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Scriptura et Traditio

In other words: the reality that is the Church transcends any literary formulation of it. Of course, what she believes and lives can be, and is, contained in books. But it is not totally assimilated by these books. On the contrary, the books fulfill their function as books only when they point to the community in which the word is to be found. This living community cannot be replaced or surpassed by historical exegesis; it is inherently superior to any book. By its very nature, the word of faith presupposes the community that lives it, that is bound to it and that adheres to it in its very power to bind mankind. Just as revelation transcends literature, so it also transcends the limits of the pure scientism of historical reason. In this sense, it can be said that the inner nature of faith justifies the Church’s claim to be the primary interpreter of the word and that this claim cannot be abdicated in favor of enlightened reason without rendering questionable the very structure of faith as a possibility for mankind. Community of faith is the situs of understanding. It cannot be replaced by the science of history. (Principles of Catholic Theology, pp. 329-330)

By these words, Benedict condemns at least in some way several errors of our times. Among those that stood out to me were the concept of Sola Scriptura and an over-reliance on the historo-critical method (as in the infamous “search for the historical Jesus”). It is in reading things like this that I am reminded of my first inclination as a non-religious person way back when that the Catholic Church was the One True Church – simply, the 2,000 years of unbroken Tradition going directly back to the Apostles and Jesus himself. The Tradition that continues to unfold in front of me only reaffirms my first impressions. Deo gratias!

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