Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Catholic Quote: Tradition

Another vote for partim-partim:

"The truths of divine revelation, which have not been written down in the pages of Holy Scripture, but have been transmitted by word of mouth, are called Tradition.

The apostles received from Our Lord the command to preach, not to write. Their writings are concerned more with the doings than with the teaching of Christ, hence their instructions on points of doctrine are very incomplete. They themselves say that there is much that they have delivered to the faithful by word of mouth (2 John 12; 1 Cor. xi. 2; John xxi. 25). Accordingly we are referred to Tradition. It is by Tradition that we know that Our Lord instituted seven sacraments. It is by Tradition that we are taught that there is a purgatory, that Sunday is to be kept holy, and that infants are to be baptized. It is Tradition which teaches us what books belong to Holy Scripture, etc. Tradition comes down to us from the time of the apostles. Just as those who follow up the course of a stream gradually draw near to the fountain-head, and thus discover how far the water flows, so we can search out the historical sources of the teaching of the earlier centuries of the Church, and arrive at her true doctrine. Every doctrine that has always been believed in by the universal Church, comes down to us from the apostles. If therefore there is any doctrine of the Church that we do not find in Holy Scripture, we shall find it in the stream of Tradition, and shall be able to trace it up to the first ages of Christianity."

-The Catechism Explained, 1899 (pg. 88)


12 comments:

James Swan said...

It is by Tradition that we know that Our Lord instituted seven sacraments.

Although, if I recall correctly, there were earlier periods in church history where there were more. "Seven" was eventually arrived at- I'd have to go through my notes from a few years ago to verify this.

Kepha said...

Carrie, what good does it do to attack a dead Catholic theory, i.e., the partim-partim theory? The material sufficiency view of Scripture and the development hypothesis are the dominant Catholic views now. I would think that it would be more beneficial to address views that are held rather than ones that have been abandoned.

Carrie said...

kepha,

I can't tell if you are being sarcastic or not.

Of course the partim-partim theory is still alive and well, although I would agree it seems to have developed into a minority view.

Rhology said...

Kepha,

Either way, it is helpful to point out that in many ways there is no, as Vatican 1 said, "the ancient and constant faith of the universal church", etc.
This Roman rule of faith, man, it's a blueprint for anarchy.

Kepha said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kepha said...

Carrie,

By no means was I being sarcastic. You are right that the partim-partim theory is a minority view. So let me rephrase my statement and say that it is practically dead. I don't even know any contemporary Catholic theologians who hold to it. Do you? The only Catholics I have found who hold to it are some lay people.

Rhology,

A literal interpretation of that phrase presupposes the partim-partim theory. The majority of Catholics, both academic and lay, understand the phrase in the context of the material sufficiency of Scripture and the development hypothesis.

Carrie said...

I don't even know any contemporary Catholic theologians who hold to it. Do you?

I'm sure there are some, but the language would no doubt be confusing. Partim-partim seems to be a subconciuos fall-back position when arguing against Sola Scriptura.

James actually posted on the Ratzinger's schizoprenic position on tradition here. This type of ambiguous position on Tradition seems quite common to me. Read what Akin said here.

I seen many Catholics say they affirm the material sufficiency view of Tradition but then argue that not all doctrine/truths can be found in scripture. How can you hold to material sufficiency and then admit that the Assumption of Mary cannot be mined from scripture? It doesn't make any sense! Clearly, for Catholics, scripture is missing vital information - how is that compatible with material sufficiency?

Lastly, Rhology understands the point of these exercises. The Catholic Church is not the consistent historical church it claims to be. The fact that Catholics cannot accurately and consistently define a major component of their authority (Tradition), currently or historically, is a big problem.

Note what the posted quote says: "If therefore there is any doctrine of the Church that we do not find in Holy Scripture, we shall find it in the stream of Tradition, and shall be able to trace it up to the first ages of Christianity." Okay then, what exactly are we looking for in the "first ages" with regards to Tradition? People holding to partim-partim or material sufficiency? Why should we believe that Tradition must be held to if we can't define it enough to even look for it in the historical church (assuming you believe historical beliefs hold any weight).

It's all smoke and mirrors. That's the point.

Carrie said...

I should also mention that this particular book (The Catechism Explained) is still in print and can be obtained from Amazon and a variety of Catholic booksellers. I have also seen it recommended by a few Catholics online.

So whether the view is a minority or not, it's still a viable viewpoint to be held in the church and it is still promoted in Catholic sources available today. That alone makes it worthy of critique in my opinion.

Dozie said...

"How can you hold to material sufficiency and then admit that the Assumption of Mary cannot be mined from scripture? It doesn't make any sense!"

You ask because you have no clue what material sufficiency means.

"James actually posted on the Ratzinger's schizoprenic position on tradition here."

There is an African saying which says: You know you've met a child when you meet someone who can't tell who can beat him up - they do not know who is superior to them. You continue to promote a false sense of liberty by assuming you can be rude and disrespectful to people you are not even worthy to untie their sandals.

Rhology said...

Given the quality and rationality demonstrated most of the time by your posts, Dozie, I'd consider it a bit of an honor if you claimed I had no idea what sthg was.

Anyone can see the problem, but you have a history of denying the obvious.

Dozie said...

"Given the quality and rationality demonstrated most of the time by your posts, Dozie, I'd consider it a bit of an honor if you claimed I had no idea what sthg was."

Actually, if you were able to read carefully, you would realize that my response was to Carrie (see comment 6). You have long been confused about Catholic theology; you seem now to be confusing yourself.

Rhology said...

Yes, I knew you were responding to Carrie. I think Carrie would have no trouble claiming my response as her own.