personal ordinariates for former Anglicans erected by Pope Benedict XVI have a special relationship to the Catechism of the Catholic Church. In the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus we read:

The Catechism of the Catholic Church is the authoritative expression of the Catholic faith professed by members of the Ordinariate.

But what of the rest of the Catholic Church?  What is the Catechism’s enduring status? And how can it be changed or modified? As Anglicans we were used to the loaded phrase ‘The current teaching of the Church’ – implying immanent change. How stable is CCC?

A chap called Rino Fisichella, president of the International Council for Catechesis, put the matter like this:

Sometimes we are guilty of giving the impression that tradition is an exercise akin to an athletics relay in which the aim is to pass the gold baton of the faith onto the next runner just exactly as it was received. But this conception risks reducing tradition to a fly in amber and ends up negating its very origin and purpose. …To deny this dynamic nature of tradition is tantamount to denying the contemporaneity of the Christian faith.

But surely, there is a danger here of contradicting our sainted John Henry’s idea of development: ‘constantly reinterpreted so as to retain the complete integrity of what was received’, as he might have said. Newman’s version comes very close to Fisichella’s ‘passing on of a golden baton’, and (contrary to Fisichella’s unthinking assertion) can alone powerfully expresses the ‘contemporaneity’ of the perennial gospel.

Fisichella, of course, was seeking to defend the recent contradiction of the perennial teaching in the alternations made by Francis to CCC 2267. Enough said.

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