Sources and Methods, Mid-Term Review


  1. What is Theology?The word "theology" comes from the Greek theos , meaning God, and logos, meaning word, discourse, reason, also proportion, etc. We find the word theologia first in Plato in a rather pejorative sense referring to the mythical discourses about the gods. Yet already in Aristotle it means that part of philosophy that treats of God (the "unmoved mover" of the universe), i.e. "First Philosophy," later called "Metaphysics." How does "supernatural Theology" differ from "natural Theology"? Today "Natural Theology" is another name for what is better called "Philosophy of God," based on human reason (intellect) alone, whereas "Supernatural" or rather Christian Theology is based primarily on God's self-revelation culminating in Christ, and accepted in faith, but is using also all the resources of human reason (intellect) in reaching a deeper understanding of this revelation (intellectus fidei).
  2. What is Method? The word "method" comes from the Greek: hodos which means "way," and the preposition meta which means, among other things, "along". Thus "method" in Theology means the orderly procedure to be followed to reach a deeper understanding of the faith. What is Methodology? Methodology is a system of methods for a particular discipline.
  3. Why is Theological Methodology necessary, especially today? The dominance of the scientific approach in our culture has led to various scientific critical methods in Theology that have eliminated the Supernatural aspect of our faith. What is needed is a methodology which is firmly based on supernatural revelation that doesn't close its eyes to science and history because our faith is based on the Revelation of Christ which occured in the real world and in real history.


  1. What is the original meaning of the term "Revelation"? The term "revelation" comes from the Latin revelatio, which is from velum, which means veil. Thus "revelation" means un-veiling, or making known something hidden.
  2. What does Vatican I teach on Revelation in the Dogmatic Constitution on the Catholic Faith, Dei Filius, chapter II (CF 113-117)? God can be known with certainty from creation (Rom 1:20), but it pleased God to reveal himself in a supernatural way (Heb 1:1-2). It is possible for people to know things about God that are not beyond human reason without supernatural revelation, but God has ordained mankind to a supernatural end, to share the good things of God which exceed the intelligence of the human mind (1 Cor 2:9), so supernatural revelation is required.
  3. How could you describe the full notion of Revelation according to Vatican II (see Dei Verbum, especially section 2)? The fullness of Revelation from God is in the Incarnation of his Word in Jesus Christ, who through his life and his words fulfilled and proclaimed the Gospel promised by the prophets. Jesus commanded the apostles to preach this Gospel to the world, which they did, passing on the Revelation they received from Christ through his words and deeds, the meaning of which the Holy Spirit led them to understand. This Revelation was passed on through oral preaching and writings inspired by the Holy Spirit. In order that the Gospel would always be preserved in the church, the apostles left bishops as their successors, and gave them their own position of teaching authority to guard the deposit of faith expressed in both sacred tradition and the sacred scripture of both Testaments. Through this tradition and scripture the church during its pilgrim journey on earth contemplates God from whom it receives everything, until the time we see him face to face as he really is. The church, in its doctrine, way of life, and worship, transmits to every generation all that it is, and all that it believes. The tradition progresses in the church with the help of the Holy Spirit through growth in insight into the realities and words that are passed on. This comes about as believers contemplate, study, and experience these realities, and as the bishops exercise the charism of truth they received from the apostles. Therefore, as time goes on, the church is always advancing towards the fullness of truth. This tradition can be discerned through the witness of the church Fathers. The tradition gives us the complete canon of scripture, and helps us better understand the scriptures. In this way, God continues to speak to the Church, and the Holy Spirit leads believers to the full truth. Sacred tradition and sacred scripture are bound closely together and communicate with each other. They come from the same source, Jesus Christ, and move towards the same goal. Together they transmit the word of God in its entirety, but it is the task of the teaching office (magisterium) of the bishops to give an authentic interpretation of the word of God. The magisterium is not superior to the word of God, but serves it, teaching only what has been handed on to it, under the direction of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, God has given the church sacred tradition, scripture, and the magisterium, which are so connected and associated that one of them cannot stand without the others. They work together under the action of the Holy Spirit to contribute to the salvation of souls.
  4. In what sense is (supernatural) Revelation more than mere communication of knowledge? First of all, Revelation is more than propositional knowledge. For example, most of the Bible is not proposition, but poetic, which stimulates our imagination to communicate things that are difficult to express propositionally. The fullness of the Revelation is God's word incarnate as a man, not a book of knowledge. Although Jesus did speak to the apostles, he also taught them through living with him. He taught the apostles about the Eucharist by celebrating it with them, who in turn celebrated it with the church as it grew. Christ gives himself, which is greater than just knowledge.
  5. Give the outline of the "phases" (or "kinds") of Revelation, and explain briefly each division and subdivision. The pattern of revelation unfolds through deeds and words which are connected. The works God does in salvation history demonstrate and confirm the doctrine and realities proclaimed with words, and the words proclaim and explain the mysteries contained in the works. God created all things and maintains their existence, and thus provides constant evidence of himself in creation. In order to open the way to heavenly salvation, God revealed himself to the first humans from the very beginning. After the fall, he gave the promise of redemption, and continued to take care of humanity to give eternal life to all who seek salvation. In his own time, God called Abraham and made him into a nation. He taught this nation, through Moses and the prophets, to recognize him as the only living and true God, a provident Father and just judge. He also taught them to look for the promised Savior, preparing the way for the Gospel. After God had spoken many times and in various ways through the prophets, "in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son" (Heb 1:1-2). God sent his Word to live among us and tell us about the inner life of God. Jesus Christ speaks the words of God and accomplishes the saving work the Father sent him to do. To see Jesus is to see the Father, and so he completed and perfected revelation through his words, works, signs, and miracles, but above all his death and resurrection, and finally sending his Spirit of truth. He revealed that God was with us, to deliver us from the darkness of sin and death, and to raise us up to eternal life. The Christian dispensation is the new and definitive covenant, and will never pass away. No new revelation is to be expected before the return of Christ. Our response to God's revelation must be "the obedience of faith", by which we freely commit ourselves entirely to God, making full submission of intellect and will to him and the revelation he has given. Such faith is only possible by the grace of God through the Holy Spirit who moves the heart and converts it to God, and opens the eyes of the mind. The Spirit also perfects faith by his gifts so that revelation may be more and more deeply understood.
  6. What is the difference between natural and general Revelation? Natural revelation is God's revelation of himself through creation. General revelation is God's revelation to all humanity, which includes natural revelation, but also includes the law of God written in the hearts and consciences of all people (Rom 2:15).
  7. What is the difference between general and special Revelation? General revelation is given to all and reveals certain aspects of God's nature, but special revelation is given through the law and the prophets, and ultimately through Jesus Christ, and is preached by the Church to the world, revealing God's plan of salvation for the human race.
  8. Is Revelation necessary? Revelation is necessary for salvation. Not only are the limits to the ability of the unaided human mind to know about God, but sin has further blinded us to the truth. It is necessary for God to take the initiative to reveal himself to us through supernatural means if we are to enter into a relationship with him. Even successful relationships between humans require each person to reveal himself to the other, so much more is it necessary for God, who is infinitely above us, to reveal himself to us.
  9. What are the implications of the catholic doctrine concerning General Revelation for an adequate assessment of non-Christian religions? Because of general revelation, non-Christian religions may understand some truths about God, although they would be incomplete and with distortions. It also opens up the possibility of salvation outside the Church. However, missions are still important because the possibility of deadly error is greater outside the Church. That is, salvation may be possible, but it may be less likely outside of the Church.


  1. How could you summarize Vatican II's teaching on the Transmission of Revelation (see the Constitution on Divine Revelation Dei Verbum chapter II)? God arranged that what was revealed would be transmitted faithfully. The apostles received the deposit of revelation from Christ, through his words, deeds, and life with them. They were commanded to preach the Gospel to all nations, starting in Jerusalem, which they did. From the apostles, revelation was transmitted by oral preaching, their example, and their writings made under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The apostles appointed bishops as their successors, who preserved the scriptures, passed on the tradition of doctrine and worship, and guarded the faith from error. The tradition is not only oral, it is all that the Church is. For example, morality was transmitted by behavior more than oral teaching. Both sacred tradition and sacred scripture are bound closely together and communicate with each other. They flow from the same divine well-spring, and merge, moving towards the same goal.
  2. How does "Tradition" understood in a global, comprehensive sense (as also used in the Early Church) differ from "Tradition" as popularly understood in the Post-Tridentine theology? The comprehensive sense of Tradition is that it contains everything received from the apostles and passed down through the generations, which includes the Scriptures. The popular interpretation of Trent was that Tradition was distinct from Scripture and contained doctrines not attested to by the canonical Scriptures.
  3. How would you describe briefly the importance of Tradition within the New Testament community and in the formation of the New Testament Scriptures? The early Church was taught personally by the apostles, who received their teaching from Christ. Teachings were transmitted and learned orally, and were likely repeated in catechesis and in the liturgy. The liturgy itself was taught by example, not by written documents. Apostolic teaching drew from the Old Testament, but there was no written record of Gospel teachings in the beginning. Letters started to be written when issues came up that Paul or other apostles needed to address to a pastor or congregation distant from them, and these letters were saved. As the eyewitnesses of Christ grew older, the need for writing down the stories of Jesus arose and led to the creation of the Gospel books. The Gospels and apostolic epistles circulated but a canon of scripture did not develop until heretical documents posing as apostolic began to be circulated, and it was the criteria of tradition that was used to determine which documents were genuine.
  4. What is Tradition according to its active and objective senses? The active sense is the act of transmitting, and the objective sense is the content which is transmitted.
  5. In what sense is Tradition more than a transmission of doctrines? Tradition includes the life and worship of the Church, in addition to doctrine. Moral and liturgical practices are passed down by example as well as explicit doctrine.
  6. Give and explain the division of Tradition according to its origin. The three divisions of Tradition according to origin are divine, apostolic, and ecclesiastical. Both apostolic and ecclesiastical can be taken in an exclusive sense ("Merely ... ") or inclusive sense (in that divine and apostolic tradition is transmitted within the ecclesiastical).
  7. How can Tradition be divided according to its relationship to Sacred Scripture? First of all, Tradition can be see as preceding Scripture. Secondly, it can be seen as including Scripture (in the global sense), and thirdly as distinct from Scripture ("oral" tradition).
  8. What did Trent define concerning Tradition? Trent says that the Gospel was first promised through the prophets, preached by Christ, who then commanded the apostles to preach it to the world. The Gospel has come down to us as written books and unwritten traditions. The council equally regards the Old and New Testament together with the traditions concerning faith and practice as coming from the mouth of Christ or inspired by the Holy Spirit and preserved in the Church.
  9. Does Tradition contain more than Sacred Scripture (distinguish and explain)? As said above, Tradition in the broad sense includes the Scriptures, but contains more. Even if all of the dogmas have their seed in Scripture, they are developed in Tradition. There are other things in Tradition not found in Scripture, including which books are inspired Scripture, and the liturgy in its completeness.
  10. What does the so-called "Two Sources" theory propose concerning the relationship of Tradition and Scripture? The "Two Sources" theory is that Scripture and Tradition are two different sources of Revelation, such that some doctrines are found in the Bible and others are found in Tradition. This view is in contrast to that of Yves Congar that says "all is in Scripture, all is in Tradition", meaning that they are two modes of transmitting the same deposit of faith.
  11. How could you explain briefly the importance of Tradition for Sacred Scripture, and the importance of Sacred Scripture for Tradition in the Church? Tradition is important for Scripture because Tradition existed before Scripture, and it is Tradition that has transmitted and preserved Scripture. Also, Scripture can only be properly understood within the context of Tradition. The Rule of Faith and the creeds are essential for Biblical interpretation. Scripture is important to Tradition because Scripture identifies essential points of Tradition, and Scripture is the sure test against which various traditions are judged. Apostolic Tradition can sometime be difficult to identify, so one test is that no true point of Tradition can contradict Scripture. Because the Scriptures are a fixed set of inspired, inerrant writings, they crystallize revelation and provide a concrete standard to measure against.

Sacred Scripture

  1. Are the human authors of Sacred Scripture true authors? What does the answer to this question imply? The human authors are true authors, not typewriters or secrataries. This implies that techniques of literary study can and should be employed.
  2. How could you explain that the Inspiration of Scripture, even though extending itself to the whole work (including the words), is not the same as "dictation"? The human authors used their own voice and vocabulary, and were subject to human limitations. The Holy Spirit intervened such that God's intended message was communicated. For example, if a different human author wrote a particular message, the same message would have been communicated, but it would have been written in a different way, according to the style of the author. A good example is the four Gospels, especially the three synoptic Gospels, where some of the same messages are said but in different ways. Of course, the providence of God also chose the human authors, so there was no part of the process which was out of God's control.
  3. How could you explain the meaning of Inspiration in relation to a book shaped by long traditions redacted into one book only later (e.g. the Pentateuch)? God intervened in the whole process such that the Scriptures said what needed to be said. God was at work in the original events, and may have inspired early witnesses to report them. God intervened in the process of oral transmission and original writings to make sure that the needed information was preserved. Finally, God intervened in the final editors so that everything that was needed made it into the Scripture that we have today.
  4. How could you describe briefly the "Inerrancy" of Sacred Scripture (see Vatican II, Constitution of Divine Revelation, Dei Verbum, chapter III, especially section 11)? God is the author of sacred Scripture. He chose the human authors, and made full use of their powers and faculties while acting in them and by them. The human authors are true authors, but by means of inspiration, God made sure that they wrote what he wanted written, and no more. We can be assured that everything in Scripture is there because God wanted it there. This does not negate the fact that the various kinds of literature that make up the Bible must be interpretted in an appropriate manner, which may not demand scientific or even historical accuracy.
  5. Why is the regard of "literary forms" essential for the proper understanding of the meaning and Inerrancy of Sacred Scripture? (see Dei Verbum, especially section 12)? Truth can be expressed in different ways using different literary genres. The Scriptures include various historical, prophetical, and poetical writings, which must be interpreted differently. Also, the circumstances of time and culture at the time of writing must be taken into account, including customary and characteristic patterns of perception, speech, and narrative, as well as the conventions people observed in their dealing with one another. We must be careful not to impose contemporary expectations onto the ancient texts.
  6. Give and Explain the various senses of Sacred Scripture. All Scripture can be understood in a literal sense, which is focused on what the text literally says. The literal sense can be further divided into how it would be strictly understood at a human level, and what is known as the "sensus plenior", or the fuller sense, which is the intent of the divine author, and can only be recognized in the light of subsequent revelation. The literal sense must be maintained, as understood in its literary and cultural context, even though other senses may find additional meaning in the text. The typical sense recognizes that events, persons, institution, and objects of an earlier phase prefigure and anticipate the realities of a subsequent phase of salvation history. The Patristic and Medieval schema, which is also used in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, further subdivides the typical sense according to the realities signified. The first subdivision is the allegorical sense, which sees Christ and the Church prefigured. The second subdivision is the tropological or moral sense, which sees the moral teachings of a passage. The third is the anagogical or eschatilogical sense, which sees the ultimate fulfillment of a passage at the second advent of Christ. Finally, Origen had a somewhat different division. He recognized the strictly literal sense, as well as a moral sense, which corresponds to the tropological sense. He had a third sense, which he called "spiritual", which included the sensus plenior, the allegorical, and anagogical senses.
  7. What are the foundations of the "fuller" sense and the "typical" sense, or "spiritual" sense in general (see Dei Verbum sections 12-13)? The senses of Scripture come out of the unity of salvation history. This means that all of the Scriptures come from the same source, (God, the Father), are centered on Christ, and animated by the same Spirit. Any particular passage of Scripture must ultimately be understood in the context of the whole of Scripture, the tradition of the entire church, and the analogy of faith.
  8. Give some good examples of the "typical" sense and their relevance. Old Testament prophecies that predict the unending line of the dynasty of King David are seen to be ultimately fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Not only do we see Christ reigning today from heaven through the Church (analogical sense), but we also anticipate an ultimate fulfillment of Christ's kingship when he comes again to judge the world, after which he will reign forever as King of Kings.


  1. What are the position and function of the Magisterium in relation to Revelation and the channels of its transmission (according to Vatican II)? The Magisterium has the task of authentically interpreting the word of God, whether written or handed on, exercising authority in the name of Jesus Christ. It is not above the word of God, but serves it, teaching only what has been handed on, listening to it, guarding it, and explaining it with the help of the Holy Spirit. Everything it teaches as divinely revealed is drawn from the deposit of faith. (from Dei Verbum, ch. II, no. 10)
  2. In what sense is the Universal Church infallible? God grants infallibility to the Universal Church when the whole People of God, "from the bishops down to the last member of the laity" (St. Augustine, De Praed. Sanct., 14,27), unhesitatingly holds a point of doctrine pertaining to faith and morals, by means of the Holy Spirit, who leads the Church into all truth.
  3. What are the different "organs" of the Magisterium? The Magisterium is seen in terms of Ordinary and Extra-Ordinary. The Ordinary Magisterium is exercised in the normal ministry of the Church, and is divided into Non-Universal, and Universal. The Ordinary Non-Universal Magisterium includes non-infallible statements and encyclicals of the Pope, non-universal Bishop's conferences, and the teaching of individual bishops. It has different degrees of solemnity and insistance requiring different degrees of assent. An assent by divine faith is not required, but only sincere acceptance. Much of this teaching is "proxima fidei" (close to the faith) which seem to be connected to and support articles of faith. The Ordinary Universal Magisterium is the common way in which the Church proclaims the Gospel. It is manifested in liturgy, creeds, Bishops Councils, Papal letters and teachings, and in the daily preaching and teaching of the ministers of God. The universal mind of the Church, even if it includes things not formally defined as dogma, is considered infallible and is to be received in faith. Many of the tenets of the Christian faith have been taught this way and have never been formally defined. The Extra-Ordinary Magisterium is either the Pope teaching "Ex Cathedra", solemnly exercising his teaching office to define doctrine as divinely revealed dogma, or is the dogmatic definition of an Ecumenical Council. An Ecumenical Council is a gaterhing of bishops representing the whole Church, united with the Pope, and legislating or teaching for the whole Church. It must be recognized as Ecumenical by the infallible Magisterium, another Ecumenical Council, or by the Pope. Such a council is is a solemn exercise of teaching authority, even when it does not formulate new definitions of dogma, such as Vatican II. Statements of councils must be judged by content and intent to see if they are intended as dogma.
  4. What response is demanded from the faithful by the Ordinary Non-Universal Magisterium? Assent by divine faith is not required, but a sincere acceptance of what is taught. Since such non-infallible statements can be reformed, if there is some concern about a particular non-universal teaching, a hope for improvement of the teaching. or even appropriate dialog is a possibility, still with an attitude of submission to Magisterial authority.
  5. How does religious assent differ from obedience? Religious assent includes the acceptance of the truth of a teaching, not just an external conformity. If a person doesn't understand a teaching, they still submit themselves to the truth of it, asking God for the gift of faith. Obedience can be given to a teaching even while believing that the teaching is wrong, and this is not assent.
  6. Under what conditions does the Ordinary Universal Magisterium teach infallibly? When all of the bishops in union with the Pope teach the same thing, it is infallible. Otherwise it would be possible for the whole Church to be wrong, which contradicts Christ's promise to guide the Church into the truth by the Holy Spirit
  7. Give and explain the definition of papal infallibility as formulated by Vatican I. The apostolic primacy the Pope possesses as successor of Peter also includes the supreme power of teaching. Papal infallibility only occurs when the Pope speaks EX CATHEDRA, that is when 1) in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, 2) in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, 3) he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church. Such definitions are of themselves irreformable, not by virtue of the consent of the Church.
  8. What is the theological notion of an Ecumenical Council? An Ecumenical Council is a gathering of bishops from the whole world. Only the Pope has the prerogative of convoking and presiding over such councils. The bishop-members are present as true pastors and judges of the faith. The decrees of the council come from the Pope as primate and the bishops as collaborators. Councils promote collegiality but in no way limit papal primacy and infallibility.
  9. What is understood by "Authentic Non-Infallible Teaching"? Why is it necessary and what does it demand from us? There are many doctrines taught by the Church that are not core dogmas of the faith infallibly taught, but are still important for the practice and integrity of the faith. Rejection of these doctrines cause damage to the faith, making faith in the dogmas difficult. Sincere acceptance of such teaching is required.
  10. Under what conditions can there be licit dissent from the teaching of the Magisterium? In the case of non-infallible teaching, there is the possibility of questions or desire for better understanding in the Church, but such questioning should be conducted with a humble attitude and in a manner that does not stir up controversy or make use of political pressure. The assumption is that the Holy Spirit is leading the Magisterium to the truth, and any questioning by theologians should be in harmony with that process. Therefore, a questioning theologian should conult with peers, and if the question seems valid, raise it in the context of a scholarly journal. This will allow other theologians to contribute to the issue, and if it has merit, it may come to the attention of the bishops. Popular press, political tactics, and other forms of pressure are not appropriate for such questions.
  11. Is non-Infallible teaching reformable and, if so, how? Yes, it is reformable. This could be due to changing circumstances in the world or the Church, or due to increased understanding by the Church.

Development of Dogma

  1. What is a Dogma, as understood in contemporary Catholic theological language (see Vatican I)? "...all those things are to be believed with divine and Catholic faith which are contained in the word of God, written or handed down, and which the Church, either by a solemn judgment, or by her ordinary and universal magisterium, proposes for belief as having been divinely revealed...." (Dei Filius, ch. 3)
  2. Are all the teachings of the Magisterium in matters of faith and morals dogmas (in the sense defined in the preceding question)? No, because the definition does not include non-infallible teachings of the ordinary non-universal Magisterium, which include points that are "proxima fidei" - close to the faith - which are not required to be believed with divine faith, but only sincere acceptance is required.
  3. What does it mean to say that up to the close of the Apostolic times there was (within the Old and the New Testaments) a development or growth of Revelation and not only a development of doctrine (explain and give examples)? Certain doctrines, such as the Trinity, were not clearly revealed until Apostolic times.
  4. Beyond the development of Revelation, was there a development of doctrine within the Old and New Testaments (explain and give examples)? Yes, the Old Testament prophets and wisdom teachers reflected on God's previous Revelation in the history and faith of Israel. In the Apostolic Church, there was development of deeper understanding of Christ's teaching and of the meaning of his person, death, and resurrection. For example, compare the Gospel of John to the Synoptics.
  5. What is the relationship between the History of Christian Doctrines and the Development of Dogma? A great deal of time and theological development and clarification was needed in some cases before the Church's awareness of its belief had become a clear realization that a certain doctrine is really contained in divine revelation. The history of doctrine is a genuine expression of what has always been globally believed, and can be a defense against heretical misinterpretation. Even after a dogma has been unmistakeably expressed, there is still a legitimate history where it is thought out still further, and more profoundly clarified.
  6. Give some examples of the Development of Dogma in post-Apostolic times. In the early Church, the creed of "I believe in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" developed into Iranaeus' three articles of faith, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Nicea's response to Arius then made the divinity of Christ more explicit.
  7. Present and evaluate the so-called "Logical Theory" of Dogmatic Development. This Neo-scholastic explanation says that dogmas develop through application of logical syllogisms to previously established dogmas. For the Monothelite heresy, which claimed that Christ had a single, divine will was thus refuted. The Council of Chalcedon defined that Christ has a complete human nature, including a human soul, distinct from his divine nature. We also know that a human soul contains a human will. Therefore, Christ has a human will which is distinct from his divine nature. This worked for the Monothelite heresy, but it is not so simple for some dogmas, such as the veneration of images. Better is the "theological theory" which states that Revelation is more than the imparting of conceptual or propositional knowledge, but is a participation in divine realities of which the Church only gradually arrives at an explicit verbal articulation.
  8. How is the Development of Dogma to be conceived according to Vatican II (see especially Dei Verbumsection 8)? The tradition that comes from the apostles makes progress in the church, with the help of the holy Spirit. There is a growth in insight into the realities and words that are being passed on. This comes about through the contemplation and study of believers who ponder these things in their hearts. It comes from the intimate sense of spiritual realities which they experience. And it comes from the preaching of those who, on succeeding to the office of bishop, have received the sure charism of truth. Thus, as the centuries go by, the church is always advancing towards the plenitude of divine truth, until eventually the words of God are fulfilled in it.
  9. For what reasons and in what sense can Dogmatic formulas be more or less imperfect, though true? They are subject to imperfections due to the transcendence of the mysteries they express and the historical conditions within which they are formulated.
  10. In what sense are dogmas unchangeable ("irreformable") and in what sense can and should they develop further? A dogma can never be negated or corrected, but they can be further clarified, explained, or give way to new expressions proposed and approved by the Magisterium which present more clearly or more completely the same meaning.
  11. What are the main tasks of theology in relation to Dogmas? The tasks of Theology include both the understanding and the furthering of the development of dogmas, both before and after formulation. In carrying out its tasks, theology is guided by the Magisterium's authentic teaching, but also helps the development (including in the case of non-infallible teaching the correction, if needed) of that teaching. Especially in its task of furthering development, theology cannot avoid taking the risks of error and must be ready to accept the subsequent definite judgment of the Magisterium.

Note that many of these answers draw heavily from Dei Verbum, including a lot of direct and near quotes which are not properly noted.