11 July, 2007

The Evolution of Catholic Doctrine and Practice

Here follows a list of Catholic beliefs and practices which – although believed and practiced earlier than the dates given – did not become binding on all Catholics until they were officially adopted by church councils and proclaimed by the Pope as dogmas of faith. The question we must ask ourselves is this: Does the record of history suggest that the Roman Catholic Church is a Spirit-guided Church, or a mutable institution of men?

(All dates are approximate.)

• Presbyter (or elders) were first called priests by Lucian...2nd century.

• Prayers for the dead...AD. 300.

• The veneration of angels and dead saints and the use of images...375.

• The Mass as a daily celebration was adopted...394.

• The beginning of the exaltation of Mary, and the first use of the term "Mother of God" by the Council of Ephesus...431.

• Priests began to dress different from the general public and to wear special clothes...500.

• Extreme Unction...526.

• The doctrine of purgatory was first established by Gregory the Great...593.

• Prayers began to be offered to Mary, dead saints, and angels...600.

• The first man proclaimed "Pope" (Boniface III)...610.

• Veneration of the cross, images, and relics authorized...788.

• Holy water, mixed with a pinch of salt and blessed by a priest was authorized in...850.

• Veneration of Saint Joseph...890.

• College of cardinals begun...927.

• Canonization of dead saints, first by Pope John XV...995.

• The Mass developed gradually as a sacrifice, attendance was made obligatory in...11th century.

• The celibacy of the priesthood was decreed by Pope Hildebrand, Boniface VII...1079.

• The rosary was introduced by Peter the Hermit...1090.

• The Inquisition of "heretics" was instituted by the Council of Verona...1184, (also legalized and promoted by the fourth Lateran Council in 1215.)

• The sale of Indulgences...1190.

• The seven sacraments defined by Peter Lombard...12th century.

• The dogma of transubstantiation was decreed by Pope Innocent III ...1215.

• Confession of sins to the priest at least once a year was instituted by Pope Innocent III in the Lateran Council...1215.

• The adoration of the wafer (host) decreed by Pope Honorius III ...1220.

• The scapular invented by Simon Stock of England...1251.

• The doctrine of purgatory proclaimed a dogma by the Council of Florence...1439.

• Tradition is declared of equal authority with the Bible by the Council Trent...1546.

• The Apocryphal Books were added to the Bible by the Council of Trent...1545.

• The Immaculate Conception of Mary was proclaimed by Pope Pius IX in 1854.

• Pope Pius IX condemns all scientific discoveries not approved by the Roman Church...1864.

• Infallibility of the pope in matters of faith and morals proclaimed by the First Vatican Council...1870.

• Pius XI condemned the public schools...1930.

• Pius XI reaffirmed the doctrine that Mary is "The Mother of God" ...1931.

• The dogma of the Assumption (8) of the Virgin Mary was proclaimed by Pope Pius XII...1950.

• Mary proclaimed the Mother of the Church by Pope Paul VI...1965


*This list has been paraphrased from Lorraine Boettner's Roman Catholicism (1962), pages 7-8

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