Crossed The Tiber

An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I was born into the Catholic faith. At 14, I was "born again" and found Jesus personally but lost His Church. After thirty years as an evangelical protestant, I have come full circle to find that He has been there all the time, in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I wish others to find the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith as I have found.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

The Unity of Sacred Tradition and Scripture

I touched on this a few days ago in describing the authority by which the Church interprets and illuminates Scripture. Here are some further points. The common objection by protestants is that Sacred Tradition "trumps" Scripture. However, there is no scriptural basis to justify the Bible as being the sole and supreme source of divinely revealed truth. Logic itself would tell us that no book can be self- authenticating. We believe the Bible is God's inspired word based on the Tradition of the Catholic Church. Even Martin Luther reluctantly conceded that we have the Bible as God's Word because of the Catholic Church: "We are compelled to concede to the Papists that they have the Word of GOD, that we received it from them, and that without them we should have no knowledge of it at all."

The following statements will clarify the relationship of Sacred Tradition and Scripture.

"Since Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture come from one and the same divine source, there is a close connection between them, both forming one sacred deposit of the word of God. One of them is not complete without the other. As the words themselves imply, SACRED SCRIPTURE is the written word of God divinely inspired by the Holy Spirit; and SACRED TRADITION is divinely guided “handing down” of that revealed truth entrusted to the apostles, and passed on written or unwritten. Hence the second Vatican Council declares:

“It is not from sacred Scripture alone that the Church draws her certainty about everything that has been revealed. Therefore, both sacred Tradition and sacred Scripture are to be accepted and venerated with the same sense of devotion and reverence” (ibid. 9).

And since, as we have seen, Christ established a living teaching authority to interpret in His name and hand down His revealed word, the same Vatican Council concludes:

“It is clear, therefore, that sacred Tradition, sacred Scripture, and the teaching authority of the Church (the magisterium), in accord with God’s most wise designs, are so linked and joined together that one cannot stand without the others, and that all together and each in its own way under the action of the Holy Spirit contribute effectively to the salvation of souls” (ibid. 10).

Father Paul Duffner, O.P.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Logic itself would tell us that no book can be self- authenticating. We believe the Bible is God's inspired word based on the Tradition of the Catholic Church. The following will clarify:"....

This was not clarified. Logic would also tell us that you are stating that without the Tradition of the Catholic Church, the Bible is not God's inspired work?

May I also please have your interpretation on the following verse in light of this discussion about tradition?

Mark 7:9
(New American Standard Bible)

He was also saying to them, "You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition."

Isn't the "trap" of tradition the same today as it was for the Jews?

June 09, 2006 5:04 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

June 09, 2006 8:25 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Anon stated: "Logic would also tell us that you are stating that without the Tradition of the Catholic Church, the Bible is not God's inspired work? Tiber Jumper says: It is only through the Tradition of the Catholic Church that we have come to know and accept which books were discerned to be inspired by God. You and I trust "fallible men"(The Catholic Church) to make an infallible decision regarding which books are inspired. Or you could utilize the technique of Martin Luther and use your own "private" inspiration to decide which books should be in the Bible.
Which ones would you remove? I personally would remove the book of Philemon, never really got it, but I accept it as God's Word because the Church that Jesus established decided it was inspired. So you and I place our trust in that decision every time we open Scripture.
The Gospel of Thomas, or Mary, or the Shepherd of Hermes are not in our Bibles today because of the authority of the Catholic Church. The books of James and Revelations wouldn't be there if Martin had gotten his way. So if you open the Bible and believe it to be inspired by God, that is great! But it is through the Sacred Tradition of the Catholic Church that we know and believe this. The Church doesn't "make" the Bible inspired, it decided through the power of the Holy Spirit which books belong and which didn't.
The Koran states that it is Inspired scripture. Why don't we accept that? Or the book of Mormon? What's the difference? Sometimes, I get the impression that folks think the Bible as we know it today just "fell out of the sky" complete with an index telling us the books were inspired. It didn't happen that way.

Regarding tradition and the Jews, Christ did not say all tradition is bad! In order to understand Mk 7:9, one needs to read the entire context of that verse. Christ was speaking to the Pharisees because they were using "bad tradition" ie Corban, to nullify the commandments of God to obey, honor and care for loved ones.
The Sacred Tradition of the Catholic Church represents the deposit of faith that was handed on to the disciples including oral teachings such as Paul told Timothy to obey. These shouldn't be lumped in the same category as the traditions Christ spoke to the Pharisees about. That's comparing apples and watermelons!

June 11, 2006 9:58 AM  
Anonymous theo said...

An Orthodox Jewish friend of mine once pointed out that some of what all Christians today recognize as Sacred Scripture is found only in the Greek (Septuagent) version. For example, in Isaiah's Messianic monologue--where the Septuagent says, "They have pierced my hands and my feet," the Hebrew has a very difficult-to-parse sentence that appears to reference lions (yes, the big cats).

When Protestants tossed out Greek language sources of Old Testament writing, they tossed out most text that they could recognize as "additions" to the Hebrew collection (such as the books of Macabees and Wisdom, and portions of the books of Esther and Daniel); however, not being Hebrew scholars, they overlooked portions that are merely different from the Hebrew.

So, for Christians who on the basis of the "Greek text argument" reject what the Church has recognized as Scripture from its first Christian canonization until the middle of the first millenium,the question becomes,"When will you get around to rejecting what the would-be reformers missed on the first go?"

June 12, 2006 10:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So why wasn't the Book of Enoch placed in the Catholic bible?

June 12, 2006 2:40 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

The Catholic Church ultimately decided it was not inspired. Many of the early Church Fathers felt it was inspired and there is evidence of it being quoted in the New Testament, however, it didn't make it into the final canon. Maybe the stuff about angels marrying humans freaked them out. After all, Jesus said that angels don't marry.

June 12, 2006 4:23 PM  
Anonymous Theo said...

Anonymous said...
So why wasn't the Book of Enoch placed in the Catholic bible?

Theo Replies:
That is a *very* good question.

The answer to your question is the same as the answer to this question: "So why wasn't the Book of Enoch placed in the 'Protestant' Bible?"

The Catholic Church discerned Enoch is not Holy Scripture. I do not mean this as a flippant reply. It is exactly true.

If you are interested in particular reasons the Church did not include it, then I encourage you to research those questions yourself. No doubt the councils debated the issue and plenty of records exist. I'm confident that doing so will help you examine the broader question more objectively.

June 12, 2006 4:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for both of your comments.

What "book" does the Catholic Church use for it's official interpretation of Scripture? I would like to purchase it / view it on-line to learn how a particular biblical verse is understood by the RCC.

Also, is there a website to read how the bible was put together by the RCC that you find to be a reliable and "approved" source?

Thanks in advance!

June 15, 2006 5:18 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Dear Anon:
Thanks for checking out my blog!
Please check out the following links.
They will lead you to "approved" sites that have solid orthodox Catholic teaching and information. I use the Navarre Bible with Commentary for New Testament study.
Also, the Catechism of the Catholic Church is on-line and though not a commentary per se, uses Scripture throughout to explain doctrine and teachings. Hope you can find what you need, if not, write back. God bless you.

June 15, 2006 7:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank You for the links...I love our Lord and those with Him!

June 19, 2006 2:09 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Above All - Charity!

from the Prologue of the Catholic Catechism 25:
The whole concern of doctrine and its teaching must be directed to the love that never ends. Whether something is proposed for belief, for hope or for action, the love of our Lord must always be made accessible, so that anyone can see that all the works of perfect Christian virtue spring from love and have no other objective than to arrive at love.

June 19, 2006 4:19 PM  

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