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Beginning Catholic: Catholic Tradition: Life in the Spirit [Ecumenical]
BeginningCatholic.com ^ | not given | Beginning Catholic

Posted on 06/25/2008 7:52:50 PM PDT by Salvation

 

Catholic Tradition:
Life in the Spirit

Catholic Tradition often seems odd to those outside the Catholic Church.

People assume it's something that we just... "made up."

Sacred Tradition comes from Christ. It's the full, living gift of Christ to the Apostles, faithfully handed down through each generation. It is through Tradition that the Holy Spirit makes the Risen Lord present among us, offering us the very same saving Word and Sacraments that he gave to the Apostles!

Understanding Catholic Tradition is essential to understanding the Catholic Church and the Catholic Christian faith.

Tradition is "handed down"

The word "tradition" actually means handing down something to another person.

Scripture testifies to this meaning of Catholic Tradition as the normal mode of transmitting the Faith:

"So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter." (2 Thess 2:15)

"For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you...." (1 Cor 11:23)

"For I handed on to you as of first importance what I also received...." (1 Cor 15:3)

"...I know whom I have believed [i.e., Jesus], and I am sure that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me. Follow the pattern of the sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus; guard the truth that has been entrusted to you by the Holy Spirit who dwells within us." (2 Tim 1:11-14)

"You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also." (2 Tim 2:1-2)

"...I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints." (Jude 1:3)

This is the most basic meaning of Catholic Tradition: it is the true Faith itself, given to the Apostles by Christ and faithfully transmitted to each new generation. (Catechism, 77-78)

We often write Tradition, with a capital 'T', to mean Sacred Tradition. This Catholic Tradition is different from those traditions (small 't') that are merely customs, and which are not part of Divine Revelation.

The Apostolic source of Catholic Tradition

The Second Vatican Council ("Vatican II") wrote an important document called "On Divine Revelation" (Dei Verbum in Latin). It's quite readable, and contains definitive teaching on the full meaning of Catholic Tradition.

The Council notes the importance of seeing that Catholic Tradition is firmly rooted in the Apostles: it is Christ's whole gift to them, and to us. The Council writes:

In His gracious goodness, God has seen to it that what He had revealed for the salvation of all nations would abide perpetually in its full integrity and be handed on to all generations. Therefore Christ the Lord in whom the full revelation of the supreme God is brought to completion..., commissioned the Apostles to preach to all men that Gospel which is the source of all saving truth and moral teaching, and to impart to them heavenly gifts.
(Dei Verbum, 7)

It is specifically this "commissioning of the Apostles" that is fulfilled in the handing on of Catholic Tradition.

The Apostles dedicated themselves to this mission, and they appointed other faithful men to succeed them and carry on their work. That same passage of Dei Verbum continues:

This commission was faithfully fulfilled by the Apostles who, by their oral preaching, by example, and by observances handed on what they had received from the lips of Christ, from living with Him, and from what He did, or what they had learned through the prompting of the Holy Spirit. The commission was fulfilled, too, by those Apostles and apostolic men who under the inspiration of the same Holy Spirit committed the message of salvation to writing.
(Dei Verbum, 7)

Catholic Tradition and Scripture

Many Protestants believe that Catholics look to Tradition instead of Scripture.

Not at all!

Catholic Tradition stands with Scripture in forming the one single deposit of the Faith. For Catholics, Sacred Tradition is not in opposition to Scripture: they compliment and confirm one another.

Vatican II's Dei Verbum speaks of "a close connection and communication between sacred tradition and Sacred Scripture": "both of them... [flow] from the same divine wellspring."

It says that "Sacred Scripture is the word of God inasmuch as it is consigned to writing under the inspiration of the divine Spirit, while sacred tradition takes the word of God entrusted by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit to the Apostles, and hands it on to their successors in its full purity." The Church, "led by the light of the Spirit of truth, ...may in proclaiming it preserve this word of God faithfully, explain it, and make it more widely known." (Dei Verbum, 9)

This statement reveals another key aspect of Catholic Tradition: it is linked to the active work of the Holy Spirit.

The living experience of Christ
Through the Spirit

Pope Benedict XVI gave a beautiful catechesis on Catholic Tradition in late April, 2006. He says that we miss the profound meaning of Catholic Tradition if we see it only as the handing on of a static Revelation.

More than that, it is the active, continuous work of the Holy Spirit in our particular time: it makes real and tangible "the active presence of the Lord Jesus in his people, realized by the Holy Spirit".

Seeing Catholic Tradition as the active presence of Christ through the work of the Spirit is precisely what accomplishes the "transmission of the goods of salvation" to us:

Thanks to Tradition, guaranteed by the ministry of the apostles and their successors, the water of life that flowed from the side of Christ and his saving blood comes to the women and men of all times. In this way, Tradition is the permanent presence of the Savior who comes to meet, redeem and sanctify us in the Spirit through the ministry of his Church for the glory of the Father.

This reality of the divine action of the Holy Spirit within the Church is essential to understanding Catholic Tradition. It is what makes Sacred Tradition something far different than mere human traditions.

Through that same action of the Spirit, Catholic Tradition incorporates us into the Communion of the Saints. It ensures the connection "between the experience of the apostolic faith, lived in the original community of the disciples, and the present experience of Christ in his Church."

The Pope concludes:

Tradition is the living river that unites us to the origins, the living river in which the origins are always present, the great river that leads us to the port of eternity. In this living river, the word of the Lord...: "And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age", is fulfilled again (Matthew 28:20).

Through Catholic Tradition, the Holy Spirit works to bring the grace and truth of Christ into our own lives.

It's real. And it's living right now in the Catholic Church!

"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us."

(John 1:14)



TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; History; Theology
KEYWORDS: catholic; catholiclist; scripture
For the continued Beginning Catholic series.

This is an Ecumenical Thread -- please follow the guidelines put forth by the Religion Moderator for Ecumenical threads. (Basically, no antagonism towards other professions.)

1 posted on 06/25/2008 7:52:50 PM PDT by Salvation
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To: nickcarraway; sandyeggo; Lady In Blue; NYer; ELS; Pyro7480; livius; Catholicguy; RobbyS; ...
Catholic Discussion Ping!

Please notify me via FReepmail if you would like to be added to or taken off the Catholic Discussion Ping List.

2 posted on 06/25/2008 7:54:22 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All
Beginning Catholic: The Catholic Church's Origin [Ecumenical]

Beginning Catholic: Church Authority In Scripture [Ecumenical]

Beginning Catholic: Catholic Tradition: Life in the Spirit [Ecumenical]

3 posted on 06/25/2008 7:56:15 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation

It comes down, I think, to a personal relationship with Christ that is renewed and enriched everyday by His action in the Church as well as in our hearts. I have trouble articulating this but it seems that my experience of the Church is one in which I am at once drawn closer to Jesus but also challenged to approach Him. It’s both passive and active but intensely personal. Tradition does not stand between me and Jesus so much as provide a way to grow closer to Him.


4 posted on 06/26/2008 6:00:14 AM PDT by Mad Dawg (Oh Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.)
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To: Salvation

2 Thess 2:15 I have always thought was the clearest instruction in support of Sacred Tradition. Even the KJV gets it right. Oh well...guess I’m just a dumb Cath-lick


5 posted on 06/26/2008 6:16:25 AM PDT by thefrankbaum (Ad maiorem Dei gloriam)
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To: thefrankbaum; Salvation
2 Thess 2:15 I have always thought was the clearest instruction in support of Sacred Tradition. Even the KJV gets it right. Oh well...guess I’m just a dumb Cath-lick

Interesting as it speaks in the past tense and refers to Jewish Traditions.
shalom b'SHEM Yah'shua HaMashiach Adonai
6 posted on 06/26/2008 6:49:17 AM PDT by Uriel-2012 (you shall know that I, YHvH, your Savior, and your Redeemer, am the Elohim of Ya'aqob. Isaiah 60:16)
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To: thefrankbaum
2 Thess 2:15 I have always thought was the clearest instruction in support of Sacred Tradition. Even the KJV gets it right. Oh well...guess I’m just a dumb Cath-lick

That's no excuse Frank...

2Th 2:15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.

Of course your church teaches it's tradition is outside of scripture...And apparently you are assuming that the tradition in the verse you cited was outside of scripture...

'traditions which you have been taught'
whether by word,
OR
our epistle.

Well Frank, it says here that you can be taught the tradition by word (tradition, your interpretation) or our epistle (the scripture)...

Don't you find that odd??? The TRADITION is in the word AND in the epistle...

IT DOESN'T SAY to be taught tradition by word AND our epistle...It says one or the other...Word, or epistle...

You know why it says that Frank??? It says that because the 'tradition' was transmitted by word of mouth AS WELL AS in the Scripture...They are the same thing...

When an apostle or a disciple went into an area and the folks didn't have the scripture, the preacher would preach and teach the 'traditional' message...The one found in the scripture that wasn't available to that group yet...Frank, they are the same thing...

7 posted on 06/26/2008 8:48:13 AM PDT by Iscool
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To: Iscool; thefrankbaum
I also like the verse from the end of John's Gospel and the Letters of Peter have similar verses, if I'm not mistaken. It's proof enough for me!

John 21:24-25

(Highlighting mine.)

 
24
It is this disciple who testifies to these things and has written them, 14 and we know that his testimony is true.
25
There are also many other things that Jesus did, but if these were to be described individually, I do not think the whole world would contain the books that would be written.
 

8 posted on 06/26/2008 9:10:34 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Iscool; Religion Moderator

**IT DOESN’T SAY to be taught tradition by word AND our epistle...It says one or the other...Word, or epistle...**

Please, no antagonism.


9 posted on 06/26/2008 9:11:49 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation
I also like the verse from the end of John's Gospel and the Letters of Peter have similar verses, if I'm not mistaken. It's proof enough for me!

There's no proof of anything there...Apparently you are assuming that since Jesus did many other things, it was necessary for you to know what they were...Jesus never said that...In fact, Jesus says the opposite:

Joh 21:25 And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.

In fact, the verse you cited prior to this one confirms that what John testified (by word)(tradition to you guys) he also put the same words (tradition) in writing...

Joh 20:30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:
Joh 20:31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

Jesus did a lot of miracles that you don't know about...But everything Jesus did for your salvation was written for you and me to read...

The written scripture has EVERYTHING we need to know to attain Salvation...

10 posted on 06/26/2008 9:44:37 AM PDT by Iscool
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To: andysandmikesmom; Antoninus; ArrogantBustard; celticfreedom; CTK YKC; dan1123; DaveMSmith; ...
If you want to be on the Catholic Theology for non-Catholics list but are not on it already, or if you are on it but do not want to be, let me know either publicly or privately.

Previously posted:

On Salvation Outside the Catholic Church
The Great Heresies
SALVATION PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE
JUSTIFICATION IN CATHOLIC TEACHING
Hermits and Solitaries [Ecumenical]
THE PRIESTHOOD DEBATE
RIGHTEOUSNESS AND MERIT
A Well-Rounded Pope [Ecumenical]
A Monastery to Last 1,000 Years [Ecumenical]
Explaining Purgatory from a New Testament Perspective [Ecumenical]
In the Crosshairs of the Canon [How We Got The Bible] [Ecumenical]
'An Ordinance Forever' - The Biblical Origins of the Mass [Ecumenical]
Beginning Catholic: Church Authority In Scripture [Ecumenical]

11 posted on 06/26/2008 11:26:38 AM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: XeniaSt
Interesting as it speaks in the past tense and refers to Jewish Traditions.

How do you figure? From the NIV: "firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you." Are you saying Paul, Silas, and Timothy are teaching the Jewish Traditions? And what Traditions specifically, since this was post-Council of Jerusalem?

12 posted on 06/26/2008 2:07:45 PM PDT by thefrankbaum (Ad maiorem Dei gloriam)
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To: Iscool; Salvation
You know why it says that Frank??? It says that because the 'tradition' was transmitted by word of mouth AS WELL AS in the Scripture...They are the same thing...

This argument reminds me of the scene in A Few Good Men where Capt. Ross (Kevin Bacon) asks the Marine to find where in the handbook "Code Red" is found. He replies it isn't found in the handbook - Ross believes this concludes that "Code Reds" cannot exist. Then, Lt. Kaffee (Tom Cruise) asks the Marine where in the book instructions for eating are found. Again, the Marine replies it is not in the book. Incredulous, Kaffee asks if the Marine eats if it isn't in the book...

All of human learning, knowledge, and progress is based on traditions. It is almost as if God has built us to learn that way. Some traditions made solely by men have been wrong - luckily, God promised the Church that He would always be with us, so I'm not too worried about that. Thank you for your concern, Iscool.

13 posted on 06/26/2008 2:15:18 PM PDT by thefrankbaum (Ad maiorem Dei gloriam)
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To: annalex

The “catechesis on Catholic Tradition” link seems to be broken. Can you find a working link for me? I’m particularly interested in Catholic views of the Holy Spirit.


14 posted on 06/26/2008 2:51:08 PM PDT by dan1123 (If you want to find a person's true religion, ask them what makes them a "good person".)
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To: thefrankbaum; Salvation; XeniaSt; Iscool

2 Thess. 2:15 comes right after a long passage about false prophets and false teachings from the first 2/3rds of the chapter. When Paul says to “stand fast”, it is against deceitful teachings of Satan. In context, Paul is talking about Christian foundations, with which most of us agree.


15 posted on 06/26/2008 3:08:47 PM PDT by dan1123 (If you want to find a person's true religion, ask them what makes them a "good person".)
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To: dan1123

I’ll google it when I have time, obvious corrections to the URL did not work.


16 posted on 06/26/2008 3:25:05 PM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: thefrankbaum
XS> Interesting as it speaks in the past tense and refers to Jewish Traditions.

How do you figure? From the NIV: "firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you." Are you saying Paul, Silas, and Timothy are teaching the Jewish Traditions? And what Traditions specifically, since this was post-Council of Jerusalem?

12 posted on June 26, 2008 3:07:45 PM MDT by thefrankbaum

Yes: Paul, Silas, and Timothy were teaching Jewish Traditions
There were no other traditions other than Jewish traditions.

Even after the Council of Jerusalem, the apostles were still
Torah-observant Jews who had accepted the Jewish Messiah.

They were not catholics nor christians,
they were Jewish believers in the Jewish Messiah.

shalom b'SHEM Yah'shua HaMashiach Adonai
17 posted on 06/26/2008 5:50:40 PM PDT by Uriel-2012 (you shall know that I, YHvH, your Savior, and your Redeemer, am the Elohim of Ya'aqob. Isaiah 60:16)
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To: XeniaSt

But some of the Thessalonians were already observant Jews - why would they need to be taught their own Traditions? And the Gentiles amongst the Thessalonians needn’t be taught the Jewish Traditions, as that was the whole point of the Council of Jerusalem...right?


18 posted on 06/26/2008 6:02:18 PM PDT by thefrankbaum (Ad maiorem Dei gloriam)
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To: thefrankbaum

Excellent comparison about “What is in the book.” and what is passed down by word of mouth.


19 posted on 06/26/2008 7:30:46 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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