The deceit of the Evil One in his plot to destroy Christianity by creating a division led by pride of self-interpretation, have underlined the formation of particular groups of Christian denominations, each adopting a common belief that they should embrace the Bible as their true way of salvation, because the Bible is the Word of GOD.
Jesus gave His authority to the apostles, promising them the Holy Ghost. They spread the faith and established churches, over which they ruled. To aid them in shepherding the flock, they appointed successors. These successors, the presbyters (Sacedos - Priests) and bishops (episcopus) inherited their authority by the gift of the Holy Ghost, received by the laying on of their hands. Now the (depositum fidei) deposit of Faith was recorded in the various letters which we eventually recognized as the Church's inspired Scriptures, that is, the written Word of God which could be read aloud at the liturgical assembly. These successors also ordained successors, and this has continued through this day. These successors, the bishops in union with the successor of St. Peter, the pope, are guided by the Holy Ghost to infallibly teach the very same depositum fidei which was once and for all handed down to the saints. As time goes by, the Church grows in her understanding of doctrines already revealed. When the pope makes a decision about a doctrine which is part of the depositum, intending for that decision to be obeyed by the whole Church, the decision is infallible. In areas not pertaining to doctrines or morals, but to discipline and laws of the Church, the pope is not infallible, but the Catholic is still bound to obey according to a prudential judgment. Jesus has promised that His Church will continue to exist and to teach infallibly until the end of the world.
We shall list 10 reasons why the bible alone theory (Sola Scritura) is not tenable in the least:
1) Sola scripture contradicts itself, because it is not taught in the Sacred Scriptures.
2) Sola scriptura is an example of the logical fallacy of begging the question, in as much as the canonical scriptures never identify what is and what is not Scripture.
3) The Sacred Scriptures teach that oral tradition is a source of revelation.
4) The Sacred Scriptures show the Catholic system of authority.
5 ) The writings of the earliest Christians & Church Fathers show the Catholic system of authority.
6) The legitimate practices of the Jews developed, and the Scriptures were not viewed as an exclusive guide.
7) The Scriptures alone are mute and require and infallible authoritative authority.
8) Sola scriptura was not believed by anybody until the Reformation, and is thus a tradition of man, condemned by our Divine Lord Jesus Christ.
9) The Sacred Scriptures prophesy the rise and growth of the Catholic Church.
10) The various forms of scripture today have gramatical and copying errors which for a Protestant (and Not a Catholic) is a serious problem when it comes to working out the intended meaning for a given text!
We shall expound the above for greater clarification;
When Jesus promised His apostles the Holy Ghost, He told them that they would preach the truth to all peoples. He never said anything to them about writing any scriptures! Jesus never alluded in any way, shape, or form, to the fact that His followers would be bound solely to a book which would later be produced. Jeusus Himself never wrote a word except when he stooped down to write on the floor some words before he would take the defense of woman taken in adultry (John 8:8). The only time Jesus ever commanded anyone to write was when He appeared in a vision to St. John the Apostle and commanded him to write the seven letters which we know as his Apocalypse.
None of the books of the New Testament, with the exception of Apocalypse, ever claim to be inspired. (I agree, however, that in a couple of St. Paul's letters, he makes statements which may imply inspiration.) The biblical letters-supposedly our only authority, never insist that they are the only authority.
In no place do we find that the New Testament expressly tells us that we are limited to the New Testament. For this we need the Church which Christ founded as the imovable rock and instrament of Salvation.
What about the third chapter of II Timothy?
...And because from thy infancy thou bast known the holy scriptures, who can instruct thee to salvation, by the faith which is in Jesus Christ. All scripture, inspired by God, is profitable to teach, to reprove, to correct, to instruct in justice. That the man of God may be perfect, furnished to every good work [II Tim. 3:15-17].
You'll find that in context, this passage is speaking only about the Septuagint Old Testament. The Septuagint is the first translation of the Bible, the Greek translation of the Old Testament made from the Hebrew between 300 and 130 years before Christ. St. Timothy was a Greek Jew, whose Scriptures were the 72 books of the Greek Old Testament. St. Paul speaks of the "holy scriptures" which Timothy had known from his "infancy." Those writings did not include the New Testament because the New Testament did not exist in Timothy's "infancy" and, in fact, would not exist in compiled form for another 300 years.
The Apostle then states that "all [of this] scripture," that is, all 72 of the Books of the Alexandrian Canon (which is identical to the Catholic Old Testament), is "inspired by God, [and] profitable ...." Notice that one word: "profitable." It does not say "sufficient." John Calvin, Thomas Campbell, and Roy Cogdill say "sufficient," but St. Paul says, "profitable." What about Apocalypse 22:18?
For I testify to every one that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book: If any man shall add to these things, God shall add unto him the plagues written in this book [Apoc. 22:18]
Doesn't St. John say not to add to or take away from the Bible?-No, but even if he did, this would not provesola scriptura.
It took 400 years to compile the Bible, and another 1,000 years to invent the printing press. How was the word of God taught until then? Orally!
The New Testament was originally 27 separate letters sent to separate people about various issues. We take for granted that those 27 letters, now conveniently collected into one volume, what we call the New Testament. This leads to a problem for any protestant since there is no passage in any of the 27 letters which states what books belong in the bible! What's is the authority of a Protestant to accept such a thing? To answer the question the protestant has to violate his own rule of "Sola Scriptura" - Bible alone as the answer is not found in the bible! Many of the letters are anonymous. To call St. Matthew the author of Matthew or St. John the author of II John requires one to violate the rule of Sola Scriptura once again.
The Bible never says that Matthew wrote Matthew or that John wrote John, that St. Mark wrote Mark, St. Luke wrote Luke and Acts, that St. John authored I, II, and III John, or that St. Paul composed Hebrews. The only evidence that the traditional authors of the Gospels and Epistles mentioned in the preceding paragraph are Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Paul is Catholic Tradition. The only evidence that the 26 books of the New Testament are inspired, excluding the self-attesting Apocalypse, is the authoritative proclamation of the Catholic Church. The only evidence that only the Old Testament and the 27 letters that are in our New Testament are inspired is the authoritative proclamation of the Catholic Church. That is why its absurd to claim to reject the authority of the Church and yet claim to be following the bible at the same time.
The Catholic Church, after three centuries of thoughtful consideration, canonized the 27 books of the New Testament. Some of them, like Hebrews and the Apocalypse, were considered by some to not belong to it, but the Catholic Church declared otherwise. Other works, like I Clement, the Shepherd of Hernias, the Epistle of Barnabas, the Epistles of Ignatius, etc., which were thought by many to be inspired, were left out. We even decided to leave out St. Paul's Letter to the Laodicians, despite that he mentions it in Colossians 4:16: And when this epistle [to the Colossians] shall have been read with you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodicians; and that you read that which is of the Laodicians (Col. 4:16).
A text that is very pertinant to the issue of Oral Tradition is St. Pauls letter to the Thessalonians were we read: 2Thes 2:15
'Therefore brethren, stand fast, and hold the Traditions which ye have been taught, whether by WORD, or our Epistle'.
Here St. Paul clear and expressly affirms the keeping of those Traditions (Teachings) which have not been written down and which make up part of the deposit of faith. Although it is true that Jesus condemned the Pharisees for the way they treated their traditions. Notice, however, that it was not the fact that they had traditions that was wrong; it was the fact that they were teaching as doctrines what were merely traditions of men: "And in vain do they worship me, teaching doctrines and precepts of men" (Mk. 7:7). There is a distinction between human tradition (we can reject) and apostolic tradition (we must accept). For example in Scripture we read that the early Christians obeyed apostolic tradition (prayers, breaking of bread, etc.) Tradition
Acts 2:42 -
Mark 13:31 - heaven and earth will pass away, but Jesus' Word will not. But Jesus never says anything about His Word being entirely committed to a book. In fact Christ did not command His apostle's to write anything but instead commanded them to preach the word of God (Mark 16:15).
The crime of the Pharisees was that they elevated their own customs, such as hand-washing and Sabbath laws, etc., above the Law of God. In much the same way, they were able to assassinate the Son of God and still think they remained ritually pure. St. Paul condemns in his Epistle to the Galatians anyone who preaches another gospel. 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 (Gal. 1:8).
Searching the Sacred Scriptures, one finds that there are several truths which the apostles believed, and which they assumed everyone believed, which were oral traditions.
The oral traditions, though not part of Scripture, were just as much the Word of God. Here are some examples:St. Matthew relates some early events in the life of Jesus and the Holy Family.And coming he dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was said by the prophet: That he shall be called a Nazarene (Mt. 2:23). In this instance, after fleeing from Herod, the Holy Family comes to dwell in Nazareth. St. Matthew claims that this is a fulfillment of a prophecy. St. Matthew quotes this prophecy as a revealed truth, and acts as if his audience were familiar with it. It is obvious that this prophecy was part of the depositum fidei. Yet, it is a prophecy of oral tradition. Such a prophecy is nowhere in Scripture. The Scriptures are silent, but St. Matthew speaks.
In his second letter to St. Timothy, St. Paul compares the heretics of his day to the ancient Egyptian sorcerers who opposed Moses in front of Pharaoh:Now as Jannes and Mambres resisted Moses, so these also resist the truth, men corrupted in mind, reprobate concerning the faith (II Tim. 3:8).Search the Exodus account where the account of Moses is recorded and you won't find the names "Jannes and Mambres." They are part oral Tradition.
St. Jude's Epistle shows just how hopeless sola scriptura is. In his very short letter, he twice appeals to an oral tradition outside of the Scriptures as if it were revealed by God. In speaking of the heretics of his day, one of his concerns is the lack of honor they paid angels: "In like manner these men also defile the flesh, and despise dominion, and blaspheme majesty" (Jude 1:8).
The Greek text uses the plural for "majesty," which is understood as referring to the angels.In contrast to such heresy, St. Jude relays a story about St. Michael the Archangel:When Michael the archangel, disputing with the devil, contended about the body of Moses, he durst not bring against him the judgment of railing speech, but said: The Lord command thee [i.e., "May the Lord rebuke thee."] (Jude 1:9).
St. Jude seems sure that his audience knows this story well. The cause of the dispute between St. Michael and the devil is not identified, but it is certain the devil wished to make some evil use of the body of Moses. If they did, they didn't learn it from Scripture, but from oral tradition. It is nowhere else recorded in Scripture.St. Paul himself refers to a prophecy which was contained in Oral Tradition and not in written Tradition (the Scriptures).Now of these Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying: Behold, the Lord cometh with thousands of his saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to reprove all the ungodly for all the works of their ungodliness, whereby they have done ungodly, and of all the hard things which ungodly sinners have spoken against God (Dude 1:14,15).This prophecy is not in Scripture, it was handed down from the time of Enoch-generations before Noah-to barely a hundred years before Christ when it was finally recorded in the First Book of Enoch, which is not part of Scripture! Jude quotes directly from I Enoch 1:9. This is oral tradition about which the Canon of Scripture is silent, but about which St. Jude speaks.How could mere men pass along an oral tradition without it being corrupted? They couldn't. It required the guidance of God. Jesus assured his contemporaries that their leaders had, despite all their sins, such a guidance. That's why, in St. Matthew's Gospel, Ch. 23, just before he condemned the deeds of the priests, scribes, and Pharisees, he gave an unqualified approval to their teachings. God saw to it that they taught the truth:Saying: The scribes and the Pharisees have sitten on the chair of Moses.
Again even with regards to the "Seat of Moses"(Moses to Joshua to Sanhedrin - Matt 23:2) Jesus Himself relies on oral tradition as this is not recorded in the Old Testament.
Acts 20:35 - Paul relies on oral tradition of apostles for this statement ("it is better to give than to receive") of Jesus as it is not recorded in the Gospels.
1 Cor. 10:4 - Paul relies on oral tradition of the rock following Moses. It is not recorded in the Old Testament. See Exodus 17:1-17 and Num. 20:2-13.
Eph 5:14 - Paul relies on oral tradition to quote an early Christian hymn - "awake O sleeper rise from the dead and Christ shall give you light."
Heb. 11:37 - author of Hebrews relies on oral tradition of the martyrs being sawed in two. This is not recorded in the Old Testament.
Luke 10:16 - "He who hears you (not "who reads your writings"), hears me." Hence the Oral word of God passes from Jesus to the apostles to their successors.
All things therefore whatsoever they shall say to you, observe and do: but according to their works do ye not. For they say, and do not (Mt. 23:2,3). However a common mistake made by many is to think that they can interpret the scriptures the to their own liking. Yet even St Peter tells us 2 Peter 1:20 " We should be aware before anything else that the prophecies of the Scriptures cannot be interpreted individually . . ."
Luke 24:47 - Jesus explains that repentance and forgiveness of sins must be preached (not written) in Christ's name to all nations.
Acts 2:3-4 - the Holy Spirit came to the apostles in the form of "tongues" of fire so that they would "speak" (not write) the Word.
Acts 15:27 - Judas and Silas, successors to the apostles, were sent to bring God's infallible Word by "word of mouth."
Rom. 10:8 - the Word is near you, on your lips and in your heart, which is the word of faith which is preached (not just written).
2 Tim 4:2,6-7 - Paul, at the end of his life, charges Timothy to preach (not write) the Word. Oral teaching does not die with Paul.
1 Cor. 11:2 & 2 Thess. 3:6 - Paul commends the faithful for maintaining the apostolic tradition that they have received.
Phil. 4:9 - Paul says that what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, do. Another example of apostolic Tradition.
The Scripture are clear that Christ left to his Church the Power to continue his mission of Salvation and of safeguarding the faith (Matt 28:20).
The events which transpired in the land of the Jews in the first
God, who, at sundry times and in divers manners, spoke in times past to the fathers by the prophets, last of all, in these days, bath spoken to us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the world. Who being the brightness of his glory and the figure of his substance and upholding all things by the word of his power, m
Elsewhere, our Divine Lord equates the authority of the apostles with His own and with that of His Father: "He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me, receiveth him that sent me" (Mt. 10:40).
Our Divine Lord appointed St. Peter as head over the other apostles. St. Peter was given responsibility to guide the other apostles. (See our Article on Papal Primacy).
To the apostles, Jesus promised to entrust the depositum fidei.
I have yet many things to say to you: but you cannot bear them now. But when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will teach you all truth. For he shall not speak of himself: but what things soever he shall hear, he shall speak. And the things that are to come, he shall shew you (Jn.16:12,13).
The Holy Spirit came upon the apostles on the day of Pentecost, instilling in them the entire Word of God.
Jesus had commissioned the apostles to "Go ye into the whole world, and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mk. 16:15). So that "all men [could be saved, and to come to knowledge of the truth" (I Tim. 2:4), Jesus granted to the apostles the charism of infallibility. It was not enough for the Holy Spirit to give the apostles the true faith, the depositum fidei, but he would also see to it that the apostles continued to teach the truth without doctrinal or moral error. Said our Blessed Lord:
But the Paraclete, the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring all things to your mind, whatsoever I shall have said to you (Jn. 14:26).
Only if it was assured that the apostles would teach truth would it be possible for Jesus to tell His apostles: "He that receiveth you, receiveth me: and he that receiveth me, receiveth him that sent me" (Mt. 10:40).
The infallibility of St. Peter and other apostles was not the same as impeccability, or sinlessness. The only one who was by nature sinless was Jesus Himself. The Blessed Mother was also without sin, but not by nature. She was preserved from sin by the grace of God, of which she was perfectly full, that she might be worthy to carry the Incarnate God in her womb. The apostles were great men, but still only men. They had the same temptations and weaknesses that all men do. They were not infallible because of their innate holiness. Rather, they were infallible because of a gift of God in spite of their sins.
The apostles spread the Gospel to the nations, sacrificing their lives for the cause of Christ. They preached the whole depositum fidei, so that St. Jude could write:
Dearly beloved, taking all care to write unto you concerning your common salvation, I was under a necessity to write unto you: to beseech you to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3).
From time to time, certain problems arose in the infant Church requiring direct apostolic intervention. When an apostle was unable to come to the aid of the specific local church or churches affected, he wrote an epistle. So that this epistle would be just as reliable as his preaching, God the Holy Spirit inspired the author. The written epistles were to be considered every bit as binding on the Church as the preached word. Both were part of the depositum fidei; both were the Word of God. St. Paul commands: "Therefore, brethren, stand fast; and hold the traditions which you have learned, whether by word, or by our epistle" (II Thess. 2:14). In recent centuries, detractors have made unsubstantiated claims that we are only to follow the traditions taught in "our epistle," i.e., the Scriptures, and not those taught "by word." Others claim that all of the teachings "by word" were eventually recorded in epistles anyway. Both conclusions are not upheld by Scripture, tradition, or history.
The apostles were not alone in spreading the Gospel throughout the world. All Catholics, by virtue of their baptism, share the responsibility of evangelization. Certain men were chosen by the apostles to share in the leadership of the Church. These men were called deacons, presbyters, and bishops. The Greek term "presbuteroi" is translated variously as "presbyter," "elder," and "ancient." It is the etymological origin of the Anglo-Saxon "priest," and is often rendered this way in the Douay-Rheims Bible. "Bishop" is the English translation of "episkopoi," also translated as "overseer." These three orders of successors to the apostles were ordained by the laying on of the apostles' hands and the reception of the Holy Ghost. Deacons are called to a ministry of service.
And in those days, the number of the disciples increasing, there arose a murmuring of the Greeks against the Hebrews, for that their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. Then the twelve calling together the multitude of the disciples, said: It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business ....And the saying was liked by all the multitude. And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith, and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas, a proselyte of Antioch. These they set before the apostles; and they praying, imposed hands upon them (Acts 6:1-3,5,6).
The priests are the delegates of the bishop. They share in governing the Church.
And some coming down from Judea, taught the brethren: That except you be circumcised after the manner of Moses, you cannot be saved. And when Paul and Barnabas had no small contest with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain others of the other side, should go up to the apostles and priests to Jerusalem [to solve this question (Acts 15:1,2).
For this cause I left thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and shouldest ordain priests in every city, as I also appointed thee: ...(Titus 1:5).
Often, there are several priests in each local church. They inherit from the apostles, by the gift of the Holy Spirit, the power to turn bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ and the power to forgive sins.
When he had said this, he breathed on them; and he said to them: Receive ye the Holy Ghost. Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained (Jn. 20:22,23).
Scripture shows, that it was not only the apostles and those on whom they laid their hands that were guided by the Holy Spirit in all truth. The line of succession has continued to this day in the deacons, priests, and bishops of the Catholic Church. You have objected to this, citing the eighth chapter of Acts.
It is recorded in this chapter of the Acts of the Apostles that St. Philip converts and baptizes many Samaritans. When it comes time for them to receive the Holy Spirit or, in Catholic terms, the sacrament of confirmation, Philip is unable to do this. He sends for SS. Peter and John from Jerusalem, who come and lay hands on the Samaritans.
Now when the apostles, who were in Jerusalem, had heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John. Who, when they were come, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost ....Then they laid their hands upon them, and they received the Holy Ghost (Acts 8:14,15,17).
From this you argue that only the apostles could confer the gift of the Holy Spirit by laying on of hands. The Church of Christ, Baptists, and other noncharismatic Protestants use this to argue against Pentecostalism and Catholicism, both of which involve the transmission of the gift of the Holy Ghost by laying on of hands. To the Catholic, Jediah, this passage does not prove anything. You see, St. Philip was a deacon. Deacons do not have the power to anoint people with the Holy Spirit? Priests and bishops, as the apostles did, do have that power. We use this passage to demonstrate that the power to confirm belongs only to rightly ordained priests and bishops.
Evidence from Scripture abounds that apostolic succession was intended to continue. Firstly, let's consider St. Timothy. He was a co-author of Sacred Scripture (II Corinthians, Philippians, Colossians, I and II Thessalonians, and Philemon) and a close companion of St. Paul the Apostle. I'm sure you would agree that he received the gift of the Holy Spirit by the hand of St. Paul: "Neglect not the grace that is in thee , which was given thee by prophecy, with imposition of the hands of priesthood" (Douay-Rheims; I Tim. 4:14).
Catholics generally interpret this to refer to St. Timothy's ordination as Bishop of Ephesus. Technically, however, the passage could possibly refer to any situation in which St. Timothy received the Holy Spirit, i.e., by sacrament of confirmation, by ordination to the diaconate or the priesthood, or to receive miraculous power. Notice how the Holy Spirit was given: "...with imposition of the hands of the priesthood."
Secondly, there is another scriptural example which involves St. Titus, Bishop of Crete. The Scripture is very clear that St. Titus, who inherited his authority from the Apostle Paul, had complete authority in Crete. St. Paul urges him:
These things speak and exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee (Titus 2:15).
What a powerful phrase! There is absolutely no implication in the text that St. Titus served either as an elder or a preacher in the sense understood by your protestants. He neither shares his authority with other Cretan "elders" nor works as a preacher under the Cretan "elders". On the contrary, any elders are subject to his authority!
For this cause I left thee in Crete, that thou shouldst set in order the things that are wanting, and shouldst ordain priests in every city, as I also appointed thee:... (Titus 1:5).
The non-Catholic King James Version has: "ordain elders," where the Douay-Rheims has "ordain priests." In any case, officials are not appointed by those under them.
Likewise, St. Timothy also has authority over his elders, so much so that he is the one who hears and judges the crimes committed by them. If your boss were to commit tax fraud, would it be your place to remove him from office? Of course not! But listen to these words of St. Paul to Timothy:
Against a priest receive not an accusation, but under two or three witnesses. Them that sin reprove before all: that the rest also may have fear (I Tim. 5:19,20).
Right after explaining to St. Timothy how to handle unworthy priests, St. Paul offers definitive proof that men other than the apostles could practice the laying on of hands:
"Impose not hands lightly upon any man, neither be partaker of other men's sins" (I Tim. 22). The Scriptures are clear that those who serve as leaders of the Church-deacons, priests, and bishops-do so by the indwelling of the Holy Ghost. Hence, St. Paul commands the Macedonian Catholic bishops:
Take heed to yourselves, and to the whole flock, wherein the Holy Ghost hath placed you bishops, to rule the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood (Acts 20:28).
The importance of referring to the early Christian can never be underestimated or ever stressed sufficiently as these early Christian what Catholics term; The Church Fathers, were the successors of the apostles either directly or indirectly. Some of these Church Fathers had been taught by the apostles themselves such as Ss. Polycarp of Smyrna and Ignatius of Antioch who both were disciples of the Apostle John, and received their ministries from him, while others were alive at the time of the apostles and had heard them speak and had lived in the Church which was established according to the mind of the Apostles who had molded it according to the mind and will of Christ. The importance of referring to the Church Father lies in the fact that they are unanimous that the Catholic Church is the True Church and that She alone Teaches what was taught by Christ and the Apostles. Now if all the successors of the apostles were wrong and all Christians were wrong until the time of Luther, Calvin et al in the year 1500, then what proof or certitude do today's protestants have that they have got it correct, when they would have to maintain to hold their erroneous position that all the Church fathers and early Christians were wrong from the Time of the Christ until Luther in order to affirm Sola Scriptura and other perverse protestant doctrines which no Christian ever held prior to the time of Luther.
St. Clement I was a companion of St. Paul. From him Clement received the laying on of hands and the priesthood. St. Paul gives testimony to Clement's character:
And I entreat thee also, my sincere companion [this "companion" is not identified, thereby leading most to believe that it is a proper name meaning "companion."-Ed.], help those women who have labored with me in the gospel, with Clement and the rest of my fellow laborers, whose names are in the book of life (Phil. 4:3).
Early testimony has it that Clement was ordained bishop by St. Peter in Rome. Several decades later, St. Clement became the fourth pope. In 97AD, Pope Clement wrote a letter to the Church of Corinth. Their many problems had continued after the death of St. Paul. In this particular instance, laymen of the Catholic Church in corinth had thrown from offi
Our sin will not be small if we eject from the episcopate those who blamelessly and holily have offered its Sacrifices. Blessed are those presbyters [i.e., priests who have already finished their course, and who have obtained a fruitful and perfect release; for they have now no fear that any shall transfer them from the place to which they are appointed, obtained a fruitful and perfect dissolution (First Letter to the Corinthians [44,1]).
The letter of St. Clement I to the Corinthians, otherwise known as I Clement, was considered inspired Scripture by many well into the fourth century. St. Clement was arrested by the Romans. Refusing to give up the Catholic Faith, a millstone was hung around his neck and he was thrown into the Tiber River.
St. Polycarp was the Bishop of Smyrna, a church for which our Lord Jesus Christ had nothing but praise [see Apoc. 2:8-11]. St. Polycarp is known for his intolerance for heresy.
In 155AD, at the age of 86, he was arrested and publicly burned at the stake for being a Catholic. Not wanting to kill an old man, the appointed executioner offered to spare his life if he would renounce Christ. The bishop replied: "For 86 years I have served Jesus, and he has never wronged me in any way. How then can I deny my very King and Savior?" The Church of Smyrna, confident that "the victor shall not be harmed by the second death," gathered up the remains of St. Polycarp and venerated them as the relics of a saint. One of Polycarp's disciples was St. Irenaeus of Lyons, about whom we'll speak in a moment.
The other of St. John's disciples was Ignatius. After studying under the apostle, Ignatius was appointed to the Church of Antioch. It was at this very church that "the disciples were first called Christians." A close friend of Polycarp, St. Ignatius ruled as Bishop of Antioch for many years.
During that time, he wrote several letters to churches admonishing them to keep the Faith. In his writings, he does not claim authority over other churches, but insists that the faithful follow their own bishops, priests, and deacons. In 107, he was arrested and sent to Rome, where, refusing to renounce his faith, he was fed to wild animals.
From his writings, much can be learned about the bishop's character. He was not a man consumed with power or greed, nor did he allow changes to the Faith. In his letter to the Romans, he writes:
Only pray for me that God would give me both inward and outward strength [in the face of execution], that I may not only say, but will; nor be only called a Christian, but be found one....Let fire and the cross; let the companies of wild beasts; let the breakings of bones and the tearing of members; let the shattering of the whole body and all the wicked torments of the devil come upon me; only let me enjoy Jesus Christ. All the ends of the world, and the kingdoms of it, will profit me nothing: I would rather die for Jesus Christ than rule to the utmost ends of the earth. Him I seek who died for us; him I desire that rose again for us. This is the gain that is laid up for me.
Through his many letters we gain a great insight into what the early Church, which had to fight to the death for the Faith, believed and practiced. We hear in the voice of St. Ignatius the voice of St. John, and in the voice of St. John, the voice of our Blessed Lord, who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Ghost, as one God forever and ever. Amen.
St. Ignatius gives evidence, in his letter to the Roman Church, of papal primacy. He refers to the Church of Rome as "presiding in love" over the entire Church (St. Ignatius (of Antioch) to the Romans 1:1).
In his letter to the Trallian Church, he acknowledges the three-tiered hierarchy (i.e. bishop, priest, deacon) and apostolic succession.
In like manner, let us reverence the deacons as Jesus Christ, and the bishop as the Father, and the presbyters as the Sanhedrin of God and college of the apostles. Without these, there is no Church ( Ibid. to the Trallians 1:8,9).
The last of many other possible early Christian leaders I'd like to quote for you is St. Irenaeus of Lyons, a student of St. Polycarp (who, in turn, was the student of St. John the Apostle). He took it upon himself to combat all of the false teachings of his time.
Toward the end of the second century, he wrote his famous work, Against Heresies: Detection and Overthrow of the Knowledge Falsely So Called. Consider the following passage from that influential document:
When [heretics] are refuted out of the Scriptures, they betake themselves to accusing the Scriptures themselves as if there were something amiss with them and they carried not authority, because the Scriptures, they say, contain diverse utterances and because truth cannot be found in them....
Yet when we appeal again to that tradition which is derived from the apostles and which is safeguarded in the churches through the succession of presbyters, they then are adversaries of tradition, claiming to be wiser not only than the presbyters but even the apostles, and to have discovered the truth undefiled....
Those that wish to discern the truth may observe the apostolic tradition made manifest in every church throughout the world. We can enumerate those who were appointed bishops in the churches by the apostles, and their successors down to our own day, who never taught, and never knew, absurdities such as these men produce. For if the apostles had known hidden mysteries which they taught the perfect in private and in secret they would rather have committed them to those to whom the entrusted the churches. For they wished those men to be perfect and unblamable whom they left and their successors and to whom they handed over their office of authority....
This we do by pointing to the apostolic tradition and the faith that is preached to men, which has come down to us through the successions of bishops; the tradition and creed of the greatest, the most ancient church, the church known to all men, which was founded and set up at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul. For with this church, because of its position of leadership and authority, must needs agree every church, that is, the faithful everywhere, for in her the apostolic tradition has always been preserved by the faithful from all parts.
So, you see that we have the Catholic Church spread throughout the world at the very outset. There is no proof in the historical record for your theory of apostasy and restoration as some Protestants maintain.
One example is the synagogue. In the time of Christ, every city with a Jewish population had a synagogue, where the people would meet on the Sabbath for liturgical services. But if we search the Jewish Scriptures we won't find any authority for synagogue worship. Worship, according to the Old Testament, is supposed to be in Jerusalem. Yet Jesus and the apostles met in synagogues without qualm. Why? Because as the years progressed, the Jews developed a legitimate unscriptural practice.
Another example is the Jewish leadership. Jews of Christ's time were led by the Sanhedrin. Under the Sanhedrin were elders, i.e., priests, scribes, and Pharisees. Jesus affirmed their authority, stating that they had inherited it from Moses. However, with the exception of the Levitical priests, the Hebrew Bible does not speak of such
Even within the Scriptures, the Jewish faith was in a constant state of development. The Jews went from slavery to the leadership of priests and judges to kings to prophets to warlords. Early parts of the Bible seem more fatalistic, with little evidence that they understood resurrection and eternity. By the end of the Old Testament times, in II Maccabees, they had come to believe in resurrection, eternity, and pu
* The Church established by Christ * The real Presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist * The importance of Mary, the Mother of GOD *The knowledge of the existence of Heaven, Purgatory and Hell. * Other topics with the aim of drawing people even further away from GOD.
However the consequences of these distortions are great. St. Peter writing of St. Paul's letters says that they "contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other scriptures, to their own destruction (2Peter 3:16).
The consequence of this distortion is eternal perdition! If that isn't enough to make us tremble at distorting the scriptures as the Protestants have since the time of Luther, we no of nothing else which should point us to the seriousness of the implication of such a mutilation of Scripture.
As a result of distorting the Scriptures, a vast number of Christians have apostatized from the Church and have become homeless and fatherless children who are unfortunately guided no longer by Christ but by the enemy of Mans salvation who's great desire is the destruction of the Church founded by Christ.
The Word of GOD comes from the Mouth of GOD, the very GOD, Who is Present in His Church 'until the consummation of the world' (St. Matthew 28:20), the very Church Jesus built on St. Peter (St. Matthew 16:18-19). St. Peter shows us that those who misinterpret the Holy Scripture's are those people who have "neither education, nor deep-rootedness" (2Peter 3:16). The Catholic Church unlike any all others who claim to follow Christ, have an apostolic faith dating back to the time of the apostles.
We must note also that the apostle makes it clear to us saying John 20:30 and 21:25 Jn 21:25,
'And there are also MANY OTHER THINGS WHICH JESUS DID, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the WORLD ITSELF COULD NOT CONTAIN THE BOOKS THAT SHOULD BE WRITTEN. AMEN'. Amen is right...
In other words only a very small portion of what Christ said and done is recorded so remain firm in the traditions we have taught you.
The Word, whether it be spoken or written, cannot be greater than the Speaker Himself and cannot be greater than the Mind that conceived it - GOD! GOD is there in His Church, the very GOD, Who is the Author of the Bible, the very Church, who is the Mother of the Bible, until the consummation of the world. Therefore it makes the Church Christ established on St. Peter, by virtue of the Holy Spirit, the Mother of the Bible.
The Catholic Church, by the guidance of the Holy Spirit within, foresaw the apparent danger in making Holy Scripture readily available for mass production and distribution, because they would certainly fall into the hands of fundamentalist manipulators; therefore it refused to give such approval when first demanded by those groups.
It was persistent pressure groups who claimed that GOD's Word must be available for all to read and that the Catholic Church was guilty of hiding the Scriptures in this matter.
The Catholic Church can not contradict the scriptures, which she holds to be sacred as everything she holds to, is found (either implicitly or explicitly) in scriptures. For example many Non-Catholics believe in the Trinity and yet the word (Trinity - 3 divine persons = one God) is not Explicitly mentioned in the Scriptures however it is implicitly there (John 8:58, John 1, Matt 1:23).
The fundamentalists and others, impelled the Catholic Church to give such approval, against its better judgment and because of this, Holy Scripture finally became open to manipulation by protestant fundamentalists, who by their proud efforts, ultimately divided Christianity into various hundreds of sub-ordinate titles, having inconsistent and opposing beliefs and therefore straying away from the One and Only Truth because there can only be One Truth: the Truth of its origin, the Truth of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church!
Jesus says: "My Kingdom is not of this world." (St. John 18:36) and by the same token, GOD's Word should not have been surrendered to this world, for this world is one of satanic dominance; whether it be direct or indirect.
One of the main functions of the Church is the protection of Holy Scripture.
How cunning can the enemy be, for he knows that when Christianity is united, he is defenseless, but when Christianity is DIVIDED AGAINST ITSELF, then he allows himself an open invitation to devour all that Christianity stands for - But the powers of hell will fall short of enjoying the ultimate victory against the Church Jesus built on St. Peter, as Christ promised: "...the gates of hell shall NEVER prevail against Her...", (The Catholic Church, St. Matthew 16:18-19), for the Holy Spirit will be with the Church 'until the consummation of the world' (St. Matthew 28:20).
Remember, Jesus said to St. Peter: "...Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build My Church..." (St. Matthew 16:18). JESUS DID NOT SAY: 'You are the pen upon which I will write my Bible.'
Jesus established His Church first, and it was through His Church and in HIS CHURCH that GOD the Holy Spirit worked putting the Bible together by:
Just because GOD's Holy Scriptures are now in written (yet vulnerable) form, it does not mean that the Holy Spirit has stopped working or has left the Church, for we have the assurance of Christ's promise that He will be with His Church 'until the consummation of the world' (St. Matthew 28:20).
In conclusion, it is because the Bible as we know it, is a product of the Catholic Church by virtue of the Holy Spirit, working within the Church, who is the Author of the Bible, making the same Catholic Church, THE MOTHER OF THE BIBLE. One cannot have God for his Father, who will not have the Church for his Mother, for she (the Church) is the Mother of the bible and guide of those who seek salvation .
It is by the same Holy Spirit, Who has not left the Church the Catholic Church becomes the Only Interpreter of the Holy Scriptures by virtue of the Holy Spirit working within - even to the consummation of the world.
Therefore, the only acceptable Bible is the one that has been approved by the Author of the Bible (the Catholic Church). Bibles outside the Catholic Church's approval are only man made story books because GOD's Words cannot be subject to manipulation.
A chief Catholic Church approved Bible is the DOUAY RHEIM VERSION. It became the official Bible of the Catholic Church when publ
No authority prior to Luther can be cited in defense of Sola Scriptura. In fact when Luther was called by the Church to answer for his bizarre teachings on salvation by faith. He was confident that he could find support in the teachings of the popes and councils. When the authorities of the Catholic Church demonstrated that the popes and councils did not support him, he invented sola scripture to save face. By inventing sola scripture, Luther caused a substantial break with Christian tradition. If a doctrine was never taught until the 1500's, we can be confident it is not part of the apostolic depositum fidei. Luther did the Sacred Scriptures a grave disservice by calling on them to play a role which they were never intended to play.
The rise of the Catholic Church is clearly made evident from the texts of Sacred Scripture:
But in the days of those kingdoms the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, and his kingdom shall not be delivered up to another people, and it shall break in pieces, and shall consume all these kingdoms, and itself shall stand forever (Dan. 2:44).
Whose voice [i.e., God's-Ed.] then moved the earth; but Noe He promiseth, saying, "Yet once more, and I will move not only the earth, but heaven also [a quote from Deut. 4:24]. And in that he saith, "Yet once more," He signifieth the translation of the moveable things as made, that those things may remain which are immoveable. Therefore receiving an immoveable kingdom [i.e., the Catholic Church], we have grace [meaning in the original Greek, "let us be grateful"]; whereby let us serve, pleasing God, with fear and reverence. For our God is a consuming fire [Heb. 12:26­-29].
Isaias also foretells the rise of the Messias and the Church:
I beheld, therefore, in the vision of the night, and lo, one like the son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and he came even to the ancient of days: and they presented him before him. And he gave him power, and glory, and a kingdom: and all peoples, tribes, and tongues shall serve him: his power is an everlasting power that shall not be taken away: and his kingdom that shall not be destroyed. [The reason that our Lord Jesus Christ is prophesied as "the son of man" is to contrast Him with the worldly kingdoms opposed to God, symbolized as brute beasts, with the glorified people of God, symbolized by human form, that will build His kingdom on earth. In the New Testament, our Lord made the title "Son of Man" His most characteristic way of referring to Himself, as the One in whom and through whom salvation would be realized.-Ed.] These four great beasts are four kingdoms [symbolically Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome-Ed.], which shall arise out of the earth. But the saints of the most high God shall take the kingdom: and they shall possess the kingdom for ever and ever (Dan. 7:13,14,17,18).
It is not just Christ who reigns forever, but his servants on the earth. How vast is their dominion?
And that the kingdom, and power, and the greatness of the kingdom, under the whole heaven, may be given to the people of the saints of the most High: whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all kings shall serve him, and shall obey him (Dan. 7:27).
These text are fulfilled in the Catholic Church that has endure from the time of Christ and shall endure until the end of the world despite all the persecutions she must endure for the sake of Christ.
Protestants do admit (because it's a undisputable fact) that the Scriptures in the present state in which we have them today have suffered some minor alterations which can be classified as (1) changes in punctuation, (2) spelling errors, (3) changes to upgrade the language in order to make it more legible to modern-day readers, and various other minor alterations (minor with regards to the Catholic approved texts, some what major with Protestant Translation, for more information on this see: Errata of the Protestant Bible by Thomas Ward, ESQ, New York, Published by D. & J. Sadlier & Co, - This work points out how the various protestant sects were all founded on erroneous versions of Scripture!).
However we should keep in mind that the above mentioned alterations are of no serious problem only if you're a Catholic since we don't believe in "Sola Scriptura" - (The Bible alone) but if you're a protestant such changes (which with regards to Sacred Scripture are in no way substantial but minor since the Catholic Church has thousands of Old Copies dating back to the second Century of Biblical Manuscripts which serve as a confirmation of what was originally intended) should cause Protestants great concern as John Stoddard a former protestant points out in his book "Rebuilding a Lost faith" that "Catholics, as a rule, attach comparatively little importance to these textual discrepancies, for their theological system is built-up, not from dead manuscripts alone, but from the history of the doctrines, the traditions of the Fathers, and the infallible voice of the living Church. Protestants, on the other hand, who base their dogmas merely on conflicting texts, who have no other standard than the silent Book, and who acknowledge no authority but private judgment, are very seriously embarrassed by these differences, since many of their doctrines find their confirmation or refutation in the acceptance or rejection of a certain reading. Accordingly, it finally dawned upon me that the bible alone, without a competent interpreter, cannot explain all that is necessary for Religion" - pg 10, Tan Book.
John Stodard's words along with all the above mentioned information should give those who seek the truth some serious food for thought as they ought to rethink the very basis for the faith.