From within: traditions

gospel-of-markMark 7:8, referring to “human traditions” is often a verse which non-Catholic folk will hold up as proof text of the manner in which the Catholic Church has gone astray, introducing all manner of non-Biblical beliefs. The usual list includes there is the veneration of Mary, her Immaculate Conception and her bodily Assumption into Heaven. There is also transubstantiation, praying to saints, the confessional, penance, purgatory, and more. There are the variety of would-be apologists that do not understand what the Church offers about these topics, but there are Protestant and Reformed apologists who are quite clear on the Church’s teaching, but hold the root error is that Catholics place Sacred Tradition on the same par as Sacred Scripture. Is there analysis true? Let’s hear from the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC): Continue reading

From within: context

gospel-of-mark1 Now when the Pharisees with some scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around him, 2 they observed that some of his disciples ate their meals with unclean, that is, unwashed, hands. 3 (For the Pharisees and, in fact, all Jews, do not eat without carefully washing their hands, keeping the tradition of the elders. 4 And on coming from the marketplace they do not eat without purifying themselves. And there are many other things that they have traditionally observed, the purification of cups and jugs and kettles (and beds).) 5 So the Pharisees and scribes questioned him, “Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?” 6 He responded, “Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me;7 In vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines human precepts.’ 8 You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.”… 14 He summoned the crowd again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand. 15 Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person; but the things that come out from within are what defile.”…. 21 From within people, from their hearts, come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, 22 adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly. 23 All these evils come from within and they defile.” (Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23) Continue reading

The danger of safety

pentecost-ruahA popular line of anti-Catholic apologetics centers on our gospel reading. The argument is this: “you Catholics have lost your way. You rely on human traditions and ignore the commandments of God.” Their usual list of Catholic errors includes the veneration of Mary, her Immaculate Conception, and her bodily Assumption into Heaven. There is also transubstantiation, praying to saints, the confessional, penance, purgatory, and more. We might take great offense at their assertions – but it is a reminder that we should always be mindful about losing our way on the journey to God. We do in fact have our Traditions and our traditions; the former is forever, the latter comes and goes. Lots of Catholics confuse the two. One can easily lose one’s way. The thing is this: you are lost well before you realize you’re lost. So it is good to be mindful about God, Tradition, and traditions. Continue reading

Tradition: and traditions

gospel-of-markMark 7:8, referring to “human traditions” is often a verse which non-Catholic folk will hold up as proof text of the manner in which the Catholic Church has gone astray, introducing all manner of non-Biblical beliefs. The usual list includes there is the veneration of Mary, her Immaculate Conception and her bodily Assumption into Heaven. There is also transubstantiation, praying to saints, the confessional, penance, purgatory, and more. There are the variety of would-be apologists that do not understand what the Church offers about these topics, but there are Protestant and Reformed apologists who are quite clear on the Church’s teaching, but hold the root error is that Catholics place Sacred Tradition on the same par as Sacred Scripture. Is there analysis true? Let’s hear from the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC): Continue reading

Traditions: context

gospel-of-mark1 Now when the Pharisees with some scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around him, 2 they observed that some of his disciples ate their meals with unclean, that is, unwashed, hands. 3 (For the Pharisees and, in fact, all Jews, do not eat without carefully washing their hands, keeping the tradition of the elders. 4 And on coming from the marketplace they do not eat without purifying themselves. And there are many other things that they have traditionally observed, the purification of cups and jugs and kettles (and beds).) 5 So the Pharisees and scribes questioned him, “Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?” 6 He responded, “Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me;7 In vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines human precepts.’ 8 You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.”… 14 He summoned the crowd again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand. 15 Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person; but the things that come out from within are what defile.”…. 21 From within people, from their hearts, come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, 22 adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly. 23 All these evils come from within and they defile.” (Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23) Continue reading

Woe to us if we lose our way

One of the axioms of life in my family is that we are convinced our mother understood the deep and true nature of Thanksgiving turkey stuffing.  All other efforts to match my mother’s culinary masterpiece are vain attempts at best and heretically sacrilegious at worst. And it is not just questions about stuffing that vex us – think about the local, never-ending debates here in Tampa about what constitutes a Cuban sandwich – and that is before we even get to the question of which one is the best. We might be willing to compromise our positions on turkey stuffing and Cuban sandwiches – but what about religion? Religion and what constitutes right and true religion is as troubling a question – and that is before we consider what that religion demands of us. And woe to us if we lose our way on the question of Religion. Continue reading