SPLIT: How does the catholic church define Tradition?


#1

This was in another thread where it was WAY off-topic.

From the Glossary in my Catechism:

Tradition: The living transmission of the message of the Gospel in the Church. The oral preaching of the Apostles, and the written message of salvation under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit(Bible), are conserved and handed on as the deposit of faith through the apostolic succession in the Church. Both the living Tradition and the written Scriptures have their common source in the revelation of God in Jesus Christ(CCC #79-82). The theological, liturgical, disciplinary, and devotional traditions of the local churches both contain and can be distinguished from this apostolic Tradition (CCC #83).


#2

Pixie Dust;3567939]This was in another thread where it was WAY off-topic.

From the Glossary in my Catechism:

Tradition: The living transmission of the message of the Gospel in the Church. The oral preaching of the Apostles,

Can you give a couple of examples of “the oral preaching of the Apostles” not recorded in the scriptures?

and the written message of salvation under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit(Bible), are conserved and handed on as the deposit of faith through the apostolic succession in the Church. Both the living Tradition and the written Scriptures have their common source in the revelation of God in Jesus Christ(CCC #79-82). The theological, liturgical, disciplinary, and devotional traditions of the local churches both contain and can be distinguished from this apostolic Tradition (CCC #83).

Is the living Tradition of the church different than the scriptures? If so how?


#3

Catechism References:

75 “Christ the Lord, in whom the entire Revelation of the most high God is summed up, commanded the apostles to preach the Gospel, which had been promised beforehand by the prophets, and which he fulfilled in his own person and promulgated with his own lips. In preaching the Gospel, they were to communicate the gifts of God to all men. This Gospel was to be the source of all saving truth and moral discipline.” 32 (cf. Mt 28:19-20; Mk 16:15.)

In the apostolic preaching. . .

76 In keeping with the Lord’s command, the Gospel was handed on in two ways:

  • orally “by the apostles who handed on, by the spoken word of their preaching, by the example they gave, by the institutions they established, what they themselves had received - whether from the lips of Christ, from his way of life and his works, or whether they had learned it at the prompting of the Holy Spirit”;33

  • in writing “by those apostles and other men associated with the apostles who, under the inspiration of the same Holy Spirit, committed the message of salvation to writing”.34

. . . continued in apostolic succession

77 "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."35 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."36

78 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."37 "The sayings of the holy Fathers are a witness to the life-giving presence of this Tradition, showing how its riches are poured out in the practice and life of the Church, in her belief and her prayer."38

79 The Father’s self-communication made through his Word in the Holy Spirit, remains present and active in the Church: "God, who spoke in the past, continues to converse with the Spouse of his beloved Son. And the Holy Spirit, through whom the living voice of the Gospel rings out in the Church - and through her in the world - leads believers to the full truth, and makes the Word of Christ dwell in them in all its richness."39 (cf. Col 3:16.)

II. THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN TRADITION AND SACRED SCRIPTURE

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 (Mt 28:20.)
**
. . . 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.


#4

As mentioned in the other thread:

Sunday Worship - Tradition
Abortion is murder - Tradition
New Testament Table of Contents - Tradition
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are a “Trinity” - Tradition
Jesus is 100% Man, 100% God - Tradition
coffee and donuts - tradition (this is known as a “little t” tradition and is likely not apostolic in origin, but it would have been if they’d thought of it :wink: )

Is the living Tradition of the church different than the scriptures? If so how?

The NT Canon IS one of the Traditions of the Church! Also, the living Tradition helps us understand Sacred Scripture, so we aren’t all divided and left to our own interpretations.


#5

One example would be the moral precept that bans polygamy. While a very small number of Protestant denominations sanction polygamy, thet vast majority forbid it, although Luther sanctioned it. This example would also be a living tradition that scripture does not command.

Scripture says Jesus did and said many things that are not recorded. It also says that He commanded His apostles to teach all nations everything He taught them. If everything He taught is not recorded in scripture and He commanded His apostles to teach everything He taught, where will you learn these things if not from them? How do you know what they are?

In the very earliest writings of Christians for example, in a letter written by Barnabas a disciple of Paul, and in the Didache, abortion is condemned as murder. You could say this is an apostolic tradition. There are writings of bishops in the first century saying we should baptize infants and the Church followed this practice until relatively recently when some Protestant sect decided that the Bible teaches not do do this, which is not true at all. But nevertheless, a so called Bible believing denomination said that the practice of the Church from its earliest days was wrong. All the Christians who came before us were wrong, even though Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit to lead His Church into all truth and be with her until the end of time. Instead of believing God gave authority to His Church to teach, as scripture tells us, I am the authority to determine for myself in every age what is truth based on how I read the Bible. There is no teaching or practice accepted by all Christians no matter that it goes back to the beggining that I can not decide is false based on how I interpret the Bible. I do not believe what the Church teaches and believes. I beleive what I believe based on my own private interpretation of scripture. This is how we end up with unitarians who reject the Trinity, or rejection of the Eucharist, or Christians who believe abortion is not a moral evil, or any number of other divisions. Jesus commands the Church to be one, unified. Instead we have countless divisions. The reason is the rejection of tradition. “A house divided surely will fall”.


#6

Pixie Dust;3568208]As mentioned in the other thread:

Sunday Worship - Tradition
Abortion is murder - Tradition
New Testament Table of Contents - Tradition
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are a “Trinity” - Tradition
Jesus is 100% Man, 100% God - Tradition
coffee and donuts - tradition (this is known as a “little t” tradition and is likely not apostolic in origin, but it would have been if they’d thought of it :wink: )

Some of these “Traditions” can easily be traced to the scriptures. Take Sunday worship. The reason for this would be because Christ rose on that day. Abortion, Trinity and Jesus as 100% man and God all have scriptural grounding. Not sure about coffee though. :thumbsup:

How about teachings i.e. Traditions not grounded in the scriptures?
Things like eating meat on Fridays is a sin or the wearing scapulars which both have an impact on a soul?

The NT Canon IS one of the Traditions of the Church! Also, the living Tradition helps us understand Sacred Scripture, so we aren’t all divided and left to our own interpretations.

How would the living Tradition help you understand Romans 5? Where would you go to find the living Tradition for this?


#7

Yes, and that is why the question is really rather useless. It’s like asking how much you learned to read at home vs. at school. Can anybody answer such a question with complete accuracy?

For that matter, I defy anybody to give me a complete list of teachings found in the bible. Try it, I dare you. :slight_smile:


#8

grandfather;3569160]
Originally Posted by justasking4
Can you give a couple of examples of “the oral preaching of the Apostles” not recorded in the scriptures?

Is the living Tradition of the church different than the scriptures? If so how?

grandfather
One example would be the moral precept that bans polygamy. While a very small number of Protestant denominations sanction polygamy, thet vast majority forbid it, although Luther sanctioned it. This example would also be a living tradition that scripture does not command.

Would you not agree that the reason the church does not sanction polygamy is that the scriptures never promote it and Jesus Himself taught that a marriage is only between one man and one woman (see Matthew 19:4-6)?

grandfather
Scripture says Jesus did and said many things that are not recorded. It also says that He commanded His apostles to teach all nations everything He taught them. If everything He taught is not recorded in scripture and He commanded His apostles to teach everything He taught, where will you learn these things if not from them? How do you know what they are?

Good questions and one that demands answers. i agree that Jesus taught and did many other things not recorded. However what exactly were these things? Can you give a couple of examples of what they were?

In the very earliest writings of Christians for example, in a letter written by Barnabas a disciple of Paul, and in the Didache, abortion is condemned as murder. You could say this is an apostolic tradition. There are writings of bishops in the first century saying we should baptize infants and the Church followed this practice until relatively recently when some Protestant sect decided that the Bible teaches not do do this, which is not true at all. But nevertheless, a so called Bible believing denomination said that the practice of the Church from its earliest days was wrong.

There are serious problems with infant baptism. For one there are no specific examples of in the scriptures and secondly a person must first repent and believe in Christ before being baptised. Infants as you know are incapable of doing this.

All the Christians who came before us were wrong, even though Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit to lead His Church into all truth and be with her until the end of time.

I wouldn’t go this far. There was some error and there was some truth.

Instead of believing God gave authority to His Church to teach, as scripture tells us, I am the authority to determine for myself in every age what is truth based on how I read the Bible.

God did give authority to the church to teach but He did not promise it would be protected from error. We already see some error in the church in the NT. See Revelations 2:14-16 for example.

There is no teaching or practice accepted by all Christians no matter that it goes back to the beggining that I can not decide is false based on how I interpret the Bible. I do not believe what the Church teaches and believes. I beleive what I believe based on my own private interpretation of scripture.

There is no way to get away from “private interpretation of scripture” or church teachings. When you study your church’ teachings you must interpret what it says for yourself. The same goes for the scriptures.

This is how we end up with unitarians who reject the Trinity,

Unitarians are not Christians.

or rejection of the Eucharist,

This particular doctrine has a long history of contraversy in the church of how to understand it.

or Christians who believe abortion is not a moral evil, or any number of other divisions.

Part of this is due to our own falleness and in some cases ignorance.

Jesus commands the Church to be one, unified. Instead we have countless divisions. The reason is the rejection of tradition. “A house divided surely will fall”.

True followers of Christ are united on the essentials. There will be differences of opinion on secondary issues. This is also true in the catholic church. There is a wide difference of opinions on many issues in the catholic church itself.


#9

Yes, they can be traced to Scripture, but they’re not explicitly spelled out in Scripture. Seventh Day Adventists continue to worship on Saturday because they don’t see “the day of worship for Christians is now on Sunday because Jesus rose from the dead on that day” in Scripture. “Oneness” pentecostals reject the Trinity because the word Trinity is not found in Scripture. Very early on the Church had to declare the hypostatic union of Christ, 100% God, 100% man, because of heresies being taught that said otherwise, because they didn’t see it in Scripture.

How about teachings i.e. Traditions not grounded in the scriptures?
Things like eating meat on Fridays is a sin or the wearing scapulars which both have an impact on a soul?

Those aren’t Traditions, they are disciplines. We abstain from eating flesh on Fridays because Christ gave up His flesh for us on a Friday. On Fridays outside of Lent we can choose to either abstain from eating meat OR doing some other act of charity. The sin is not in the eating of meat itself, but in disobeying the Church’s God-given authority to bind and loose.

There’s more to wearing the scapular than just wearing the scapular. I think we talked about this a while back in another thread. Nobody is required under penalty of sin to wear a scapular. It is an optional discipline, not not NOT a Tradition. If a person chooses to wear a scapular, the scapular itself serves as a tangible reminder to maintain a faith-filled lifestyle. There is no power just in wearing the scapular and the Church warns against being superstitious in that way.

How would the living Tradition help you understand Romans 5? Where would you go to find the living Tradition for this?

I do hope and pray you’re not just being deliberately obtuse and please, understand that a forum where I can’t read body language is a detriment to communication. That said:

The Church tells us, exhorts us to study Sacred Scripture. If something in Romans 5 is difficult to understand - I just read through and it seemed rather straightforward, honestly - I can look at the Catechism and see what it says regarding the whole of Scripture’s teachings on faith, grace, and justification, not just one isolated chapter in one book. If I’ve come to one conclusion; for instance, if I read vs 20 Now the law entered in, that sin might abound. And where sin abounded, grace did more abound. and I mistake that to mean that I should sin all I want, since the more sins I commit the more grace I get, then my belief is at odds with the rest of Sacred Scripture, and the Teaching of the Church, and I am in error.


#10

By what authority do you declare which people who profess a belief in Christ are and are not Christians?

True followers of Christ are united on the essentials. There will be differences of opinion on secondary issues. This is also true in the catholic church. There is a wide difference of opinions on many issues in the catholic church itself.

By what authority do you claim that true followers of Christ are united on the essentials?

By what authority do you declare what those essentials are?

By what authority do you declare which of God’s teachings are secondary?


#11

Pixie Dust;3570076]

justasking4
How would the living Tradition help you understand Romans 5? Where would you go to find the living Tradition for this?

Pixie Dust
I do hope and pray you’re not just being deliberately obtuse and please, understand that a forum where I can’t read body language is a detriment to communication.

I am quite serious about this. Catholics claim that Tradition and the teachings of their church help them to understand the scriptures. I’m using Romans 5 as a case study in trying to understand how a catholic would take the living Traditions with church teachings to understand what the catholic church teaches about Romans 5.

Pixie Dust
That said:

The Church tells us, exhorts us to study Sacred Scripture. If something in Romans 5 is difficult to understand - I just read through and it seemed rather straightforward, honestly - I can look at the Catechism and see what it says regarding the whole of Scripture’s teachings on faith, grace, and justification, not just one isolated chapter in one book. If I’ve come to one conclusion; for instance, if I read vs 20 Now the law entered in, that sin might abound. And where sin abounded, grace did more abound. and I mistake that to mean that I should sin all I want, since the more sins I commit the more grace I get, then my belief is at odds with the rest of Sacred Scripture, and the Teaching of the Church, and I am in error.

Where specifically where would you find a reference in church teachings and the living Traditions to support that “you are not to sin all you want”? What sources would you consult?


#12

VociMike;3570174]
Originally Posted by justasking4
Unitarians are not Christians.

VociMike
By what authority do you declare which people who profess a belief in Christ are and are not Christians?

By the authority of the Scriptures. Unitarians are not Christians since they deny the deity of Christ which is an essential teaching of the Scriptures.

Quote:justasking4
True followers of Christ are united on the essentials. There will be differences of opinion on secondary issues. This is also true in the catholic church. There is a wide difference of opinions on many issues in the catholic church itself.

VociMike
By what authority do you claim that true followers of Christ are united on the essentials?

Scripture.

By what authority do you declare what those essentials are?

If we study the Scriptures we can discern what these essentials are. I Corinthians 15:1-4 and Romans 10:9-10 would be examples of essential doctrines. To deny them, is to condem yourself.

By what authority do you declare which of God’s teachings are secondary?

Similar to the previous response. For example it is not essential to believe that Jesus wept at the tomb of Lazarus while believing that Christ died for my sins would be essential.


#13

I already told you, which makes me wonder why you keep asking.


#14

What i mean by “sources” are things like documents, the catechism etc. Which of these would you consult to determine if it lines up with church teachings?


#15

Which I answered above.


#16

Unless you are claiming apostalic succession, I cannot find any any verse in the Bible that gives you any authority. Chapter and verse please.


#17

Sacred Tradition, such as the canon of scripture itself being decided by the Church, is God’s Word.

No different than Sacred Scripture, the Written Word contained in the 73 books of the Bible.

traditions of men which nullify tthe Word of God are from men.


#18

You deny that you must eat the real flesh and drink the real blood of Christ. Does that make you also not a Christian? It seems so convenient when Protestants look about and find other Protestants who they decree are not Christians.

If we study the Scriptures we can discern what these essentials are. I Corinthians 15:1-4 and Romans 10:9-10 would be examples of essential doctrines. To deny them, is to condem yourself.

So present your complete list of the essentials, one that all Christians agree on.

Similar to the previous response. For example it is not essential to believe that Jesus wept at the tomb of Lazarus while believing that Christ died for my sins would be essential.

So present your complete list of the essentials, one that all Christians agree on.

BTW, can Christians deny the written word of God as in your example above? When scripture says “Jesus wept” are Christians allowed to say “Jesus did not weep”? Fascinating! A Christian can believe that the scriptures tell the truth when they say Jesus died for our sins, but can believe the scriptures lie when they say Jesus wept. Words fail me.


#19

Is the living Tradition of the church different than the scriptures? If so how?

The writings of the early church fathers (ECF), which are part of sacred Tradition, show us how the church was structured during the time of the apostles and shortly after that and how the first Christians (those who were taught by the apostles and those whom they taught) understood and lived out what they were taught. I’m currently reading Four Witnesses by Rod Bennett which is a fascinating introduction to the lives and writings of four of these early fathers.

Other examples of Tradition can be seen in the structure of the mass, which is quite similar to what is described in those early writings, and in the doctrines and practices of the church. For example, it isn’t clear in scripture if baptism should be done only to adults but the early writings show it was practiced and give reasons for it.

At the time the New Testament list of books was officially approved by the church, they church was a living body. Many heresies had already been refuted and some doctrines defined. There was an orthodox body of biblical interpretation. As new challenges or heresies arose, the church continued to be guided by the Holy Spirit as Jesus promised.

When reading about the individual churches in apostolic and post apostolic times, it is interesting to note that they were totally united in doctrine and could trace their history to the apostle or follower of an apostle who founded them.


#20

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