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Monday, September 24, 2007

A Defense of Sacred Tradition

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I originally wrote this for Amy at Blessed Motherhood, but it seems to be a good time to post it here.

Catholics believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. We believe that the Bible is authoritative, but that Sacred Tradition is also authoritative, and can help us to interpret (not contradict) scripture, in cases where the words of scripture may be able to have more than one meaning.

Let us journey back to the first time God gave his Word to his people. God gave the Law to Moses. But God gave Moses the Law in two forms, both written and oral. The oral Law was eventually written down, as the Talmud, in the two parts of the Mishna and Gemara.

Jews consider both the oral and the written Law as authoritative. From Judaism 101:
"When did the Jewish People receive the "Oral Torah?" They received it at Sinai, along with the Written Torah. What else do you think Moshe Rabbeinu, Moses our Teacher, was doing up there for forty days and forty nights, neither "eating bread nor drinking water" according to the testimony of the Bible. If not studying the "Oral" Part of the Torah from the Master Teacher, G-d Himself? The Oral Torah is required because without it, its counterpart, the Written Torah, would be incomprehensible."

This is why Jews interpret a prohibition on cooking a calf in its mother's milk to refer to a prohibition on any mixing of meat and dairy products.

Jesus studied the Talmud with the Rabbis in the Temple. The Jews of his time, as the Jews today, would have considered Sacred Tradition as authoritative as the written Scripture. To say that the Bible alone (Sola Scriptura) was authoritative is a serious breech with Judaism.

Now, Christianity departs from Judaism in many ways. But we see in the New Testament that any serious changes are discussed. We read in the New Testament that we are no longer bound to obey the Law, including the dietary restrictions. Men are no longer bound to be circumcised. But no where in the New Testament is it written that ONLY the written Scripture is to be considered authoritative.

On the contrary Paul writes in 2 Thess. 2:15 that we are to stand firm and hold to the traditions which we were taught, either by word of mouth or letter. If Paul wants us to stand fast to traditions which we have been taught, then clearly not all traditions are "traditions of men."

If Jesus meant to build a foundation on Scripture alone, then why did he not command his apostles to immediately write down his Word, as Moses did upon leaving the mountain? Over and over you read in the New Testament that Jesus commanded his apostles to preach, and preach they did. Only three apostles wrote any scripture. Most were written by disciples of the apostles, which means that they were writing down oral tradition, not the words that they heard from Jesus himself.

Thus, the authority of the written New Testament is based on oral tradition. Sacred Tradition is not reliance on the words of others or the traditions of men, but on the Word of God, and the traditions left to us by the apostles, who certainly did not leave an abundance of written words behind.

The New Testament does not claim to be complete of itself. John 20:30; 21:25 writes that Jesus did many other things not written in the Scriptures.

Sola Scriptura claims that the Bible is complete, and that every man can interpret scripture for himself. There is to be no other authority, including oral tradition, to help in interpreting scripture. If that were the case, then why would you have so many books published to help you to understand scripture? Why do you have sermons at Church to help you to interpret scripture? Shouldn't Church then consist of one person reading aloud from scripture, then everyone adjoining to share a meal because everyone exactly agrees on what that scripture meant?

If the Holy Spirit will help us all to interpret Scripture correctly, then why is there not one united protestant church against the Catholic and Orthodox churches? The early reformers could not even achieve unity, but quickly broke into groups, which have broken into more and more groups with each generation.

Acts 8:30-31: And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.

Why didn't Philip explain to the Eunuch that all he had to do was pray to the Holy Spirit to help him interpret the Bible, and he would receive the correct meaning?

1 Tim 3:15 says that the Church is "the pillar and ground of the truth," not scripture.

Col. 4:16 shows that a prior letter written to Laodicea is equally authoritative but not part of the New Testament canon.

There are many, many places in the New Testament that show that Sacred Tradition exists, and that we should not rely on the Bible alone. I have quoted several, but I strongly suggest you go to http://www.scripturecatholic.com/ and read through the sections on Scripture Alone and Oral Tradition to read them all.

Another great resource for understanding that the Catholic Church really teaches about Sacred Tradition is Mark Shea's What is Sacred Tradition?

Of course, Catholic Answers is always a good read, too.

19 comments:

Annie C said...

Shouldn't Church then consist of one person reading aloud from scripture, then everyone adjoining to share a meal because everyone exactly agrees on what that scripture meant?

I would think more like everyone sitting quietly and reading their bible, maybe a little music, recite the Our Father, and then a meal. That way everyone has the chance to read and interpret the scripture for themselves. No where does it say you have to agree on that interpretation.

Kelly said...

Sounds like a traditional Quaker meeting to me! ;)

Sue Bee said...

Sola Scriptura claims that the Bible is complete, and that every man can interpret scripture for himself.

Sola Scriptura means the church bases its doctrine solely on scripture. Man's ability to interpret scripture for himself is an entirely separate issue.

But no where in the New Testament is it written that ONLY the written Scripture is to be considered authoritative.

Jesus says in Matthew 15:6-9 "Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. 7You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:
8" 'These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
9They worship me in vain;
their teachings are but rules taught by men."

Most were written by disciples of the apostles, which means that they were writing down oral tradition, not the words that they heard from Jesus himself.

Peter writes, (2 Peter 1:20-21) "Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit."

Paul writes, (2 Timothy 3:16) "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,"

I'm out of time, so I'll sum up the rest of my thoughts. Your argument seems to be that the New Testament is missing important information. That it is incomplete. What do you think is missing?

The purpose of the New Testament is to point us to Jesus as the Christ our Savior. Nothing more, nothing less, and it does so perfectly on it own. In fact, it does this so well we could have just 2 books and easily explain the faith - the Gospel of St. John (to show us who Jesus is, His death and His resurrection) and Paul's letter to the Romans (to expand on why we need a Savior and how we are saved by faith through His grace.)

Actually, I can break it down to six verses:

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

[God loves us, sent His Son, if we believe in Him we have salvation]

Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

[We are all sinners]

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

[Christ died for our sins]

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

[We should be punished with death but God grants us eternal life because of Jesus. It is a gift, we do not earn it with good works or obediance to the law.]

Romans 10:9 That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

[Faith in Jesus alone will save you.]

Romans 10:13 for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

[God's gift is for everyone]

I gotta run.
Have a blessed day.

Kelly said...

Peter writes, (2 Peter 1:20-21) "Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit."

I think Peter is speaking here about prophecy, so I'm not sure what point you are trying to make, but I would say if you substitute "sacred Tradition" for "prophesy" that I would certainly agree with it. Sacred Tradition is different from the traditions of man.

Paul writes, (2 Timothy 3:16) "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,"

I've never said that Scripture isn't useful for those things. But Tradition is useful for interpreting Scripture.

Your argument seems to be that the New Testament is missing important information. That it is incomplete. What do you think is missing?

That is not my argument at all. My argument is that Sacred Tradition is what gave us the Bible Canon. It is what helps us to correctly interpret the Bible, so that we understand the Trinity and the Incarnation correctly.

Sacred Tradition is what helped the Church defend the faith against heresies which claimed that Jesus was not fully divine, that He was created by God, and therefore inferior. Sacred Tradition is what keeps us on track, and keeps us from from wandering off into error by leaning on our own understanding.

motherofmany said...

I am not denying that there are traditions in every church. In fact, I wrote about the importance of traditions on my blog way before we met ;). But I do counter the idea that traditions are equal to scripture, or when teachings are based mostly in tradition with a few 'molded' scripture to maybe back them up.

1 Timothy 3:15 in my Bible says, "But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth." Yes, the church is very important to the plan of God. But two different things cannot be called THE truth. Many things can be true, but the references to THE truth, meaning supreme truth, point right to the scriptures.

"Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth." John 17:17

"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." 2 Timothy 2:15

The church is the pillar, or support, and ground, which if you check the usage of the word is a connection to, the foundation, which is the scriptures. Ephesians 2:20 says that the scriptures (the prophets and the apostles’ writings) and Jesus (who is the word made flesh) are the foundation upon which the church was built. The church is the bride of Christ. If you make it the foundation of the truth, it becomes the bridegroom.

John 20:30 says Jesus did many other things that were not written down, but the next verse says that what was written down was what we needed for salvation. And as I said before (I know, it’s probably like beating a dead horse) 2 Timothy says that the Bible is all we need to equip us, and sufficient means enough. Even the versions that don’t say sufficient say “so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (NIV) If the Bible thoroughly equips us, there is nothing else we need.

The apostles (and witnesses who wrote the gospels) were chosen and commissioned by Christ. We should heed their words, and we do when we consider the Bible authoritative. We can no longer hear their words since they are deceased, so we must read them, the words they handed over (deposited) to the churches and their leaders. I have not seen any good biblical support for the idea of apostolic succession, especially since many of the teachings brought about after the closing of the canon were extra- or contra- biblical. They wrote them down for us so that we need not rely on men to remember them.

The Law was both written and oral, but it was never to be contradictory and the written law was considered the authority. It makes no sense at all to have one set of written instructions and one set of oral instructions. They were going beyond what was written to say that meat and milk could not be eaten together, and this ‘extra-scriptural’ teaching is what Jesus condemned.

And obviously we ought to help one another with understanding, which is why the word is divided into milk and meat, but no man in the authority of another in interpretation because we will each give account of OURSELVES (Romans 14:12). The pope cannot answer for you, so you must know what the scriptures say for yourself.

Elena said...

Even the versions that don’t say sufficient say “so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (NIV) If the Bible thoroughly equips us, there is nothing else we need.

But that is not the same as saying there is a prohibition on being equipped in full or partially from something outside of Scripture, in this case Tradition.

You're trying to mold, or infer something from the verse that just isn't there Amy.

Elena said...

Jesus says in Matthew 15:6-9 "Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. 7You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:
8" 'These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
9They worship me in vain;
their teachings are but rules taught by men."


Wow, way to take scripture out of context Sue Bee! This verse is discussing the scribes and the pharisees who had added little customs and traditions to the Mosaic laws and expected the people to hold to them as much or even more as the true law. It has nothing to do with the Catholic church or to Sacred Tradition which was handed down by Christ via the apostles.


Peter writes, (2 Peter 1:20-21) "Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit."


Wow, and you're so good at it you did it twice! Kelly didn't say that the writers of the new testament used their own interpretation - she didn't even infer it!

Face it Sue Bee - without Sacred Tradition the bible you Protestants like to beat over the heads of Catholics wouldn't even exist.

Further, Catholics are not Sola Scriptura Christians (a man-made doctrine from Martin Luther a mere 500 or so years ago). So you don't convince us of your position by cherry picking verses to twist that you think support your claim. It just doesn't work that way.

motherofmany said...

Now, I think your words could be turned right around and used against you.

But that is not the same as saying there is a prohibition on being equipped in full or partially from something outside of Scripture, in this case Tradition.

Wow, way to take scripture out of context [Elena]! This verse is discussing the scribes and the pharisees who had added little customs and traditions to the Mosaic laws and expected the people to hold to them as much or even more as the true law [which is what sacred tradition is, little additions to the law]. It has nothing to do with the Catholic church or to Sacred Tradition which was handed down by Christ via the apostles [except that it is exactly the same only in a different religious situation than Judaism].

Face it [Elena] - without Sacred Tradition the religion you Catholics like to beat over the heads of non-Catholics wouldn't even exist. We would still have the Bible becuase the scriptures started WAY before the Catholic church was established. In fact, the entire Old Testament was cannonized before Christ was born. As for the New Testament, Paul's letters were the instructions given to him by God to guide us in the new covenant, but the old law was not abolished.

Further, [Protestants] are not followers of man (a man-made doctrine from combining the things that are sacred with the ideas of man many years AFTER the apostles spread the words of Christ]. So you don't convince us of your position by cherry picking verses to twist that you think support your claim. It just doesn't work that way.

motherofmany said...

I forgot to ask, where does it say the the letters were written by disciples of the apostles and not the apostles themselves?

Elena said...

1. I didn't pick these verses, You and Sue Bee did. So there is no way you can say that I took anything out of context. I am merely defending they poor way in which they were used as a proof text against Catholicism.

2. Trying to say we "beat" non-Catholics with Tradition is ridiculous. It would only hold true if we were trying to say Tradition INSTEAD of Scripture. Catholics have always maintained that it is both/and, not either/or.

3. Protestantism is indeed a man-made sect of Christianity, following for the most part, the man made doctrines of Martin Luther. This is historical fact. Last I checked, Martin Luther came on the scene some 1500 years after the apostles, give or take.

Kelly said...

I forgot to ask, where does it say the the letters were written by disciples of the apostles and not the apostles themselves?

I don't think I'm following you here, Amy. Could you elaborate a little more?

If you mean why I say Luke wasn't an apostle, I was using the list of the twelve apostles which were in the Gospels. Plus Paul, who became an apostle a little late, but still was appointed by Jesus.

Kelly said...

1 Timothy 3:15 in my Bible says, "But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth." Yes, the church is very important to the plan of God. But two different things cannot be called THE truth. Many things can be true, but the references to THE truth, meaning supreme truth, point right to the scriptures.

I would say that the pillar and ground of the Truth, i.e. the Church, is what keeps the Truth of Scripture rooted. It keeps people from wandering off with Scripture into a land where there is no Real Presence in the Eucharist, and no sacraments at all.

The apostles (and witnesses who wrote the gospels) were chosen and commissioned by Christ. [snip] I have not seen any good biblical support for the idea of apostolic succession, especially since many of the teachings brought about after the closing of the canon were extra- or contra- biblical.

But you have some apostolic succession right there! Luke was an apostolic successor to Paul. He wasn't commissioned by Christ himself.

You can read an account of apostolic succession in Acts, when you read how seriously the apostles took choosing a replacement for Judas.

The Law was both written and oral, but it was never to be contradictory and the written law was considered the authority. It makes no sense at all to have one set of written instructions and one set of oral instructions.

But Sacred Tradition does not contradict Scripture. It is for interpreting Scripture. It isn't like we have a Book of Catholic that prescribes worshiping statues and Babylonian goddesses. I've quoted segments for you previously, so you can see that it is nothing crazy. It just helps us to interpret Scripture.

motherofmany said...

Kelly,

I was referring to this statement-

Most were written by disciples of the apostles, which means that they were writing down oral tradition, not the words that they heard from Jesus himself.

Elena,

You are very much twisting the scriptures by trying to say that just because the Bible is enough, that it does not mean we cannot use someting else. The Bible says it is enough. It does also say we make the Word of God void when we add in the teachings of men. The only reason you cannt see that is because you don't want to. If you admit to what the verses clearly say, you sacred tradition is out the window.

Another thing I noticed was how you said there is nothing to prohibit "being equipped in full or partially from something outside of Scripture", which causes me to believe the statements you have made before about the scriptures being equal to tradition are false. Obviously you believe in Sacred Tradition and hold only to the parts of the Bible that can be manipulated to look as though they support it as well.

I understand your knowledge of church history comes from the church you promote, but even the independant historians write of how puritan sects existed from the beginning of Christianity, and that the only reason the whole world was considered Catholic at one point was because of the forced conversions during the crusades and when Catholicism was made a state religion in order to use both physical and spiritual pressure to get people to conform to the dictatorship being put in place. Protestantism is simpkly as term used to describe the phenomenon that occurred after Martin Luther's public break from the suppressive church. There were 'protesters' before, during, and after the time of Luther that had no connection to him whatsoever. That is another reason you will find that not all Christians claim to be either Catholic or Protestant.

I am not sure I can follow the logic at all that Catholic adherance to Sacred Traditions is any different than when Jesus condemned those who were considered the leaders of the Israeli nation (Pharisees, scribes, priests, etc.) using their position to add to the law from their own thinking.

motherofmany said...

Luke was a secretary, writing what he was told by the apostles. He never claimed to have seen the happenings for himself. And he was chosen by Christ because he inspired Paul with the knowledge of what to do, whom to use, and what to tell the churches so that they would be fully equipped for salvation.

Any popes after the deaths of Paul or Peter had to claim new revelations as their own, because these men were no longer around to tell them what God was saying.

motherofmany said...

Kelly,

I do believe sacred tradition contradicts scripture because

*the Bible says it is enough to equip us, and tradition claims that it is not (contradicting it!)

*the Bible says the dead do not know what is going on around them, but tradition teaches praying to the dead is a good practice

*the Bible says that the teachings of men make void the word of God, which is truth, but tradition says the pope has apostolic authoirty to make new teachings

*the Bible say that Jesus has justified those who are his own (justified means to make completely right), but tradition teaches that we will have to be purified by suffering before we enter heaven

*the Bible teaches that Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to be the helper and guide of his people on earth, but tradition teaches that the pope is the actual earthly 'agent'

*the Bible teaches that our righteousness is as filthy rags, that salvation is by grace through our faith, those who call on the lord will be saved, good works are an outward show of our inner change (etc., etc.), but tradition teaches that works are necessary to save us (though we are not really saved until after prugatory)

*the Bible teaches that God's word would stand forever, but tradition teaches that it is not complete or understandable without tradition

*the Bible says there is only one mediator between God and man, Jesus Christ, and that we may come boldly to the throne of grace, but tradition teaches that Mary and the other dead 'saints' (who do not know what is going on around them) can plead with God on our behalf

*the Bible warns of punishment for any who add to or take away from the word of God, and tradition teaches that oral teachings are equal to the word of God

*the Bible says that God will give to anyone who asks for widom, but tradition teaches that we must have the pope to interpret the scriptures for us by comparing them to oral teachings

*the Bible says not to make any graven images to bow down to, but tradition teaches that veneration is simply showing respect

*The whole of scripture is a story, started in the beginning with prophecies to show what the true Messiah would be, completed by demonstrating these prophesies fulfilled in Christ, and showing us how to live as God would have us to live. Tradition was begun after the crucifiction, when many heresies were being started by Satan, who wanted to deceive the world about who Jesus really was and what he really taught so that leading them away with false doctrines would be easy, and is part of a break away from the word of God as authoritative to the word of a man Christ rebuked repeatedly, called Satan, and who denied Christ three times.

Kelly said...

Luke was a secretary, writing what he was told by the apostles. He never claimed to have seen the happenings for himself. And he was chosen by Christ because he inspired Paul with the knowledge of what to do, whom to use, and what to tell the churches so that they would be fully equipped for salvation.

Yes, that is Sacred Tradition.

Any popes after the deaths of Paul or Peter had to claim new revelations as their own, because these men were no longer around to tell them what God was saying.

Clement learned from Peter, just as Luke learned from Paul. He was alive at the same time as Peter. Does this mean that you would say that what he wrote was not "new revelation" because he wrote when St. John was still alive?

As to your other post, I have already answered those points. You can re-read though the comments in previous conversations on your blog, if you've forgotten anything.

I know that we both have busy lives, so I'd rather save my time to focus on new areas of discussion rather than going over the same ground again. I do enjoy talking with you, but I think you already know that I will say that the Pope can't make new things up, etc. :)

Kelly said...

PS--

is part of a break away from the word of God as authoritative to the word of a man Christ rebuked repeatedly, called Satan, and who denied Christ three times

I thought you considered the words of Peter authoritative, too? Or are those letters from Peter only in our Catholic Bible? ;)

Elena said...

Elena,

You are very much twisting the scriptures by trying to say that just because the Bible is enough, that it does not mean we cannot use someting else.


I can get all of the camping supplies I need at Walmart. I can also go over to Kmart and get everything I need. Or I can get some at Wal and some at K. Either way it's sufficient! : ) Of course that isn't exactly the Catholic position either - Catholics believe in Sacred Scripture AND Sacred Tradition. Walmart AND Kmart.



The Bible says it is enough.

No Amy it doesn't. No where in the bible does it say the Bible alone is solely authoritative and that nothing else is authoritative. Sorry, it's just not in there.



It does also say we make the Word of God void when we add in the teachings of men.

Which is why I can't figure out Protestantism which had the added doctrines of Sola Fide and Sola Scriptura by Martin Luther.


The only reason you cannt see that is because you don't want to.

Ditto.

But remember the purpose of this blog is not for me to convince you or for you to convince me (although there's no harm certainly in discussing these things). In that sense I think this blog is unique among apologetic blogs.


If you admit to what the verses clearly say, you sacred tradition is out the window.

The verse doesn't cleary state that. If you admitted that one of your two pillars of the Reformation would fall.



Another thing I noticed was how you said there is nothing to prohibit "being equipped in full or partially from something outside of Scripture", which causes me to believe the statements you have made before about the scriptures being equal to tradition are false.

Well to carry my analogy further - Kmart is pretty much the same as Walmart is it not?


Obviously you believe in Sacred Tradition and hold only to the parts of the Bible that can be manipulated to look as though they support it as well.

I believe what the catechism says

80 "Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture, then, are bound closely together, and communicate one with the other. For both of them, flowing out from the same divine well-spring, come together in some fashion to form one thing, and move towards the same goal." Each of them makes present and fruitful in the Church the mystery of Christ, who promised to remain with his own "always, to the close of the age".


Further, I am not "manipulating" scripture and I find the use of that term to be insulting and a not so subtle ad hominem attack. Please see our commenting guidelnies.

Kelly, Erika and I have merely tried to explain to you our interpretation of scripture and how the church backs Her doctrines with scripture. If you want to understand Catholicism you need to understand this.



I understand your knowledge of church history comes from the church you promote, but even the independant historians write of how puritan sects existed from the beginning of Christianity, and that the only reason the whole world was considered Catholic at one point was because of the forced conversions during the crusades and when Catholicism was made a state religion in order to use both physical and spiritual pressure to get people to conform to the dictatorship being put in place.

Wow packed sentence. See 6 tips about not piling a lot on. I think it's also in our commenting guidelines.

As for individual historians - not all individual historians are, shall we say, acurate. John Boswell anyone?

Protestantism is simpkly as term used to describe the phenomenon that occurred after Martin Luther's public break from the suppressive church. There were 'protesters' before, during, and after the time of Luther that had no connection to him whatsoever.

Right. They called them heretics.

That is another reason you will find that not all Christians claim to be either Catholic or Protestant.

I totally understand that which is why I try to use the term, "non-Catholic." ALthough I usually find if you do enough digging you can find Protestant roots in there somewhere either by family history or education.

I am not sure I can follow the logic at all that Catholic adherance to Sacred Traditions is any different than when Jesus condemned those who were considered the leaders of the Israeli nation (Pharisees, scribes, priests, etc.)

Well let's see if this helps. The Pharisees and Scribes were adding their own interpretations and expecting the people to adhere to them as well.

Catholic Tradition is Apostolic Tradition. It has been passed on from Jesus Christ through the apostles and down to us through the ages .

Erika S. said...

Mother of Many-
I am sorry that you feel so strongly against the teachings of the Catholic Church. The laundry list of so called contradictions is huge and overwhelming, but all of them can be proven unfounded, though it might take an entire book to explain it. Though I doubt reading any book would make you change your mind and for that I am truley sorry.
Peace be with you!

Elena- Your posts above have said everything that I would have said. Living in Japan really takes away the fun of a debate online as I always get here for the tale end.
:(