Monday, August 24, 2015

Non-Changing Church?


I like bishops rings, I like big amethyst one's, I like the idea of bishops being amethystos "not drunk (for it is only the third hour)" Acts 2:15. I like the symbol of the ring on the finger of a bishop because it symbolises his marriage to his Church. I don't like the idea of ambitious bishops hankering after more prominent Sees. The bishop, even the Bishop of Rome belongs to his See, as a husband belongs to his wife, as Christ belongs to the Church and the Church to him.
If Hyppo was good enough for Augustine ... .

If we use the highly scriptural analogy of the Church as the bride of Christ then we should be wary of adulterous clergy who 'covet other Sees' as my Orthodox friends would describe it. If fidelity is important for ordinary married people then it should be even more important for clergy too, especially bishops, the Church should never encourage adultery like the Ashley Madison website.

I recently read this from Anne Roche's The Desolate City: Revolution in the Catholic Church, it is a very moving account of the Church of her childhood compared to what is now.
I must sometimes have gone to Mass in the day-light when I was young, but my strongest memory is of coming thankfully into it out of the cold dark. At first, to keep my father company. He was a millwright and had to work every Sunday. I used to hurry through the chill Newfoundland mornings with him, shivering, fasting, to the poor little basement church, down into the warm, candlelit, holy silence. The church was always surprisingly full. Men from the mill with their lunch baskets, going on or coming off shift, sometimes black-faced from unloading coal boats all night, kneeling on the floor at the back, too filthy to venture into a pew. Nurses, and our doctor in his vast raccoon coat, with his bag, after a night call. A Mountie in full uniform. Young people still in evening dress after a party.
I remember a bit of that, Irish labourers who through their devoted attendance at Benediction and Mass taught me the meaning of what St Thomas had written in the Summa.


If I am being honest I really do have to admit that something drastic has changed, maybe not in the formulation of the faith but certainly in the living of it. I am not terribly modern in saying that Jesus did not write a catechism, rather he founded a Church, nor I do I hope that I am going to upset anyone by suggesting that the Church is not just bishops or even clergy, it is the whole community of believers, and not just a horizontal community but a vertical one too that includes the saints and the great teachers of the past. Faith is not simply that is held but something which must be demonstrated in works, it has to be fruitful in good works, 'show me your faith and I will show you my works', says St James.

Problems always arise when one portion of the Church gets out of balance, when one part takes control, we are still living with the problems of nineteenth century. Thinking about the Church of the late 60s and 70s what seems to have happened  was the Church got out of balance, that the centre decided on change which was rejected by the peripheries. Rome went for change and the people left. No longer was the Mass, 'our Mass', the doctrine 'our doctrine' the leaders of the Church 'our leaders', by 'our' I mean something we collectively owned by us or our parents, our grand-parents, the saints. No-longer did bishops and priests act like loving spouses defending and protecting their family and encouraging its spiritual increase. No longer were laity, priests and bishops, including the Pope, servants of the liturgy, or catechesis like the workmen Anne Roche speaks about, instead they took control of the Church forcing change, often with a sledge hammer or a wrecking ball against their spouses will. It was the reign of the experts. These expert took over the common heritage of all the Faithful that rightly belonged to the whole καθολικός passed on by whole Church. No longer was the Liturgy a safe place hallowed by time and frequent use, invariably it was transformed beyond recognition, as too Church buildings, people were robbed of their spiritual home, but of course they were assured this was not a doctrinal change. Doctrine of course never changes but its presentation did, and how it was lived did, and how it was taught did, and the mindset that received did, and the 'Churches' adherence to it did.

The result was disenfranchisement, Catholicism which no longer belonged to Catholics, it belonged to the bishops for the first time in history bishops became innovators, if they remained the 'faithful' and many clergy became consumers of faith rather than owners. The catastrophic changes robbed ordinary Catholics of their faith, bishops handed over much to 'experts' who took control to themselves of what had previously belonged to all. The bishop, tended to see himself no longer in terms of  bridegroom 'guarding, protecting and defending' but as managers of change and innovators,  I suspect five years in the rarified and highly politicised atmosphere of Rome during the Council had changed them significantly. Rather than being immersed in faith they became either fodder for factions or highly politicised, themselves collaborators full of faith but fellow members of a faction. They came to see themselves as Lords of the Church pushing forward ideology rather than faith rather than being servant spouses and spiritual fathers. Either pre-occupied by, or at the Council they became strangers to their clergy and people, reappearing amongst them with what appeared to be new doctrines, new liturgy, they wrecked the very house their bride had previously recognised as home, and the bride fled, for they no longer smelt of the bride and she no longer recognised their smell. Whether it was bishop himself who inflicted the damage, some like Cardinal Heenan felt they had lost control, all was done by in the bishop's name.

In parishes there was confusion, if the Mass had changed, then surely doctrine had changed. If the Blessed Sacrament was removed from altar to a side chapel, or the priest was commanded to turn his back on it, then surely what was believed yesterday is no longer to believed today. It was what bishops considered little things that 'stole' the faith from the people. It was the take over by 'experts' from ordinary members of the parish that added to the alienation. Not only had the liturgy changed, but also devotions were more or less removed, the Marian and Corpus Christi processions, the Novenas, for many pre-Concillior Catholics Mass was of precept whilst devotions were of love, they embodied the 'always, everywhere and by all' that is the patristic essence of Catholicism.

Suddenly the old certainties always, everywhere by all believed, were no longer certain. The faith of parents and grandparents, the usual catechisers of children, was no longer what the Church expected children were expected to know and love, the same with the army of catechists, and even teachers both religious and lay, their faith was no longer the Catholic faith. So many of the clergy too, I suspect lost heart, afraid to teach because they themselves lacked understanding, having been formed in a Church that no longer existed. So many of the priests, certainly the older ones I knew of that era seemed depressed, whilst so many of the younger ones just left.

Some would suggest that the emptying of the churches and the loss of huge numbers of its members had more to do with changes in society, or simply the issuing of Humanae Vitae or the dichotomy between the actual Council and the 'Council of the Media' but the Council itself, placed so much emphasis on the role of the bishop, it would be foolish to ignore their role in what followed. Of course not one iota of doctrine was changed, it was after all a 'Pastoral Council' but somehow the Church did change, and so many were lost. Even for those who stayed somehow the faith had changed and the change resulted in a loss of impetus, like some loveless marriage.

What had changed? Catholicism was no longer a faith, 'always, everywhere and by all' believed, St Vincent of Lerins definition but something handed down. The Church was no longer a Communion but a Heirarchy, in the secular sense, ruled by diktat from above. The Council Fathers had managed to kill the very thing the Council had sought to teach.

34 comments:

Fr Dickson said...

Excellent. Thank you.

philipjohnson said...

Fr ,a great comment indeed,and so true.I am old enough to remember the devastating changes to our church in the late sixties and into the seventies,and we are still reeling from that!However i can now attend the Tridentine Mass and also the SSPX Masses of which the return of the Latin Mass is evident.The traditional orders will save our Church of which there is no doubt.The sermons are good too.The Novus Ordo is on its last legs as the True church is rising out of the ashes.Great Blog Fr -keep writing.god bless.

Fred Brown said...

I believe my diocese is like so many others, it became a business. It has a business model and a business approach. Lay people were given "jobs" that were once held by priests and consequently they are making decisions, important ones, that were once made by clergy. What is there now, whatever it is, is not the Catholic faith.

Jane said...

Indeed it was an un-pastoral council, hurting the people of the Church beyond measure.

In weakening the Church it also damaged society in untold ways. The loss of prayer and spirituality, the absence of a strong prophetic entity within our society....Look at the demolition of culture all around us.

Pelerin said...

Having listened to several young Priests' talks in Lourdes recently I came away more optimistic about the future of the Church. They realise the uphill struggle to get people to return to the Faith they have long abandoned and they have the energy to face it.

One young Priest explained that in days gone by the Faith was transmitted naturally from grandparents, to parents, to children. Today this no longer happens as somewhere along the line the link has been broken.

He told us that during the time of his grandparents nearly 90 per cent of their village attended Mass every Sunday. It was also a social occasion when friends met up but the chat was always outside, AFTER Mass. After ordination he soon learnt that today knowledge of the Faith is sadly lacking. When he celebrated his first funeral he was approached by a lady who asked him if he could explain an unknown word he had used. The word was 'Resurrection'. She had no idea what it meant and he had taken for granted that the word would be understood. He is in charge of a parish of some 100 souls who attend Mass each Sunday and of these he told us there are only three families - all the rest are white or grey haired.

The same Priest told us a story of an elderly lady who had died. He did not know her and had never seen her at Mass - the church was too far away for her to attend. However the family called him to arrange the funeral and as he was leaving asked whether an exerpt from her favourite book could be read at the funeral. Apparently they had noticed that this book was at the side of her bed and that she had read from it each night. The Priest asked to see the book before agreeing to do this wondering whether it would be suitable and they went to fetch it - it was a copy of the New Testament.

Whilst looking at the notice board there a lady asked me where one of the churches in the 'Domaine' was. I told her how to get there adding that it did not look like a church at all from the outside. A voice behind me said 'Je suis tout a fait d'accord Madame!' (I thoroughly agree with you) Turning round I saw that it was a young Priest who had made this comment. The new generation of Priests find it difficult to accept the hideous concrete monstrosities which were erected in the 60s and yearn for beauty. I am sure the tide is changing.

Incidentally the Mass I attended on the Feast of the Assumption in Lourdes parish church was extremely well attended by parishioners. This year the day fell on a Saturday but this did not deter the locals at all. There was no need to transfer the day to Sunday as has been done in Britain.

Yes the Church does indeed seem to have changed considerably since I was received fifty years ago. We all have our worries. However as a Priest said to me last week we must surrender our worries about it to God and trust that Christ will always guide His Church as He has promised.

Paul Hellyer said...

I have the feeling of being tricked, conned by the Church. I grew up in the real Catholic Church before the 'reforms' (subversion) by the Vatican Council. I sent my children to good Catholic schools thinking that they would get the same formation and teaching in the Faith as I had received. It just did not happen. My children were having the Faith to which they were entitled undermined by men who did not have children and did not understand or were not sympathetic with the meaning of family, shall I say cold men. . .

In my case Weaving the Web was the main vehicle for this apostasy. I wrote to Bishop Konstant at the time. I even went to meet him. He refused to budge and called me impertinent.

Now my children know hardly anything about the Faith. Only one out of all four goes to Mass and that's only now and again. I have eight grandchildren (one is still not baptised) I am not sure if any one of them will be Catholic. A whole generation has more or less been lost to the Faith. I blame Vatican 2 and the trendy modernist professional clerics who saw the Church as 'their' thing. Something in text books, an academic exercise, career satisfaction. They could treat the laity like inferiors who sheep like would fall into line with their wonderful theories and schemes. Nonsense ideas like priest facing the people, Holy Communion standing and on the hand. Now it's all in ashes. Tradition has been trampled on and Churches are emptying.

My family, my posterity has been destroyed by them. I will have no one to pray for me when I am dead. I have very good children and very good grand children but not fully Catholic in the sense of proper formation as we had before Vat2 . I am very sad. It's not their fault but I am very very sad.

B flat said...

Dear Father. God bless you for writing this. I relived my own childhood experience in reading Anne Roche's description of early Mass on dark winter mornings in a cold church.
The love and devotion of people coming to Mass at 7.30am (6.30am for working folk on Holy Days) was a palpable bond. They came in their hundreds to three Sunday morning Masses, and later to the evening Mass when that was permitted with relaxed three hour Eucharistic fast, in a very ordinary suburban Parish of a small city. Watching before the Blessed Sacrament during the 40 hours devotion, the Missions, the May and Corpus Christi processions....
The loss of this broke me down slowly, and I persevered bereft for more than 20 years before going to the "other lung" to breathe again.
But I sense the pain and the loss in your blog post which manages to neither complain nor rant. The commenters' pain is searingly obvious, I especially feel for Paul Hellyer. May the Lord give you all bishops worthy and faithful to their calling to be shepherds of the rational sheep of Christ!

poly carped said...

"I will have no one to pray for me when I am dead".

If it's not clear to people yet, that really does put it all in perspective. The scary thing is that even very many so-called Catholics would be among those ignoring your need for prayer. Sadly, we have men such as von Balthasar to thank for having fallen for and then promoted the terrible deception of universal salvation within the Catholic Church. Satan, 1: poor Catholic faithful, 0.

Gregkanga said...

What a beauty Fr Ray! This is the most accurate diagnosis of the crisis in the Church since the Council I have read in the blogosphere. Into the Deep at stoneswillshout.com/wp have been reporting precisely on this diagnosis for the last 13 years and has been demonised, maligned and treated like a pariah in the Church in Australia. Even 'good' Catholics told us that according to Our Lady we should not criticise Bishops and priests. But we have persevered in the truths of the faith and continue to fight the good fight.

Sadie Vacantist said...

The collapse in the Church was the result of being co-opted into the post-war settlements imposed upon the World by the allies. That is why it is proving impossible to reverse the decline. To reject the reforms is to reject the settlements. In essence, that is the position of some of the followers of the SSPX. Dreamers on these blogs think that the two phenomena can be divorced. Dream on.

Deacon Augustine said...

A very perceptive analysis, Fr. One could have entitled it: "How to change the Faith without changing doctrine."

I expect we will see an attempt to impose more of the same at the Synod in October.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Deacon Augustine,
Yes, tat is what I expect.

Genty said...

Dear Father, A masterly summary of what so many of us have experienced over the decades since V2 and over which we have wept bitter tears. Please don't change the typo in your reply further down. It sums up my fears perfectly.

Nicolas Bellord said...

A very good analysis but yet there are signs of change of which Father you are one. We keep meeting young priests who are going to change things. We have been blessed by having Father Gerard Bradley - spiritual director at Wonersh seminary - staying in our local convent for three weeks. It was like going on a retreat listening to his sermons and attending his Masses.

gemoftheocean said...

A huge problem is the culture as a whole has gone to hell in a handbasket.

viterbo said...

"The bishop, even the Bishop of Rome belongs to his See, as a husband belongs to his wife, as Christ belongs to the Church and the Church to him."

Could one be excused for reckoning that the much lauded adultery of both the flesh and the faith is par for the course during the times of Great Apostasy?

Jeremiah Methuselah said...

Father Blake,

Yet again, we owe you all a huge debt for your eloquent and reasoned analysis of the problems undergone by so many bewilderd Catholics, very many thanks. You have a wide ,disparate and faithful “congregation”.

I have felt and experienced much of what Paul Hellyer has written about, in particular when it comes to what passed/passes for Catholic education. Things got so bad at one school(Marist) we took two children out of the Marists’ hands and put them into a state school. “Better to be taught nothing by Protestants than be taught error by ‘Catholics’” was our view. But it was too late …

The feeling of being conned describes the case perfectly. We handed our children over to “Catholics” to be taught the One, True and Eternal Faith. That was the prime end of choosing that school, far and away more important than any scholastic or sporting standards. It cost us a lot of money, more than we had, but we felt it was so important, vital. Eternity lasts for ever - and ever. A no-brainer therefor.

How were we rewarded ? The teachers, supported by the parish priests, gave us lies, dissembling, denial and evasion, repeatedly – and constant novelty, error and experimentation. They even issued the children with Gideon bibles to bring home. I ask you, with tears in my eyes, what is a Catholic brother doing punting the Gideon bible to Catholics instead of Douai ?

I took it up with the Principal, but we didn’t speak the same language. It was completely baffling. This all started after the Novus Ordo was introduced.

When we discovered how our children were suffering – blatant discrimination and punishment of a psychological nature, we realised how hopeless the situation was, so away they went to other schools.

It was, mainly, our objections to and questions about the NO which seemed to be the prime cause of the discrimination, as well as our repeated questions asking what was going on. We were put to Coventry by many (for fear of contamination maybe ?) and our once good friends the nuns, took us off their Christmas card list and never ever, not once, dropped in to our home again. We eventually saw the Light when one of the parish priests stood up and informed a large crowd of parishioners that “There is no such thing as serious sin”.

As with Mr Hellyer, final recourse to more and more prayer was the only strategy. Discussing with the NO bishops and priests and clerical journalists was an utter waste of time. I get angry recalling it, so I don’t do so.

Our children were deliberately deprived of their natural birthright, to wit their Catholic heritage. It cannot ever be replaced.

Anita Moore said...

What this all boils down to is that love has been driven out of the Church.

Independent said...

In the same book Ann says," With shepherds like these who needs wolves?" What a pity that a bishop from her beloved Newfoundland should have been imprisoned and subsequently laicised.

KitKatCot said...

A very powerful post Father.

I can only quote B flat

'Watching before the Blessed Sacrament during the 40 hours devotion, the Missions, the May and Corpus Christi processions....
The loss of this broke me down slowly'

I am still 'in the fold' for now.

Supertradmum said...

A very wise Latin Mass priest in Dublin told me years ago that the problem with the Church there, which I suspect is not a problem bound by national character, was that the Irish people never appropriated their adult faith. never grew up through the study of their own Faith. Do not keep blaming priests and bishops for all the problems in the Church, although there is room for blame. For example, for the past several months, I have heard nothing in the NO daily Mass about the new ssm law here in the US, nor have I heard anything about the horrible persecution of Catholics in the Middle East and Africa. Such lacunae are the faults of either lazy priests, who are not keeping up with their own study of Church life and teaching, or, worse, hidden agendas.

I was a young person when the Pope called this Age the Age of the Laity, and I fully bought the message then, and now. The Laity make up the Church as well as the hierarchy, and I can say for sure that if laymen had been spiritual leaders in their families, there would be NO abortion, contraception or ssm on the books, enshrined in law.

The weakness of Catholic men led to the feminist revolt, as women were sick of peter pans and predators, not finding protectors among Christian men and, therefore, seeing the need to provide for themselves, to protect and to do what men were not doing.

Let us be frank. Men wanted contraception and abortion, drove their girl friend's to such horrible clinics, pushed the sexual revolution, and the children growing up into adults had not been taught how to deal with such evils, had not been taught by their parents to grow up and be adult Catholics, knowing the Faith and willing to defend it.

A sign of an immature person is when that person as an adult blames their parents for all their sins and bad habits. When a person becomes a responsible adult, that person takes control of their own spiritual life, and stops blaming bishops, priests, popes, parents.

The call for us to be part of the Age of the Laity was prophetic. Without a strong laity, the Church becomes weaker and weaker, with less and less vocations.

We are not to remain as children, but to grow in holiness and strength and to change the world. That is OUR job as lay people. We have let the side down and to keep blaming priests is not to face the real issue-baby Catholics who still need milk and cannot eat the meat of a deep spiritual life.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Sadie
good points but I do not publish comments about my former bishop, even thugh I might agree.

Jane said...

Supertradmum makes excellent points.

We, the laity, do afterall bankroll the Church.

I am reminded of a story in Catholic World Report some 20yrs ago: parishioners had made small wooden `coins` on which were inscribed the words `No doctrine no dough`. These went into the collection baskets when the sermon disappointed.

umblepie said...


Spot on post Father. I share Paul Hellyer's feelings exactly, but acting on a good priest's advice, prayer and yet more prayer for Our Holy Mother's intercession for our family.She will not let us down.

JARay said...

Congratulations on a very accurate summary of what has happened to the Church. One can see Scripture being fulfilled right now. We are asked if, when Jesus comes again, there will be any Faithful to be found? I'm sure that there will be but the numbers are certainly down on what there should have been. The Church I grew up in was strong and vibrant but that is no longer the case. Yet, there are signs of hope, as some have pointed out here.

Paulinus said...

Your analysis is very true, father, but I think the problem may go a lot further back. Back to the 11th century, indeed, when the Pope changed the Creed (despite the canons of the Council of Ephesus). And then in the 16th century, a uniform liturgy was imposed on the whole western church, and whatever the intention of the Council of Trent, there was the wholesale loss of many vibrant liturgical traditions. What worries me most is not that the Roman Catholic Church started to innovate against tradition in the mid 20th century, but rather that it has been doing it for a thousand years.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Paulinus,
I would read
http://liturgicalnotes.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/s-pius-v-originally-posted-february-2014.html
which is a very good brief presentation of the 16th cent reform, not at all as it is often presented.

Cosmos said...

"A sign of an immature person is when that person as an adult blames their parents for all their sins and bad habits. When a person becomes a responsible adult, that person takes control of their own spiritual life, and stops blaming bishops, priests, popes, parents."

This is not true.

The sign of a mature adult is that he blames what is blameworthy, including himself. It is not mature to buy some idealogical, self-help mantra that pretends we are in full control of our lives.

Bad parents, bad spouses, bad clergy create real problems. If a wife is struggling because he husband is a lazy, abusive drunk, it is no sign of maturity that she blames herself completely for her depression and struggles. However, if she thinks that his problems free her from her own duties and responsibilities, or that she is fated for failure, she is also wrong.

Both Adam and Eve were responsible for the fall. Eve, like the laity, plucked the apple and took the first bite. But it was Adam's responsibility to shut up the deveil, prevent her from doing this, and refraining from taking the bite himself.

And not all the laity embraced the modern world. Many great souls (if probably a quiet minority) remained committed to the Lord, just as many within the clergy did. The problem is that the majority within the laity AND the clergy did.

There is no doubt, as you suggest, that the laity got the Church it wanted. We wanted the easy life that the modern world seemed to offer, and we embraced those who gave it to us.

However, the laity cannot change the Church. It had to rely on the clergy to do that. The role of the clergy is different than the role of the laity. They have different duties and responsibilities. They have different powers. As the world was going crazy, they had a duty to stand firm and hand down what was handed to them. They had the duty to protect the Church. As Fr. Blake has pointed out, that just didn't happen.

There was an arrogance in the 19th and 20th centuries that man had come of age and that all of its new learning would usher in a golden era. That belief has turned out to be folly. The cult of the expert reigns in secular society, and we gave them far too much purchase within the Church as well.

I am with the crowd who feels swindled.

John Fisher said...

This battle has raged since the French Revolution. Catholics can not live in a secular state. We need a cooperation between the Church and government so they together build a holy society. The secular state is sowing the seeds of its own destruction. In Europe the deliberate importation of Islam by the secular government is aimed at destroying Christianity. The short term motive is divide and control approach. In the long run Christianity is going to die out. We need to repel Islam. Vatican II is wrong in this. It had not respect for continuity and faithfully passing on all that it received. It was a big ambiguous public relations exercise in which the puppet masters like Bugnini sowed rupture. Change always infers what went before was wrong of deficient. I am sick or words . All I know is when I have to attend the new mass I suffer and squirm/ I sit there feeling powerless, duped as If authority has perpetuated a huge ambiguous fraud and I have to just shut up and put up with it! The secular government with abortion, easy divorce and civil marriage, with its inventing same sex marriage. It's an appalling abuse of power.

Independent said...

If nothing ever changes how then does doctrine develop? Was Newman's essay on the development of doctrine a waste of time? He argued that "to be perfect is to have changed often".

Fr Ray Blake said...

Development is gradual organic process, never has it ever been imposed by diktat from above or rebellion from below. Orthodox would deem Newman's 'development' heterodox as all had been given from the beginning.

Jacobi said...

The sad things is that some bishops of Rome, went for change in their confusion. From Pius XII onwards we have been badly served by a series of Popes.

St John XXIII, was well intentioned but not very bright, Paul did one good thing Humanae Vitae, but was easily confused and dissuaded by the experts. St John Paul II was initially distracted and then was shot, and also became ill. Benedict, uncharacteristically for a German, gave up too easily. He should still be in the job. He is fitter than several of my pals who carry on regardless. The present Pope, I will say nothing about, since I am of the generation not used to criticising Popes.

There is a return of the “Reform of the Reform”. A new young priest we had is an example. He actually gave a Catholic sermon and suggested we all sought a Tabernacle in the town and spent some time in front of it. What he declined to do, was to point out to the congregation the central Tabernacle containing the Blessed Sacrament which our congregation ignore after Mass as they stand around chatting amiably to their friends, usually with their backs to the Tabernacle.

Incidently, we all know about Augustine of Hyppo. But then what happened to Hyppo? Wiped out without trace in the Muslim invasion of Catholic North Africa in the 7th century.

There is your danger again!

Thomas said...

"Orthodox would deem Newman's 'development' heterodox as all had been given from the beginning." And yet Jesus said:

'I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.'

It is easy to misuse that Scripture, it is true, but Newman's essay provides clear tests for discerning what is authentic development and what is not. Without true development we would not have Eucharistic or Marian devotion among many valuable things, nor indeed would the Church have any defined understanding of the Blessed Trinity, which is not explicitly in Scripture. So the Orthodox do in fact accept development of doctrine, it's just that they call a halt to it after the early Councils because they have no Petrine Ministry and Magisterium for confirming the brethren in what is authentic or not.

Fr Ray Blake said...

I think the Orthodox would say all had been revealed and believed from the beginning like the Trinity, however heretics perverted the true doctrine of the Orthodox Church, and it was necessary for docctrinal statements, sometimes expressed in non-sccriptural philosophical terms to correct error, because at no time had the the True (or Orthodox) Church ever been in error, for it held 'always, everywhere and at all times' the Catholic Orthodox faith.

That is I think really what Newman is saying, he is certainly not saying the Church stumbles on new truths, nor is he suggesting a Darwinist progressivist ecclessiology, he is saying it stumbles on new errors and finds ways to counter them, either through doctrinal statements or devotions like Benediction of he Blessed Sacrament.