I want to preface by saying that although my call name is still AlmostCatholic, it would be more accurate if it were something like all-most catholic as of this last Easter. Thanks be to God. My questions no longer come from the outside looking in!
But that doesn’t mean I don’t still have questions. My question for for everyone, is regarding the Early church Fathers. I am familiar with looking at them to help interpret scripture and early doctrines that were passed on from the Apostles which were given to them by Christ. So how do we discern which is sacred tradition and which is just theory? I don’t have enough knowledge to cite many examples, but I did read the Confessions so I see that there was a practice at that place and time to withhold baptism until late, sometimes even until just before death. Almost like extreme unction for its time. But in other fathers I see evidence of infant baptism. My guess is that the principles are there (thus baptism resembles extreme unction) but the form is not quite concrete.
I think another key to this question must have to do with the magesterium, but again, I am ignorant of how to articulate that. It seems that we need the magesterium to interpret the ECF’s and we need them to help understand early tradition and thus scripture. But why trust the magesterium? Is there a good argument I am missing here? How would I argue this with a sceptic?
thank you all for your help!