[quote=Everyman]Okay, several of my friends are asking some questions about Church Tradition. I need help. Some of the questions are as follows:
-What is Tradition?
- What gives it its authority?
-I need you to define “tradition.” What qualifies as tradition and how far back do you go before it is no longer tradition? Whose tradition? What evidence do you have that there has been a consensus on the particular tradition you ascribe to? What I have read of the church Fathers, I see no real consensus. If you believe there was a consensus, how do you reconcile the differences of doctrine put forth by the different church Fathers?
-When one refers to “tradition” is he referring to the Church Counsils? If so, which ones? Or is he only refering to “tradition” as presently defined by the Catholic Church? Would he accept tradition defined by the Catholic Church 100 years ago? Or as it is defined today?
I know this is a lot, but I hoping someone can hit on some of these. Thanks.
Tradition is given to us by Jesus, the whole “binding and loosing” thing.
Tradition goes back all the way to Peter and the Apostles. You’ll see the beginnings of Sacred Tradition with Peter, who was guided by the Holy Spirit to allow Gentiles into the Kingdom of God. By Apostolic Succession, it has been handed down through the Church to today. Because Sacred Tradition comes to us from God, it can not contradict the Bible, no more than the Bible can contradict itself.
There are two types of Traditions. The First, Sacred Tradition (with a Capital T) is unchanging. We can’t say there are 73 books in the Bible, and then change it to, say…, 66. The second, tradition (little “t”) are disciplines and such (I think Protestants typically call these non-essentials). Celibacy among the priesthood is an example. There are no legal bonds preventing the Pope from going back to married priest, because this is a tradition - But there will not be women priests, because this is Sacred Tradition.
Consensus among Church Fathers? We make no claim on this. There were disagreements among them. What the Church Fathers did was help to explain what the Church Teachings were. Yes, they disagreed, but they did not have the power to determine Sacred Tradition.