Definition of "Fullness of Truth"?


Can someone give me a working definition of what it means for the Catholic Church to have the “Fullness of Truth”? I’m in a discussion with someone and found myself lacking sufficient terminology to convey the concept.



All cultures have some concept of marriage. Amongst Jews and Muslims it is possible to divorce, amongst the Hindus there is opposite error and the marraige is supposed to last after death, so the wife will sometimes throw herself on the husband’s funeral pyre. All of these practises are bad, but not so bad that we can say that Jews, Muslims and Hindus have no more morality than the beasts.
They have a partial understanding of the truth we have its fullness.


Other Christian religions have “partial truths”. They believe in one God, they believe that Jesus is the son of God, He was born of a virgin, He suffered, died, was buried, rose from the dead, etc.

They do not believe in prayers for the dead, Purgatory, the perpetual virginity of Mary… The do not believe in one, visible Church, Apostolic Succession, Transubstantian, etc. These beliefs, and others taught by the Catholic Church, complete the truth of the Gospel, because they all fit together in the grand scheme of things. Therefore, it’s only the Catholic Church that teaches the fullness of truth.


Hi Penitant,

When speaking of Protestants in particular, we say they do not have the fullness of truth, because they do not accept all of the apostolic tradition, only that part which has been written down by the apostles themselves or by those having close contact with them.

Catholics accept all of tradition, written and unwritten. That is why we have the “fullness of truth”.

Does this answer your question?




my hands are pretty full with your moms boobies

and that’s the truth




Jannes and Jambres, the dispute over the Body of Moses by st.Michael the Archangel, the understanding of the “Seat of Moses”.
The scriptures do record these things but they are part of the written scriptures.

the Doctrines about Mary. :smiley:

It is claimed but not supported by any historical facts that she was assumed.


What is an example of an “unwritten tradition”?


The source of the dispute over Moses’ body is not found in the Old Testament. Jude use a source not find in any of the Hebrew Scriptures.

The source of this belief is found in the Assumption of Moses, an Jewish Apocryphal Pseudepigraphal source.



Some people have only the Bible. That’s very good, that’s great in fact. The Bible is the inerrant Word of God. Those who have the Bible, have the Truth.

But it’s important to keep in mind God gave us the Bible through the Catholic Church. That’s a historical fact. He didn’t hand the Bible to anyone on Mt Sinai for example.

As strange and ahistorical as it may seem, there are those people who love the Bible and reject the Catholic Church. They have the Truth of the Bible but they lack the Truth of the Church which has been the caretaker of the Bible for some 2000 years.

Simply put, to have the fullness of Truth you need not only the Bible, but also the Church through which the Bible came.

Chesterton said in his essay, The Catholic Church and Conversion:

I owe the fact that I find it very difficult to take some of the Protestant propositions even seriously. What is any man who has been in the real outer world, for instance, to make of the
everlasting cry that Catholic traditions are condemned by the
Bible? It indicates a jumble of topsy-turvy tests and tail-foremost
arguments, of which I never could at any time see the sense. The ordinary sensible sceptic or pagan is standing in the street (in the
supreme character of the man in the street) and he sees a
procession go by of the priests of some strange cult, carrying their object of worship under a canopy, some of them wearing high head-dresses and carrying symbolical staffs, others carrying
scrolls and sacred records, others carrying sacred images and
lighted candles before them, others sacred relics in caskets or
cases, and so on. I can understand the spectator saying, “This is all hocus-pocus”; I can even understand him, in moments of irritation, breaking up the procession, throwing down the images, tearing up the scrolls, dancing on the priests and anything else that might express that general view. I can understand his saying, “Your croziers are bosh, your candles are bosh, your statues and scrolls and relics and all the rest of it are bosh.” But in what conceivable frame of mind does he rush in to select one particular scroll of the scriptures of this one particular group (a scroll which had always belonged to them and been a part of their hocus-pocus, if it was hocus-pocus); why in the world should the man in the street say that one particular scroll was not bosh, but was the one and only truth by which all the other things were to be condemned? Why should it not be as superstitious to worship the scrolls as the statues, of that one particular procession? Why should it not be as reasonable to preserve the statues as the scrolls, by the tenets of that particular creed? To say to the priests, “Your statues and scrolls are condemned by our common sense,” is sensible. To say, “Your statues are condemned by your scrolls, and we are going to worship one part of your procession and wreck the rest,” is not sensible from any standpoint, least of all that of the man in the street.


Thank you for that. I had never before seen it. It’s a wonderful image.


Were these works condemned by the catholic church?


No. They (Assumption of Moses) were **not recognized **as canonical books.


The Catholic Church has all the elements that God intends His religion to have–all the Divine revelation (including the true meaning), the correct structure of governance, the proper worship (the 7 sacraments), etc.

Other communities may have some elements–for example, the Eastern Orthodox have almost all except the Petrine primacy-- but only the Catholic Church has all the elements and will always have all the elements and always has had all the elements despite the divisive sins of man.


The scriptures refer to the stories, but the stories themselves are not found anywhere in written scripture. It is testimony that Jesus and the Apostles accepted Sacred Oral Tradition on par with the written, and used it to teach the Gospel message.

Sacred Tradition trumps “historical facts” every time. If you read Bultman on the person of Jesus, then you don’t have any miracles and any divinity. This is how far “history” can take one from the truth. History is largely the person writing perceiving what happened. In the case of Marian Doctrines, the Church ratifies the testimony that has been handed down to us by believers. This is the same basis we have for belief in Christ.


Maybe you can develop a working definition of “Fullness of Truth” from the Vatican II document, "The Decree on Ecumenism."
3. Even in the beginnings of this one and only Church of God there arose certain rifts,(19) which the Apostle strongly condemned.(20) But in subsequent centuries much more serious dissensions made their appearance and quite large communities came to be separated from full communion with the Catholic Church-for which, often enough, men of both sides were to blame. The children who are born into these Communities and who grow up believing in Christ cannot be accused of the sin involved in the separation, and the Catholic Church embraces upon them as brothers, with respect and affection. For men who believe in Christ and have been truly baptized are in communion with the Catholic Church even though this communion is imperfect. The differences that exist in varying degrees between them and the Catholic Church-whether in doctrine and sometimes in discipline, or concerning the structure of the Church-do indeed create many obstacles, sometimes serious ones, to full ecclesiastical communion. The ecumenical movement is striving to overcome these obstacles. But even in spite of them it remains true that all who have been justified by faith in Baptism are members of Christ’s body,(21) and have a right to be called Christian, and so are correctly accepted as brothers by the children of the Catholic Church.(22Moreover, some and even very many of the significant elements and endowments which together go to build up and give life to the Church itself, can exist outside the visible boundaries of the Catholic Church: the written word of God; the life of grace; faith, hope and charity, with the other interior gifts of the Holy Spirit, and visible elements too. All of these, which come from Christ and lead back to Christ, belong by right to the one Church of Christ.

The brethren divided from us also use many liturgical actions of the Christian religion. These most certainly can truly engender a life of grace in ways that vary according to the condition of each Church or Community. These liturgical actions must be regarded as capable of giving access to the community of salvation.

It follows that the separated Churches(23) and Communities as such, though we believe them to be deficient in some respects, have been by no means deprived of significance and importance in the mystery of salvation. For the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as means of salvation which derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Church.

Nevertheless, our separated brethren, whether considered as individuals or as Communities and Churches, are not blessed with that unity which Jesus Christ wished to bestow on all those who through Him were born again into one body, and with Him quickened to newness of life-that unity which the Holy Scriptures and the ancient Tradition of the Church proclaim.** For it is only through Christ’s Catholic Church, which is “the all-embracing means of salvation,” that they can benefit fully from the means of salvation. We believe that Our Lord entrusted all the blessings of the New Covenant to the apostolic college alone, of which Peter is the head, in order to establish the one Body of Christ on earth to which all should be fully incorporated who belong in any way to the people of God. **This people of God, though still in its members liable to sin, is ever growing in Christ during its pilgrimage on earth, and is guided by God’s gentle wisdom, according to His hidden designs, until it shall happily arrive at the fullness of eternal glory in the heavenly Jerusalem.


Do you have the ability to acknowledge that several people posted unwritten traditions here in answer to your question?


Would you happen to know why these and other works were rejected?

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