The Church teaches us that God’s Revelation comes to us through two modes: Sacred Scripture and Tradition. These two modes of Revelation come from the same divine wellspring or fount. This I accept without doubt. I am quite firm in this belief. Belief, however, does not mean understanding, and I have struggled for many years with the question of how to understand this. So this is the first in a series of posts in which I will be seeking a deeper understanding of this mystery of the faith. The whole point of this blog, no?
My problem is this: As a man who was raised and educated in the Roman Catholic Church I came to see Scripture and Tradition not as two distinct modes of Revelation, but more as separate places of Revelation, both of which are needed for it’s fullness. I envisioned Scripture in one hand and Tradition in the other. I suspect that a large part of the reason for this was due to the polemics of apologetical writings in opposition to Protestantism. As I learned more about Scripture and Tradition outside of the polemics of apologetics I came to be dissatisfied with my vision of them as two separate things each completing the other. I began and quickly took on whole-heartedly to conceive not of Scripture and Tradition, but rather of Scripture in Tradition. This resulted in another problem: the danger of subsuming Scripture to Tradition.
And now the question: How to understand the relationship between Scripture and Tradition while neither separating them nor subsuming Scripture to Tradition? The main text I will be using to investigate this mystery of our faith is Yves Congar’s Tradition and Traditions.