Help me understand sacred tradition

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Mom23's picture
Help me understand sacred tradition

I’m trying to get a handle on the whole idea of sacred tradition in the Catholic church. Does it precede the Bible? To Catholics, which one would be the most authoritative answer for any specific question where there might be a difference of opinion? Does anyone know the official viewpoint on this? Thanks!

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David Killens's picture
I am sure many atheist are ex

I am sure many atheist are ex-catholics, and can offer an insight.

But I suggest you consider contacting Mrs. Paul Owczarek, a practicing roman catholic, and a sane and reasonable person. She frequents the "Debate Room", is a theist and unable to access this "Atheist Hub".

I am sure the responses will pour in, but it may serve you well to also post this question in "Debate Room". I always believe that when one has a question it is best to go to the source, get first-hand information.

David Killens's picture
Oh, oh oh oh, I apologize.

Oh, oh oh oh, I apologize.

But I extend a warm welcome to Atheist Republic, where us godless sinner heathens are chastised by the theists and we return the compliment by throwing poo (little humor there).

watchman's picture


My understanding is that the Bible trumps all other authorities...…. coming as it is supposed to ,straight from the horses mouth ,so to speak....

However …. the Catholic concept of "Papal infallibility" ……. puts a few "kinks" in that …… thus for generations the concept of purgatory was inflicted on the faithful sometime around the 12th century … and was held until the 20th century.

The concept of "Church tradition" seems to cme into play anytime there arises a matter that it become "convenient" for the church to have a position on but a position that cannot be supported by scripture ….. so basically its a get out of jail free card for use against any smart Alec who asks importunate questions...…

IE Why does the Catholic church claim supremacy over other churches in the western tradition?.....
Answer.... because it was "founded" by saint Peter.....
further question..... What evidence /,proof is there for this idea ? ……
Answer ….Absolutely none.....but it is Church Tradition...… now go away and stop asking questions.

Get the idea...…. and there is a surprising amount of stuff that comes under "Church Tradition"... Eating fish on Fridays is another "Tradition".....

Any way the concept is supposed to represent an oral transmission of church law that some how never made it to the actual holy books....

dogalmighty's picture
As posted in your other

As posted in your other thread in the debate forum...

Well, you see, woo woo magic is funny...whatever seems to illicit the most favorable emotion in the masses, becomes and is, tradition. Look no further than Yul, the scandanavian pagan celebration that was adopted by the romans and religions, due to its popularity among the masses, now known as christmas...which in true origin has zero to do with present reason for celebration. Also easter is another good example. Its pagan origins rooted in ancient germanic belief in the goddess of spring, Eostre. So really, religious tradition is rooted in woo woo'ness, as woo woo doctrine is invented to meet popularity.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
Duplicate Post from Forum

Duplicate Post from Forum thread:

@ MOM 23

Sacred Authority in the Roman(Latin Rite, Catholic) Churches.

In Catholic hierarchy the final arbiter of the dogma is the Pope. Purported to be an unbroken succession of men leading the Pauline church from Simon Peter (Peter) in the mid 1st Century.
This of course is entirely bollocks. and can be proven so in a matter of minutes with a quick study of history.

In practice the authority lies in a group called the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith it used to be called Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition which should be enough to send chills down your spine.

"Founded by Pope Paul III in 1542, the congregation's sole objective is to "spread sound Catholic doctrine and defend those points of Christian tradition which seem in danger because of new and unacceptable doctrines." Its headquarters are at the Palace of the Holy Office, just outside Vatican City. The congregation employs an advisory board including cardinals, bishops, priests, lay theologians, and canon lawyers. The current Prefect is Cardinal Luis Ladaria Ferrer, who was appointed by Pope Francis for a five-year term beginning July 2017".Wiki

Your second part: do the Catholics claim that their authority precedes the bible? Complicated question!
Well the bible you most probably use in your daily rituals was pronounced the definitive version 1n 1949 from a new translation in the 1930's of the Greek texts (none older than the 3rd century CE).
The oldest complete bible (Codex) we have is dated to the early 4th century. (see Codex Sinaia)

"the bible" is a collection of texts approved by the Roman church after 492CE and has been radically changed ever since then, so it really is an impossible question you asked.

Before then each church used a text or collection of texts that they wanted to consider authentic. There were many different sects an ways of worship. The sect that became the most powerful and took over much of the Christian World was the Latin (pauline) tradition that systematically destroyed as much of the other surviving traditions as possible.

What I suspect you want to ask: "is the Apostolic Tradition and Authority of the Catholic Church upheld in the early christian texts?"

Well no, in the texts there are no mentions of such a thing, and there is absolutely no evidence for the existence of a "Peter" aka "Simon Peter" or "Cephas" at all historically. He is not mentioned anywhere outside of the bible.

In fact the biblical texts we have mention 72 Apostles, but each gospel disagrees on their names, origins and authority.

As a side note Papal Infallibility was not a "thing" until about the 1870's, when it became official dogma. Unofficially and with no biblical support it had been considered "true" since the Middle Ages, but like most dogmas it is a political thing, about power not truth.

elphidium55's picture
As a former Roman Catholic, I

As a former Roman Catholic, I believe I can provide a fairly objective answer as to how Catholics see sacred tradition. For Catholics, the sacred is conveyed through scripture, the writings of early church thinkers, liturgy, sacraments, religious communites, prayer, practices and dogma. What unites all these notions is the idea of church as an ongoing social reality with a commission to bear witness to the truths of the gospel.

It is this social notion of faith which contrasts with some of the more individualized Protestant notions of christianity. Catholics are called to think for the church while at the same time thinking with the church. The notion of a fundamental opposition between personal faith and sacred tradition is a nonsequiter for Catholics. And because Catholic traditions are built on this broad base, the interplay between the various strands is complicted and not always consistent.

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