Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Quotidian Apologetics--7: Sacred Tradition--Part One


 As former Protestants, the profound experience of reading/studying the Catechism can be described  best as finding the "holy grail" of The Christian Faith. We had only known in part (the parts our denominational movement had built its understanding of its Protestant Christianity upon) the breadth of the authority and integrity of The Christian Faith.  That has manifested in many ways as we journey on in The Faith within The Catholic Church. We have already given attention to worship within The Mass as the Source and Summit of our faith.  The Sacred Scripture forms the worship of The Church when it is anchored within Salvation History as opposed to the fascinations (golden calves) of every culture in every generation. You can refer to our July 2015 posts to learn more about how in the worship of the Triune God within The Catholic Church answered the despair about what has happened within the Protestant Movement.  Suffice it to say, our story is not unusual. There are thousands of Protestant Christians coming home to The Catholic Church every day around the world. Your own Protestant friends may be among the disenchanted Christians leaving the Protestant Movement. You may be in their lives to stand in the gap for them as they find their way to the sure foundation of The Faith. We have previously given attention to the Sacred Authority of the Catholic Church and how you as a Catholic Christian can guide your seeking friends toward the stability and integrity of The Catholic Church.  We now turn our attention to the Sacred Tradition of The Catholic Church. The third of the 3-legged stool we have referred to from time to time.

It is this topic, Sacred Tradition, that we will spend a fair amount of space to in our blogging. The reason for that it is doubtful that your Protestant friends fully appreciate how the Sacred Tradition intact within The Catholic Church has affected their own practice of Christianity. The Sacred Tradition is also where many misperceptions and prejudices against The Church stem from. The misunderstandings range from oversimplification to hideous distortions.  You have heard some of them and you have defended some of them.  Our desire in these essays is to open the window on how our own navigating through the Sacred Tradition eventually led us to a humble acceptance and appreciation for what The Church has passed on through tradition in the Sacraments of The Faith.

We know that Sacred Tradition predates the collection and canonization of Sacred Scriptures. The Sacred Scriptures are the Holy Spirit inspired outcome of Sacred Tradition. The Old Testament and New Testament were passed on to us through oral tradition before it was eventually written and canonized as Sacred Scripture.  We also know that St. John the apostle wrote that the Scriptures could not contain everything that Christ said and did (John 20:30-31). It is the Sacred Tradition and the Sacred Scriptures that are united as the Deposit of Faith. The Catholic Church teaches that the Sacred Scriptures and the Sacred Tradition make up the single Sacred Deposit of the Word of God, which is entrusted to The Church. Christ entrusted Divine Revelation to his apostles, the early Church. The Catechism refers to this transmission of the The Faith in Part One, Chapter Two.  The entire chapter succinctly and authoritatively guides the reader in how the transmission of Divine Revelation unfolded through history. 

If you are interested in investigating for yourself before you talk with your Protestant friend you may access the chapter here:
http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__PE.HTM through http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__PT.HTM

This essay will continue in chapters, so to speak, as we  look at the Sacred Tradition of The Catholic Church.  Our prayer is that it will help you explain to your Protestant friends how what they believe about practicing the Christian Faith grows on the vine of Sacred Tradition that flourishes through each generation to draw our minds and hearts to The Catholic Church.

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