Our beliefs come from 2 places – Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. We believe that the bible and the tradition passed down to us from the apostles make up the single deposit of our faith. Many Christian religions base their faith on the bible alone – We call this “Sola Scriptura.”
Why don’t we base our faith on the bible alone, too? First, there is nowhere in the bible that says that the bible alone should be our basis of faith.
Secondly, holy writings – scripture- existed long before Jesus. In the Temple, Jesus reads a scroll from the prophet Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” Luke 4: 18-19 The first canon (collection of books of the bible) was assembled around 170 A.D. The bible as we know it today did not exist until the 2nd Century A.D. (long after Jesus had resurrected and ascended into heaven. This means that the apostles who Jesus commissioned to “go out and make disciples of all the nations baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…” did not base the early church beliefs and practices on the bible alone. It did not exist yet.
What is Sacred Tradition? It is the information passed down to us from the apostles and the early Church fathers over the centuries. This information was gotten from Peter, the first leader of the Church, then it was passed down to the next pope to the next pope and so on. There were things that the apostles knew and practiced that were not written in the bible. They lived and worked with Jesus himself. Shouldn’t credence be given to what we can learn from them? The Church thinks so.
One of those beliefs that we got from this passing down of information from the apostles is the Assumption of Mary into heaven body and soul. Nowhere in the bible is Mary’s death mentioned. We only know what happened to Mary through the apostles. They were Jesus’ closest friends. They would know, right?
As I ponder what I will write about for my next post, let me know if you have a question about Catholicism that I might be able to answer:)