09 June, 2009

Is there a difference between tradition and Sacred Tradition

Sometimes Christians speak past each other because of a different understanding of terminology. If one is to have a discussion with any understanding, one must be of the same accord on the definitions. It appears when one speaks of traditions; one may be speaking of two different things. When a Catholic Christian speaks of Traditions, he speaks of Sacred Traditions that are a part of the deposit of truth contained in the teaching of the Church, which is the teaching of Christ and the apostles as well as those writings that the Church have determined to be inspired and those decisions reached through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in Ecumenical Council. Sacred Tradition contains all of the Word of God and not just the written Word but reflects Christ’s work in the Church and the work of the Paraclete leading the Church to all truth. When critics of Christ’s Church speak of traditions, they are speaking of the traditions that were rebuked by Jesus when speaking to the Pharisees or subsequent traditions similar or within the same spirit as those traditions. The Catholic Church has no traditions that are not in accordance with not only the written Word but all of the Word of God, which is a measure of veracity that includes and surpasses the rule of faith professed in the heresy of Sola Scriptura.

There is no instruction in the written Word that it is the entire Word, nor that it should be the only rule of faith. The fact is that the Scriptures teach the exact opposite of this view. St. Paul teaches that the oral as well as the written Word are Sacred Traditions that one should hold fast to. Scriptures teach that not all is contained of what Christ taught in the Scriptures but also that we can still find comfort in the teaching, in that, the Holy Spirit will lead the Church to all truth. We also see from Scripture that there is only one book that claims inspiration, which is St. John’s Apocalypse, yet we can trust in the authority of the Church of the inspiration of all the written Word. It is Sacred Tradition that claims the inspiration of Scriptures which Protestants accept yet they deny the authority of the Church despite the Bible teaching this same authority. There is no consistency to the doctrine of Sola Scriptura as the Bible would not be believed or have any authority if it was not for the Church under the authority of Christ and the inspiration through council to proclaim it the Word of God.

In Christ
Fr. Joseph

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