What exactly did the apostles teach?


#1

After the Church started and the apostles began to spread the Gospel by teaching and preaching, exactly what was the content of what they taught and preached. I know they preached and taught the Gospel, the word of God, which is contained in scripture and Tradition, but exactly what was the content of this Gospel?
Some seem to have the idea they taught and preached scripture and that Sacred Tradition is just the explanation of scripture.
Others seem to think they taught and preached the articles of the creed, the the sacraments and their explanation, the commandments and their explanation, and prayer and its expanation. And they used scripture, after it was written to illuminated the teachings and as a witness to the teachings. In other words, they taught and preached the very basics of what is in the Catholic Church’s catechisms today.
What do you think. Did they preach a Gospel based on a scriptural type outline, with Tradition used to explain scripture and eventually this outline was eventually written down as scripture?
Or did they teach using a catechism outline, i.e. Creed, Commandments, Sacraments and Prayer, with scripture being distinct from what was taught, and was used primarily to illuminate those teachings?


#2

I might as well give the first reply to my own questions.

After living almost 57 years in which by my experience the teaching of the Gospel from the pulpit has been almost exclusivly based on scripture, with the Teachings of Sacred Tradition used to explain this scripture, it seems to me to be a complete failure.
In my experience, even Catholics who go to mass every Sunday don’t even know what sins are mortal sins, they don’t know how to obtain the greatest source of grace from God, they don’t know that they cannot get only a legal divorce and remarry, without commiting a mortal sin. They don’t know that the apostles were Catholic, the Christians Paul wrote to in Corinthians, Romans, Galatians, etc, were ALL Catholic. They don’t know we first receive the grace of salvation when we are baptized, that when we receive the consecrated host we receive ALL of JESUS, His entire body, blood, soul and divinity, not just a piece of His flesh with His divinity. They don’t know that living together before marriage is a mortal sin, and this is a teaching that comes from God. And they don’t know that we cannot receive communion in mortal sin. They don’t know that we cannot overcome our sins without God’s grace and we must ask for that grace in prayer and in the sacraments.
Since, in my experience, most Catholics at mass are taught the Gospel by listening to scripture being read, with an explanation of this scripture in the homily, and in my experience most Catholics are plain dumb about the basics, as I was, it is my conclucion that apostles could never have taught the Gospel by teaching scripture with using Sacred Tradition to explain scripture. If they did so, then the first Christians would have been as dumb as us.
But, since the Fathers of the Church and most Catholics knew and understood the teachings about Jesus, the Trinity, the Eucharist, sin and grace, mortal sin, contraception, abortion, that baptism is regenerational, (we are first saved when we are baptized), they knew about confirmation, which is no where taught explicitly in the bible, they prayed to the saints, they prayed for those in purgatory, they understood the Mass, etc. then I must conclude that when the apostles taught and preached the Gospel, they taught by explaining the articles of the Creed, the Sacraments, the Commandments and Prayer. In other words, the basic catechisms, like the Baltimore Catechism, that use the Creed, Sacraments, Commandments and Prayer as their outline, are simply the teachings of the apostles which have been handed down in apostolic Tradition. Thus, when the apostles taught at mass during the homily, while they may have given an explanation of the readings, the main part of their homily was based on the teachings of the explanations of the Creed, Sacraments, Commandments and prayer. And scripture was used to illuminate those teachings and as a witness to those teachings.

In my opinion, the apostles did the opposite of what goes on today. The apostles used the teachings contained in the catechisms of today (creed, sacraments, commandments and prayer) (apostolic Tradition) as a sure norm for teaching the faith, with scripture used to illuminate those teachings.

Today, seminaries and even orthodox Catholics, at the most orthodox Catholic colleges, are teaching the priests that the homilies MUST be based **only on scripture, **with the teachings of apostolic Tradition used to interpret and explain those scriptures.

In other words, it seems as if the seminary teachers and many highly intelligent and orthodox Catholics believe that the reading and explanation of Sacred Scripture in accordance with Church teaching is the primary focus of the homily.

In other words, instead of the Catechism being used as a sure norm for teaching the faith, Scripture is used as the sure norm for teaching the faith, with Sacred Tradition (the teachings of the Catechism) used to interpret and explain scripture.

Since that leads to plain ignorance of basic religious truths, that could not have been the method the apostles used when they taught the Gospel at mass.


#3

I didn’t vote. The two choices seemed pretty loaded, as your subsequent post seems to show. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. You obviously are very frustrated. But you also seem to be assuming that people’s instruction in the faith can and should be done primarily in the homily, and that that is what the homily is for. Mass is primarily worship, and the homily is supposed to serve that end, helping the people worship better through the Scriptures read. Sure, having a well informed faith does seem like the barest minimum for good worship, but the Mass (and the homily) should be able to assume this. Obviously, it is your experience that people are not coming to Mass with a well informed faith, but unfortunately homilies probably are the wrong medium to give them one. The Church has always taught the people’s instruction in the faith should begin in the home and is primarily the responsibility of parents. Also, each person has a responsiblity to grow in their own faith. This has to be done outside of Sunday Mass and the homily, through catechism classes and Scripture study, private reading, good Catholic friends. But, in my work in faith formation, I know it is pretty hard to get your average Catholic to think they have anything more to do for their faith than attend Mass on Sunday. Unfortunately, many do not even think that is an obligation. What can you do . . . Pray, and try to shed what light you can in your own little circle.


#4

since the apostles didn’t have the catechism, my guess is they didn’t use it.


#5

[quote=aridite] Mass is primarily worship, and the homily is supposed to serve that end, helping the people worship better through the Scriptures read. Sure, having a well informed faith does seem like the barest minimum for good worship, but the Mass (and the homily) should be able to assume this. Obviously, it is your experience that people are not coming to Mass with a well informed faith, but unfortunately homilies probably are the wrong medium to give them one. The Church has always taught the people’s instruction in the faith should begin in the home and is primarily the responsibility of parents. Also, each person has a responsiblity to grow in their own faith.
[/quote]

It is true, that for children, the primary responsibility is the parents. But, who is to educate the parents. For catechesis is supposed to be ongoing, for adults as well as children.
The Church teaches that homilies are the correct place to catechize. After all, Jesus did give the command to **teach **and preach.

The following are all from The Catechism of the Catholic Church: 132, 1074, 1075

  1. “Therefore, the study of the sacred page should be the very soul of sacred theology. The ministry of the Word, too - pastoral preaching,** catechetics and all forms of Christian instruction, among which the liturgical homily should hold pride of place** - is healthily nourished and thrives in holiness through the Word of Scripture.” [111]

This paragraph clearly seems to say the homily is the primary place of Catechetics, "all forms of Christian instruction, the liturgical homily should hold pride of place"

AGAIN:
1074. “The liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; it is also the font from which all her power flows.” [13] It is therefore the privileged place for catechizing the People of God. “Catechesis is intrinsically linked with the whole of liturgical and sacramental activity, for it is in the sacraments, especially in the Eucharist, that Christ Jesus works in fullness for the transformation of men.” [14]

Note again, in regards to the liturgy, the Catechism teaches:
"It is therefore the privileged place for catechizing the People of God"
So, what is this catechesis (teaching) supposed to be based on?
Is it scripture? This is what has been done during my lifetime, and it is a miserable failure. Lets see what the Catechism says about catechesis of the liturgy itself:

AGAIN:
1075. Liturgical catechesis aims to initiate people into the mystery of Christ ( It is “mystagogy.” ) by proceeding from the visible to the invisible, from the sign to the thing signified, from the “sacraments” to the “mysteries.” Such catechesis is to be presented by local and regional catechisms. This Catechism, which aims to serve the whole Church in all the diversity of her rites and cultures, [15] will present what is fundamental and common to the whole Church in the liturgy as mystery and as celebration (Section One), and then the seven sacraments and the sacramentals (Section Two).

Thus we see in the Catechism alone, the Church teaches that the homily is the primary place for catechesis, "Such catechesis is to be presented by local and regional catechisms"

What about catechesis on the creed, commandments and prayer?
**"The Catechism of the Catholic Church, . . . I declare it to be a sure norm for teaching the faith . . . (John Paul II, Apostolic Constitution Fidei Depositum. Promulgated 11 October 1992) **

So here we have, in summary, the Church’s position on Catechesis.
1. "The ** liturgical homily should hold pride of place."**
2. The liturgy is "therefore the privileged place for catechizing the People of God"
3. Liturgical catechesis, that is catechesis on the liturgy (mass, sacraments, etc, ) "is to be presented by local and regional catechisms", which are based on this present catechism.
4. The rest of catechesis is to be based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which the Pope teaches “I declare it to be a sure norm for teaching the faith”


#6

The vote so far is that the apostles taught and preached the creed, sacraments, commandments and prayer, with scripture used to illuminate these teachings.

The Church today seems to support that popular vote, the homily should be the primary place for teaching, (“catechizing the people of God”) and this catechesis should be based on the Catechism, which is in the form of the creed, sacraments, commandments and prayer.

In other words, it seems most ordinary people think the apostles taught and preached the creed, sacraments, commandments and prayer, and these basic teachings were finally written down in the catechisms.

It seems like the Church today says the successors of the apostles, the bishops and their priests should teach the same way. That is, the homily should be the primary place for catechesis (teaching) and this teaching should be based on the catechism, which is based on the creed, sacraments, commandments and prayer. Scripture is then used to illuminate the teachings and as a witness to the teachings.

But, between the people and the Pope, there is a vast influential mass of “educated” Catholics who can’t even conceive of this idea. And this includes the orthodox bishops, orthodox theologians, orthodox apologists. It is my impression, and I may be wrong, that even the best of them like James Akin, Scott Hahn, and all those other Protestant converts to Catholicism tend to believe the apostles taught what is in scripture primarily, and Tradition is only the explanation of that scripture. Thus, they see nothing wrong with homilies based primarily on scripture.
Again, I may be wrong, but this is the clear impression I get.

Thus, I don’t see anything changing soon, because people will only accept what the Pope says if they understand what he says, and the most educated don’t seem to understand what he says.


#7

[quote=dcdurel]It is true, that for children, the primary responsibility is the parents. But, who is to educate the parents. For catechesis is supposed to be ongoing, for adults as well as children.

[/quote]

You began to quote my answer to your question:

[quote=aridite]Also, each person has a responsiblity to grow in their own faith. This has to be done outside of Sunday Mass and the homily, through catechism classes and Scripture study, private reading, good Catholic friends.

[/quote]

Adults need more and deeper catechesis than children, more than can be done during a homily.

[quote=dcdurel]The Church teaches that homilies are the correct place to catechize. After all, Jesus did give the command to **teach **and preach.

[/quote]

I am not saying that it is inappropriate to catechize during the homily. Even with it granted that CCC says catechesis can and should take place during the homily, the liturgical law of the Church stipulates the homily should be based on liturgical texts: Scripture readings or prayers. As the General Instruction to the Roman Misal (GIRM) stipulates:

  1. The homily is part of the Liturgy and is strongly recommended,63 for it is necessary for the nurturing of the Christian life.** It should be an exposition of some aspect of the readings from Sacred Scripture or of another text from the Ordinary or from the Proper of the Mass of the day and should take into account both the mystery being celebrated and the particular needs of the listeners.**64
  1. The Homily should ordinarily be given by the priest celebrant himself. He may entrust it to a concelebrating priest or occasionally, according to circumstances, to the deacon, but never to a lay person.65 In particular cases and for a just cause, the homily may even be given by a Bishop or a priest who is present at the celebration but cannot concelebrate.

There is to be a homily on Sundays and holy days of obligation at all Masses that are celebrated with the participation of a congregation; it may not be omitted without a serious reason. It is recommended on other days, especially on the weekdays of Advent, Lent, and the Easter Season, as well as on other festive days and occasions when the people come to church in greater numbers.66

After the homily a brief period of silence is appropriately observed.

It is a false dichotomy to say EITHER one explains the Scriptures by means of Tradition during the homily OR one catechizes (explains the faith: creeds, commandments, prayers) during the homily. Many priest can and do catechize WHILE expounding on the Scriptures. I am sorry that this has not been your experience.

But even with catechesis taking place during the homily, 15-20 minutes, once a week, is not enough for a person to come to a mature understanding of their faith. Having catechesis delivered during the homily (while Scripture is explained) would be a great place to start, and it seems to be more than you experience. But it won’t be enough for Catholics to get even the minimum that they should.

I agree, catechesis has been lacking in the Church, in my experience, for the last 25 years, since I left the tutilage of the Sisters of Charity. I believe you when you say it has been less than adequate for the last 57 years. I am just saying that it is not the fault of the homily, or at least not the fault of the priests who are obeying the liturgical law of the Church. If you want to tell Cardinal Arinze and the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments to modify the GIRM, good luck and God’s speed.

I, for my part, am trying to deepen my understanding of my faith, and to catechize where I am able.

Perhaps your poll does reflect the history, that the Apostles did preach on more than Scripture (especially before Scripture had been written and canonized), but I am pretty darn sure that did not limit their preaching and catechesis to Mass.


#8

By “Scripture” I presume you mean the Old Testament only? (and likely the LXX). Obviously the Apostles did not have a New Testament.


#9

I think there are some fundamental teaching that is lost. I feel that having lived with God and then recieving the Holy Spirit at Pentecost created not only a spiritual and foundational dynamic but a comprehensive one as well.

for instance, the Eucharist, the apostles and first christians centered their worship around the breaking of bread. Most people today think that what the Church teaches about the Eucharist is founded on the human itellect and scriptures. What it is really founded on is the* experience* of the Eucharist. Nobody needed an explanation amongst those experiencing it. It is this kind of knowing that the apostles had in relation to the Truth, the Way, and Life.

Something fundamental about Baptism:

Jesus points out John the Baptist as a ‘perfect pattern’ of righteousness.

We hear John saying, " there is one among you who is more 'powerfull ’ than ‘I’.

Paul say’s about Baptism " We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

The pattern of perfect life as it is manifest in humans is the metaphysical reality or as John put it, power of baptism that stamps like a wax seal on our souls.
I think this is something they experienced as a reality and the wonder of baptism, that is, what it is, how it works, what it does, how it manifests it’s meaning, these questions were answered by the communication of an experience rather than a teaching.


#10

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