The theological interrelationship between Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition, was first challenged by the Protestant Reformation and the Reformers’ espousal of the sola scriptura doctrine, which opposed the “accumulated customs, practices and speculative prepositions” or “human traditions” that had proliferated in late medieval Catholicism of the 16th century, where they alleged that such traditions distorted the evangelical message of the Bible, and that the Bible alone provides all authoritative teaching for Christian life.
At the heart of the problem, are not the Sacred Scriptures which were acknowledge to be God’s salvific divine revelation, but the human unwritten tradition and church teachings (for example encyclicals and doctrinal pronouncements) which they profess had little direct justification in scripture, or the beliefs of the early church, thus questioning such sources as revealed knowledge.
In this paper, I will analyse what is meant by Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition, how the Catholic Church has countered its critics and addressed the relationship of divine truth in light of its decrees at the Council of Trent, and the Dei Verbum constitutional statements issued by the Second Vatican Council which clarify the Church’s position, and finally provide my conclusions and contemporary views of both Christian and Catholic communities.
What is meant by Sacred Scripture?
“All scripture is inspired by God” 2 Tim 3:16-17. To cite Dei Verbum (Word of God) Chapter 9, the Bible is the inspired Word of God, which affirms “Sacred Scripture [to be] the word of God … as it is consigned to writing under the inspiration of the Divine Spirit”; and fu...
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...ion of Souls”.
Although the relationship between Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition emerged as problematic during the Reformation, contemporary ecumenical debate is considered largely resolved in the understanding that tradition is a “living process” and integral component of Scripture in the fulfilment of God’s Gospel message.
The Second Vatican Council’s pronouncements in Dei Verbum marks a significant shift away from a static notion of tradition, to a sense of a “living tradition” which is dynamically operating in communion with Sacred Scripture as the one Deposit of Faith through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and it is through the magisterium that the Church ordered and guided through every age, in interpreting, preserving and disseminating Gods whole message of salvation to liven our hearts and souls to know God, to love God and to serve God.
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