Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Man-Made Tradition

It can be argued that what belongs to what Catholics call "Sacred Tradition" are traditions of men. In fact, people argue this all the time. The polemics are not new. However, an important step in the process of accepting divine revelation is the ability to distinguish in a principled way between divine revelation, and human opinion.

When a Catholic apologist says, "Sola Scriptura collapses into Solo Scriptura," what he's saying is, "There is no principled way to distinguish between divine revelation, and human opinion." Revelation is received. It is intrinsic to the purpose of the human person to receive revelation as the beginning of communion with God, his or her ultimate end. If he cannot distinguish between revelation and human opinion in his own hermeneutical process, by what means will he judge that the Catholic Church has adopted traditions of men, against God's word?

It's no doubt appealing to say, "We're all sinners," when faced with what I call the Noltie Conundrum; it's interesting to note that the reality of the Fall is not acknowledged at every step of the process. When a Sola Scriptura adherent needs an unimpeachable dogma against something he believes to be false, he curiously forgets the "chaos" he has acknowledged.

For my part, infallibility is the distinguishing mark of divine revelation, in contrast to human opinion. So, if none of the ecclesial bodies possesses a charism of infallibility in any circumstances--the unstated premise of Sola Scriptura--then the individual must possess it. Even if that conclusion could be supposed, the person cannot know whether he is exercising that charism, because he can't distinguish between divine revelation and human opinion.

My friend Davis Evans of Melbourne, Florida, this rabbit-hole goes pretty deep.

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