Why does the Catholic Church base some of her doctrines on tradition instead of basing them all on the Bible? Did Christ not tell the Pharisees that in holding to tradition they were transgressing the commandment of God? (Matt. 15:3, Mark 7:9).
Observe that in the Bible there are two kinds of religious tradition – human and divine. Observe that when Christ accused the Pharisees He was referring to “precepts of men” (Mark 7:7), to their human traditions. Christ wanted divine tradition preserved and honored because He made it part and parcel of the Christian deposit of faith – as the Apostle Paul affirmed: “Stand fast; and hold the traditions which you have learned, whether by word, or by our epistle.” (2 Thess. 2:14. Also see 2 Thess. 3:6). This divine tradition to which Paul refers – this revealed truth which was handed down by word rather than by letter – is the tradition upon which, along with Sacred Scripture, the Catholic Church bases her tenets of faith – as the primitive Christian Fathers affirmed. Wrote St. Augustine: “These traditions of the Christian name, therefore, so numerous, so powerful, and most dear, justly keep a believing man in the Catholic Church.” The New Testament itself is a product of Christian tradition. Nowhere in the New Testament is there any mention of a New Testament.
Author: Paul Whitcomb
Nihil Obstat: Rev. Edmund J. Bradley Censor Deputatus
Imprimatur: Timothy Manning, Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles, Vicar General
April 13, 1961