Scripture and Tradition in the teaching of the Catholic Church
I wish to continue here the discussion begun in the post and following combox below. You might wish to take up the discussion there in the combox here - as I will append my reactions to the previous discussion here also.
One comment first: I asked the question in the last post about the "origin" of the doctrine - or principle - of "sola scriptura". The responses from PE and Pastor Weedon were sufficient to ascertain one thing - indeed the answer I was expecting from such honest chaps: Neither of them argued that "sola scriptura" is a doctrine/principle which has its origin in Scripture itself. Both believe that it arose through the reflection and development of the post-apostolic Church. THAT is significant. It is tantamount to admitting that "sola Scriptura" is a (gasp! shock!) tradition of the Church.
But, for now, the teaching of the Catholic Church on Revelation and the nature of the Sacred Scriptures from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
74 "God graciously arranged that the things he had once revealed for the salvation of all peoples should remain in their entirety, throughout the ages, and be transmitted to all generations. " [DV 7; cf. 2 Cor 1:20; 3:16 - 4:6].More to read in the comments in the combox!
75 "Christ the Lord, in whom the entire Revelation of the most high God is summed up, commanded the apostles to preach the Gospel [Nb. not write]… In preaching the Gospel, they were to communicate the gifts of God to all men. This Gospel [nb. not "the scriptures"] was to be the source of all saving truth and moral discipline"32 [DV 7; cf. Mt 28:19-20; Mk 16:15].
76 In keeping with the Lord's command, the Gospel was handed on [nb. Latin. transmissio] in two ways:
- orally "by the apostles who handed on [nb. Latin: tradiderunt], by the spoken word of their preaching, by the example they gave, by the institutions they established [nb. Latin: in praedicatione orali, exemplis et institutionibus], 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." [DV 7]
- 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" [DV 7].
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" [DV 7# 2; St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 3, 3, 1: PG 7/1, 848; Harvey, 2, 9]. 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." [DV 8# 1].
78 This living transmission, accomplished in the Holy Spirit, is called Tradition, since it is distinct from Sacred Scripture, though closely connected to it… "The sayings of the holy Fathers are a witness to the life-giving presence of this Tradition…" [DV 8# 3].
79 "God, who spoke in the past, continues to converse with the Spouse of his beloved Son…" [DV 8# 3; cf. Col 3:16].
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" [DV 9].
81 "Sacred Scripture is the speech of God as it is put down in writing under the breath of the Holy Spirit"42 [DV 9].
"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." [DV 9].
82 As a result the Church…"does not derive her certainty about all revealed truths from the holy Scriptures alone…" [DV 9].
83 …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…["]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.
84 The apostles entrusted the "Sacred deposit" of the faith (the depositum fidei) [DV 10# 1; cf. I Tim 6:20; II Tim 1:12-14(Vulg.)], contained in Sacred Scripture and Tradition, to the whole of the Church…
85 "The task of giving an authentic interpretation of the Word of God, whether in its written form or in the form of Tradition, has been entrusted to the living teaching office of the Church alone [nb. Latin: soli vivo Ecclesiae Magisterio!]. Its authority in this matter is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ" [DV 10# 2]. This means that the task of interpretation has been entrusted to the bishops in communion with the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome.
86 "Yet this Magisterium is not superior to the Word of God, but is its servant. It teaches only what has been handed on to it…" [DV 10§2].
87 Mindful of Christ's words to his apostles: "He who hears you, hears me", [Lk 10:16; cf. LG 20] the faithful receive with docility the teachings and directives that their pastors give them in different forms.
102 Through all the words of Sacred Scripture, God speaks only one single Word, his one Utterance in whom he expresses himself completely [ie. his Son, the second person of the Holy Trinity] [cf. Heb 1:1-3]:
103 For this reason, the Church has always venerated the Scriptures as she venerates the Lord's Body… [cf. DV 21].
104 In Sacred Scripture, the Church constantly finds her nourishment and her strength, for she welcomes it not as a human word, "but as what it really is, the word of God"67 [Th 2:13; cf. DV 24]…
105 God is the author of Sacred Scripture…
106 God inspired the human authors of the sacred books…
107 The inspired books teach the truth…
108 Still, the Christian faith is not a "religion of the book". Christianity is the religion of the "Word" of God, "not a written and mute word, but incarnate and living" [St. Bernard, S. missus est hom. 4, 11: PL 183, 86]…
111 …The Second Vatican Council indicates three criteria for interpreting Scripture in accordance with the Spirit who inspired it. [cf. DV 12# 4].
112 1. Be especially attentive "to the content and unity of the whole Scripture"…
113 2. Read the Scripture within "the living Tradition of the whole Church"…
114 3. Be attentive to the analogy of faith [cf. Rom 12:6]…
115 According to an ancient tradition, one can distinguish between two senses of Scripture: the literal and the spiritual, the latter being subdivided into the allegorical, moral and anagogical senses. The profound concordance of the four senses guarantees all its richness to the living reading of Scripture in the Church.
119 "It is the task of exegetes to work, according to these rules, towards a better understanding and explanation of the meaning of Sacred Scripture in order that their research may help the Church to form a firmer judgement. For, of course, all that has been said about the manner of interpreting Scripture is ultimately subject to the judgement of the Church which exercises the divinely conferred commission and ministry of watching over and interpreting the Word of God" [DV 12# 3].
But I would not believe in the Gospel, had not the authority of the Catholic Church already moved me [St. Augustine, Contra epistolam Manichaei 5, 6: PL 42, 176].
120 It was by the apostolic Tradition that the Church discerned which writings are to be included in the list of the sacred books90 [cf. DV 8# 3].
124 "The Word of God, which is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, is set forth and displays its power in a most wonderful way in the writings of the New Testament" [DV 17; cf. Rom 1:16] which hand on the ultimate truth of God's Revelation. Their central object is Jesus Christ, God's incarnate Son… [cf. DV 20].
126 We can distinguish three stages in the formation of the Gospels:
1. The life and teaching of Jesus…
2. The oral tradition…
3. The written Gospels…
129 Christians therefore read the Old Testament in the light of Christ crucified and risen. Such typological reading discloses the inexhaustible content of the Old Testament; but it must not make us forget that the Old Testament retains its own intrinsic value as Revelation reaffirmed by our Lord himself [cf. Mk 12:29-31]. Besides, the New Testament has to be read in the light of the Old. Early Christian catechesis made constant use of the Old Testament [cf. 1 Cor 5:6-8; 10:1-11]…
132 "Therefore, the study of the sacred page should be the very soul of sacred theology. The ministry of the Word, too - pastoral preaching, catechetics and all forms of Christian instruction, among which the liturgical homily should hold pride of place - is healthily nourished and thrives in holiness through the Word of Scripture" [DV 24].
133 …Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ [DV 25; cf. Phil 3:8 and St. Jerome, Commentariorum in Isaiam libri xviii prol.: PL 24, 17B].