What Evidence for Sacred Tradition and Infallibility of the Pope?


scrollsQ. What evidence do you have to support the traditions ? What document whatsoever in antiquity do you have to attest them?

A. There exist early Christian writings from the 1st-8th centuries. We call these the writings of the Fathers. They document the beliefs and practices of Christians at the dawn of Christianity. We do not consider them 100% inerrant but as historical documents they contain, in writing, what Christians believed. Here is a link to all of them.

–>CHURCH FATHERS

When I was trying to stay Protestant I decided that i would read Church Fathers of the first 3 centuries since the Bible was canonized at the beginning of the 5th century, and if I found that they were Protestant then I could stay Protestant. However,  I found them to be very Catholic. Therefore, I realized that Ancient Christianity was Catholic. The Church Jesus founded was Catholic, so I had to be Catholic. For specific Catholic doctrines you can start here under “Disputed Questions”

–>Catholic Answers

or look through tracts that address specific issues. Click under “Category”

–>Catholic Tracts

Q. please quote the scripture for “And the Pope is empowered by Christ to never teach anything to the church that is in error, thereby protecting us from false traditions of men.” i reject the traditions because they are not even remotely pointed to by the scriptures. Even Paul praised the Bereans for checking even what he said against scripture (Acts 17:11)

Peter & the KeysA. Regarding Scripture about the Pope and infallibility, of course there is nothing that explicit. However, that is how the doctrine of the infallibility of the Pope is defined by the Church. Papal infallibility.

You reject anything that is not found in scripture because that is what you have been taught to do. Searching the Scriptures IS to be praised and Catholic have studied and prayed the scriptures for 2000 years. But people can love and meditate and treasure Sacred Scripture while at the same time realize as St. John said, everything is not written down.

But there are also many other things which Jesus did; were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.

please see, : Infallible?

Where Did Peter Ever Claim to be the First Pope?

How Can a Sinner be Infallible?

Why is there a Pope?

Historical Evidence for Pope?

Popes and Bishops in the Early Church

Where are the Pope and Bishops is in Scripture?

Rock? Peter Rebuked! Priestshood. Papal Infallibility!

Pope Peter? That should get you started, if you are actually interested…..

Which is the Final Authority? Scripture or Tradition?


biblespine-coan-300x200MONISHA:  The Scriptures hold the place of final authority and by that position are shown to be superior to Sacred Tradition.

BFHU: You are very close to what we believe here. However, we would not state it quite this way. You say “Scripture is the final authority”. We would say “Nothing believed or taught by the Catholic Church may contradict Scripture”. The relevant difference is going to depend upon INTERPRETATION. Many Protestants think that they are able to infallibly interpret scripture, although they would never admit this. So, when based upon their perceived infallible interpretation, they find the Catholic Church teaching something that contradicts their interpretation they are convinced that the Catholic Church MUST be teaching heresy. When Protestants claim that Scripture is the final authority, what they are really saying is that their interpretation of Scripture is the final and infallible authority, but they would never claim the infallibility part.

As an example: The Catholic Church teaches the perpetual virginity of Mary. But Protestants will point out the scriptures about the “brothers and sisters of Jesus” and assert that the Catholic Church teaches something opposed to Sacred Scripture. They rarely explore with an educated Catholic how we can believe this doctrine in spite of the scriptures about the brothers of Jesus. They totally trust their own “infallible” interpretation.–>A Tradition of Men: Jesus had Siblings. Mary is NOT a Perpetual Virgin.

MONISHA: This means that Sacred Tradition is not equal in authority to the Word of Godpapacy

BFHU: This is a Protestant belief because they rarely understand what we mean by Sacred Tradition. Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scriptures are equal in authority in the Catholic Faith. That is because they both derived from the same exact source: The Teaching of the Apostles.

However, as you read this blog or other Catholic apologetics sources, we quote scripture in defending our faith, not because we think it is more authoritative. It is not. But, we are writing for our audience: Protestants. They believe Sacred Scripture is more authoritative or the only authority. Therefore, we quote Scripture as much as possible and appeal to Sacred Tradition as ancient historical support for our beliefs when necessary.

MONISHA:…to assert that Sacred Tradition is equal to Scripture effectively leaves the canon wide open to doctrinal addition. Since the traditions of men change, then to use tradition as a determiner of spiritual truth would mean that over time new doctrines that are not in the Bible would be added, and that is exactly what has happened in Catholicism with doctrines such as purgatory, praying to Mary, indulgences, etc.

BFHU: You are quite mistaken. As I said before Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture are merely the oral and written teachings of the Apostles as taught to them by Jesus Himself. Therefore they are equal in authority. Even St. Paul teaches this–>Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition Equal

As you said earlier, Christians believe such doctrines as the Trinity, Incarnation etc that cannot be found explicitly in Scripture alone. The Church teaches the doctrine of Purgatory, intercession of the Saints, indulgences etc as simply other things taught by the Apostles but not explicit is Scripture, the same as the Trinity, Incarnation etc..

The canon is very much CLOSED and nothing can now be added to it. New and novel doctrines cannot be added and have not been added. Let me be very clear about something often blurred in Protestant thinking. Sacred Tradition and the tradition of men are two VERY DIFFERENT things. Traditions of men may or may not be true but Sacred Tradition is True Apostolic Teaching. Traditions of men may be so wrong that they are condemned in Scripture and by the Catholic Church. But Sacred Tradition cannot change or be added to and it is never condemned but recommended by St. Paul.

MONISHA:Furthermore, if they can use Sacred Tradition as a source for doctrines not explicit in the Bible, then why would the Mormons then be wrong for having additional revelation as well?

BFHU: The Mormons are wrong because their additional revelation burst upon the scene less than 200 years ago. They have nothing to support that this new revelation came from the Apostolic Tradition or is attested by any document whatsoever in antiquity.

MONISHA:If the Bible is not used to verify and test Sacred Tradition, then Sacred Tradition is functionally independent of the Word of God. If it is independent of Scripture, then by what right does it have to exist as an authoritative spiritual source equivalent to the Bible? How do we know what is and is not true in Sacred Tradition if there is no inspired guide by which to judge it?

BFHU: Sacred Tradition is not at all functionally independent of the Word of God. The Oral Tradition/ Sacred Tradition is one part of Apostolic Teaching. Sacred Scripture/written Tradition is the other part of Apostolic Teaching. It has the right to exist because without it we lose the complete teachings of the Apostles.

Well, one could say that Sacred Tradition may not contradict anything in Sacred Scripture. And it does not. That is because they are both derived from the same God through the Apostles. And the Pope is empowered by Christ to never teach anything to the church that is in error, thereby protecting us from false traditions of men.

MONISHA:Sacred Tradition is invalidated automatically if it contradicts the Bible, and it does. Of course, the Catholic will say that it does not. But, Catholic teachings such as purgatory, penance, indulgences, praying to Mary, etc., are not in the Bible.

BFHU: Yes, Sacred Tradition would be invalidated if it contradicted Sacred Scripture. But it does not. It only contradicts Protestant Traditions and Protestant interpretation. Catholic teachings that are not found in the Bible do not, by their absence create a contradiction to the Bible. They are however found in Sacred Tradition just like the Doctrines of the Trinity, Incarnation, Hypostatic Union etc.

MONISHA:A natural reading of God’s Word does not lend itself to such beliefs and practices. Instead, the Catholic Church has used Sacred Tradition to add to God’s revealed word and then extracted out of the Bible whatever verses that might be construed to support their doctrines of Sacred Tradition.

BFHU: Quite the contrary, I am afraid. If you go back historically you will find all the unique Catholic beliefs in existence prior to the canonization of the Bible. What the Christian Church believed in the first centuries of Christianity is very Catholic. You will not find historic Christianity, prior to Martin Luther, to be anything remotely resembling Protestantism of any denomination.

We have always believed and taught the uniquely Catholic doctrines. They just happened to be found in Sacred Oral Apostolic Teaching rather than in the Written Apostolic Teachings. The Catholic Church did not use “Sacred Tradition to add to God’s revealed word and then extract out of the Bible whatever verses that might be construed to support their doctrines of Sacred Tradition.” It only appears this way to you b/c we try to use scripture as much as possible to show Protestants any possible scriptural support for Sacred Tradition b/c we know that you will reject anything that is not scripture. Protestant even reject historical affirmation of Catholic doctrine. So we do the best we can with what is in Scripture.

MONISHA:Since the Bible is the final authority, we should look to it as the final authenticating and inerrant source of all spiritual truth. If it says Sacred Tradition is valid–fine. But if it doesn’t, then I will trust the Bible alone. Since the Bible does not approve of the Catholic Church’s Sacred Tradition, along with its inventions of prayer to Mary, prayer to the saints, indulgences, penance, purgatory, etc., then neither should Christians.

BFHU: Where does the Bible disapprove of even one thing in Sacred Tradition? Or Catholic Teaching? And, are you fully aware that by rejecting Sacred ORAL Apostolic Teaching that you are left with only a fraction of what Jesus taught by trusting  Scripture alone?

Mt 28:18 “And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations,baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you

Jesus told the Apostles to teach all that He commanded. He did not say teach only what gets written down in the first 100 years of Christianity.–>Which Church Did Jesus Start?

Why Do Catholics Reject Sola Scriptura?


images-1Dear Monisha,
We totally agree that appealing to Scripture is an excellent practice. If you read the Catechism of the Catholic Church you will find a multitude of Scripture references in the footnotes as references for our doctrines. However, the Catholic Faith and practice existed long before Martin Luther came along and decided, on his own authority, that ONLY what was in written Scripture (Sola Scriptura) was legitimate and all else was suspect or outright heresy.

As far as asserting that even Jesus relied only upon Scripture, I would have to disagree. He taught and behaved in ways diametrically opposed to what the sola scriptura Jews believed and judged him to be a dangerous heretic and so they plotted to destroy Him. For instance, when friends brought the man to Jesus for healing by letting him down through the roof, Jesus said, “Your sins are forgiven.” And what did the prominent and educated Jews think?

“Who is this that speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God only?” (according to their scriptures)

Did Jesus then appeal to Scripture to absolve Himself? No.

And there are many other examples. Jesus was doing something new and unexpected. So, appealing to Scriptures is a wonderful and powerful practice but all Christian truth is not found in them and Scripture NEVER teaches that all spiritual truth is to be found in them alone. Martin Luther made that up. Not Jesus. Not the apostles. Not God.

You said,

It is not required of Scripture to have a statement to the effect, “The Bible alone is to be used for all spiritual truth,” in order for sola scriptura to be true.

Why not? How can one claim that all Christian truth must be in Scripture alone if that teaching, itself,  cannot even be found in scripture alone? It is not trustworthy for Protestants to say that if something is not explicitly taught in Scripture alone, except for the Doctrine of Sola Scriptura, then it cannot be believed, That doesn’t make sense.

You are exactly correct that all Christians do believe in doctrines not explicitly to be found spelled out in Scripture alone, like the Trinity, and the incarnation, the two natures of Christ etc. These doctrines were hammered out centuries before Martin Luther arrived on the scene by the Councils of the Catholic Church. It just so happened that Luther liked these doctrines and therefore adopted them even though they were not spelled out in Scripture alone. And therefore, according to this Protestant tradition, most Protestants still accept these Catholic doctrines down to this day.

However, there were other Catholic doctrines, Luther did not like and so, he used his novel assertion of Sola Scriptura to reject and repel anything he did not agree with. He even removed seven books from the OT and six from the NT that contradicted his beliefs. He was later persuaded to return the NT books. Therefore, today Protestant Bibles are missing 7 OT books from the Canon of the 4th century. –>The 7 books removed by Martin Luther.

If you say:

Many doctrines in the Bible are not clearly stated, yet they are believed and taught by the church

I would have to agree with you completely. That is precisely the Catholic position. All that the Church teaches is derived from both the oral and the written Teachings of the Apostles sometimes referred to as Sacred Tradition. So, you are correct that we do not adhere to Sola Scriptura or Scripture alone but we certainly love and honor the Scriptures and appeal to them when appropriate.

But, with regard to Sola Scriptura, it is NOT found anywhere in the Oral or Written Teaching of the Apostles or in any of the writings of the Early Church Fathers. It has no ancient pedigree of authenticity and therefore the Catholic Church rejects it as a novelty invented by Martin Luther a mere 500 years ago.

When you said,

So, for the Catholic to require the Protestant to supply chapter and verse to prove Sola Scriptura is valid is not necessarily consistent with biblical exegetical principles of which they themselves approve when examining such doctrines as the Trinity, the hypostatic union, etc.

You have a valid point. We certainly don’t use the Sola Scriptura paradigm because we reject it. However, I am constantly insisting that Protestants prove Sola Scriptura from chapter and verse in Scripture alone,  because Protestants generally do believe in Sola Scriptura and yet this very foundational doctrine CANNOT be found in Scripture alone at all. Therefore, Sola Scriptura must be illegitimate according to the Sola Scriptura Doctrine. Because, how can Protestants tell Catholics, “I do not find the Doctrine of Purgatory anywhere in Scripture, therefore I reject it and so should Catholics.” But. then turn around and say, “I do not find the Doctrine of Sola Scriptura anywhere in Scripture but I accept it and so should Catholics.” I am sorry that is way too much cognitive dissonance for me.

And not only that, even though Protestants do believe in doctrine that is not explicitly stated in Scripture, such as the Trinity, incarnation, etc. they are blinded to this fact and turn around and condemn the Catholic Church for believing in doctrine not explicitly found in Scripture alone. Huh? By asking Protestants to prove sola scriptura with scripture alone I am trying to get them to see that there is a very large inconsistency with their doctrine.

Have a Merry and Blessed CHRISTMAS!


Our Lady Of Guadalupe


Our Lady of Guadalupe ‘completely beyond’ scientific explanation, says researcher

Dr. Adolfo Orozco at the International Marian Congress on Our Lady of Guadalupe in Glendale, Arizona.

Phoenix, Ariz., Aug 7, 2009 / 04:10 pm (CNA).- Researcher and physicist Dr. Aldofo Orozco told participants at the International Marian Congress on Our Lady of Guadalupe that there is no scientific explanation for the 478 years of high quality-preservation of the Tilma or for the miracles that have occurred to ensure its preservation.

Dr. Orozco began his talk by confirming that the conservation of the Tilma, the cloak of St. Juan Diego on which Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared 478 years ago, “is completely beyond any scientific explanation.”

“All the cloths similar to the Tilma that have been placed in the salty and humid environment around the Basilica have lasted no more than ten years,” he explained. One painting of the miraculous image, created in 1789, was on display in a church near the basilica where the Tilma was placed. “This painting was made with the best techniques of its time, the copy was beautiful and made with a fabric very similar to that of the Tilma. Also, the image was protected with a glass since it was first placed there.”

However, eight years later, the copy of the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe was thrown away because the colors were fading and threads were breaking. In contrast, Orozco said, “the original Tilma was exposed for approximately 116 years without any kind of protection, receiving all the infrared and ultraviolet radiation from the tens of thousands of candles near it and exposed to the humid and salty air around the temple.”

Dr. Orozco then discussed the Tilma’s fabric. He noted that “one of the most bizarre characteristics of the cloth is that the back side is rough and coarse, but the front side is ‘as soft as the most pure silk, as noted by painters and scientists in 1666, and confirmed one century later in 1751 by the Mexican painter, Miguel Cabrera.”

Following an analysis of some of the fibers in 1946, it was concluded that the fibers came from the Agave plant, however, noted Dr. Orozco, the researchers couldn’t figure out which of the 175 Agave species the Tilma was made from. Years later, in 1975, “the famous Mexican researcher Ernesto Sodi Pallares said that the species of the agave was Agave popotule Zacc,” Orozco explained, “but we don’t know how he reached this conclusion.”

Before concluding his presentation, Dr. Orozco made mention of two miracles associated with the Tilma.

The first occurred in 1785 when a worker accidentally spilled a 50 percent nitric acid solvent on the right side of the cloth. “Besides any natural explanation, the acid has not destroyed the fabric of the cloth, indeed it has not even destroyed the colored parts of the image,” Orozco said.

The second miracle was the explosion of a bomb near the Tilma in 1921. Dr. Orozco recalled that the explosion broke the marble floor and widows 150 meters from the explosion, but “unexpectedly, neither the Tilma nor the normal glass that protected the Tilma was damaged or broken.” The only damage near it was a brass crucifix that was twisted by the blast.

He continued, “There are no explanations why the shockwave that broke windows 150 meters (164 yards: 1  1/2 football fields) afar did not destroy the normal glass that protected the image. Some people said that the Son by means of the brass crucifix protected the image of His Mother. The real fact is that we don’t have a natural explanation for this event.”

Dr. Orozco thanked the audience for listening to his presentation and closed by reassuring them that “Our Lady visited Mexico 478 years ago, but she remains there to give Her Love, Her Mercy and Her Care to anyone who needs it, and to bring Her Son, Jesus Christ to everyone who receives Him.”

Was Jesus Really Born on December 25th?


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Q. Was Jesus really born on December 25th? I have heard he was born in the spring.

A. ARGUMENT FOR DECEMBER BIRTHDATE OF JESUS

 God has allowed His Church to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ on the right day or very close to it. This is not mandatory or a matter of faith, but why doubt it without very good reason?

The argument for assigning late December as the rightful date of the birth of Yeshua is based on the time Zacharias was told that Elizabeth would conceive a child.

 

Osservatore Romano: December 24,1998

“December 25 is an historical date,” Professor Tommaso Federici, Professor at the Pontifical Urbanian University and a consultant to two Vatican Congregations, has stressed. In an article in the Osservatore Romano on December 24, he wrote: “December 25 is explained as the ‘Christianization’ of a pagan feast, ‘birth of the Sol Invictus’; or as the symmetrical balance, an aesthetic balance between the winter solstice (Dec. 21-22) and the spring equinox (March 23-24).

But a discovery of recent years has shed definitive light on the date of the Lord’s birth. As long ago as 1958, the Israeli scholar Shemaryahu Talmon published an in-depth study on the calendar of the Qumran sect [Ed. based , in part, on Parchment Number 321 — 4 Q 321 — of the Qumran Dead Sea Scrolls,], and he reconstructed without the shadow of doubt the order of the sacerdotal rota system for the temple of Jerusalem (1 Chronicles 24, 7-18) in New Testament times.

Here the family of Abijah, of which Zechariah was a descendant, father of John the herald and forerunner (Luke 1, 5), was required to officiate twice a year, on the days 8-14 of the third month, and on the days 24-30 of the eighth month. This latter period fell at about the end of September. It is not without reason that the Byzantine calendar celebrated ‘John’s conception’ on September 23 and his birth nine months later, on June 24. The ‘six months’ after the Annunciation established as a liturgical feast on March 25, comes three months before the forerunner’s birth, prelude to the nine months in December: December 25 is a date of history.”

Therefore, If Zacharias served during the end of September and Elizabeth conceived shortly thereafter, we can place the date of Jesus’ birth during the month of Tevet, in late December. The explanation is as follows:


1. Jesus’ cousin, John the Baptist, was conceived just after Yom Kippur (late Sept) and born 9 months later in (late June).

* John’s father (Zacharias) was a Levite of the house of Abijah who was assigned to serve in the temple during the 8th and 34 weeks of the year. If the Angel’s announcement to Zechariah was the 34th week that would have been during the High Holiday of Yom Kippur.
* It is written that John was conceived shortly after this tour of duty (Luke 1:23-4), and Yom Kippur. Thus, John would have been born around (late June).

2. Jesus was conceived in (late March), six months after John the Baptist (Luke 1:24-27, 36) near Passover, and born 9 months later during late December.

Luke 1:36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month.

3. Circumstantial Evidences:

Church history, since the time of the late first century, has attested to a late December birth.

Hippolytus, in the second century AD, argued that this was Christ’s birthday.

In the fourth century,

John Chrysostom (347-407) argued that December 25th was the correct date. Chrysostom taught that Zechariah received the message about John’s birth on the Day of Atonement and John the Baptist was born sometime in June or July, and the birth of Jesus took place six months later, in late December (or early January). There was never a question about the period of Jesus’ birth either in the East or in the West; only in the recent years this date was challenged.
Early Jewish sources suggest that the sheep around Bethlehem were outside year-round. In the normal traffic of shepherds they move around and come near Bethlehem from November to March of the year. But then these were a special class of Levitical shepherds who kept the sacrificial lambs. They do not move around because they supply the lambs for daily sacrifice from whom people bought their approved lambs, which are blemishless. The fact that the Angels announced the arrival of the perfect sacrificial lamb to these shepherds indicates this. The climate near Bethlehem is more like Southern California, it is after all Mediterranian. It is not a Canadian or Russian climate.

Alfred Edersheim, a Messianic Jew, wrote, “There is no adequate reason for questioning the historical accuracy of this date. The objections generally made rest on grounds which seem to me historically untenable.”

Edersheim notes that Megillot Taanit states that the 9th of Tevet is considered the day of Christ’s birth, and that puts the birth of Yeshua sometime during late December.

Summary:
If Zacharias served during Yom Kippur and Elizabeth conceived shortly thereafter, we can place the date of Jesus’ birth during the month of Tevet, in late December.

 

Were the Crusades Just Wars?


crusades09_0This post is the second in a series about the most prevalent modern myths about the Crusades and how to refute them.

Some people find distasteful the idea that the pope exhorted and spiritually incentivized Catholic warriors to fight in the Crusades. They say the Crusades highlight the hypocrisy of Christians, who, on the one hand, profess to follow Jesus, who willingly accepted his Passion and death, and on the other, participated in and supported an armed expedition to the Holy Land. This criticism gained popular favor through the writings of the 20th-century historian Steven Runciman.

Perhaps more than any other scholar, Runciman shaped popular understanding of the Crusades, through his three volume History of the Crusades, published from 1951-54. His well-written and engaging style was highly readable, but erroneously presented the Crusaders as simple barbarians bent on the destruction of a peaceful and sophisticated Islamic culture. His view that the Crusades were “great barbarian invasions” and a “long act of intolerance… which is a sin against the Holy Ghost” solidified the myth that the Crusades were unjust wars of Christian aggression—a myth many Catholics swallow to this day.

Were the Crusades unjust? To answer that question, first we must understand that the Church has never taught that all violence is evil or sinful. Divine Revelation affords the use of violence in certain cases and for just reasons. The Old Testament is replete with examples of legitimate warfare sanctioned by God undertaken by the Jewish people.[1] These examples clearly illustrate that God commanded and allowed the use of violence for a holy purpose.

St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430), in his work City of God, consolidated Jewish and Greco-Roman traditions into a Christian understanding of legitimate warfare, or “just-war doctrine.” Augustine taught that violence could be undertaken for legitimate reasons, including past or present aggression, proclamation by a legitimate authority, and restoration of order and property. A review of the historical record proves the Crusades met these criteria.

The Crusades were born from the violent aggression of Islam, which had conquered ancient Christian territory in the Holy Land and North Africa and established a large foothold in Europe within a century of Muhammad’s death in the early seventh century. To read the rest of the post—>Catholic Answers