I will be away from the blog for a few days.
Below is a comment from Kepha that I’d like to highlight. He posted it in the comment section of a previous blog entry, but it was insightful, and deserved not to be hidden away in the comments section.
My question is: Upon what basis do modern Roman Catholics proudly embrace the Doctrine of the Development of Doctrine, if the only inspired, and therefore infallible, inscripturated Apostolic Tradition, i.e., the New Testament, does not teach that the teaching of the Apostles develops? Is the (recent and famed)Development of Doctrine itself a development of doctrine? I can just imagine the ancient scene: a successor of a successor of a successor of a successor of an Apostle one day realizes that doctrine develops. He announces this "new discovery" (not a "new revelation," mind you) to his congregation.
Father: I've just realized, by my special guidance of the Holy Spirit, that doctrine develops. And, only I can tell you what that development is.
A faithful member from the congregation humbly asks, "Father, can you please show us where in the writings of the New Testament, or where in the Apostolic Tradition this teaching of the development of doctrine is?"
Father: How dare you question my apostolic authority! We don't believe in that everything has to be found in the writings of the New Testament!
Faithful: Of course, of course, Father. I did not mean that. Please forgive me for my ignorance. We most certainly believe that the Faith is partly in the Scriptures and partly in the Tradition. I simply want to know where in the Tradition, if not in the Scriptures, is this apostolic teaching that doctrine develops.
Father: You presume to teach me? "Gird up your loins like a man and I will instruct you"! The apostolic teaching that doctrine develops is not in Scripture and not in the Tradition, in the way that you think. "One day is like a thousand years to the Lord"! "Your ways are not His ways"'!
Faithful: In what way then, Venerable Father, is this teaching partly in Scripture and partly in Tradition?
Father: "Do not let your right hand know what your left hand is doing"! The right hand represents the New Testament writers, while the left hand represents the work of the Holy Spirit in the development of doctrine. Listen again: "New wine cannot be placed in old wine skins"! The old wine skins burst because they are insufficient; these, my son, are the only inspired writings we have, namely the Word of God. The wine is the development of doctrine.
Faithful: Praise God that we have you as our infallible interpreter, Father! And what of the Fathers and your predecessors, Father? You said they believes this apostolic teaching "implicitly"?
Father: Yes, and ignorantly.
Father: Yes, they had no idea they believed this teaching.
Faithful: But how do you know that they believed this?
Father: Curse your rebelliousness and doubt of my apostolic authority! The "foolishness of God is wisdom for men"! Did not the Lord say, "there are sheep not yet in my fold"? The "fold" is the truth in all its development; the sheep not yet in the fold are the members of the Church who have yet to know the fullness of the truth.
Faithful: I understand! The evidence is always ambiguous to the people. We are like the soldiers who accompanied the Apostle Paul, we hear but do not understand the voice from Heaven.
Father: Now you are acquiring holiness and wisdom my son.
Faithful: And we need you, our infallible ruler, to tell us what the evidence is and what it means!
Father: Give thanks to God, my son, "for many longed to see what you now see." Like Doubting Thomas, who demanded evidence for the Resurrection, you demanded evidence for the development of doctrine. When you saw that there was no evidence in Scripture or the Tradition, you then, like Abraham who dared to speak yet once more to God, dared to demand evidence for why their wasn't evidence for the development of doctrine in Scripture and Tradition. Now you see and believe, but "blessed are those who do not see and believe."
On another note, James, your question reminds me of a recent conversation with a very good friend of mine (a Catholic who is converting to Orthodoxy), wherein I said that it seems as though the infallible certainty hailed by Catholic apologists as the chief characteristic of Catholicism is really only a temporal infallible certainty. In other words, I can have "infallible certainty" right now that the Magisterium doesn't infallibly teach that Mary is Co-Redemptirx and Mediatrix of All Graces. However, I cannot have "infallible certainty" that these unofficial and popular marian teachings are not infallible truths, for at some point in the future they may be declared to be such!