No list of RCC Traditions???


I have been told that there is no list of the Traditions that are a part of the Roman Catholic Church.

Why is there no list? If these Traditions have been preserved then it should be easy to identify them. Since there is no list, how do you know if you are following them, and following them correctly?

If this belongs in another forum please let me know.


We have a living magesterium. We have living traditions that grow. That’s cause we have a Living Savior! And we have a church authority who can help us so that we don’t need ‘micromanaging’.

We also have Sacred Tradition (and that is found along with its partner Scripture) delineated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

We have lots of what we call ‘little t’ traditions–pious actions like Christmas trees, special prayers, devotions to the Sacred Heart. These differ from ‘big T traditions’ which include the doctrine of the Trinity (which you will not find specifically laid out in the Bible as “father = son = spirit” but which was taught orally in the early church.)

Just as we trusted the Church to set forth, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the written God-breathed scriptures aside into the Bible, we trust it to set forth, equally under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the spoken God-breathed word into Sacred Tradition. The proof of the pudding–no Sacred Tradition will contradict Sacred Scripture–and vice versa.

But just as the Trinity is never perfectly understood (it’s a mystery), and as it is understood in different ways by different individuals, in different societies and different times, other RCC 'big T" Traditions are likewise under the guidance of the Spirit, to be ‘understood more deeply’. This is the same with the Holy Scripture as well. The deeper understanding however never contradicts the teaching (the Trinity will never become either the Dynamic Duo or the Fab Four).


How do you test these traditios? And what do you test them against. Jesus never promoted tradition of any sort to an equal status of the written Word.What evidence do you have that Paul’s “oral” traditions refer to doctrines other than the Gospel truth?

The Pharisees grew angry with the disciples because they ignored their tradition of the elders. Rome does the same thing today, saying we should follow their traditions.


There are some pretty typical “begging the question” assumptions regarding “Tradition vs Scripture” posed by our Protestant/Evangelical/Fundamentalist brethren.

Start reading all these Catholic Answers links:

and THEN come back to us with more detailed, less begging-the-question questions :thumbsup:



So there is no list you are aware of?:confused: The links given gives us why Sacred Tradition is important but they dont say what they are. It is also very vague. It says we have to believe what the CC says is Sacred Tradition but yet wont tell us what they are. I will assume that Sacred Tradition is passed down from Christ to the Apostles and then to the popes—right? So each Pope knows all the Tradition that there is—right? Why wouldnt He want all of us to know? Why hide them?Even Jesus said to Pilate that He has never hidden any of His teachings. They were all public. Jesus did not hide anything from anyone. He wanted us to know the Truth. So why not write them down? Some of you may say there are too many to be written down. I would agree and then I would say then there are too many to remember orally as well. I think that leaves Sacred Tradition wide open for false teachings to creep in over time. If something comes up in the CC that cant be explained biblically, the CC has the right to add it and say well it is part of Tradition. How do you know they are telling the truth? There is nothing to hold it up against except the bible. If the bible says nothing on the subject then what?

Please, I dont mean to sound like Im attacking the CC it just doesnt make sense to me is all.:confused: IMHO God wrote down in the Bible everything He knew we could handle and all we needed to know for this lifetime on earth. If you take Sacred Tradition out(whatever it may be)the bible stands on its own just fine.:thumbsup:


The big T traditions are found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. . .and they are also found in Scripture although the references may be prefigurings or otherwise. Purgatory, for example, is found in scripture–and the Catechism explains this. The Immaculate Conception? It’s there. And the Trinity. The ‘oral tradition’ which explained what Scripture implied but did not actually state in words of one syllable --that “Father = Son= Spirit” is another example. Any big T tradition is not “just” in Sacred Tradition or “just” in Sacred Scripture. If it’s been passed down orally, it is in reference to an explanation of Scripture; if it’s in Scripture, it will be found orally. . .but just as words and concepts can deepen (though not ‘change’ from black to white), oral and written teachings can be found to deepen.

The little t traditions are more like what the cultural traditions. Christmas trees for example–Protestants have them too, along with nativity scenes, right?

Certain prayers are common to certain groups. Certain words too, although Friends (Quakers) often do not say “thee or thou” the way they used to.
Amish and Menonites wear certain clothing styles.

These are little t traditions, pious practices which reflect the way in which Christians, using Scripture and/or Tradition, worship God. Most Christians treat the Bible with great respect, but the Bible does not demand that “Thou shalt treat the Bible with due respect, yea and shall cover it with finest plether and imitation gold edges thereof”. Certainly a person who dogears his Bible is not guilty of blasphemy or even impiety though!


I looked at those links too and read them and it explains what it is but doesn’t list out what some of the traditions are.
This is one area in the CC that I’ve always had trouble understanding, and I’ve had 12 years of Catholic education.
Can anyone provide a list?
I know this isn’t the first time this has come up here and I’m sure it won’t be the last, at least until a list can be provided. :o


Procure all three volumes of the following series:

Look in the back, and you will find something called a “Doctrinal Index”, which is simply a list of topics, and where to find references to such topics in the book. This is about the closest you’re going to find to a list of Traditions.

Of course, it goes without saying that since the topics in the book are examples taken from the writings of the Early Church Fathers, that these Traditions were written down in the early years of the Church, and not invented out of thin air, as Protestants sometimes claim. :slight_smile:


I don’t have a list in front of me but here is a few…

The Holy Trinity
Infant Baptism

This is just a fast list, we really don’t have a list as it is just part of the general teaching. I guess we should get one for our Protestant friends.


The list you’re looking for is the Catechism of the Catholic Church. This book goes hand-in-hand with the Holy Bible.


Thanks for trying to help us Protestants who just have a hard time grasping the CC’s concept of Tradition. :slight_smile:
Let me know if anyone composites a detailed list sometime. :wink:


What’s more, Jesus never promoted the written word. He wrote nothing, neither did most of his Apostles.

In fact, we know niether Paul’s oral or written tradition’s did refer to the Gospel truth, for none of the Gospels had been written.

Probably the foremost Sacred Tradition is that the BIble contains the Word of God. Without that Tradition, the bible is just a collection of inspirational (not inspired) books. If you discount that Tradition, you have only Sacred Tradition and the Magisterium of the Church to guide you to God.


This is a good answer, because it switches the focus from Tradition to the entire Deposit of Faith. Tradition is a component of the Faith, as is Scripture, but it is a meaningless exercise to try and isolate Tradition from the entire Deposit of Faith.

As an example, what percentage of the doctrine of the Trinity is found in Scripture, and what percentage is found in Tradition? 50-50? 20-80? Who can possibly say? It certainly isn’t 100-0, as Protestants would argue, but beyond that, it is quite impossible to sift out the amount that is found in Scripture and the amount that is in Tradition.

The original question is much like asking “how much did you learn to read at home, and how much did you learn in school?” For most people it is an impossible question, and it really doesn’t matter anyway. The important point is that you know how to read.


Why don’t you just look them up yourself? A little effort on your part will be most rewarding. There is a wealth of information on the Catholic Church and its teachings. I could supply more but would like for you to finish the list if you are really that interested. Remember that the written word did not come until centuries after the death of Christ. So one Tradition is the bible itself.


This question has come up here a number of times and it always amuses me when it does. Why must there be a “list” of what is considered Sacred Tradition? Since when is the sum total of a religion consolidated into a handy-dandy simplistic list? Is the Bible in a “list” format? Are the doctrines and beliefs found in the Bible in a list format? Let’s try to be mature and consistent, at least.

The Catechism is one good source to find much of what we call Sacred Tradition, but a lot of it is contained in how the Church has worshipped and lived for 2000 years as handed down by the Apostles. Just like many a family has it’s own practices, some written down, some not, the Church doesn’t have to have a list for everything.

Think of it in practical terms, not in confrontational and nit-picking terms: how often do Catholics find themselves in a position to agonize whether something they are considering doing or asked to believe in is Sacred Tradition or not? Give us some specific examples of of how Catholics could be confused or unsure about this. As long as you posit it as a foolish and vague “how do you know” general question, it’s impossible to answer. How about some specifics? :whistle:


This is the best explanation I’ve seen so far. If your looking for a check list in Adobe format, it might be hard to find!

If you MUST have a written list, go to the Catechism, study it, and make a list. Shouldn’t be too hard if you try.

How do you test these traditios? And what do you test them against. Jesus never promoted tradition of any sort to an equal status of the written Word.What evidence do you have that Paul’s “oral” traditions refer to doctrines other than the Gospel truth?

How do you test Jesus? Did he not say, “Do this in rememberance of me?” Would that not promote a tradition?

Nice try, but we’ve seen this arguement a thousand times.


One of the smaller points on this is that big “T” traditions are so central to the faith that they have not been “oral” for a long, long time. People here have cited the Trinity as a prime example. Anything you would find on the “A” list pretty much stopped being oral tradition by the immediate sub-apostolic age. The ante-Nicene Fathers often were the first to write things down the were later fully codified into Tradition.

Three more things that fall under that heading of Tradition are the forumulations of the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds and the table of contents of the Holy Bible.

An earlier poster asked, “What evidence do you have that Paul’s “oral” traditions refer to doctrines other than the Gospel truth?” Answer: We have NO such evidence because no Tradition of the Church will EVER contradict “Gospel truth.” The very question stands upon a false assumption.

Any time you THINK the Catholic Church believes and teaches something contrary to “Gospel truth,” you need to probe more deeply into the subject using Catholic sources, because NOTHING the Church teaches will ever be found to contradict Scripture.


My family has traditions.
My aunty always gets the first slice of the Christmas pudding.
My brother always gets the shank off the leg of lamb when it is cooked.
We always go to our friend Barbara’s on Melbourne Cup Day.
We always have party pies and hot dogs watching the AFL Grand Final.
There are many more, and they aren’t written down.
But when a new member enters our family by way of birth or marriage, they are indoctrined with these traditions through example.
If a tradition wishes to be changed, deleted, or a new one added, the head of our family decides (my mum). She only agrees with the change if it is good for all of us, and keeps to our family values.

For those of you not following the analogy…
mum = Pope
family = Catholic Church
family values = Jesus’ teachings
birth or marriage = convert to Catholicism


Originally Posted by ricko
I don’t have a list in front of me but here is a few…

The Holy Trinity
Infant Baptism

The Perpetual Virginity of Mary
The Assumption of Mary
The Communion of Saints
Sacramentals such as Holy water, Relics, Blessed objects (medals, homes etc…)
The Sign of the Cross
Crucifixes with the Corpus
Statues & Sacred Art

Then there are the CC Traditions that are accepted by most Protestants…

  • The New Testament (inasmuch as the Canon of Scripture was decided by the Catholic Church.
  • Sunday replacing Saturday as the day of worship
  • Christmas
  • Easter

“Therefore, brethren, STAND FAST, and hold the TRADITIONS which ye have been taught, whether BY WORD (verbal teaching), or our epistle. (written teaching)” —2 Thes. 2:15

“Now I praise you brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ORDINANCES (The Greek text says, ‘keep the TRADITIONS’), as I delivered them to you.” —1Cor 11:2

“And the things that thou hast HEARD of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” — 2 Tim. 2:2

“By which ye are saved, if ye keep in MEMORY what I PREACHED (verbal teaching not written) to you, unless ye have believed in vain.” —1Cor 15:2

NOTE: Faith then comes by hearing

“Faith then cometh by hearing; and hearing by the word of Christ. But I say: Have they not heard? Yes, verily, their sound hath gone forth into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the whole world.” —Rom. 10:17-18

“If so ye continue in the faith, grounded and settled, and immovable from the hope of the gospel which you have heard, which is preached in all the creation that is under heaven, whereof I Paul am made a minister.”----Col. 1:23

“And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book …” — John 20:30

“And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written everyone, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written Amen.”—John 21-25:

The former-Evangelical Mark Shea has a very good article on this subject. He says: “Sacred Tradition is the living and growing truth of Christ contained, not only in Scripture, but in the common teaching, common life, and common worship of the Church.”


Sacred Tradition helps us to understand Sacred Scripture. The successors to the Apostles understood that.

Pope Clement I
"Then the reverence of the law is chanted, and the grace of the prophets is known, and the faith of the Gospels is established, and the Tradition of the Apostles is preserved, and the grace of the Church exults" (Letter to the Corinthians 11 [A.D. 80]).

"Papias [A.D. 120], who is now mentioned by us, affirms that he received the sayings of the Apostles from those who accompanied them, and he moreover asserts that he heard in person Aristion and the presbyter John. Accordingly he mentions them frequently by name, and in his writings gives their Traditions [concerning Jesus]. . . . [There are] other passages of his in which he relates some miraculous deeds, stating that he acquired the knowledge of them from Tradition" (Fragment in Eusebius, Church History 3:39 [A.D. 312]).

Eusebius of Caesarea
"At that time [A.D. 150] there flourished in the Church Hegesippus, whom we know from what has gone before, and Dionysius, bishop of Corinth, and another bishop, Pinytus of Crete, and besides these, Philip, and Apolinarius, and Melito, and Musanus, and Modestus, and finally, Irenaeus. From them has come down to us in writing, the sound and orthodox faith received from Tradition" (Church History 4:21).

Irenaeus of Lyons
"As I said before, the Church, having received this preaching and this faith, although she is disseminated throughout the whole world, yet guarded it, as if she occupied but one house. She likewise believes these things just as if she had but one soul and one and the same heart; and harmoniously she proclaims them and teaches them and hands them down, as if she possessed but one mouth. For, while the languages of the world are diverse, nevertheless, the authority of the Tradition is one and the same" (Against Heresies 1:10:2 [A.D. 189]).

“That is why it is surely necessary to avoid them [heretics], while cherishing with the utmost diligence the things pertaining to the Church, and to lay hold of the Tradition of truth. . . . What if the Apostles had not in fact left writings to us? Would it not be necessary to follow the order of Tradition, which was handed down to those to whom they entrusted the Churches?” (ibid., 3:4:1).

"It is possible, then, for everyone in every church, who may wish to know the truth, to contemplate the Tradition of the Apostles which has been made known throughout the whole world. And we are in a position to enumerate those who were instituted bishops by the Apostles and their successors to our own times–men who neither knew nor taught anything like these heretics rave about.
"But since it would be too long to enumerate in such a volume as this the successions of all the churches, we shall confound all those who, in whatever manner, whether through self-satisfaction or vainglory, or through blindness and wicked opinion, assemble other than where it is proper, by pointing out here the successions of the bishops of the greatest and most ancient church known to all, founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious Apostles, Peter and Paul, that church which has the Tradition and the faith which comes down to us after having been announced to men by the Apostles.
“With this church, because of its superior origin, all churches must agree–that is, all the faithful in the whole world–and it is in her that the faithful everywhere have maintained the Apostolic Tradition” (ibid., 3:3:1-2).

Eusebius of Caesarea
"A question of no small importance arose at that time [A.D. 190]. For the parishes of all Asia . . . held that the fourteenth day of the moon, on which day the Jews were commanded to sacrifice the lamb, should be observed as the feast of the Savior’s Passover. . . . But it was not the custom of the churches in the rest of the world to end it at this time, as they observed the practice which, from Apostolic Tradition, has prevailed to the present time, of terminating the fast [of Lent] on no other day than on that of the resurrection of our Savior [Sunday]" (Church History 4:23).

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