Catholic Tradition

Many protestants and Christian sects reject Catholic Tradition but with time some of them have admitted some of the traditions – such as Lutherans, Episcopalians and Evangelicals. They are all governed by a certain supreme authority – The Queen of England is the head of the Anglican Church, the King of Prussia was at the head of the Reformed Lutherans, and there is scarcely a non-Catholic denomination in which some sort of ‘board of directors’ is not vested with a supreme authority in its administration. Many denominations reject all Catholic Traditions on the grounds that they are subject to corruption. When any doctrine, they claim, is carried on for generations – from father to son – necessarily so many legends and myths arise that little truth is left.

This is an affirmation on their part that the Church is not infallible. What, according to them, happened to the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete? Had they believed that the Church is infallible, they would not have forgotten so soon the assistance promised to the Church by Christ.

They forgot that, strictly speaking, all Revelation, whether contained in the Scriptures or in other documents, on monuments, on the walls of the catacombs, in usages, and so on, were all written down and transmitted to posterity. The Apostles wrote that part of Revelation which is contained in the Scriptures, while their disciples wrote what the Apostles preached, taught or instituted in the Church, but which had not been written by the Apostles.

It is a mistake to speak only of an oral tradition carried on from generation to generation through the help of word of mouth. For Tradition, in the first place, is not ‘oral’ in the sense that it is maintained and propagated ‘only’ through man’s lips. It is oral in the sense that in the beginning it was received by the Faithful from the Apostles themselves, not in writing, but through their preaching, teaching or institutions, established in the Church by the same Apostles. What the apostles did not write, but preached, taught or instituted, was afterwards written by their immediate disciples, and sometimes by the disciples of these immediate Apostolic disciples (the Church Fathers). Therefore Tradition is ‘oral’ not in the sense that it was never written, but in the sense that ‘what in the beginning was not written’ by the inspired authors was written ‘afterwards’ by their disciples. What the disciples heard or were taught by the Apostles and not committed to the Scriptures, they afterwards laid down in writing. Tradition is ‘oral’ as distinguished from that part of Revelation which was written by the Apostles – namely, Scripture. For what the Apostolic disciples afterwards wrote, as heard, learned or as instituted by the Apostles, is what we call, properly speaking, Tradition.

The Apostles, who were the ‘ancients’ and legislators of the Church, instituted certain days of the week or certain seasons of the year as time of penance, of joy or of rest, to be observed by all. Abstinence from meat on Friday, fasting in Lent, the Sunday observance instead of Saturday, Easter Joys, the ceremonies of Holy Mass, etc., were instituted by the Apostles as a help to the Christian to save his soul and as an ornament to divine worship. All these things were a part of the routine of the Church. All accepted them as a matter of course and as a part of the daily life of the Church. Hence, there was no necessity on their part to write them down – they preached and taught the Faithful what they must do as members of the Church of Jesus Christ. It was therefore natural that what the Apostles did not write, their disciples, in order to refresh their memories, as well as to transmit it to other generations, did write,  according to the warning of St. Paul, ‘to teach others also’ (2 Tim 2:2). ‘Hold the traditions, which you have learned, whether by word, or by our epistle’ (2 Thess 2:14).

Traditions, therefore, according to St. Paul, are of two kinds, written and unwritten. The written are the Scriptures, because tradition means anything that is delivered or transmitted to others. In this case, the Scriptures are traditions, although improperly so called. The unwritten are all those other Traditions which are not contained in the Scriptures, but which, as the Apostle says, his disciples received through his preaching. They are properly called ‘Traditions’.

As both kinds of Traditions – received, as the Apostle says, ‘through my preaching’ (properly called Traditions) ‘and through my Epistle’ (The Scriptures, improperly called Traditions) – come to us from the Apostles, both are to be accepted, both are to be believed, both must be lived up to because, according to the command of the Apostle, we must hold both.

The written Traditions, or the Scriptures, contain the greater part of Revelation. But it is not less true that what the Apostles preached, taught or instituted in the Church, but did not write, are a very important part of the Deposit of Faith. They were written by their disciples.

Therefore, the objection collapses, that Traditions, being oral, become corrupted in the course of time. Tradition, strictly speaking, is not oral. It was only such in its first proclamation. All Traditions have been written, if not by the Apostles, certainly by the  Church. As pastors and doctors, or as writers of the Church, the first Christians wrote what they heard or learned from the Apostles, or what was practiced in the Church. They wrote not as inspired writers, but simply as common teachers or believers who had nothing else in view but to defend and protect the Deposit of Faith. God, in His Providence, induced those men to write, to be witnesses of that Faith which is always old and always new, feeble and still strong. Although written in the documents of old, Tradition is still better written in the hearts of the Faithful and deeply engraved in the religious practices and belief of the Church.

What a presumption it was on the part of the Protestant Reformers (and still is on the part of many Christian denominations and sects) to claim that they knew better than the Fathers what the government and doctrine of the Church had been during the first three centuries! The Fathers were men of great learning and piety. They enlightened the Church and glorified the Faith with their great works. They were the great men of their times, writing first-hand about their contemporaries. And they testify that, besides the Scriptures, which they saved from oblivion and total loss, there is also in the Church another ‘Rule of Faith’ and that is the Church herself, to which Christ and the Apostles delivered the Deposit of Faith.


16 Responses to “Catholic Tradition”

  1. 1 Karinann May 19, 2010 at 17:12

    Thank you for this. Your post demonstrates how Scripture and Sacred Tradition work together to give us the fullness and richness of our faith.
    God Bless!

  2. 2 Marcie May 19, 2010 at 19:35

    Exactly so, Karinann! Even though the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, it is not the only guiding rule of faith. Both the Bible and Apostolic Tradition are the Word of God. Both are important sources for the Faith. The Catholic Church being the Church founded by Christ preserves both from corruption and uses both to teach God’s Word with guidance from the Holy Spirit (Matt 28:16-20; John 16:12-15).

  3. 3 churchmouse May 19, 2010 at 21:11

    The Reformers, particularly Calvin and Luther, cited doctors of the Church extensively in their writings. So, I’m not sure I understand.

    They claimed that the Catholic Church fell away from this early post-Apostolic tradition through various activities which occurred at the time of the Reformation (e.g. the clergy’s sale of indulgences and infrequent reception of Holy Communion by Catholics — once or twice a year). So, it was largely the clergy of their day to whom the Reformers objected.

    They had hoped for an internal Reformation but, seeing that wasn’t possible, separated from the Catholic Church.

    Today, the most common Protestant objection to the Catholic Church revolves around Sola Scriptura, which Calvinists (mainly orthodox Presbyterians) believe is the principal determinant of an orthodox Christian faith. In their eyes, the church which deviates the most from this is the Catholic Church.

    No offence meant, but there have been longstanding debates online about this between Catholics and Calvinists.

    It is interesting that Calvinists actually call themselves Catholics — believing they have recaptured the true Catholic faith from the New Testament through to the first few centuries of the Church.

    Whatever one wishes to think, the primary denominations emanating from the Reformation have not in any way discounted the first few centuries or so of the Christian Church or Church doctors. In fact, they have borrowed from this period and these documents extensively in putting forward a case for a return — Reformation — to the Church of this period.

    Thanks, Gabriella, for the opportunity of a rebuttal. 🙂

  4. 4 andrea May 19, 2010 at 21:58

    Secondo me,però, lutero e i luterani sono,allo stato dei fatti,due cose diverse. Da un punto di vista storico si potrebbe dire che la figura di lutero,grande personaggio, sia stata screditata fin da subito,al di là delle teorie o pensieri teologici,dalle potentissime autorità ecclesiastiche del tempo. Minacciato di morte e perseguitato fino alla disperazione, da una parte,perchè pericolo vivente per le casse della corte papale dell’epoca,dall’altra protetto dai principi tedeschi,che vedevano in lui l’occasione per non mandare più montagne e montagne di denaro a Roma.Lutero fu un ottimo monaco,prima di prendere l’altra direzione. E la chiesa cattolica non è esente da colpe,anche per quanto riguarda lutero. Minacciato continuamente,richiamato più volte(non avrebbe mai rinnegato la sua contrarietà all’acquisto delle indulgenze),nemico pubblico,scomunicato(perchè contrario alle indulgenze),condannato al rogo o ad altre torture,braccato… Immaginiamo di trovarci al suo posto,con tutto il mondo contro… In definitiva,la tradizione cattolica,”per quanto riguarda il suo rapporto di coerenza al vangelo”non è tutta rosa e fiori. Perciò ho sempre ringraziato Dio e lo ringrazierò sempre per aver mandato un uomo come Giovanni Paolo Secondo Il Grande,attraverso cui il Signore ha portato un pò di luce nella Chiesa Universale dopo tanto e tanto buio e scheletri nell’armadio.

  5. 5 Cathy May 19, 2010 at 22:49

    Well written post. Most informative and Spirit filled!!

  6. 6 Antonella May 20, 2010 at 07:59

    Thank you Gabriella for this eye-opener of Traditions and also thank you Churchmouse for your insight. As it is I am sure that the Holy Spirit is very active in making His Church…..One, Holy and Apostolic…….which was Christ’s prayer to His Father..”May they be one in us as you are in me and I am in You”

    Alas, we humans have fragmented the Body of Christ (his Church) !

  7. 7 Gabriella May 20, 2010 at 09:21

    Hi Churchmouse,

    I did follow the online debates and your interesting posts on Calvin a few months ago but let’s put aside all the ‘deep’ thoughts on the matter (which have excellently been elaborated on by minds such as Cardinal Newman, Chesterton, Waugh, etc.) and take the very simple and basic argument:

    As Andrea says above, Luther was not at all ALL WRONG and the Catholic Church had its faults, many, but throughout its history, guided by the Holy Spirit, it has always come out of its mistakes and corrected them (errors that have never touched Catholic doctrine or Dogma or any of the deposit of faith, but things such as Galileo, sale of indulgences, and many more) whether it was thanks to Luther, St. Athanasius or St. Francis or whoever else. Correct the Church, Argue with it (the big fight today is in the hands of the Traditionalists) BUT NEVER LEAVE CHRIST’S CHURCH. It is alive. It is in the hands of the Holy Spirit, it is always one, holy and apostolic and God will be with it up to the end of time, human errors, sins and all.

    Suppose, for the sake of argument, that the Catholic Church should be excluded from the illumination and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, then there should be but ONE great Protestant Church. For the Protestant principle is the same, namely, that everyone who reads or hears the Scriptures is enlightened and inspired by the Holy Spirit. This principle, however, instead of being a bond of union, has proved to be a terrible cleaver, splitting Protestantism into divisions and subdivisions. Every Protestant can be a church in himself and unto himself.

    Recognizing the fallacy of this principle, Luther himself, writing to Zwingli, declared ‘If the world will last much longer, on account of the million different interpretations of the Scriptures that now exist, it will be again necessary to receive the decrees of Councils!’ (Luther, About the Eucharist).

    Fair-minded Protestants are obliged to recognize two Luthers: one before the year 1525, the other after this year. The first Luther, by breaking with the authority of the Church, told the people that every christian is ‘taught of God’ (John 6:45). The second Luther, seeing the great divisions which immediately began to spread within his own ranks, in order to keep some unity and coherency among his followers, declared that ‘the ecclesiastical teaching body, having been instituted by God, has for its source Christ Himself, as well as His mandate and institution’ (In Jorg., p.386). The first Luther was moved by deep rancour towards the Church authorities, the second Luther wavered nervously between the unlimited liberty of the spirit and the severe authority of an authentic teaching ministry (In Jorg., p. 416)

  8. 8 Gabriella May 20, 2010 at 09:59

    Regarding ‘Sola Scriptura’, there are so many ‘real’ arguments against this belief and I can’t very well cover them here. I thought I had written posts about this but can’t find them 😉 Just found which is a Newman quote.

    Revelation is not an earthly knowledge, scientific or philosophical, which one is free to admit or reject. It is a knowledge and belief upon which depends eternal happiness. Hence, the knowledge and belief must be based on absolute truth and without danger of error. But how can man acquire truth without error? By reading the Scriptures, some will say. And if we further ask them: Are all God’s truths contained in the Scriptures? Yes, they will insist. We must not believe whatever is not found in the Scriptures: ‘Search the Scriptures’ (John 5:39). But does the mere reading of the Scriptures lead us to the true knowledge of Faith? In the first 1500 years of Christianity, reading and writing was a blessing confined to only a few. Even today many are illiterate. How are they to be saved? By teachers and pastors explaining the written word. In fact, how can one learn and judge all Christian truths without responsible teachers and without danger of error? But when these teachers and pastors disagree about the most fundamental truths, who would be able to settle their controversies – and settle them without error once and for all? What one person affirms, another denies.

    It’s funny how protestants separated themselves from the Church and rejected its authority on the grounds that the Bible and the Bible only is the Rule of Faith, without any other outside authory. Private judgment, according to them, is the supreme authority on all matters of Religion BUT still they are forced to admit that they need the help of preachers or of others well versed in the Bible – but never of the Church! What does that mean? Nothing, except that a great blunder has been committed in the past. One precipice leads to another. Whole nations rebelled against the living voice of the infallible Church, only to have recourse to other living but fallible voices. Is it any wonder that those same nations are now giving up Bible, preachers and Religion?

  9. 9 Cinzia May 21, 2010 at 12:03

    Well done Gabriella!! What a comprehensive response.

    In my simple not-so-educated mind, I couldn’t put things in writing the way you do, but it is so clear to me that there MUST be something wrong with the protestant churches. ALL of them! As you rightly say, if Protestantism was right, there would be only ONE protestant church. Not millions.

    Which one to believe? Which one teaches the right things? Follows Christ 100% with no deviations? Imagine if one had to wade through them all to find one that speaks the TRUTH! What a mind-boggling feat. Impossible.

    Protestants for the most part, I think, go around shopping for the church that best suits their beliefs, lifestyles, whims and whatever else …. you name it, they’ve got it!

    For me, all of these protestant churches, sects, branches and what have you, are the biggest and most sound PROOF that the Catholic Church is the Church instituted by Christ – One, Holy, Apostolic and Catholic (Universal). It is guided by the Holy Spirit and is infallible. 2000 years of it have proven this beyond a shadow of a doubt.

    Evviva la Chiesa! Una, Santa, Cattolica e Apostolica.

    If someone sees that people are doing wrong things within the Church, one should try and straighten them out (like St Catherine of Siena did) – and NOT detach themselves from the one true church and go off and create a new one ….

    Thanks for a superbly put post. I can’t imagine how anyone could have anything to argue against what you write and what you quote.

  10. 10 Davide May 21, 2010 at 17:05

    Wow!! Great response. I agree with everything said by Gabriella and Cinzia. When I look into the different protestant religions and their innumerable divisions I am always reminded of Our Lord’s message, “You will know them by their fruits (Mat 7:16).”

  11. 11 vintage piece March 29, 2013 at 16:20

    Very energetic blog, I loved that a lot. Will there be a part 2?

  1. 1 Tweets that mention Catholic Tradition « Gabriella's Blog -- Trackback on May 19, 2010 at 17:04
  2. 2 Catholic Tradition « Gabriella's Blog - Christian IBD Trackback on May 19, 2010 at 17:21
  3. 3 Fabulous 50 at NCC | NHL focus Trackback on May 20, 2010 at 01:37
  4. 4 TRANSCRIPT: After Guilty Verdict a Plea of Innocence, Is Pedophile … | Educational Wisconsin Trackback on May 20, 2010 at 07:37
  5. 5 Lau Family Hung Gar kung Fu, London-工字伏虎拳 | chinese martial arts Trackback on May 21, 2010 at 00:05

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Traduci / Translate

My Patron Saint

Archangel Gabriel

God's Messenger

Another beautiful day! Praise the Lord.

May 2010
« Apr   Jan »


The most beautiful thing this side of heaven!


e-campagna: Io sto con il Papa


Dopo due millenni di studi, di ricerche e di esplorazioni scientifiche, la genesi del canto gregoriano resta un mistero irrisolto



The story of our salvation!

Blog Stats

  • 149,415 hits


Visitor locations – first year

Visitor locations – current year


INDIFFERENTISM is a mortal sin; a condemned heresy. That's the Catholic view of the matter. INDIFFERENTISM paves the way to MORAL RELATIVISM. I have been accused of the opposite of ‘Indifferentism’, which is defined as ‘Rigorism’, and the charge is not without some merit. I believe in a rigorous following of Church doctrine and in strict accuracy in proper Catholic catechesis, and I openly attack watered-down Catholic doctrine and catechesis whenever and wherever I encounter it. Many friends scold me saying that for me it’s either my way or the highway. But here’s the thing … it’s not my way; I didn’t make up all (or any of) the rules of Catholicism. I’ve been told “you’re too rigid in your doctrine,” as if it were my doctrine. When it comes to Catholic catechesis, there is only one Church teaching, and it is represented in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. I’m prepared to defend any item in it, against any opponent. I draw the line at ‘indifferentism’ and ‘moral relativism’. All belief systems are not the same. The ones who push it the most are the ones who seek to replace it with something less. Again, indifferentism paves the way to moral decay. Don’t let it seep into your thinking. May you please God, and may you live forever.

“Oremus pro beatissimo Papa nostro Benedicto XVI: Dominus conservet eum, et vivificet eum, et beatum faciat eum in terra, et non tradat eum in animam inimicorum eius.”

Powered by WebRing®.
This site is a member of WebRing.
To browse visit Here.
Catholic Blogs Page

Italian Bloggers
Religion Blogs

Don't consider abortion ...

... give a child the chance to tell you how much life is appreciated

WARNING!!! This blog is heretic repellent ...




The Catholic Church doesn’t need progressives, Nor does it need Reactionary Conservatives - It badly needs Catholic Traditionalists that practice faith, hope and charity. So don’t be shy! Come forward.

“When Christ at a symbolic moment was establishing His great society, He chose for its corner-stone neither the brilliant Paul nor the mystic John, but a shuffler, a snob, a coward - in a word, a man. And upon this rock He has built His Church, and the gates of Hell have not prevailed and will not prevail against it. All the empires and the kingdoms have failed because of this inherent and continual weakness, that they were founded by strong men and upon strong men. But this one thing - the historic Catholic Church - was founded upon a weak man, and for that reason it is indestructible. For no chain is stronger than its weakest link.”
(G.K. Chesterton)

Anno Sacerdotale

Pope Benedict XVI has declared a “Year for Priests” beginning with the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on June 19, 2009. The year will conclude in Rome with an international gathering of priests with the Holy Father on June 19, 2010.

Quest'anno sia anche un'occasione per un periodo di intenso approfondimento dell'identità sacerdotale, della teologia del sacerdozio cattolico e del senso straordinario della vocazione e della missione dei sacerdoti nella Chiesa e nella società.

Let your light so shine before men that, seeing your good works, they may glorify your Father in Heaven. (Matthew 5:16)

In Domino laudabitur anima mea.

"That sense of the sacred dogmas is to be faithfully kept which Holy Mother Church has once declared, and is not to be departed from under the specious pretext of a more profound understanding."- Pope Leo XIII, Testem Benevolentiae

Nessuno di noi entrerà in Paradiso senza portare con sé un fratello o una sorella. Ciascuno di noi deve uscire dalla folla e reggersi sulle proprie gambe, fiero di essere un Cattolico e capace di testimoniare la sua Fede.
Ci stiamo comportando come se la Fede Cattolica fosse un affare privato. Questo non è affatto vero. Penso che potremo andare molto, molto lontano, se riusciremo a convincere tutti i Cattolici a farsi carico della salvezza del mondo intero.
Il mondo ha bisogno di essere salvato e deve essere ciascuno di noi a farlo.

Cantate …

Cantate Domino canticum novum. Cantate Domino omnis terra. Cantate Domino et benedicite nomini Ejus. Annuntiate de die in diem salutare Ejus.

Causa nostrae laetitiae

“We can believe what we choose. We are answerable for what we choose to believe”.
(John Henry Newman)

Pueris manus imponit

Iesus vero ait eis - Sinite parvulos, et nolite eos prohibere ad me venire - talium est enim regnum caelorum.

“There is another essential aspect of Christianity: the interior, the silent, the contemplative, in which hidden wisdom is more important than practical organizational science, and in which love replaces the will to get visible results”.
(Thomas Merton)

Lo Spirito Santo

Uno dei Suoi nomi è "Consolatore"!


Confession heals, confession justifies, confession grants pardon of sin. All hope consists in confession. In confession there is a chance for mercy. Believe it firmly. Do not doubt, do not hesitate, never despair of the mercy of God. Hope and have confidence in confession.

“Almeno sei volte durante gli ultimi anni mi sono trovato nella situazione di convertirmi senza esitazione al cattolicesimo, se non mi avesse trattenuto dal compiere il gesto azzardato l'averlo già fatto”.
(G.K. Chesterton)

"Whatsoever I have or hold, You have given me; I give it all back to You and surrender it wholly to be governed by your will. Give me only your love and your grace, and I am rich enough and ask for nothing more."

(St. Ignatius of Loyola - Spiritual Exercises, #234)

"Mia madre è stata veramente una martire; non a tutti Gesù concede di percorrere una strada così facile, per arrivare ai suoi grandi doni, come ha concesso a mio fratello e a me, dandoci una madre che si uccise con la fatica e le preoccupazioni per assicurarsi che noi crescessimo nella fede".
J.R.R. Tolkien scrisse queste parole nove anni dopo la morte di sua madre.

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. (1 Corinthians 16:13)

“Beati sarete voi quando vi oltraggeranno e perseguiteranno, e falsamente diranno di voi ogni male per cagion mia. Rallegratevi ed esultate perché grande è la vostra ricompensa nei cieli”.