13
APPENDIX - S. VINCENT OF LERINS

"But the Church of Christ, a careful and wary keeper of the doctrines committed to her charge, never changes anything in them, diminishes nothing, adds nothing: what is necessary she takes not away, what is superfluous she puts not on, loses not her own, usurps not what belongs to others; but with all industry, takes pains about this one thing alone, viz., that by faithful and prudent handling of what is old -- should there be some things of old time rough-cast and inchoate (si qua sunt illa antiquitus informata et inchoata), she may bestow care on, and polish them; if things are already expressed and enucleated, she may consolidate and strengthen them; if they are already confirmed and defined, she may guard them.

"What else, in fact, has the Church laboured for by the decrees of Councils, but that what before was simply believed, should later on be more carefully believed, that what was before more sluggishly preached, should later on be preached with greater instance; that what was before reverenced with too much unconcern, might later on be reverenced with more solicitude? This, I say, and nought else but this, has the Church, when stirred up by the novelties of heretics, effected through the decrees of Councils, namely, that what she had before received from those of old (a majoribus) by tradition alone, the same she has consigned, for those who came afterwards, in written forms also (etiam per scripturae chirographum), thus comprising a large sum of matters in few words of writing, and, for the most part, on account of the clearer light in which the doctrine was now understood, designating it -- though in no new sense of faith -- by a specific and new appellation (et plerumque propter intelligentiae lucem, non novum fidei sensum novae appelationis proprietate signando)."*

BLESSED THOMAS MORE
"DEVELOPMENT OF DOCTRINE"

"If he (Tindale) will say that sometimes the doctors which we call holy saints have not agreed in one, but some have sometimes thought in some one thing otherwise than others have done, then his saying is nothing to the purpose. For God doth reveal His truths not always in one manner, but sometimes He showeth it out at once, as He will have it known, and men bound forthwith to believe it, as He showed Moses what He would have Pharao do. Sometimes He showeth it leisurely, suffering His flock to commune and dispute thereon, and in their treating of the matter suffereth them with good mind, and Scripture, and natural wisdom, with invocation of His spiritual help, to search and seek for the truth, and to vary for the while in their opinions, till that He reward their virtuous diligence with leading them secretly into the consent and concord, and belief of the truth by His Holy Spirit, qui facit unanimes in domo (Ps. lxvii. 7), 'which maketh His flocks in one mind in His House, that is, to wit, His Church.' So that in the meantime the variance is without sin, and maketh nothing against the evidence of the Church, except Tindale will say that he will neither believe S. Peter nor S. Paul in anything that they teach, because that once they varied in the manner of their doctrine as appeareth (Gal. ii. 11-14)."+


* Of this the terms Consubstantialis, Theotokos, Transubstantiatio, are examples. -- Common. ii., Ib.

+ Blessed Thomas More, Confutation of Tindale, Works 456. Wisdom and Wit, p. 108, by Rev. T.E. Bridgett, C.SS.R., Burns and Oates, 1892.

 

 

 

 

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