Tradition....What exactly is it. . .


#1

. . . . and isn’t it?

Does it have to be oral? Or is it simply written accounts of Apostolic oral Tradition?

Is tradition considered (capital “T”) Tradition if not passed on by the Apostles, but Holy men who came later?

Is there a cut-off date for Tradition?


#2

Interesting question that I’ve always wondered about. Tradition is anything passed down from generation to generation which has apostolic or holy origin. Tradition does continue. For example Pope Pius IX when proclaiming the dogma of the Immaculate Conception refered to how positively his predecessors have acted on the subject. Tradition also includes the writings of the Early Church Fathers and other holy men that have proceeded them. Occassionally it may also include the sacred liturgy. His holiness Pope Pius IX also cited the feast of Mary’s Conception as further proof for the Immaculate Conception.


#3

Hi Mark -

[quote=mark a]Tradition…What exactly is it. . . . and isn’t it?
[/quote]

Tradition in the Church is a continuation of practices established by Christ and His Apostles. Because they were established by Christ they carry the same weight as scripture. The sacraments are examples of Traditions that Christ began. Veneration of Mary is an example of Tradition that was established by the apostles.

Does it have to be oral? Or is it simply written accounts of Apostolic oral Tradition?

It exists in both forms. It is written in scripture and by the Church Fathers. We can refer to early christian writings, including scripture, for understandings and practices of the faith. It is orally transmitted in sermons and speeches, and also in private conversation.

Is tradition considered (capital “T”) Tradition if not passed on by the Apostles, but Holy men who came later? Is there a cut-off date for Tradition?

Capital “T” Traditions are those established by Christ. They are essentials in the practice of the faith. Carrying the same weight as scripture, the are unchanging. Lower case “t” traditions were established by men and communities who came later. Celebrations of holy days (i.e., Christmas, et al) are examples of later traditions and can vary from community to community. These traditions can begin and end. They can never have more importance than Christ’s Traditions, nor can the have more importance than God’s laws and traditons as established in scripture.

Here is the catechism on Tradition and it’s place in Christianity…
vatican.va/archive/catechism/p1s1c2a2.htm

It is the confusion over the practice of these holy Traditions, along with abuses by the Church during the middle ages, that began the Reformation, started by Martin Luther. They remain debated even today.

Hope that helps,
Subrosa


#4

The english language is really bad for making this clear so I will try to use the latin terms to help make the distinction. Sacra Doctrina (or what we sometimes call Tradition with a capital T) is revelation. The caoomon phrase that a person may her is that it is the “Deposit of Faith” of which the Church is the caretaker. Contained in the Sacra Doctrina are all the teachings given the Church by Christ through Apostolic Men. Technically this also includes Scripture but usually a distinction is made between Scripture and the Sacra Doctrina.

Now, it must be understood that the Fathers to not contribute directly to the Sacra Doctrina but rather make comment and affirm particular aspects of it. Sacra Doctrina is Divine Revelation speaking about THE Revelation who is Christ.

However, traditio (what is sometimes called tradition with a small t) are disiplinary, ethnic, etc types of things that surround our faith such as the rosary and novenas. While they are meritorious they do not have a direct impact in and of themselves on our eternal salvation but are highly meritorious. These things are moveable (changable) while the Sacra Doctrina is immovable.

The liturgy actually fits into both categories because there are particular aspects of the liturgy that the Church does not have the authority to change whereas there are many things that it does have the authority to change.

The final ingredient to this is how Sacra Doctrina is seperated from traditio - the Magesterium. The teaching authority of the Church (i.e. the Holy See) has full authority to determine which is which. This is one portion of the “developement of doctrine.” Part of this development is seperating the two and the other part is getting ever deeper into the mysteries contained is Scripture and the Sacra Doctrina.


#5

The sacraments are examples of Traditions that Christ began.

Exactly. It is clear from the Scriptures in the New Testament that the sacraments were ALREADY being practiced even BEFORE the scriptures were written down. Paul mentions them in his letters, just assuming that they are already taking place. That is a good example of Tradition. The practices established by Christ were not “derived” later from reading scripture, but were already happening before they were even ever written down.


#6

Thanks folks. Good stuff.


#7

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