Sunday, January 20, 2008

Unity and tradition.

“[Jews, Protestants and Catholics] may not be able to meet in the same pew—would to God we did—but we can meet on our knees.” Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

That being said...

TRADITION, without Holy Scripture, Old or
New, sufficed for years, and could still suffice.
But HOLY SCRIPTURE has never sufficed by itself ;
it always stood in need of TRADITION. For
it is only by Tradition that we learn that Holy
Scripture is an inspired book. It is only Tradition
that can give with authority and certainty
the right meaning of Holy Scripture. Without
Tradition the Holy Scripture may be made to
speak in many discordant ways, thus destroying
its authority altogether.
To use an illustration: a Court of a never-
interrupted Body of Judges might by the help
of a living, well-known, and well-established
Tradition of orally enacted laws suffice for the
guidance and welfare of a people, but no code
of written laws could suffice without a court to
testify to the genuine nature of them, to their
being still in vigour, and to give with authority
the right meaning of them in all cases of dispute.
St. Irenseus testifies that in his time many
nations had salvation written in their own
hearts without paper and ink, and were diligently
guarding the ancient TRADITION. (Book
iii. chap, iv.)
After TRADITION had been in full and successful
operation for some years, God added the
written Word, but it was not for the purpose
of superseding Tradition itself, a thing which
neither our Lord nor His Apostles ever said; but it was rather to strengthen Tradition itself ;
for in tins very Written Word He left recorded
repeatedly and forcibly, as we have already seen,
that Tradition or the successive oral teaching of
the Body of Teachers instituted and empowered
by Himself for that purpose, was to have its
full authority and vigour whilst there existed a
Nation, or even one creature to be taught; that
is, until the end of the world.
Hence the ancient and successive Fathers of
the Church always recognised the necessity of
OF GOD, in order to confute Heresies, to settle
controversies about Religion, and to establish
with authority and certainty what, according to
the Revelation of God, we ought to believe and
to do in order to be saved.
It was the intimate conviction of the Fathers
of the Church that the WRITTEN WORD OF GOD
by itself, without the help of TRADITION, would
always leave disputes unsettled, points of belief
and morals undetermined, and Christianity a
problem unsolved.
(source: Catholic belief By Joseph Faà Di Bruno)

Until Christian denominations are willing to offer "give" on the topic of tradition and the early Church fathers, we will be at a standstill with Christian unity. There are traditions in the protestant denominations whether or not they admit such things(hymns, worship, altar calls, etc). The Word did not precede tradition. A nation without a governance cannot hold up it's laws. Once the governing body has left it's post, people will do what they want with every man for himself. This is why as churches break away from one another, they mutate and change doctrine and interpretation. Why would our all-knowing God want splintered beliefs and teachings that no longer reflect the early church or it's fathers? Jesus did not come to teach "if you disagree, start your own church with whatever you feel comfortable doing."
I thank God everyday for my faith that has authority, continuity and structure. There is truly no grey matter. As I knelt at Mass today, I thought how still and at peace my boys are(every week actually). It is because the extraordinary rite is both predictable and supernatural. I think it sums up the bigger picture of the Catholic Church. For the same reason my autistic boys are still, my heart lies with the Church, the Mass and the promises of the faith. These things are the same, predictable and often times supernatural and a mystery. I continue to pray that we may be able to unite with our separated brethren. It is discouraging when most do not consider us Christians. Maybe not in my lifetime...

1 comment:

Micki said...

Wow...what a great quote from the always right on F. Sheen. I'm not sure right this minute what his title is now...I think he is in the process of consideration for sainthood.