'Sacred Tradition' what is meant by it and what has it passed on to us?


EVeryone knows the protestants reject the authority of sacred Tradition and only accept the bible. My question has to do with what exactly has tradition passed on that is not found in the bible per say (now dont tell me every dogma and beleif is in the bible thats not what im looking for). What exactly has tradition given us that scripture doesnt, out of curiousity.


Have you read the Catechism on this subject? Here is an link to an online search utility:



I have my catechism infront of me and the index has no sacred tradition or tradition. And it would only tell me what defines it. I want to know what exactly is passed down by tradition anyways, in view of protestants disclaiming tradition as a legitimit source of teaching


Read these;





  1. This Sacred Council wishes to turn its attention firstly to the Catholic faithful. Basing itself upon Sacred Scripture and Tradition, it teaches that the Church, now sojourning on earth as an exile, is necessary for salvation. Christ, present to us in His Body, which is the Church, is the one Mediator and the unique way of salvation. In explicit terms He Himself affirmed the necessity of faith and baptism(124) and thereby affirmed also the necessity of the Church, for through baptism as through a door men enter the Church. Whosoever, therefore, knowing that the Catholic Church was made necessary by Christ, would refuse to enter or to remain in it, could not be saved.

They are fully incorporated in the society of the Church who, possessing the Spirit of Christ accept her entire system and all the means of salvation given to her, and are united with her as part of her visible bodily structure and through her with Christ, who rules her through the Supreme Pontiff and the bishops. The bonds which bind men to the Church in a visible way are profession of faith, the sacraments, and ecclesiastical government and communion. He is not saved, however, who, though part of the body of the Church, does not persevere in charity. He remains indeed in the bosom of the Church, but, as it were, only in a “bodily” manner and not “in his heart.”(12*) All the Church’s children should remember that their exalted status is to be attributed not to their own merits but to the special grace of Christ. If they fail moreover to respond to that grace in thought, word and deed, not only shall they not be saved but they will be the more severely judged.(13*)


I sitll dont understand. Everytime i read about tradition it is in that sort of context. What exactly has Tradition given us. There is a definite difference in theolgoy and beliefs between RC and protestants, and one thing the protestants reject is the authority of Tradition (what articles of faith have been passed down this trajectory specifically)


Tradition gave us the Trinity through the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D. Since Arianism was challenging the divinity of Jesus Christ, the Council needed to defined who God is.

Tradition also gave us Sunday worship since there is no commandment in the Ten Commandment that we ought to worship God on Sunday. The commandment calls forth Sabbath Day, the seventh day, Saturday.

However, in Luke 24 Chapter 25 verse 1-35. Infant baptism is also part of the Tradition.


these are all thigns protestants except, so their denial of tradition doesnt effect them. I don’t see why then the denial of tradition as a legitmate authority is so problematic?


Problematic to Protestants? I can only point out to their doctrine of Bible Alone, or Scripture Alone.

Yet they still cling to the tradition of worshiping on Sunday. They also deny the authority of the Church.


exactly so basically the whole tradition AND bible is really not all that important for most doctorines are found in the bible anyways. Thats what it seems like. I was thining tradition gave us doctorines on mary and things of that sort. Apparently tradition hasn’t handed down as much as i thought


It has been handed down. For example the Immaculate Conception is a tradition held by the Early Church Father.

“He was the ark formed of incorruptible wood. For by this is signified that His tabernacle was exempt from putridity and corruption.” Hippolytus, Orations Inillud, Dominus pascit me (ante A.D. 235).

“This Virgin Mother of the Only-begotten of God, is called Mary, worthy of God, immaculate of the immaculate, one of the one.” Origen, Homily 1(A.D. 244).

“Let woman praise Her, the pure Mary.” Ephraim, Hymns on the Nativity, 15:23 (A.D. 370).

“Thou alone and thy Mother are in all things fair, there is no flaw in thee and no stain in thy Mother.” Ephraem, Nisibene Hymns, 27:8 (A.D. 370).

“O noble Virgin, truly you are greater than any other greatness. For who is your equal in greatness, O dwelling place of God the Word? To whom among all creatures shall I compare you, O Virgin? You are greater than them all O Covenant, clothed with purity instead of gold! You are the Ark in which is found the golden vessel containing the true manna, that is, the flesh in which divinity resides.” Athanasius, Homily of the Papyrus of Turin, 71:216 (ante AD 373).

If you want to take a look into this visit this website by John Salza.


Main Source scripturecatholic.com


:S I don’t think our orthodox friends will support that statement


Read this note the similarity between the Orthodox and Catholic.

The terms used by the Catholic Church is different the belief on Mary is similiar.


The only difference is that the Orthodox have not official made them dogmatic but the belief is there.




Scripture gives us Salvation history, the life of Jesus and some of His basic moral teachings. The rest of the teachings are to incomplete and difficult to pull out of scripture, unless you learned them through Tradition first.

Tradition gives all the teachings of the Gospel that Jesus taught to His apostles and the apostles handed down. Does anyone actually think the apostles proclaimed the Gospel by reading scripture? Of course not. The apostles proclaimed the Gospel by teaching the Catholic faith. That is why the men they appointed as their successors were the bishops of the Catholic Church. Thus, the Catechism is NOT a summary of the teachings of scripture, it is a summary of the Gospel the apostles taught and preached.

Now, this Gospel they taught and preached (handed down in Tradition) came entirely from Jesus Christ. And since Jesus is the fullness of revelation, because He is God, then this Gospel contains ALL the teachings of salvation. The Catechism says the Gospel they preached is “the source of all saving truth and moral discipline.” Thus, the teachings of the Church don’t come from scripture, but from the Gospel the apostles learned from Jesus, that is, they come from Tradition.
The Catechism teaches on page 25.

                                [size=2]"In order that the full and living Gospel might always be preserved in the Church the apostles left bishops as their successors. They gave them their own position of teaching authority."  Indeed, "the apostolic preaching, which is expressed in a special way in the inspired books, was to be preserved in a continuous line of succession until the end of time."  This living transmission, accomplished in the Holy Spirit, is called Tradition, since it is distinct from Sacred Scripture, though closely connected to it. Through Tradition, "the Church, in her doctrine, life and worship, perpetuates and transmits to every generation all that she herself is, all that she believes."[1]("http://forums.catholic.com/#sdfootnote1sym")[/size]      [1]("http://forums.catholic.com/#sdfootnote1anc")IBID     77,78

[size=2]This living transmission, accomplished in the Holy Spirit, is called Tradition,[/size]

Living transmission of what? Of the “**full and living Gospel” ** Thus, the entire Gospel, all the teachings of revelation, EVERYTHING Jesus knows about salvation, was handed down in this Gospel by Tradition.

Scripture only hands down certain elements of this Tradition. And no where does scripture claim to be a summary of the Gospel the apostles taught and preached.
We can learn all this Gospel through the Church, for the Gospel handed down results in the Church
The Gospel the apostles handed down IS the Catholic faith. They handed it down entirely by Tradition


The Canon of Scripture
The Interpretation of Scripture

Looking through the eyes of the Apostolic Church, Baptism.
For the first 30 or so years there were no Gospels or Acts and very few Letters. The only way the Early Christians knew that Baptism replaced Circumsicion was through Sacred Tradition.


Although some of the content is objectionable to Protestants, such as the infallibility of the Pope, the Immaculate Conception, the Assumption and a few others, I think the main problem for them is authority. By giving equal weight to the scripture and tradition, Catholics recognize that both are sources of divine revelation, where as the Sola Scriptura crowd denies any authority but scripture. What follows from that is that the Tradition appoints the Magisterium as the authority to interpret the Bible, which invalidates all the erroneous interpretations found in non-Catholic practices.


Let me explain more:
Lets say all four written Gospels had been already published, and the apostle John was out proclaiming the Gospel.

Lets say a pagan comes up to him and says “tell me about this Jesus that I have been hearing”.

Would John start reading the Gospels to him?
Would he start by reading:
1 The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. 2 Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren;
3 And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram;
etc, etc,?

I don’t think so.

Perhaps he would start with his own Gospel:

  1. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God.
    3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
    4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
    5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
    A little better, but hardly sufficient.

The pagan would ask “who is God”.
Would John explain who God is by reading scripture?
Hardly possible.
The pagan would ask, "how is the Father God and Jesus God"
Could John even begin to explain the Trinity by reading the Gospels?
Absolutely NOT.

Thus, when John proclaimed the Gospel, he did NOT do so by reading scripture, then giving an explanation of scripture. The apostles did NOT proclaim the Gospel by reading scripture.

Obviously, one of the first things John had to do was teach. He had to teach who God was. He had to teach who Jesus and the Holy Spirit were, since Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit. In other words, he had to teach the doctrine of the Trinity. He had to catechize.
That is what Catechisms are. They are simply a summary of the Gospel the apostles taught and preached. Since by definition teaching and preaching are part of Tradition, then we say that John proclaimed the Gospel by handing down Tradition

Where did John learn these teachings that he was teaching to the pagan? Did he them learn from the bible, from the Gospels that were written?
Lets see what these Gospels say.

                                        Mr 4:34 “He did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to his own disciples he explained everything.”

John 15:15 “for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”
John 14:26 “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”

Thus, the apostles learned everything from Jesus and through the Holy Spirit. They did not learn the Gospel from reading the bible, from scripture, or from the Jewish religion, although all these had forshadowings of the elements of the Gospel.
Thus, the apostles learned the Gospel through Tradition, (the handing down of knowledge without scripture)

Since Jesus is the fullness of revelation, and NOT scripture, then the apostles learned the fullness of revelation entirely by Tradition.

And of course, since Jesus was God, He already knew everything and did not come to this knowledge through scripture.


So a basic summary. Jesus is God, thus the fullness of revelation. Neither the Old testament prophets, nor the New Testament writers are the fullness of revelation.

Jesus taught everthing of the Gospel ONLY to the apostles. He did not write a word of scripture. Thus, He taught entirely by Tradition. The apostles learned by Tradition.

The apostles followed the example of Jesus. We saw that the apostles did NOT learn the Gospel by reading scripture. They were taught directly by God. Thus, the apostles, as the first leaders of the Catholic Church, did NOT learn their beliefs from scripture, but directly from God. Entirely by Tradition. And since Jesus and the Holy Spirit taught them everything, then we say ALL DOCTRINES OF THE CHURCH are handed down in Tradition. Since only certain elements of this Tradition were written in the Gospels, the apostles could not have taught by reading the Gospels even if they forced the matter somehow.

Then the apostles were sent to proclaim this Gospel. They had to follow the example of Jesus. They did not proclaim the Gospel by reading scripture, as we see that is impossible.
They proclaimed the Gospel entirely by Tradition, teaching and preaching and example and in the liturgy and by what they established, such as the heirarchial structures.

The bible does NOT claim to have a summary of this Gospel they taught and preached. There is not a single book, a single chapter, a single paragraph that claims to have a summary of EVERYTHING Jesus and the Holy Spirit taught the apostles.
That is why Protestants CANNOT learn the Gospel by reading the bible. The Gospel that the apostles taught and preached is simply not explicitly proclaimed in scripture anywhere

We know from the early Christians the methods the apostles used. I started off by showing the apostle John would have to teach the Trinity, before Jesus could be understood. Next, from early history we know the method the early Christians learned from the apostles was to teach the articles of the apostles creed. Sometimes they combined this with the teachings on prayer. But, usually next they taught the sacraments, because if a pagan was going to become a Christian he had to learn how to receive the grace of salvation, and how to regain it if he committed mortal sin. Then they were taught the commandments, that moral teachings they had to follow to be in union with God. Then they were usually taught prayer.
Thus, the explanations Creed, Sacraments, Commandments and Prayer was how the apostles proclaimed the Gospel after teaching who Jesus was and how He was sent to free us from the slavery of sin.
That is why the Catechisms are arranged in the Creed, sacraments, commandments and prayer. Catechisms are simply a summary of the Gospel the apostles taught and preached. Thus, the Gospel the apostles taught and preached is the entire Catholic faith.
Thus, the Catholic faith comes to us from the apostles, who learned directly from God. It does not come to use from scripture.
Protestantism comes from the teachings of Luther and Calvin, who taught that the Gospel can be learned from Scripture. They have tried for 500 years and still can’t get the basics of the Eucharist or salvation from scritpure, because scripture does not claim to be a summary of the Gospel the apostles taught and preached.
The four written Gospels are narratives of the life of Jesus . They are part of salvation history, part of scripture. When the apostles taught, they nourished their teachings with salvation history, with scripture in other words, to help the people learn the Gospel

Scripture contains parts of the teachings of the Gospel, or “certain elements” of this Tradition, as the Catechism states.

Since all teachings are handed down in Tradition and since the Catechisms summarize this Gospel, this living Tradition, then why do we need scripture?

We need scripture to teach a detalied account of salvation history.
We need scripture to learn about how Jesus acted and how He loved. It is not enough to know all His teachings, which come from Tradition, we need to know how He lived these teachings. Thus the Church teaches, "not to know scripture is not to know Christ"
We need scripture as a witness, to nourish, to illuminate the Gospel, the Catholic Faith, handed down in Tradition.
Thus, when the faith ( Gospel) is taught, we should use scripture as a witness, to nourish and to illuminate this faith (the Gospel).
That is how the Catechisms does it.


This is exactly WHY it is so important. The Traditions show us how to interpret what the Bible teaches correctly. Without them people reading the Holy Scriptures (written and protected by the Catholic Church) can be easily misunderstood.


A necesary condition for the act faith is that the believer should know what God revealed; the object of faith must be presented to him as credible on the divine authority. But it is evident that, so far as the act of divine faith as such is concerned, it matters little by what means it is thus presented. The study of Jewish and Christian literature simply as historical documents may convince a person that certain doctrines are revealed by God; in that case he is bound to believe such doctrines on the authority of God’s word. There are many undoubtably outside the Catholic Church who, inculpably rejecting or not knowing her claim to be the infallible guardian of divine truth, yet believe some Christian doctrines by a supernatural act of divine faith. They have their motives of credibility, they have the assistance of God’s grace; they have, in short, all that is necessary for the act of divine faith.

But - and the antithesis is to be noted - these are exceptional cases. They presuppose inculpable ignorance of the Catholic Church, the divinely appointed means for the teaching of revealed truth. Although by God’s admirable mercy many outside the Church are enabled providentially to believe some small part of that divine doctrine, yet these must be content, as it were, with crumbs from the table of that rich repast which is spread for those who dwell within. “That we may be able to satisfy the obligation of embracing the true faith and of constantly perservering therein, God has instituted the Church through his only-begotten Son, and has bestowed on it manifest marks of that institution, that it may be recognized by all men as the guardian and teacher of the revealed word.” (Vatican Council I) This, then, is the way of approach to God’s truth which Christ himself ordained: a visible Church with a living teaching authority, infallible because the Holy Spirit is with her, preserving her from error.

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