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St. Michael Essay

618 words - 3 pages

The Catholic church does not restrict divine revelation to biblical text alone. Against the Protestant Reformations slogan “scripture alone,” the Catholic Church engendered and insisted on “Scripture and Tradition”. The term “Tradition” apperceives the fact that the living authenticity of the Catholic Church has the task of preserving the Gospel and applying it to incipient situations. Catholicism is not simply a “religion of the book”.

While acknowledging the twofold authenticity of scripture and tradition, Catholic theologians have long debated the precise cognation between the two. One way of approaching the quandary was to surmise that Scripture and tradition consisted of two separate sources of divine revelation. The Second Vatican Council abnegated this view in the second chapter of its Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation (Dei verbum 10): " Sacred tradition and sacred Scripture make up a single sacred deposit of the ...view middle of the document...

Sacred Scripture is the speech of God as it is put down in writing under the breath of the Holy Spirit. And Tradition transmits in its entirety the Word of God which has been entrusted to the apostles by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit.

The same paragraph rejects the "Scripture alone" principle and preserves the Catholic approach of "Scripture and tradition" by insisting that the Church does not draw certainty about all revealed truths from the holy Scripture alone. Hence, both Scripture and tradition must be accepted and venerated. without endorsing any one theological approach to their cognation, the council repudiated the opinion of those who wished to keep two separate.

The same tension appears when the Dogmatic Constitution addresses the issue of authoritative interpretation of the Scriptures in Dei verbum 10:

...the task of giving an authentic interpretation of the Word of God, whether in its written form or in the form of Tradition, has been entrusted to the living teaching office of the Church alone. Its authority in this matter is exercised in the Word of God, but is its servant. It teaches only what has been handed on it. At the divine command and with the help of the Holy Spirit, it listens to this devotedly, guards it with dedication and expounds it faithfully. All that it proposes for belief as being divinely revealed is drawn from this single deposit of faith.

On the one hand, this verbal expression entrusts authentic interpretation to the magisterium (the bishops with the pope). On the other hand, it insists that the magisterium is the auxiliary of divine revelation and can only edify what is drawn from the single deposit of faith constituted by divine revelation.

The precise cognation between Scripture and tradition remains a quandary. As a "pastoral" council, Vatican II evaded becoming an arbiter of theological disputes. Its insistance on the oneness of Scripture and tradition, however, did have a pastoral dimension. While not conceding to the "Scripture alone" position, it insisted that the Bible take again its rightful place in the center of Catholic life and that appeals to tradition be judges according to their consistency with Scripture.

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