A Tool To Study, And Then Live, Our Faith Better

As Catholics, we reject the unbiblical doctrine of sola scriptura. God, in His gracious goodness, fully revealed Himself to us through His son, Jesus Christ. We find in His gospel all we need for salvation. Before He ascended to Heaven, He handed on that revelation to the Apostles who, in turn, handed that Truth on to their successors. In this way, He preserved His Truth, whole and entire, for all time. The pilgrim Church thus looks to both Sacred Scripture and sacred tradition to see the face of Christ her Savior:

But in order to keep the Gospel forever whole and alive within the Church, the Apostles left bishops as their successors, “handing over” to them “the authority to teach in their own place.” This sacred tradition, therefore, and Sacred Scripture of both the Old and New Testaments are like a mirror in which the pilgrim Church on earth looks at God, from whom she has received everything, until she is brought finally to see Him as He is, face to face (see 1 John 3:2).

Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, Dei Verbum, para. 7. In short, this means:

Sacred tradition and Sacred Scripture form one sacred deposit of the word of God, committed to the Church. Holding fast to this deposit the entire holy people united with their shepherds remain always steadfast in the teaching of the Apostles, in the common life, in the breaking of the bread and in prayers (see Acts 2, 42, Greek text), so that holding to, practicing and professing the heritage of the faith, it becomes on the part of the bishops and faithful a single common effort.

If sacred tradition and Sacred Scripture form “one sacred deposit of the word of God,” it makes sense to study them together. But this is hardly practical. We open our Bibles, read, and then need to go to tomes upon tomes to search for the passage or two that discusses what we just read. I doubt that anyone outside of a university can even try and I doubt that anyone can do it adequately.

What no individual could do, the Sacred Congregation for the Clergy has done for us. At its site, www.clerus.org, it offers several nifty tools. The most helpful is a concordance of Sacred Scripture and sacred tradition. How does this work? First, the search box prompts you for a passage. Let’s take John 18:15-17 — Peter’s first denial of Christ. On the right side, we see the text of the passage and enough surrounding text for context. On the left side, we see:

Citations of
Jn 18,15-18:

Augustin on John:

Chrysostom on John:

. . . .

plus many more (I picked only a few for illustration.) This gives us an easy tool to study sacred tradition as we study Sacred Scripture. We can now read the word of God with the whole Church. Check the link out in Faith Basics.