Can Catholics believe in Sola Scriptura and Faith Alone and be still Catholic?


This is a question that always made me ponder. Can a Catholic believe in Sola Scriptura and Faith Alone and be still Catholic?




I would think it’d depend on which definitions of Sola Scriptura or Faith Alone the Catholic believed.

For example:

Sola Scriptura: Scripture is inerrant and is the only written word we have from God.

I would say the above doesn’t reject Tradition or the Authority of the Catholic Church.

However if you go with the Cambridge Declaration definition you deny a bunch of teachings of the Catholic Church.

Sola Scriptura:
[LEFT]We reaffirm the inerrant Scripture to be the sole source of written divine revelation,which alone can bind the conscience. The Bible alone teaches all that is necessary for our salvation from sin and is the standard by which all Christian behavior must be measured.[/LEFT]
[LEFT]We deny that any creed, council or individual may bind a Christian’s conscience, that the Holy Spirit speaks independently of or contrary to what is set forth in the Bible, or that personal spiritual experience can ever be a vehicle of revelation.[/LEFT]

Faith Alone would suffer the same definition problems.


Why not?:shrug: I know a few catholics who believe this:D I do believe that Syele may be on to something with definitions though;)


If you define faith to be active and not mere belief then Catholics can believe in faith alone. In other words if think that belief plus works equal active faith then you could say that you believe in faith alone.

Whenever I am told that faith saves us, I remind the person that the bible actually says that grace saves us and then discuss the importance of active faith.

Although I believe that Catholic traditions are not contradicted by the bible, I don’t see how a Catholic can believe in Sola Scriptura.


Well, from my persepctive yes:
They have been baptized
They still go to confession.
They believe in Christ
They attend the Catholic church
Sounds Catholic to me.


I know some cradle Catholics who affirm just one, Sola Scriptura. That was years ago. I think there might be some that do.


Maybe the question should be reworded as to whether it is logical when one follows Church teaching for a Catholic to believe in Sola Scriptura or faith alone.


This raises further questions :slight_smile: - are we talking about those beliefs as understood by

*]“average Catholics”
*]Catholic theologians (themselves a very varied bunch)
*]“average Protestants”
*]Protestant theologians[/LIST]Some of these distinctions may be invalid or misleading, or other may need be made that have not been; at all events, what a Catholic understands by (for instance) Sola Scriptura, cannot be assumed to be the same as what a theologian such as Francis Turrettin (1623-87) would understand by Sola Scriptura.

Can either of them be reconciled with the teaching of the Council of Trent ? I think so - what complicates things is that neither Catholic nor Protestant theology on these matters has stood still.


I think Catholics who believe in Sola Scripture and Faith Alone know little of their faith and many of them have been influence by Protestant friends. They remain Catholic because it is a part of their identity.

To answer your question, I don’t they can be reconciled with the teaching of the Council of Trent.


Not to offend our protestant members but the argument could be made that these two doctrines come from an incomplete and erroneous understanding of scripture and therefore should be considered heretical. No, you can not be catholic and believe in these two.

In His love

A Catholic Deacon



Trent: “If anyone says that the sinner is justified by faith alone, meaning that nothing else is required to cooperate in order to obtain the grace of justification, and that it is not in any way necessary that he be prepared and disposed by the action of his own will, let him be anathema.” (canon 9, Decree on Justification)

Vatican II: “it is*** not from Sacred Scripture alone*** that the Church draws her certainty about everything which has been revealed. Therefore both sacred tradition and Sacred Scripture are to be accepted and venerated with the same sense of loyalty and reverence. [cf. Council of Trent, session IV, loc. cit.: Denzinger 783 (1501)].”

John Paul II: “** It is sometimes claimed that dissent from the Magisterium is totally compatible with being a “good Catholic” and poses no obstacle to the reception of the sacraments. This is a grave error.**” [John Paul II, "Meeting with the Bishops of the United States: Our Lady Queen of the Angels Minor Seminary, " Los Angeles, CA., Wednesday, September 16, 1987].


I think you have answered your own question. Catholics by default who have defective knowledge of their Faith. They consider themselves Catholics, may belong to a parish, could have received most of the Sacraments of the Church. For some, those Confirmation classes just don’t take or they may actually not be confirmed. If they hold these positions out of ignorance and not antagonism to the Church I would be willing to accept them as Catholics who need a tune up.


No because the bible contradicts sola scriptura… So by really following sola scriptura you don’t follow sola scriptura…so technically its impossible to follow sola scriptura without following tradition…In this sense, protestants don’t really follow sola scriptura, espesially since they have created new dogmas like the rapture, book of mormon, and denying the trinity…Rather it seems sola scriptura is used as a tool for arguments, rather than a true thing that is followed…

The verse that denys it is when Paul says:

St. Paul writes, “So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter - 2 Thessalonians 2:15

This suggests that there are orally taught traditions, and verbal teachings that the apostles sent down and the holy spirit… Protestants do not follow this verse…


If a Catholic believes in Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide (as most protestant denominations define them), then they are in grave theological error (heresy). This does not make them NON-Catholic, but it does take them out of full communion with the Church, as would any heresy or mortal sin.

If they persisted in believing these two erroneous doctrines and followed them to their logical conclusion, they’d have to leave the Church altogether for a protestant body, thereby making them apostates.

Of course, IMO, if they REALLY followed them to their logical conclusion, they’d figure out why they’re errors in the first place, realize that the Catholic Church is correct in its teachings, go to confession, and be happily back in full communion! :wink:


But isn’t it true that if you really follow sola scriptura you would have to follow tradition too because the bible says so in Thesselonians… So protestants really don’t follow sola scriptura in its true sense…

However I guess when you think of it in the protestant sense it would be heresy, because the Counsil of Trent said that people who follow this are an anathema…


True but I think those who Catholics who do not know their faith, have no idea that believing in Sola Scriptura, and Faith Alone is a false doctrine.

I know enough to know both doctrines are erroneous from a Catholic point of view.


Absolutely no. If a Catholic were to believe in Sola Scriptura, then the Catholic could believe that there are and could be additional books out ther that are Scripture, and that some of the books in Scripture could be false.

Sola Scriptura states that ALL truth revealed by God is contained in Scripture alone. Such revealed truth is the Canon of Scripture. The Canon states which books are Scripture and that truth is NOT IN SCRIPTURE.

There are also other truths that a Catholic must believe in that are not explicetly taught in Scripture- I.E. the Immaculate Conception of the BVM and her Assumption. A Catholic MUST believe those two dogmas or they are excommunicated ipso-facto.

Also, to believe in Faith Alone is also to deny the infallible decrees of the Council of Trent- Trent says one who believes in “Sola Fide” is to be Anathema- excomunicated ipso-facto.



My answer has actually swung right around since i started reading the thread, 4 minutes ago. Originally, I gave a resounding NO!, but upon reflection, I have remembered that it is remarkably difficult to not be Catholic, once one is already a part of the Church. It requires either formal joining of another church, or a letter to the bishop notifying him of your rejection of Catholicism.

So, if someone who happens to be Catholic believes in SS and/or SF, he is still Catholic until he formally stops being Catholic. Now, this Catholic is either a heretic or really poorly catechized.


I personately think that we can attain salvation in many ways, However if a catholic forsake tradition being aware that traditions is right then I think it is a big deal. however If he do it because of ignorance I think iy is something different

Anyway following the traditions is the best way to attain salvation.

St. Irenaeus, the great lover of the sacred books, maintains that whoever wishes to know the true must look at the tradition of the apostles. 29 He adds that even if the apostles had not left us the Scriptures, tradition would have been enough for our instruction and salvation. 30

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