Saturday, May 13, 2017
Rome and “Tradition”
Roman Catholicism teaches that “tradition” is on a par with Scripture, and the claim is that said “tradition” has been passed down through the Apostles. Let’s look at some sections of their Catechism, Part 1 (The Profession of Faith), Article 2 (The Transmission of Divine Revelation), section I (The Apostolic Tradition), beginning at paragraph 75 for context, and continue into section 2 (The Relationship Between Tradition and Sacred Scripture)
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."
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”;
-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”.
. . . 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." 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.”
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." "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.”
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." 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”.
. . . 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.”
"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.”
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 honoured with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence."
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.
As you can see, “Tradition” for Rome is supposedly direct from the Apostles and is separate from Scripture. Rome claims that this was the view held by the early church “fathers.” However, when we study what the early fathers actually taught, we find that Rome has completely redefined “tradition” when compared to what the fathers understood by the word.
Let’s look at some citations from J.N.D. Kelly’s book, Early Christian Doctrines, pages 36-46. These demonstrate that what the early church fathers called “tradition” is actually Scripture and not what Rome claims.
[Tertullian] insisted that Christians must not pick and choose doctrines according to their whims; their sole authorities were the apostles, who had themselves faithfully transmitted Christ’s teaching. Both [Tertullian and Irenaeus] on occasion described this original message as tradition, using the word to denote the teaching delivered by the apostles, without any implied contrast between tradition and Scripture. p.36
On the other hand, Irenaeus took it for granted that the apostolic tradition had also been deposited in written documents. As he says, “what the apostles at first proclaimed by word of mouth, they afterwards by God’s will conveyed to us in Scriptures.” pp. 37-38
Did Irenaeus then subordinate Scripture to unwritten tradition?…. his real defense of orthodoxy was founded on Scripture. Indeed, tradition itself, on his view, was confirmed by Scripture, which was “the foundation and pillar of our faith.” Secondly, Irenaeus admittedly suggested that a firm grasp of “the canon of truth” received at baptism would prevent a man from distorting the sense of Scripture. But this “canon,” so far from being something distinct from Scripture, was simply a condensation of the message contained in it. … The whole point of his teaching was, in fact, that Scripture and the Church’s unwritten tradition are identical in content, both being vehicles of the revelation.
[Tertullian] was emphatic that no secret tradition existed, and that it was incredible that the apostles did not know, or failed to pass on, the revelation in its entirety. p.40
Like Irenaeus, Tertullian is convinced that Scripture is consonant in all its parts, and that its meaning should be clear if it is read as a whole. But where controversy with heretics breaks out, the right interpretation can be found only where the true Christian faith and discipline have been maintained, i.e. in the Church. The heretics, he complained, were able to make Scripture say what they liked because they disregarded the regula. p.40
It was the Bible, declared Clement of Alexandria about A.D. 200, which as interpreted by the Church, was the source of Christian teaching. His greater disciple Origen was a thorough-going Biblicist who appealed again and again to Scripture as the decisive criterion of dogma. The Church drew her catechetical material, he stated, from the prophets, the gospels and the apostles’ writings; her faith, he suggested, was buttressed by Holy Scripture supported by common sense. “The holy and inspired Scriptures,” wrote Athanasius a century later, “are fully sufficient for the proclamation of the truth”; while his contemporary, Cyril of Jerusalem, laid it down that “with regard to the divine and saving mysteries of faith no doctrine, however trivial, may be taught without the backing of the divine Scriptures…. For our saving faith derives its force, not from capricious reasonings, but from what may be proved out of the Bible.” Later in the same century John Chrysostom bade his congregation seek no other teacher that the oracles of God; everything was straightforward and clear in the Bible, and the sum of necessary knowledge could be extracted from it. In the West Augustine declared that “in the plain teaching of Scripture we find all that concerns our belief and moral conduct”; while a little later Vincent of Lerins (d. c. 450) took it as an axiom the Scriptural canon was “sufficient, and more than sufficient, for all purposes.” pp.42-43
Further, it was everywhere taken for granted that, for any doctrine to win acceptance, it had first to establish its Scriptural basis. p. 46
So you see, nowhere do the early church fathers see any “tradition” as separate and distinct from the Scripture. Yet Rome makes such a claim so as to give support to their heretical doctrines, such as all the Marian dogmas, transubstantiation, the priesthood, the papacy, the Magisterium, et al.
Roman Catholicism is based on HUMAN tradition originating in a corrupt organization, developing dogmas designed to control the people. Roman Catholicism is not Christian teaching.