Sacred Tradition

Catholics have 2 sources of authority, the Holy Scriptures, & Sacred Traditions.
I’d like to know if the Sacred Traditions have been compiled and preserved for reference and authenticity.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church. Sacred Tradition is all our binding doctrine. We can trace all our Tradition through the writings of the Church such as the Church Fathers. The Fathers are witnesses to the teachings that were handed down by the apostles, and how it was developed and articulated as time moved on. The Church has faithfully preserved it even to our day!

Yes, the Early Church Fathers are a primary source for Sacred Tradition.


I was always taught it’s 3 sources: Sacred Tradition, Teaching Magisterium of the Church, and Holy Scripture.

May I know how the Catholic Church define Sacred Tradition?


The Magisterium safeguards both Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition.

Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition are revealed truth - truths revealed to us by God. The Magisterium is not revealed truth but the authentic interpreter of Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition and the safeguard against error. Sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture and the Magisterium go together - you can’t interpret either Tradition or Scripture apart from the guidance of the Church, but the Catechism says that the Magisterium is the servant of Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition, not its equal.

Sacred Tradition are the truths which God has revealed to us but are not written down in the Bible.


Thank you, Tim. So, who revealed these truths? Do these truths come from the oral teaching of Jesus Christ and the Apostles?

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:


One common source. . .

80 "Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture, then, are bound closely together, and communicate one with the other. For both of them, flowing out from the same divine well-spring, come together in some fashion to form one thing, and move towards the same goal."40 Each of them makes present and fruitful in the Church the mystery of Christ, who promised to remain with his own “always, to the close of the age”.41

. . . two distinct modes of transmission

81 "Sacred Scripture is the speech of God as it is put down in writing under the breath of the Holy Spirit."42

"And [Holy] Tradition transmits in its entirety the Word of God which has been entrusted to the apostles by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit. It transmits it to the successors of the apostles so that, enlightened by the Spirit of truth, they may faithfully preserve, expound and spread it abroad by their preaching."43

82 As a result the Church, to whom the transmission and interpretation of Revelation is entrusted, "does not derive her certainty about all revealed truths from the holy Scriptures alone. Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honored with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence."44

Apostolic Tradition and ecclesial traditions

83 The Tradition here in question comes from the apostles and hands on what they received from Jesus’ teaching and example and what they learned from the Holy Spirit. The first generation of Christians did not yet have a written New Testament, and the New Testament itself demonstrates the process of living Tradition.

Tradition is to be distinguished from the various theological, disciplinary, liturgical or devotional traditions, born in the local churches over time. These are the particular forms, adapted to different places and times, in which the great Tradition is expressed. In the light of Tradition, these traditions can be retained, modified or even abandoned under the guidance of the Church’s Magisterium.

The Teaching magisterium of the Church is the guardian and interpreter of Scripture and Tradition but is not itself considered a source of Revelation.



No, not the Apostles.

Revealed truth are truths which man would not be able to know had God not revealed them. We can know that God exists by looking around at the natural world but we could not know that the God was to become man, that the Second Person of the Trinity was to be born of a virgin had God not revealed it to us. We could not know that bread and wine are to become Jesus so that he can be with us to the end of the ages had God not revealed it to us. We could not know that the Holy Spirit was to dwell within us had God not revealed it.

The incarnation, the virgin birth, the Eucharist, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the passion, death and resurrection; these are truths revealed to us by God. The Apostles bear witness to these and teach these but they did not reveal them to us.

God revealed the law to Moses. God revealed his word by through the great prophets of the Old Testament who prophesied and wrote. God the Holy Spirit revealed his written word to us through the authors of the Old and New Testaments. And God the Son - Jesus - is the definitive revelation of God. God completes his revelation in Jesus. When we look upon Jesus we look upon God. When we listen to Jesus we listen to God. God fully reveals himself in the person of Jesus Christ.

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life – the life was made manifest, and we saw it, and testify to it, and proclaim to you the eternal life which was with the Father and was made manifest to us – that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you may have fellowship with us; and our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing this that our joy may be complete. (1 John 1:1-4)

The Apostles saw God - Jesus - with their eyes. They touched God with their hands. God was made manifest to them in the person of Jesus. God revealed himself fully in the person of Jesus. The Apostles saw Jesus and testify to Jesus and proclaim who Jesus is and bear witness to Jesus and the good news of salvation, but they do not reveal it to man. God’s plan for our salvation was revealed to us by God.

Revealed truth comes from God, and is contained in both Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. The Magisterium protects it and safeguards it against corruption and error.


We were not taught at catechism but I have learnt alot from Catholic forums. “Teaching Magesterium” is now new to me. Thanks.
Possible you give me a link for further reading?


I’ve read the link though it is too detailed to read even 20% of it.
It seems as if most of these sacred traditions are not read or even emphasized alot in church. An example is on the miracles that Jesus performed when he was a child.
I’ve never heard any of them being mentioned during mass.

That phrase is actually a little redundant. The Magisterium is the TEACHING AUTHORITY of the Church. The authentic Magisterium is vested in the entire college of bishops of the Church (which includes the Pope, with whom they are in union.) Priests, Abbots and other Catholic teachers are acting as agents for the Bishop, and must be in union with him to be authentic.

Sorry, I guess I used the wrong word. What I was trying to ask was whether the truths in Sacred Tradition, being the unwritten revelation from God, were first spoken by either Jesus or the Apostles as part of their oral teaching.

God reveals himself to man in many ways.

  • He revealed his law to Moses on the mountain.
  • He revealed his will to the prophets whom he commanded to prophesy.
  • He revealed his written word through the inspired authors of Scripture.
  • He revealed himself in the person of Jesus; in his sayings and deeds.

Moses, the Old Testament prophets, the Old and New Testament authors, and the Apostles who walked three years with Jesus are all***recipients*** of revelation. They handed them on.

I’m sorry for my poor explanation. That is how I understand it. I am open to correction.


You will find Sacred Tradition contained in the Mass.


Tradition necessarily is defined by the teaching authority of the church.
An example of scripture interpretation is that of Adam and Eve from which every human being on the planet came in contrast to the teaching of multiple parents.

Scripture necessarily is also correctly understood by the teaching authority of the church.
An example of tradition is keeping Sunday holy because of Easter, not Saturday.

All three are important, tradition(oral), scripture(written), teaching authority, and support one another.

There is nothing in tradition that contradicts scripture, and nothing in scripture that contradicts tradition.

But one might say, keeping Sunday holy is a contradiction to scripture which says to keep the Sabboth holy(seventh day adventists). But then in Acts there is another verse that says they broke bread on the first day of the week,…Sunday. Easter is the most important day which occured on Sunday.

Moral Doctrine necessarily is also defined by the teaching authority of the church.
One example is artificial birth control. Until 1930 this doctrine was universally held by all christians which the catholic church still maintains, because God wants it as shown by nature. Does Mrs. piggy use ABC? Do the flowers use it? Do the ants use it? And yet this teaching is not in scripture as such but there it is in another type of God’s writting, in the book on nature.
The book of nature is not the book of scripture but the two are both from God and cannot be rewritten. The book of nature is God’s word as well and reveals his will.

Tradition is no stranger to protestantism either. Protestant tradition accounts for so many traditional ways that make them differ among themselves and act as agents separating them from one another. One has the tradition of infant baptism, while another adult baptism, while another basically ignores baptism. Some baptise this way, and others another way according to their traditional views and methods. Some christian faiths have communion and some don’t depending on their faith traditions. Some interpret the same scripture passage one way and another faith tradition interprets it another. The variety and multiplicity of traditions in the city of protestantism contributes to the numerous ways of divisive understanding of the bible, i.e., once saved…,absolute predestination, liturgy, confession of faith, death, prayer, saints, etc. These are handed down(tradition) from generation to generation.

As someone nicely put it,“I think of Sacred tradition as being the unbroken continuity of the Church in her teachings…” Or the ordinary teachings of the Catholic Church preserved and guided by the Holy Spirit. And this is where all teaching is compiled.

May God bless and keep you. May God’s face shine on you. May God be kind to you and give you peace.

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