Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Why We Need Apostolic Tradition

Do you remember when you were a kid in, say, second grade and the teacher left the classroom for five minutes? What happened?

The kids took over. The animals ran the zoo. It was quickly “King of Hearts” time with the inmates in the streets. (That’s the poster for the original French film at left—an icon of the 1960s when the inmates even ran the zoo.)

Compendium question #11 asks, Why and in what way is divine revelation transmitted? 

And answers, . . . by Apostolic Tradition. 

If God really said all he had to say through the living Word of Jesus Christ, as St. John of the Cross wrote, then we can either heed the vehicle to which Jesus committed His “final answer,” or, like a bunch of second-graders, we human beings are on our own. And the classroom will soon be trashed, if it isn’t already.

We call it freedom. The result is soon chaos.

The vehicle Jesus chose for us is the teaching of the Apostles who heeded Christ’s command to “Go forth and teach all nations,” and the only remaining transmission line from his time to ours is the one and only Catholic Church.

As Karl Adam writes in The Spirit of Catholicism, “We know no other Peter in our community, and no man knows of any other. It is our belief that we have in the bishop of Rome the Peter upon whom Christ at Caesarea Philippi established His Church.”

Without the Church, we are the court system without a Constitution. We are second-graders without even a hall monitor.

The teacher is still in the classroom. Listen up. 

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