My latest blog post over at National Catholic Register discusses this idea briefly.
Here’s the problem: if Christianity teaches unchanging truth how does it adapt to different cultures and different ages?If it does not adapt it ceases to be relevant. If it does nothing but adapt it alters the truths that cannot be changed.The English theologian Blessed John Henry Newman said that for Christianity to be both dogmatic and relevant it required an infallible interpreter. What he meant by this was that Christianity was, by definition a dogmatic religion. That means it holds to certain truths that are anchored in historic facts. These truths cannot be changed just as the historic facts cannot be changed. The Nicene Creed lays those truths out in the form of theological propositions. Catholic Christians recite those truths every week at Mass and thus affirm that Christianity is a dogmatic religion.These unchanging truths, however, must be applied in real life, and real life is complex, varied and constantly changing. To be real, Christianity must be adapted to different cultures, different ages and different circumstances. The truths cannot be changed, but their application must be. The dogmas cannot be altered, but their presentation and priorities must be flexible.
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