Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Question 2 from Affirmative

Question 2 – Catholicism = Scriptures Plus

I had argued that “the papists do not derive their certainty about all revealed truths from the Scriptures alone but from Scriptures Plus.” You responded by stating, “Turretin has not given any reason for us to believe his statement. I have proven from the Pope himself that Tradition is not something plus Scripture, but it is one in the same gospel in two different forms which is what the passages of the Catechism he quotes says.” In fact, however, Vatican II says:

“Consequently it is not from Sacred Scripture alone that the Church draws her certainty about everything which has been revealed.” And “It is clear, therefore, that sacred tradition, Sacred Scripture and the teaching authority of the Church, in accord with God's most wise design, are so linked and joined together that one cannot stand without the others, and that all together and each in its own way under the action of the one Holy Spirit contribute effectively to the salvation of souls.” (both from Dei Verbum)

Indeed, the two prevailing theories of revelation in Catholicism today are the dual-source theory (which views “Scripture” as one source and “Tradition” as the second source) and the “partim … partim …” theory which views part of revelation as committed to writing (Scripture) and part of revelation as not committed to writing (Tradition). Under either framework, however, it is apparent that papists do not derive their certainty about all revealed truths from the Scriptures alone but from Scriptures Plus, as previously noted.

Indeed, Pope Pious XII essentially adopts the “two source” theory in Humani Generis:

“21. It is also true that theologians must always return to the sources of divine revelation: for it belongs to them to point out how the doctrine of the living Teaching Authority is to be found either explicitly or implicitly in the Scriptures and in Tradition.[4] Besides, each source of divinely revealed doctrine contains so many rich treasures of truth, that they can really never be exhausted. Hence it is that theology through the study of its sacred sources remains ever fresh; on the other hand, speculation which neglects a deeper search into the deposit of faith, proves sterile, as we know from experience. But for this reason even positive theology cannot be on a par with merely historical science. For, together with the sources of positive theology God has given to His Church a living Teaching Authority to elucidate and explain what is contained in the deposit of faith only obscurely and implicitly.” Humani Generis, Pope Pius XII, August 12, 1950 (translation from Vatican web site) (emphases added)

Likewise, Leo XIII speaks of sources (plural) of revelation in Providentissimus Deus:
“Nor will any one wonder at this who considers that the Sacred Books hold such an eminent position among the sources of revelation that without their assiduous study and use, Theology cannot be placed on its true footing, or treated as its dignity demands. … It is this view of doctrinal teaching which is laid down and recommended by the prince of theologians, St. Thomas of Aquin;(43) who, moreover, shows - such being the essential character of Christian Theology - how she can defend her own principles against attack: "If the adversary," he says, "do but grant any portion of the divine revelation, we have an argument against him; thus, against a heretic we can employ Scripture authority, and against those who deny one article, we can use another. But if our opponent reject divine revelation entirely, there is then no way left to prove the Article of Faith by reasoning; we can only solve the difficulties which are raised against them."(44)'” Providentissimus Deus, Pope Leo XIII, November 18, 1893 (emphases added)
There is no need here to limit myself to popes, for similar commentary may be found from lesser members of Catholicism’s magisterium:
“39. A basic understanding of the Church’s faith, presented in a sufficiently organic way together with the reasons for believing. It should be drawn directly from the sources of Revelation; that is, the Bible, the Liturgy, the Fathers, the Magisterium of the Church, other great documents of the Tradition, and the experience of Christian living in the ecclesial communities.” Fr. Cesare Bissoli, Secretary General of International Council for Catechesis, apparent date April 14, 1990.
Thus, when Cardinal Ratzinger (now pope) discussed the issue of Tradition’s contribution, he wrote:
The Limits of the additional contribution of Tradition. To what extent can there be in the Christian Church a tradition that is a material addition to the word of Scripture? This question has long been debated in the history of theology. The Second Vatican Council appears to have left the matter open, but at least declined to speak of “two sources of revelation”, which would be Scripture and Tradition; it affirmed instead that “Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture constitute a unique sacred deposit of the Word of God which is entrusted to the Church” (Dei Verbum 10). It likewise rejected the idea of a tradition completely independent of Scripture. On one point at least, the Council mentions an additional contribution made by Tradition, one of great importance: Tradition “enabled the Church to recognise the full canon of the Sacred Books” (DV 8). Here, the extent to which Scripture and Tradition are inseparable can be seen.” Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, apparent date February 12, 2002.
In short, Ratzinger argues that Tradition provides at least one “additional contribution,” which fully justifies my “Scripture Plus” comment. In view of these facts, and the testimony of the magisterium of your church, are you willing to acknowledge the fact that my characterization “the papists do not derive their certainty about all revealed truths from the Scriptures alone but from Scriptures Plus,” is true, and further to acknowledge that the “Plus” involves both the impossible-to-document alleged unwritten tradition (which would be classed under my “hand-me-down tradition” category) and the ipsedixital alleged “Teaching Authority” (which would be classed under my “Interpretative Authority Tradition” category)?

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