Catholic Theology and Scripture

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Catholic Theology

Tradition and Scripture are considered one and the same within the Catholic Church and are both part of the sacred deposit of faith. Tradition includes practices such as the Eucharist and the belief that Christ is present, while tradition includes beliefs such as purgatory. Thus, Tradition is backed by Scripture, while tradition is according to culture and era. To Catholics, Tradition refers to the beliefs and practices that Jesus conveyed to the Apostles for the benefit of mankind: “…remember me in everything and maintain the traditions as I have delivered them to you” (Divine). According to St. Paul, these traditions were taught through writing, such as letters, orally, and by examples of actions: “stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter” (Divine). The Catholic Church teaches that with the death of the last Apostle so too ended the time of “divine revelation,” however these unchanging truths may be altered only for the sake of new generations in terms of language and ideas in order to present Christ’s teachings (Divine). The purpose of the Catechism is to expose doctrine and help mankind understand faith, and “is oriented towards the maturing of that faith, its putting down roots in personal life, and its shining forth in personal conduct” (Catechism). It is the responsibility of instructors to adapt methods and presentations of doctrine according to cultural and social differences (Catechism). According to the Catholic Church, Sacred Scripture reins above any other writing and deserves the highest form of reverence. It is essential to understanding Jesus and his teachings (Divine). To reveal His goodness, God speaks to mankind in human words. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: “Indeed the words of God, expressed in the words of

men, are in every way like human language, just as
the Word of the eternal Father, when he took on himself
the flesh of human weakness, became like men…Through
all the words of Sacred Scripture, God speaks only one
single Word, his one Utterance in whom he expresses
himself completely” (Catechism).

Because Scripture is the word of God, meaning God is the author, the Catholic Church constantly finds nourishment and strength, for these words are the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (Catechism).

According to the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation from the Second Vatican Council, the holy mother Church holds the Old and New Testaments in their entirety as sacred and canonical, since God acted through these human authors to reveal His word (Divine). Thus, all Scripture is divinely inspired for the purpose of teaching truth and discipline so that man may be sufficiently equipped for God’s work (Divine). Regarding the interpretation of Scripture, the Catechism of the Catholic Church cautions that particular attention be given “to the content and unity of the whole Scripture” (Divine). Because the composition of the books differ, it is a “unity by reason of the unity of God’s plan, of which Christ Jesus is the center and heart,” thus the term “heart of Christ” refers to Sacred Scripture (Divine). Scripture must be read and interpreted in the same spirit as it was written and the living tradition of the Church “must be taken into account along with the harmony which exists between elements of the faith” (Divine). The Catechism states that Scripture must be read within “the living Tradition of the whole Church,” for Scripture is written in the Church’s heart and the Church carries within her Tradition the “living memorial of God’s Word” (Divine). Therefore, it is the Holy Spirit who gives the Church the spiritual interpretation of the Scripture: “…according to the spiritual meaning which the Spirit grants to the Church” (Divine).

Although many point to 2 Timothy 3:16-17: “All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction,...
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