[quote=Donald45]In response to my comments concerning the necessity for an infallible interpretive authority, and in critique of the Protestant theory of Sola Scriptura, a non-Catholic friend replied as follows:
“Even if I accept Catholic doctrine as authoritative, my understanding of it would be just as fallible as my understanding of Scripture. So, simply adding another infallible source wouldn’t keep me from making errors of interpretation. What good is an infallible interpretive authority (magisterium), given that I am fallible? If I’m capable of error in my understanding of the Bible, I’m equally capable of error in my understanding of Catholic Tradition. How will Tradition, therefore, improve the situation?”
I (and my Protestant friend) would be very interested in what some of you might have to say in response to this line of thought. Thanks for your time and attention, and God bless.
There are several issues wrapped up here:
Tradition – this is the oral tradition of Christ’s teaching. The Church existed before the books of the New Testament were written and long before those books were incorporated into the canon. How could the Church exist without the New Testament? It existed based on tradition.
Interpretation – this really relates to the Magisterium, the Church’s authority to teach. When the Church tells us the meaning of tradition and scripture, it does’t err.
Now look at the results of the Catholic Magesterium – for 2,000 years the Church has taught a consistent, coherent message. In less than a quarter of that time, Protestantism has fragmented, split, re-split and re-fragmented into literally thousands of denominations.
Why do we need the Magisterium to interpret for us and to teach us? So we will not go off wandering in the wilderness, chasing false ideas, of course!