The Catholic University of America

  Final Examination of

Jan Dolny

for the degree of

Doctor of Philosophy


The Relationship between the Development of Doctrine

and the Papal Office according to

John Henry Newman and Vladimir Sergeyevich Soloviev


Director: Rev. John Ford, C.S.C., Ph.D.


The development of doctrine is one of the fundamental principles in Catholic theology.  Doctrinal development encapsulates the idea of hermeneutical continuity in the official teachings of the Catholic Church, whose mission is to transmit faithfully the message of divine Revelation in the life and history of Christianity.  As such, the principle of doctrinal development casts an important light on the theological understanding of Revelation, Tradition and the Church.

            The concept of doctrinal development was introduced into modern Catholic theology by the seminal work of John Henry Newman (1801-1890), An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine (18451, 18462, 18783).  His presentation of doctrinal development was based on the analogy between the process of an individual’s personal development in religious understanding and doctrinal development in the Church as a whole. 

            Less known is a work on the development of doctrine written by the Russian religious philosopher, Vladimir Sergeevich Soloviev (1853-1900).  His treatise Dogmatic Development of the Church in Relation to the Question of the Reunification of the Churches (1886) defended the Catholic understanding of the development of doctrine against the dogmatic conservatism of some Russian Orthodox theologians. 

This dissertation investigates the background, the origin and the presentation of doctrinal development in the theological writings of Newman and Soloviev.  This comparative study is focused especially on the connection between the development of doctrine and the papal office in the thought of both writers.  Their converging theories of doctrinal development are explored primarily in their original consideration of the ecclesiological foundations for the papal primacy in the Church.  The insights from this study of the ecclesiological ideas of Newman and Soloviev are then applied to recent developments in ecumenism, particularly in regards to the relationship between eucharistic and universal ecclesiologies.



More about Dolny

Ján Dolný was born on February 16, 1981, in Bratislava, Slovakia, in the devout Catholic family of his parents Ján and Agnesa and three siblings. Ján received his elementary and high school education in the public schools of Košice, Slovakia. He received his formation for the priesthood at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Košice (2000-2003) and at the Theological College of the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC (2004-2008). Ján was ordained to the priesthood in Košice on June 21, 2008. In 2014, he became a postulant of the Benedictine religious order at the Transfiguration Monastary in Sampor, Slovakia.