All Christians have as their roots, Roman Catholicism, the Faith of the Fathers. With over 2,000 years of teaching, tradition, and as the Deposit of Faith, The Catholic Church has taught the Christian faithful, preached Christ Jesus and His Gospel.
an earlier comment some time back, a person asked the following
you explain why the Catholic Church claims that the doctrines of
Sacred Tradition were handed down from the apostles when there
appears to be no record of it?”
I don’t know why this is a common thought among many people, but,
there are records of the Sacred Traditions having been handed down
from the apostles, and the evidence for such is found in the writings
of the early ecclesiastic writers and the Early Church Fathers.
must realize and understand, that it was the apostles who first
spread the Christian faith throughout the world. Jesus Christ had
chosen the Twelve Apostles as we learn from the sixth chapter of The
Gospel According To Saint Luke:
And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain
to pray, and he passed the whole night in the prayer of God. 13 And
when day was come, he called unto him his disciples; and he chose
twelve of them (whom also he named apostles). 14 Simon, whom he
surnamed Peter, and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and
Bartholomew, 15 Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alpheus, and
Simon who is called Zelotes, 16 And Jude, the brother of James, and
Judas Iscariot, who was the traitor.
Jesus chose the Twelve, and later He ordained them as we can see from
the ninth chapter of The Gospel According To Saint Luke:
Then calling together the twelve apostles, he gave them power and
authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. 2 And he sent them
to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick. ...6 And going
out, they went about through the towns, preaching the gospel, and
healing every where.
also instructed the Twelve to spread the good news of His Kingdom as
we see in the first chapter of The Acts of the Apostles:
They therefore who were come together, asked him, saying: Lord, wilt
thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? 7 But he said
to them: It is not for you to know the times or moments, which the
Father hath put in his own power: 8But you shall receive
the power of the Holy Ghost coming upon you, and you shall be
witnesses unto me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and
even to the uttermost part of the earth.
the Apostles followed the commandment of the Lord, and went
throughout the “uttermost part of the earth” and led many people
to Christ and established churches throughout the known world. From
Asia Minor to Northern Africa to Europe the faith was spread, by the
Twelve and then by their disciples and followers whom they ordained
as deacons, bishops, and presbyters. The Sacred Tradition was most
definitely handed down by the Apostles, and we must remember that
what the churches established by them, taught by them, and handed
down through their successors, were the oral traditions
that they received as well as written traditions.
know that the Apostles went to various regions of the then known
world (from both Holy Scriptures and from the traditions of those
areas), such as follows:
Andrew - Asia Minor, Greece, and possibly in areas of modern Russia
Bartholomew - Asia Minor, Ethiopia, India and Armenia.
James the Greater - Samaria, Judea, and Spain.
John - Asia Minor, Jerusalem, Samaria, Ephesus
Jude - Syria, Mesopotamia, and Persia
Matthias - Judea, Cappadocia, Egypt and Ethiopia.
Matthew - Palestine, Ethiopia
Philip - Greece and Asia Minor.
Simon the Zealot - Egypt, Mesopotamia, Iberia
Simon Peter - Palestine, Syria, and Rome
Thomas - Parthia (western Asia), Persia and India
Paul - Greece, Syria, Palestine, Asia Minor, Rome, and Spain
also know, that in the early Church, there was a disagreement on the
date for celebrating Easter. It seems that the eastern Church
celebrated Easter according to the Jewish date for celebrating the
Passover, which was the fourteenth day of the Jewish month Nisan,
regardless of what day of the week it fell on. Several Early Church
Fathers (Saint Polycarp for one) defended their choice of that date,
saying that it was the tradition handed down to them by the
are some of the things written by the Early Church Fathers, other
ecclesiastical writers of the early Church, and firstly from some of
the Epistles of Saint Paul:
Paul the Apostle:
commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the
traditions even as I have delivered them to you (1 Cor. 11:2)
then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were
taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter (2 Thess. 2:15)
we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that
you keep away from any brother who is living in idleness and not in
accord with the tradition that you received from us (2 Thess. 3:6).
Saint Clement I from his Epistle to the Corinthians:
Apostles preached to us the Gospel received from Jesus Christ, and
Jesus Christ was God's Ambassador. Christ, in other words, comes with
a message from God, and the Apostles with a message from Christ. Both
these orderly arrangements, therefore, originate from the will of
God. And so, after receiving their instructions and being fully
assured through the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, as well as
confirmed in faith by the word of God, they went forth, equipped with
the fullness of the Holy Spirit, to preach the good news that the
Kingdom of God was close at hand. From land to land, accordingly, and
from city to city they preached, and from among their earliest
converts appointed men whom they had tested by the Spirit to act as
bishops and deacons for the future believers. And this was no
innovation, for, a long time before the Scripture had spoken about
bishops and deacons; for somewhere it says: I will establish their
overseers in observance of the law and their ministers in fidelity.
Apostles, too, were given to understand by our Lord Jesus Christ that
the office of the bishop would give rise to intrigues. For this
reason, equipped as they were with perfect foreknowledge, they
appointed the men mentioned before, and afterwards laid down a rule
once for all to this effect: when these men die, other approved men
shall succeed to their sacred ministry. Consequently, we deem it an
injustice to eject from the sacred ministry the persons who were
appointed either by them, or later, with the consent of the whole
Church, by other men in high repute and have ministered to the flock
of Christ faultlessly, humbly, quietly and unselfishly, and have
moreover, over a long period of time, earned the esteem of all.
Indeed, it will be no small sin for us if we oust men who have
irreproachably and piously offered the sacrifices proper to the
episcopate. Happy the presbyters who have before now completed life's
journey and taken their departure in mature age and laden with fruit!
They, surely, do not have to fear that anyone will dislodge them from
the place built for them. Yes, we see that you removed some, their
good conduct notwithstanding, from the sacred ministry on which their
faultless discharge had shed luster.
is our duty, then, my brethren, to follow examples such as these. For
the Scripture says: Follow the saints for such as follow them shall
be sanctified. And again, in another passage, it says: With an
innocent man Thou wilt be innocent and with an elect Thou wilt be
elect, and with one perverted Thou wilt deal perversely. Let us,
therefore, associate with the innocent and law-abiding; these are
items below come from Saint Jerome’s “Lives of
Illustrious Men” :
Quadratus the bishop of Athens:
disciple of the apostles, after Publius bishop of Athens had been
crowned with martyrdom on account of his faith in Christ, was
substituted in his place, and by his faith and industry gathered the
church scattered by reason of its great fear. And when Hadrian passed
the winter at Athens to witness the Eleusinian mysteries and was
initiated into almost all the sacred mysteries of Greece, those who
hated the Christians took opportunity without instructions from the
Emperor to harass the believers. At this time he presented to Hadrian
a work composed in behalf of our religion, indispensable, full of
sound argument and faith and worthy of the apostolic teaching. In
which, illustrating the antiquity of his period, he says that he has
seen many who, oppressed by various ills, were healed by the Lord in
Judea as well as some who had been raised from the dead.
a philosopher of the stoic school, according to some old Alexandrian
custom, where, from the time of Mark the evangelist the ecclesiastics
were always doctors, was of so great prudence and erudition both in
scripture and secular literature that, on the request of the legates
of that nation, he was sent to India by Demetrius bishop of
Alexandria, where he found that Bartholomew, one of the twelve
apostles, had preached the advent of the Lord Jesus according to the
gospel of Matthew, and on his return to Alexandria he brought this
with him written in Hebrew characters.
[A.D. 120], who is now mentioned by us, affirms that he received the
sayings of the apostles from those who accompanied them, and he,
moreover, asserts that he heard in person Aristion and the presbyter
John. Accordingly, he mentions them frequently by name, and in his
writings gives their traditions [concerning Jesus]. . . . [There are]
other passages of his in which he relates some miraculous deeds,
stating that he acquired the knowledge of them from tradition"
(fragment in Eusebius, Church History 3:39 [A.D. 312]).
remainder here come from the writings of just a few more of the Early
Church Fathers and Ecclesiastical writers:
that time [A.D. 150] there flourished in the Church Hegesippus, whom
we know from what has gone before, and Dionysius, bishop of Corinth,
and another bishop, Pinytus of Crete, and besides these, Philip, and
Apollinarius, and Melito, and Musanus, and Modestus, and, finally,
Irenaeus. From them has come down to us in writing, the sound and
orthodox faith received from tradition" (Church History 4:21).
I said before, the Church, having received this preaching and this
faith, although she is disseminated throughout the whole world, yet
guarded it, as if she occupied but one house. She likewise believes
these things just as if she had but one soul and one and the same
heart; and harmoniously she proclaims them and teaches them and hands
them down, as if she possessed but one mouth. For, while the
languages of the world are diverse, nevertheless, the authority of
the tradition is one and the same" (Against Heresies 1:10:2
is why it is surely necessary to avoid them [heretics], while
cherishing with the utmost diligence the things pertaining to the
Church, and to lay hold of the tradition of truth. . . . What if the
apostles had not in fact left writings to us? Would it not be
necessary to follow the order of tradition, which was handed down to
those to whom they entrusted the churches?"
is possible, then, for everyone in every church, who may wish to know
the truth, to contemplate the tradition of the apostles which has
been made known throughout the whole world. And we are in a position
to enumerate those who were instituted bishops by the apostles and
their successors to our own times—men who neither knew nor taught
anything like these heretics rave about.
since it would be too long to enumerate in such a volume as this the
successions of all the churches, we shall confound all those who, in
whatever manner, whether through self-satisfaction or vainglory, or
through blindness and wicked opinion, assemble other than where it is
proper, by pointing out here the successions of the bishops of the
greatest and most ancient church known to all, founded and organized
at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul, that
church which has the tradition and the faith which comes down to us
after having been announced to men by the apostles.
this church, because of its superior origin, all churches must
agree—that is, all the faithful in the whole world—and it is in
her that the faithful everywhere have maintained the apostolic
they preserving the tradition of the blessed doctrine derived
directly from the holy apostles, Peter, James, John, and Paul, the
sons receiving it from the father (but few were like the fathers),
came by God’s will to us also to deposit those ancestral and
apostolic seeds. And well I know that they will exult; I do not mean
delighted with this tribute, but solely on account of the
preservation of the truth, according as they delivered it. For such a
sketch as this, will, I think, be agreeable to a soul desirous of
preserving from loss the blessed tradition" (Miscellanies 1:1
there are many who believe that they themselves hold to the teachings
of Christ, there are yet some among them who think differently from
their predecessors. The teaching of the Church has indeed been handed
down through an order of succession from the apostles and remains in
the churches even to the present time. That alone is to be believed
as the truth which is in no way at variance with ecclesiastical and
apostolic tradition" (The Fundamental Doctrines 1:2 [A.D. 225]).
Church is one, and as she is one, cannot be both within and without.
For if she is with Novatian, she was not with [Pope] Cornelius. But
if she was with Cornelius, who succeeded the bishop Fabian by lawful
ordination, and whom, beside the honor of the priesthood the Lord
glorified also with martyrdom, Novatian is not in the Church; nor can
he be reckoned as a bishop, who, succeeding to no one, and despising
the evangelical and apostolic tradition, sprang from himself. For he
who has not been ordained in the Church can neither have nor hold to
the Church in any way" (Letters 75:3 [A.D. 253]).
we write, again keeping to the apostolic traditions, we remind each
other when we come together for prayer; and keeping the feast in
common, with one mouth we truly give thanks to the Lord. Thus giving
thanks unto him, and being followers of the saints, ‘we shall make
our praise in the Lord all the day,’ as the psalmist says. So, when
we rightly keep the feast, we shall be counted worthy of that joy
which is in heaven" (Festal Letters 2:7 [A.D. 330]).
you are blessed, who by faith are in the Church, dwell upon the
foundations of the faith, and have full satisfaction, even the
highest degree of faith which remains among you unshaken. For it
has come down to you from apostolic tradition, and frequently
accursed envy has wished to unsettle it, but has not been able".
the dogmas and messages preserved in the Church, some we possess from
written teaching and others we receive from the tradition of the
apostles, handed on to us in mystery. In respect to piety, both are
of the same force. No one will contradict any of these, no one, at
any rate, who is even moderately versed in matters ecclesiastical.
Indeed, were we to try to reject unwritten customs as having no great
authority, we would unwittingly injure the gospel in its vitals; or
rather, we would reduce [Christian] message to a mere term" (The
Holy Spirit 27:66 [A.D. 375]).
is needful also to make use of tradition, for not everything can be
gotten from sacred Scripture. The holy apostles handed down some
things in the scriptures, other things in tradition" (Medicine
Chest Against All Heresies 61:6 [A.D. 375]).
custom [of not rebaptizing converts] . . . may be supposed to have
had its origin in apostolic tradition, just as there are many things
which are observed by the whole Church, and therefore are fairly held
to have been enjoined by the apostles, which yet are not mentioned in
their writings" (On Baptism, Against the Donatists 5:23
the admonition that he [Cyprian] gives us, ‘that we should go back
to the fountain, that is, to apostolic tradition, and thence turn the
channel of truth to our times,’ is most excellent, and should be
followed without hesitation" (ibid., 5:26).
in regard to those observances which we carefully attend and which
the whole world keeps, and which derive not from Scripture but from
Tradition, we are given to understand that they are recommended and
ordained to be kept, either by the apostles themselves or by plenary
[ecumenical] councils, the authority of which is quite vital in the
Church" (Letter to Januarius [A.D. 400]).
commands,] ‘Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions
which you have been taught, whether by word or by our letter’ [2
Thess. 2:15]. From this it is clear that they did not hand down
everything by letter, but there is much also that was not written.
Like that which was written, the unwritten too is worthy of belief.
So let us regard the tradition of the Church also as worthy of
belief. Is it a tradition? Seek no further" (Homilies on Second
Thessalonians [A.D. 402]).
great zeal and closest attention, therefore, I frequently inquired of
many men, eminent for their holiness and doctrine, how I might, in a
concise and, so to speak, general and ordinary way, distinguish the
truth of the Catholic faith from the falsehood of heretical
received almost always the same answer from all of them—that if I
or anyone else wanted to expose the frauds and escape the snares of
the heretics who rise up, and to remain intact and in sound faith, it
would be necessary, with the help of the Lord, to fortify that faith
in a twofold manner: first, of course, by the authority of divine law
[Scripture] and then by the tradition of the Catholic Church.
perhaps, someone may ask: ‘If the canon of the scriptures be
perfect and in itself more than suffices for everything, why is it
necessary that the authority of ecclesiastical interpretation be
joined to it?’ Because, quite plainly, sacred Scripture, by reason
of its own depth, is not accepted by everyone as having one and the
same meaning. . . .
because of so many distortions of such various errors, it is highly
necessary that the line of prophetic and apostolic interpretation be
directed in accord with the norm of the ecclesiastical and Catholic
meaning" (The Notebooks [A.D. 434]).
holy Church of God . . . has been established upon the firm rock of
this Church of blessed Peter, the prince of the apostles, which by
his grace and guardianship remains free from all error, [and
possesses that faith that] the whole number of rulers and priests, of
the clergy and of the people, unanimously should confess and preach
with us as the true declaration of the apostolic tradition, in order
to please God and to save their own souls" (Letter read at
fourth session of III Constantinople [A.D. 680]).
fighters from the Islamic State group rampage across northern Syria
and Iraq, a group of priests are racing against time to save what's
left of the region's Christian heritage. Dominican Order priests have
already managed to get many precious artifacts and manuscripts safely
to Erbil in Kurdistan.
of massacres and beheadings of Christians and other minority groups
have scared thousands into fleeing the jihadists' advance. In a
region regarded as the cradle of civilization, it's no surprise that
the rapid advance of the militant fighters has alarmed those looking
to preserve the region's heritage.
Dominican Order [also known as the Order of Preachers] - a Roman
Catholic religious order founded 800 years ago - has deep roots among
Christian communities in northern Iraq. For decades, Najeeb Michaeel
- an Iraqi priest belonging to the Order - has worked to collect and
preserve precious manuscripts. Now with the rise of the Islamic State
group, his work has become all the more important.
In the piece below from the Vatican Information Service, please be
aware that the reports from the Small Groups of the Synod, are all
on one page, each in it's respective language. Therefore, if you only
speak English (like me), and you want to read the other reports it
would be necessary to use a translation service such as google translate to read what each language group (French, English, Spanish,
and Italian) does contain.
of the Small Groups
City, 16 October 2014 (VIS) – The texts of the reports by the
twelve Small Groups (Gallicus A and B, French; Anglicus A, B and C,
English; Italicus A, B and C, Italian; Hibericus A and B, Spanish) of
the Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops,
presented this morning during the twelfth General Congregation, may
be consulted on the Holy See Press Office Bulletin web page, at: