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73. What is less well known, and generally receives less attention, is the role played by the laity with regard to the development of the moral teaching of the Church. It is therefore important to reflect also on the function played by the laity in discerning the Christian understanding of appropriate human behaviour in accordance with the Gospel. In certain areas, the teaching of the Church has developed as a result of lay people discovering the imperatives arising from new situations. The reflection of theologians, and then the judgment of the episcopal magisterium, was based on the Christian experience already clarified by the faithful intuition of lay people. Some examples might illustrate the role of the in the development of moral doctrine:
Christian Slavery - Bad News About Christianity
34. The 19th century was a decisive period for the doctrine of the . It saw, in the Catholic Church, partly in response to criticism from representatives of modern culture and from Christians of other traditions, and partly from an inner maturation, the rise of historical consciousness, a revival of interest in the Fathers of the Church and in medieval theologians, and a renewed exploration of the mystery of the Church. In this context, Catholic theologians such as Johann Adam Möhler (1796-1838), Giovanni Perrone (1794-1876), and John Henry Newman gave new attention to the as a in order to explain how the Holy Spirit maintains the whole Church in truth and to justify developments in the Church’s doctrine. Theologians highlighted the active role of the whole Church, especially the contribution of the lay faithful, in preserving and transmitting the Church’s faith; and the magisterium implicitly confirmed this insight in the process leading to the definition of the Immaculate Conception (1854).
66. As the faith of the individual believer participates in the faith of the Church as a believing subject, so the of individual believers cannot be separated from the or of the Church herself, endowed and sustained by the Holy Spirit, and the constitutes a sure criterion for recognising a particular teaching or practice as in accord with the apostolic Tradition. The present chapter, therefore, turns to consider various aspects of the. It reflects, first of all, on the role of the latter in the development of Christian doctrine and practice; then on two relationships of great importance for the life and health of the Church, namely the relationship between the and the magisterium, and the relationship between the and theology; then, finally, on some ecumenical aspects of the .