This is a good point MT1926. This term gets misused. Fallibility, the ability to err in acting and judgement, properly belongs only to persons. Fallibility requires intellect and action of the will. This is why Scripture cannot be “infallible”. Scripture does not have intellect and will, and cannot make choices. The same can be said about Sacred Tradition, which comes from the same Source. These two strands of Divine Revelation are inerrant, and inspired, but the application of them can be fallible.
Yes, it seems like that to me too. The difference is that Protestants who espouse Sola Scriptura really become their own “infallible” source because everyone reads and interprets the scripture in the light of their own experience and education (or lack of it).
IT is refreshing to read something we can agree upon 100% !!
Right. Catholics believe that this foundation was complete at the death of the last Apostle.
This is a challenge for those who have been separated from the Sacred Tradition. The Reformers wanted to build using only the part within the NT. This is a smaller/different foundation, which is why the results are so different.
Since the foundation does not “act” then it does not qualify as infallible (no intellect or will), but it is considered inspired and inerrant. Heresy is embraced by persons, which can damage the house of God, but the Church, like Christ, has two natures. The Church has Christ as her head, and the Holy Spirit as her Soul. It is these divine elements that protect her from error, not the human elements.
When the apostles laid the foundation (teaching and writing) they were acting infallibly.
Well, we read it differently, don’t we? Those who have received the faith of the Apostles interpret it through sacred tradition, so we observe Paul ordaining bishops, and instructing them on their duties to succeed the Apostles.
Apostolic faiths also have the witness of the early church in the writings which testify to the apostolic succession. It is important for Reformed Christians to deny these elements to justify being separated from them.
It is said that the CC has the “fullness” (all the elements from the Apostles). The CC recognizes that many of these elements are present in Protestant ecclesial communities. I would not characterize it as “weaker”, since many Protestants are better formed in faith than the majority of Catholics! Despite having the “fullness of faith”, they do not practice the spiritual disciplines of our separated brethren, such as reading the scriptures, praying, attending Church, etc.
Yes and no. Peter had successors, but their function is to protect, preserve, and promulgate the paradosis with which they were entrusted. No new public revelation occurs.
“O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you” I Tim. 6:20
Timothy, a bishop ordained by Paul, was charged with preserving the divine deposit of faith.
Titus, another Bishop ordained by Paul was reminded that he has Apostolic authority:
"You must teach these things and encourage the believers to do them. You have the authority to correct them when necessary, so don’t let anyone disregard what you say. " Titus 2:15
The Church is infallible by virtue of her divine elements. Successors are only protected by the gift of infalliblity through these divine elements. When successors faithfully teach from the divine deposit of faith, they are protected from error.
Yes. What we might see as different is that we believe the Church is the fullness of Him, so to be fully “in Christ” we must be fully in unity with His One Body, the Church. That brings us to the definition of “church”. The Reformers had to create a new definition of “church” in order to separate from what they thought was corruption.
The successors that are authorized to build on the foundation are those who have been ordained by the Apostles to do so. They have been given responsibility.
“Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account.” Heb. 13;17
“For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.” I Tim. 1;6
The laying on of hands is used in ordination for successors of the Apostles.
Perhaps this is a problem due to the disparate definitions of Church? For most of our separated brethren, “church” is the “body of believers on earth”. This is an inadequate definition compared to what received from the Apostles, who taught the Church is One and Holy. But it is not the “body of believers on earth” that make her Holy and infallible, it is the divine elements.
The gift of infallibility is a “negative” gift, meaning it is preventative. By it the Church is prevented from teaching error. If the Church taught error, the faithful would go astray, and pass through the gates of hell. Since Jesus promised that the gates of hell would not prevail, He prevents the Church from teaching error.
This does not mean that individuals are infallible, or that everything taught or done by members of the Church is infallible. It means that the once for all divine deposit of faith is preserved infallibly by the Holy Spirit.
How could anything that came from God be fallible? How can the Word of God be in error? Why would the Apostle instruct the faithful to “hold fast” to something that is fallible?
People in the Church make errors, but the divine bride of Christ is protected by Him and kept holy and blameless, though the fallible persons connected to her may become sick or fall. Those who depart from the Holy Foundation cannot change that foundation. The foundation remains immutable. That foundation contains the Holy Scripture and the Sacred Traditions (teachings of the Apostles preserved in the paradosis).
I don’t think that you can “see” this using the current definition you have for “church”
I would not expect that you would. Sacred Tradition compliments the written scripture.
But, you cannot even accept the references to paradosis that are found in the Scripture, so it stands to reason you would not find much!
The testimony of the Fathers is that Peter and Paul both labored in Rome to build the Church there, and for that reason, it has the primacy. Some anti-Catholics will charge that Peter was never in Rome, because the Scriptures do not specifically say he went there. And the letter of Paul to the Romans makes it clear that there was a thriving community there prior to Paul’s arrival. These facts are not contradictory.
But some anti-Catholics will use the letter of Romans to “refute” that Peter and Paul built up the Church there.
The truth is we can only estimate when Peter arrived. It is easier to date Paul’s arrival based on more detail around the records. Peter may have already been in Rome when the letter was written.
Irenaeus gives more detail about this period, and about the succession that tgG denies exists.
" Since, however, it would be very tedious, in such a volume as this, to reckon up the successions of all the Churches, we do put to confusion all those who, in whatever manner, whether by an evil self-pleasing, by vainglory, or by blindness and perverse opinion, assemble in unauthorized meetings; [we do this, I say,] by indicating that tradition derived from the apostles, of the very great, the very ancient, and universally known Church founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul; as also [by pointing out] the faith preached to men, which comes down to our time by means of the successions of the bishops. For it is a matter of necessity that every Church should agree with this Church, on account of its preeminent authority [potiorem principalitatem].
The blessed apostles, then, having founded and built up the Church, committed into the hands of Linus the office of the episcopate. Of this Linus, Paul makes mention in the Epistles to Timothy. To him succeeded Anacletus; and after him, in the third place from the apostles, Clement was allotted the bishopric. This man, as he had seen the blessed apostles, and had been conversant with them, might be said to have the preaching of the apostles still echoing [in his ears], and their traditions before his eyes. "
No, I don’t think so. The Reformers had gotten their FILL of all the, quote, sacred tradition dictated to them all of their lives. It was in light of comparing that tradition with inspired scripture (the eye-witnesses to the foundation) more critically, did Luther and others begin to realizes they had been sold a bill of goods. “The JUST shall live by faith” was a revelation to Luther that totally changed his Catholic view so that salvation became a real gift and not a “pending obligation.”
Seeing that no one has yet shown how tradition itself is of an equal authority to scripture or that it should be intertwined with scripture, as it makes it’s interpretation with every verse, I consider it a lesser element to consider, as Jesus did. He never called it the word of God.
Traditions along with customs, are fine as long as those traditions do not override the doctrinal stance found in the Sum Of Thy Word. In the CC many of these so-called sacred traditions came centuries later and fly right in the face of holy scripture.
Yes but neither Timothy or Titus were eye-witnesses to the resurrection, a condition that one must have in order to be of the same caliber as the 12 apostles. A Bishop in my view is a lessor office.
So, my question is, the successor to Peter (in the Catholic tradition) was he an eye witness to the resurrection of Christ? If not, then how can he truly be a successor in the way you define it?
We are all successors in a more broader sense. We are all called to build upon the foundation that was laid by the Apostles. We are all just like the pope. We can kiss his ring and he can kiss our ring. This is what Luther eventually realized.
Also: can you please give me a definition of paradosis. I do not know this word.
You know tgG I have asked you on several occasions to stop making this comment. Why are you so uncharitable to Catholics that you have to keep bearing false witness by making this comment? Point to one thing the Catholic Church teaches that is contrary to what is written in scripture and not just your interpretation.
Since you can only say you don’t agree with our interpretation then please stop making this comment.
The definition of contrary means the exact opposite would have to be shown in scripture.
To say it “fly right in the face of holy scripture” would mean it would have to be “OPENLY” opposite of what is written.
I know this line of thinking has been beaten into you by your teachers but you need rise above them.
A couple of things here: Firstly when you say Church, do you mean the universal body? All those who call upon the name of the Lord from every circle and tradition? Or do you mean the Church who’s traditions are rooted in the CC beginning at Rome?
Secondly, as you say, “to be fully in Christ.” Please clarify this idea. On what scriptural and foundational basis do you see anyone partially in Christ? Where is this taught from the founders point of view?
It was new to them, seeing that they grew up in the Roman Catholic Tradition, but it was never new.
The Greek word, as you know, means Called out! It suggest those who answer the call out into the public. Though it is a noun in the feminine gender, it can be understood as a verb.
The Church does have an organizational aspect to her. But that organization is subject to it’s local bodies with it’s local traditions and customs in each generation. At least this is what we find in the 1st. and 2nd. century. The notion that Peter was ruling the entire Church by 42 a.d. with all other apostles in subjection and that the CC had this rule from Rome, is simply not historically correct and difficult to take seriously.
It is not/was not Sacred Tradition that bothered the Reformers, but the corruption of clerics claiming to embody it. This and the conflation of ecclesial power/position with secular precipitated the political and economic frustration that burst through with Luther. I think Luther precipitated it, inasmuch as he was the pebble that started the landslide, but if it had not been him, it would have been someone else.
I think you are confusing the traditions of men for Sacred Traditions here.
There have been many bills of goods sold by those who make claims on the basis of religion. Often it is done by those who are sincere and passionate about their faith. My ancestors in America were rabid anti-Catholics, who were happy to remove their lives from the earth in fine Puritan fashion.
Yes, I think this is true. Despite years of reading the scriptures, translating them, praying them daily with other monks, and being told this by pastors and spiritual directors, for some reason it never sunk in until after he embraced other heresies. For his sake, I am very glad that it finally did sink into his understanding. This does not mean, however, that salvation is any kind of “pending obligation”. Salvation is a work that begins at the moment we are born again, and is completed when we are united with our inheritance, kept imperishable for us in heaven. It is a hope, that which we work out while we live on this earth.
I do not think there is anything that you might find convincing on this matter except perhaps an angel of God, so I will pray that you receive one.
Catholics, unlike “bible Christians” do not “make interpretation with every verse”. We read the Scriptures wholistically from the point of view of the faith that produced them.
At least we are in agreement on that point! Where we might not disagree is the “doctrinal stance” that we find in the Scriptures. Catholics also understand the “Sum” to include the OT, and received many things from the Jews, such as the nature of man, and light upon the nature of salvation, the last times, the nature of the Church, etc.
I understand that it seems that way to you because you do not seem to know much about your own family history, and you interpret the scripture from an anti-catholic viewpoint.
Perhaps, not sure how you mean “lesser”. You seemed to get offended when someone suggested your ecclesial communion was “lesser”. It is certainly different in quality and trajectory. Jesus was clear that the place for the 12 was unique. The point is that the Apostles entrusted their authority and the paradosis to the Bishops, so you may consider them “lesser” but that does not detract from their mission and purpose.
I am sorry, I don’t think I understand your question. It is your definition that has precluded this, not mine. You are the one who has introduced the qualification that the successor of an Apostle had to be an eye witness, not me.
Yes, each of us has a ministry, and each of us is to be built into the church as living stones. As persons, we are like the pope, but only the pope has the ministry of Peter. He has responsibility to feed and care for the whole flock of God.
Luther was responded to arrogantly by the Bishops and the Pope. If more humility had been exercised, things might have been different.
I think you do know it, as you have just stated that we all have a responsibility to build on the foundation, though you may not be familiar with how it is used in the Gk. NT.
You seem to be intelligent and educated, tgG. I don’t know if you have college experience, but you have referred to word studies you have done, so clearly you have some skills in research. Have you ever been on a debate team and had to defend a position with which you did not agree?
Perhaps you could consider an academic exercise, such as proving there is such a thing as paradosis (assuming that you may not agree there is such a thing?)
For I handed on to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures; 4 that he was buried; that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures; I Cor. 15;3-4
This phrase is one of the earliest written parts of the present Creed. It was recited by those who were coming for baptism.
2 I praise you because you remember me in everything and hold fast to the traditions, just as I handed them on to you. I Cor. 11;2
Paradosis refers to the process of handing down, and is also used to refer to the content of Apostolic Teaching that was entrusted to the successors of the Apostles.
παράδοσις (paradosis) is the word used in this passage:
15 Therefore, brothers, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught, either by an oral statement or by a letter of ours.
Translated “traditions”, it refers to Apostolic traditions (as opposed to the traditions of men). These are referred to equally in importance by Paul here, as well as in I Cor.