On the Eve of Tradition
The one specific reality the Catholic Church bases its truth on is tradition. Without it we would find ourselves searching for an absolute guide to understand the teaching of Jesus after 2,000 years. Sacred Scripture has been the basis for everything Christians use to relate the ministry of Jesus, from his sacred birth to his Ascension.
However, many protestant denominations have picked and chosen different attitudes within the bible itself and drifted away from the deeper meaning that encompass the entire life of Christ. For instance, the reality of the Annunciation and birth of Jesus is noted deep within the annals of the Infancy narrative and sort of skim over the basic teaching that was prophesied from Isaiah and others. What is missed here is the loss of God’s plan for salvation and can create confusion in the minds of the unlearned.
When someone writes a book or short story they must have a beginning narrative, even if just a sentence, to exemplify the body of the complete narrative to follow. The Infancy narrative about the birth of Jesus does that. It also opens a look from salvation history the very reason with detail why God chose to send His Only Son through the Incarnation. These writers or ministers have chosen to place initial importance of the ministry of Jesus when he appeared to John the Baptist without any semblance of the first 30 years of his life.
It could be a way of ignoring the humanity of Christ which some abstract teachings might not accept that he was God and man. That is what the Incarnation is all about.
“Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture then, are bound closely together and communicate one with the other. For both of them, flowing out from the same divine well-spring, come together in some fashion to form one thing and move towards the same goal. Each of them makes present and fruitful in the Church the mystery of Christ, who promised to remain with his own always to the close of the ages.” (CCC 80).
“Sacred Scripture is the speech of God as it is put down in writing under the breath of the Holy Spirit. And Holy Tradition transmits in its entirety the Word of God which has been entrusted to the apostles by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit. It transmits to the successors of the apostles so that, enlightened by the Spirit of Truth, they may faithfully preserve, expound, and spread it abroad by their preaching.” (CCC 81).
“As a result the Church, to whom the transmission and interpretation of Revelation is entrusted, does not derive her certainty about all revealed truths from the holy Scriptures alone. Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honored with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence.” (CCC 82).
Of course, there are many divided Christian communities who do not accept Catholic teaching, as can be seen through the Reformation begun by Luther, and the refusal to accept the Papacy, and many other dogmas of the Church. The real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, our devotion the the Blessed Virgin Mary, and approval of so many saints and martyrs that are our heroes in their deaths to Jesus Christ.
Watch some protestant ministers who usually will by-pass specific instances of the Catholic faith. Rarely will they go much further than the birth of Jesus without mentioning Mary’s annunciation, the visitation, the presentation to the finding of Jesus in the temple conversing with the learned teachers. They might mention the multiplication of the loaves and fishes from John but fail to show it is the precursor to our Eucharist. Since they do not believe our adherence to the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist the connection to John chapter 6 means little to them.
When asked by protestants why we as Catholics are so strict in our beliefs, explaining to them the Traditions are just as valid as Sacred Scripture, the dialogue will end and there is no more discussion. They are too embedded in their beliefs and will not accept Catholicism and its traditions.
Ralph B. Hathaway, Traditions of the Catholic Church