By PHILIP TROWER
There are certain words or terms in the Church’s vocabulary for explaining her beliefs and practices which I have always found especially enlightening, and perhaps more than any others, those which I have given as the title of this article: “The Deposit of Faith and the Development of Doctrine.”
Together they wonderfully encapsulate the whole process by which the Christian Revelation was given to the world and over the centuries came to be formulated and explained in the way it has by its authorized guardian, the one holy Catholic and apostolic Church.
Although in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s there was a lot of talk about an “ongoing revelation” (God was continually revealing new truths), this idea has not been accepted by the Church.
As every well-instructed Catholic knows, divine Revelation ended with the death of the last apostle, St. John, and this, in its implicit form, is what “the deposit of faith” means. I especially like it because it has such a satisfyingly solid, definite sound. It is the totality of natural and supernatural truths and facts about the nature, history, and destiny of humankind and our relationship with God which was given by our Lord into the care of the apostles along with a promise of the gift of the Holy Spirit to help them and their successors expound it. … Continue Reading