Their growth in richness and complexity represents the change from an embryonic form into maturity.
In fact, in the process of assimilation it’s the external realities themselves that are transformed (once they are assimilated), not the doctrine.
In Newman’s view, the more powerful, independent and vigorous the idea, the greater its power to assimilate external ideas and concepts without losing its identity.
Then he goes on to identify nine principles of the Christian religion: dogma, faith, theology, sacraments, Scripture and its mystical interpretation, grace, asceticism, the harm of sin, and the potential of matter to be sanctified.
In reference to these principles, Newman says: “While the development of doctrine in the Church has been in accordance with, or in consequence of, these immemorial principles, the various heresies, which have from time to time arisen, have in one respect or other, as might be expected, violated those principles with which she rose into existence, and which she still retains” (p. The fifth-century theological movement known as Pelagianism provides an example of teaching that contradicted one of these principles.
Our Protestant brothers and sisters often wonder at the complexity of Catholic doctrine.
In particular, they may find it difficult to reconcile what they view as the “simplicity” of Jesus’ teachings with those of the Church today.The second note of genuine development is continuity of principles.Newman insists that for a development to be faithful, it must preserve the principle with which it started.The unity or preservation of type refers to the continual presence of a main idea despite its changing external expression.When we see change in the teaching on a subject, can we discern nevertheless that the main idea remains unchanged?He notes that some of the Jewish religious leaders of Jesus’ time illustrated this problem.Christ frequently condemned them for following the letter of the law, but not its spirit — that is, its development.As a result, many Protestants conclude that Catholic teaching is a corruption of the original Gospel message.Catholics, on the other hand, see the doctrines of the Church as the necessary and logical development of the Gospel.He considered this first criterion the most important of the seven.What he means by type is the external expression of an idea.