John Henry Newman's decision to become a Roman Catholic was confirmed by his work on one of his major contributions to theology, Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine. Ironically, the writings that brought him into the Catholic Church were viewed so suspiciously by Church officials that from his very first days as a Catholic he experienced distance, avoidance, distrust, and even cynicism in his relationship with the hierarchy. In hope of obtaining an honest and competent critique of his views on the development of doctrine, he conceived the idea of a presentation of his ideas, not in English, but in Latin, and in the style not of a historical essay, but of a Scholastic treatise. The result was De catholici dogmatis evolutione, here translated into the author's native tongue as On The Development of Catholic Dogma
James Gaffney is professor of Ethics at Loyola University in New Orleans.
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