Monday, January 31, 2005

Off the record...

Here're a couple quotes I recently added to my sidebar:

"...[T]he Church also maintains that the authority of the sacred writings is without meaning if the truth they express ceases to be the object of a living possession, and if this living possession is not itself preserved from degeneration and alteration by the presence of Christ's mandatories who, not now to sow but to keep alive [and reap? -- EBB] what the apostles alone could sow, have received from him, like the apostles and through them, the charism of speaking in his name and with his authority. ... [T]radition is not something other than Holy Scripture and added to it, but rather the entire living transmission of the truth, whose central organ is the inspired Scripture. Scripture is not illuminated or completed by tradition ... [but] keeps its true and complete sense only when it remains a vital part of that living tradition of the Church.... The Word of God is communicated to the Church and directs her through Holy Scripture, but through Scripture linked to all those things that make us see it as the deposit of a Word which is and always will be a word of life, which cannot be preserved apart from the life it itself creates and sustains."

-- Fr. Louis Bouyer, C.O., The Word, Church and Sacraments in Protestantism and Catholicism

"What is any man who has been in the real outer world, for instance, to make of the everlasting cry that Catholic traditions are condemned by the Bible? It indicates a jumble of topsy-turvy tests and tail-foremost arguments, of which I never could at any time see the sense. The ordinary sensible sceptic or pagan is standing in the street (in the supreme character of the man in the street) and he sees a procession go by of the priests of some strange cult, carrying their object of worship under a canopy, some of them wearing high head-dresses and carrying symbolical staffs, others carrying scrolls and sacred records, others carrying sacred images and lighted candles before them, others sacred relics in caskets or cases, and so on. I can understand the spectator saying, 'This is all hocus-pocus'; I can even understand him, in moments of irritation, breaking up the procession, throwing down the images, tearing up the scrolls, dancing on the priests and anything else that might express that general view. ... But in what conceivable frame of mind does he rush in to select one particular scroll of the scriptures of this one particular group (a scroll which had always belonged to them and been a part of their hocus-pocus, if it was hocus-pocus); why in the world should the man in the street say that one particular scroll was not bosh, but was the one and only truth by which all the other things were to be condemned? Why should it not be as superstitious to worship the scrolls as the statues, of that one particular procession? Why should it not be as reasonable to preserve the statues as the scrolls, by the tenets of that particular creed? To say to the priests, 'Your statues and scrolls are condemned by our common sense,' is sensible. To say, 'Your statues are condemned by your scrolls, and we are going to worship one part of your procession and wreck the rest,' is not sensible from any standpoint, least of all that of the man in the street."

-- G. K. Chesterton, The Catholic Church and Conversion

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