IS THERE MORE TO IT THAN JUST THE BIBLE?
Protestants claim the Bible is the only rule of faith, meaning that it contains all of the material one needs for theology and that this material is so sufficiently clear that one does not need apostolic tradition or the Church’s magisterium (teaching authority) to help one understand it. In the Protestant view, the whole of Christian truth is found within the Bible’s pages. Anything outside the Bible is simply non-authoritative, unnecessary, or wrong—and may well hinder one in coming to God.
The Role of the Church is to correctly explain the Bible
Catholics, on the other hand, recognize that the Bible does not endorse this view and that, in fact, it is repudiated in Scripture. The true "rule of faith"—as expressed in the Bible itself—is Scripture plus apostolic tradition, as manifested in the living teaching authority of the Catholic Church, to which were entrusted the oral teachings of Jesus and the apostles, along with the authority to interpret Scripture correctly.
The Bible does not contain ALL that Jesus taught!
St. John the Evangelist, that beloved apostle of Jesus, wrote at the end of his gospel: "But there are also many other things which Jesus did which, if they were written every one, the world itself. I think, would not be able to contain the books that should be written" (John 21:25). Therefore all that Jesus said or did is not recorded in the Bible. In fact, can you for one second believe that 33 years of life—of which around 3 years were spent in His public ministry—are totally contained in the writings of the Evangelists? Of course not! The Gospel accounts of what Jesus said and did can read be read in a few hours at the most! So do we have any other record of what Jesus said and did? Yes! Through Tradition! St. Paul writes: "stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter" (2 Thess. 2:15). Tell me! How do you know and recall what your parents have said and done? Did they write it down for you, or just say it to you? The source of most of our knowledge of our parents, family and friends, is not written down, but oral! And it holds authority, doesn't it?
Hence there exists a close connection and communication between sacred Tradition and sacred Scripture. For both of them, flowing from the same divine wellspring, in a certain way merge into a unity and tend toward the same end. For sacred Scripture is the word of God inasmuch as it is consigned to writing under the inspiration of the divine Spirit. To the successors of the apostles, sacred Tradition hands on in its full purity God’s word, which was entrusted to the apostles by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit.
Thus, by the light of the Spirit of truth, these successors can in their preaching preserve this word of God faithfully, explain it, and make it more widely known. Consequently it is not from sacred Scripture alone that the Church draws her certainty about everything which has been revealed. Therefore both sacred Tradition and sacred Scripture are to be accepted and venerated with the same devotion and reverence.
The Bible denies that it is, by itself, sufficient as the complete rule of faith. Paul says that much Christian teaching is to be found in the Tradition which is handed down by word of mouth (2 Tim. 2:2). He instructs us to "stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter" (2 Thess. 2:15).
Teaching by Preaching!
This oral teaching was accepted by Christians, just as they accepted the written teaching that came to them later. Jesus told his disciples: "He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me" (Luke 10:16). The Church, in the persons of the apostles, was given the authority to teach by Christ; the Church would be his representative. He commissioned them, saying, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations" (Matt. 28:19).
And how was this to be done? By preaching, by oral instruction: "So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes by the preaching of Christ" (Rom. 10:17). The Church would always be the living teacher. It is a mistake to limit "Christ’s word" to the written word only or to suggest that all his teachings were reduced to writing. The Bible nowhere supports either notion.
Further, it is clear that the oral teaching of Christ would last until the end of time. "’But the word of the Lord abides for ever.’ That word is the good news which was preached to you" (1 Pet. 1:25). Note that the word has been "preached"—that is, communicated orally. This would endure. It would not be supplanted by a written record like the Bible (supplemented, yes, but not supplanted), and would continue to have its own authority.
This is made clear when the apostle Paul tells Timothy: "[W]hat you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also" (2 Tim. 2:2). Here we see the first few links in the chain of apostolic tradition that has been passed down intact from the apostles to our own day. Paul instructed Timothy to pass on the oral teachings (traditions) that he had received from the apostle. He was to give these to men who would be able to teach others, thus perpetuating the chain. Paul gave this instruction not long before his death (2 Tim. 4:6–8), as a reminder to Timothy of how he should conduct his ministry.
WHAT IS TRADITION? WHAT IS
A TRADITIONAL CATHOLIC?
Tradition goes back way beyond Vatican II
The modern day Catholic has little or no notion of tradition. In fact, for the modern mind, Tradition can be seen as a draconian restraint, a shackling, or a "party-pooper." For the Liberal mind, tradition is a dangerous thing about which one must be selective–take what pleases you and leave behind what doesn't! Many refuse to look back any further than Vatican II–because, for them, that is where Tradition begins–but it is merely a modern tradition.
It is important to keep in mind what the Catholic Church means by Tradition. The term does not refer to legends or mythological accounts, nor does it include passing customs or practices which may change, as circumstances warrant, such as styles of priestly dress, particular forms of devotion to saints, or even liturgical rubrics. Sacred or Apostolic Tradition consists of the teachings that the apostles passed on orally through their preaching. These teachings largely (perhaps entirely) overlap with those contained in Scripture, but the mode of their transmission is different. Scripture is the written word, Tradition is the spoken word.
This Apostolic Tradition has been handed down and entrusted to the Church. It is necessary that Christians believe in and follow this Tradition as well as the Bible (Luke 10:16). The truth of the faith has been given primarily to the leaders of the Church (Eph. 3:5), who, with Christ, form the foundation of the Church (Eph. 2:20). The Church has been guided by the Holy Spirit, who protects this teaching from corruption (John 14:25-26, 16:13).
Therefore, the traditional Catholic does not spurn or reject Apostolic Tradition, nor the age-old, perennial teachings of the Church in favor of more modern and often contradictory teachings of today's Liberal Church. The traditional Catholic does not "buy into" the theory that "all change is good" or that "there is no progress without change." Change, as experience shows, is not always "a change for the better," but it can be (and is in the modern Church) "a change for the worse."
Handing on the faith by word of mouth
Paul illustrated what Tradition is: "For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures. . . . Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed" (1 Cor. 15:3,11). The apostle praised those who followed Tradition: "I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I have delivered them to you" (1 Cor. 11:2).
The first Christians "devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching" (Acts 2:42) long before there was a New Testament. From the very beginning, the fullness of Christian teaching was found in the Church as the living embodiment of Christ, not in a book. The teaching Church, with its oral, Apostolic Tradition, was authoritative.
Not all traditions are the same
Some say Jesus condemned Tradition. They note that Jesus said, "And why do you transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?" (Matt. 15:3). Paul warned, "See to it that no one makes a prey of you by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ" (Col. 2:8). But these verses merely condemn erroneous human traditions, not truths which were handed down orally and entrusted to the Church by the apostles. These latter truths are part of what is known as Apostolic Tradition, which is to be distinguished from human traditions or customs.
Of these, Paul writes, repeating the same thought twice: "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema. As we said before, so now I say again: If any one preach to you a gospel, besides that which you have received, let him be anathema" (Gal. 1:8-9). Today's modern Liberal Catholic is that false "angel from heaven" that preaches a doctrine that is different to the doctrine of old, the Traditional doctrine. That is why they should be anathematized, that is to say, cast out of our presence–before they contaminate us with their Liberalism. For they preach a gospel that is different in many areas to the gospel preached by St. Paul. They have established "traditions" that work against the mind and will of God.
The "commandments of men" ~ The commandments of modern day Liberal men!
Consider Matthew 15:6–9, which says: "So by these traditions of yours you have made God’s laws ineffectual. You hypocrites, it was a true prophecy that Isaiah made of you, when he said, ‘This people does me honor with its lips, but its heart is far from me. Their worship is in vain, for the doctrines they teach are the commandments of men.’"
Today, Liberalism is a modern day hypocrisy and disease that infests most of the Church with its man-made laws that are making religion more and more ineffectual. Sure there is a lot of lip service toward God, but how many believe and do all the things that God has commanded us to do? "Going therefore, teach ye all nations: baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you" (Matt. 28:19-20)
Look closely at what Jesus said. He was not condemning all traditions. He condemned only those that made God’s word void. Those man-made traditions that hindered God's work, watered-down His desires, derailed His will. We see one example of this with the Pharisees feigning the dedication of their goods to the Temple so they could avoid using them to support their aged parents. By doing this, they dodged the commandment to "Honor your father and your mother" (Ex. 20:12). Another case is seen concerning the traditions of buying and selling in the Temple, where the material had taken precedence over the supernatural. Our Lord overturns the tables and drives the money lenders from the Temple, saying: "It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but you have made it a den of thieves" (Matt. 21:13).
Elsewhere, Jesus instructed his followers to abide by traditions that are not contrary to God’s commandments. "The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; so practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice" (Matt. 23:2–3).
So what do we believe?......
So then, what is that we believe? We believe that which the Church has always taught! We do not tamper with the Truth as many moderns do! We do not alter the Truth to please the crowd! Truth is one and truth cannot change! It can be better explained, it can be better understood, but it cannot change, just as God cannot change–and God is the Truth, as Jesus Himself said: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father, but by me" (John 14:6). We have the truth, we hold fast to the truth, we love the truth, we preach the truth, and we lead you to the truth!