explain the catholic faith
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Unity of Christians
Matthew 16:18-19
ST.  EPHRAIM "[Jesus said:] Simon, my follower, I have
made you the foundation of the holy Church. I betimes
called you Peter, because you will support all its
buildings. You are the inspector of those who will build
on earth a Church for me. If they should wish to build
what is false, you, the foundation, will condemn them.
You are the head of the fountain from which my
teaching flows; you are the chief of my disciples.
Through you I will give drink to all peoples. Yours is that
life-giving sweetness which I dispense. I have chosen
you to be, as it were, the first-born in my institution so
that, as the heir, you may be executor of my treasures. I
have given you the keys of my kingdom. Behold, I have
given you authority over all my treasures" (Homilies 4:1
[a.d. 3 51]).

church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. Mat 16:19 I will give
you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in
heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
("Gates" Genesis 22:18 fulfillment to Abraham)
The Catholic Church always has taught that the MAGISTERIUM (the pope and the bishops
teaching in harmony with him) is Jesus Christ's provision for determining and preserving
Catholic truth. (Ray Ryland, This Rock, 11/97)
Properly speaking, this Magisterium is a teaching authority; it not only presents the truth,
but it has the right to impose it, since its power is the very power given by God to Christ
and by Christ to His Church. This authority is called the teaching Church. The teaching
Church is essentially composed of the episcopal body, which continues here below the
work and mission of the Apostolic College. It was indeed in the form of a college or social
body that Christ grouped His Apostles and it is likewise as a social body that the
episcopate exercises its mission to teach. Doctrinal infallibility has been guaranteed to the
episcopal body and to the head of that body as it was guaranteed to the
Apostles, with
this difference, however, between the Apostles and the bishops that each Apostle was
personally infallible (in virtue of his extraordinary mission as founder and the plenitude of
the Holy Ghost received on Pentecost by the Twelve and later communicated to St. Paul
as to the Twelve), whereas only the body of bishops is infallible and each bishop is not so,
save in proportion as he teaches in communion and concert with the entire episcopal
At the head of this episcopal body is the supreme authority of the Roman pontiff, the
successor of
St. Peter in his primacy as he is his successor in his see (Latin sedes, a
seat). As supreme authority in the teaching body, which is infallible, he himself is infallible.
The episcopal body is infallible also, but only in union with its head, from whom moreover
it may not separate, since to do so would be to separate from the foundation on which the
Church is built. The authority of the pope may be exercised without the cooperation of the
bishops, and this even in infallible decisions which both bishops and faithful are bound to
receive with the same submission. The authority of the bishops may be exercised in two
ways; now each bishop teaches the flock confided to him, again the bishops assemble in
council to draw up together and pass doctrinal or disciplinary decrees. When all the
bishops of the Catholic world (this totality is to be understood as morally speaking; it
suffices for the whole Church to be represented) are thus assembled in council the
council is called ecumenical. The doctrinal decrees of an ecumenical council, once they
are approved by the pope, are infallible as are the ex cathedra definitions of the
sovereign pontiff. Although the bishops, taken individually, are not infallible their teaching
participates in the infallibility of the Church according as they teach in concert and in
union with the episcopal body, that is according as they express not their personal ideas,
but the very thought of the Church.
(Catholic Encyclopedia)
Canon 753

Although they do not enjoy infallible teaching authority, the bishops in communion with the
head and members of the college, whether as individuals or gathered in conferences of
bishops or in particular councils, are authentic teachers and instructors of the faith for the
faithful entrusted to their care; the faithful must adhere to the authentic teaching of their
own bishops with a religious assent of soul.

At the beginning of the information on "Magisterium"
in the Catholic Encyclopedia the article brings up the word  "Tradition" with a capital T. It
goes on to say; "Tradition and Living Magisterium"
"The word tradition (Greek paradosis in the ecclesiastical sense; which is the
only one in which it is used here; refers sometimes to the thing (doctrine,
account, or custom) transmitted from one generation to another"

It gives instances in Sacred Scripture of "Tradition". Some examples are to be avoided but
there are others which the early Church encourages us to keep.
1 Peter 1:18-19
"realizing that you were ransomed from your futile conduct, handed on (patroparadotos)
by your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold but with the precious blood
of Christ as of a spotless and unblemished lamb"
The New Testament authors referred frequently to the process of "handing on" the Word
of God to His People.
Lk 1:1-2
Since many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the events that have been fulfilled
among us, just as those who were eyewitnesses from the beginning and ministers of the
word have handed them down (paredosan) to us.
1 Cor 11:23
"For I received from the Lord what I also handed on (paredoka) to you, that the Lord
Jesus, on the night he was handed over, took bread"
1 Cor 15:3-4
"For I handed on (paredoka) to you as of first importance what I also received"
2 Tim 2:2
"And what you heard from me through many witnesses entrust (parathou) to faithful
people who will have the ability to teach others as well."
It is Paul who makes the distinction of modes in which the Revelation of God to His People
can be handed on.
Paul also called the process of handing on the Word of God "tradition." He then terms two
ways in which "traditions" are transmitted, by word, orally, and by letter, written.
3862 - Greek

paradosis = tradition

I mentioned earlier those traditions to be avoided:
Mat 15:1 "Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, 2 "Why do
your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They do not wash (their) hands when they
eat a meal." 3 He said to them in reply, "And why do you break the commandment of God
for the sake of your tradition? 4 For God said, 'Honor your father and your mother,' and
'Whoever curses father or mother shall die.'
5 But you say, 'Whoever says to father or mother, "Any support you might have had from
me is dedicated to God,"
6 need not honor his father.' You have nullified the word of God for the sake of your
Those traditions to be kept:
1Cor 11:2 "I praise you because you remember me in everything and hold fast to the
traditions, just as I handed them on to you."
Col 2:8 "See to it that no one captivate you with an empty, seductive philosophy according
to human tradition, according to the elemental powers of the world and not according to
2Thess. 2:15 "Therefore, brothers, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were
taught, either by an oral statement or by a letter of ours."
2Thess. 3:6 "We instruct you, brothers, in the name of (our) Lord Jesus Christ,to shun
any brother who conducts himself in a disorderly way and not according to the tradition
they received from us."

So, we can readily see that there are both "good, meaning Godly or
Apostolic" and "bad, meaning human" "traditions"!

1Cor 11:2 "I praise you because you remember me in everything and hold fast to
the traditions, just as I handed them on to you."
Saint Paul is talking about the early church celebration of the Mass. When he
tells the Corinthians to, "hold fast to the traditions" how is this to come about?
There has to be some kind of group who will teach these 'traditions' to each
succeeding generation without error. Does the Bible give us some clue as to
how this is to come about?
St. Paul tells us further on in this chapter, 1Cor 11:23 "For I received from the
Lord what I also handed on to you,".
This could be a clue. Jesus taught Paul who in turn taught the Corinthians, who
in turn taught others.
Now the original teachings were both "Oral and Written". We know this from
Act 15:23 "This is the letter delivered by them: "The apostles and the presbyters,
your brothers, to the brothers in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia of Gentile origin:
24 Since we have heard that some of our number (who went out) without any
mandate from us have upset you with their teachings and disturbed your peace
of mind,
25 we have with one accord decided to choose representatives and to send
them to you along with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,
26 who have dedicated their lives to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
27 So we are sending Judas and Silas who will also convey this same message by word of
St. Paul tells the Thessalonians:
2Thess. 2:15 "Therefore, brothers, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were
taught, either by an oral statement or by a letter of ours."
We see both "Oral" and "Written" 'tradition' from the very beginning of the Church.
On Divine Revelation, 9, 10, Vatican II
"Sacred Tradition and sacred Scripture, then, are bound closely together, and
communicate one with the other ... Sacred Tradition and sacred Scripture make up a
single deposit of the Word of God, which is entrusted to the Church."
We can also see from Scripture that there were always false teachings.
2Thess. 2:2 "not to be shaken out of your minds suddenly, or to be alarmed either by a
"spirit," or by an oral statement, or by a letter allegedly from us to the effect that the day of
the Lord is at hand."
Act 15:24 "Since we have heard that some of our number (who went out) without any
mandate from us",
(from who? from us - there must have been some group from the very beginning who had
the ''authority" to say what was right and what was wrong and this verse also shows that
there was always people who did not have the authority to teach), "have upset you with
their teachings and disturbed your peace of mind,".
God would have foreseen this problem and given His Church a sure way of knowing and
teaching without error!
At first there was question only of traditions claiming a Divine origin, but subsequently
there arose questions of oral as distinct from written tradition, in the sense that a given
doctrine or institution is not directly dependent on Holy Scripture as its source but only on
the oral teaching of Christ or the Apostles. Finally with regard to the organ of tradition it
must be an official organ, a Magisterium, or teaching authority. (CE)

Now in this respect there are several points of controversy between Catholics and every
body of Protestants.
For example:
Is all revealed truth consigned to Holy Scripture? Or can it, be admitted that Christ gave to
His Apostles to be transmitted to His Church, that the Apostles received either from the
very lips of Jesus or from inspiration or Revelation, Divine instructions which they
transmitted to the Church and which were not committed to the inspired writings? Must it
be admitted that Christ instituted His Church as the official and authentic organ to transmit
and explain in virtue of Divine authority the Revelation made to men?
The Protestant principle is: The Bible and nothing but the Bible; according to them the
Bible is the sole rule of faith: by it and by it alone should all dogmatic questions be solved;
it is the only binding authority. Catholics, on the other hand, hold that there may be, that
there is in fact, and that there must of necessity be certain revealed truths apart from
those contained in the Bible
(ME) such as happened at the First Council of the Church in Jerusalem, if the Apostles
had used Scripture to decide the problem rather than merely accepting a decision already
made by St. Peter in Acts 10 & 11, we would all still be getting circumcised); they hold
furthermore that Jesus Christ has established in fact, a living organ as much to transmit
Scripture and written Revelation as to place revealed truth within reach of everyone
always and everywhere. (CE)

The problem of "Oral & Written" tradition verses "Written" tradition alone,
leads back to the age old cry of the "Reformers", "Sola Scriptura" or "The
Bible Alone" as our sole authority in doctrinal matters!

I would like to share with you 3 reasons why Sola Scriptura is not from
No where in Scripture does the Bible tell us that we can only follow the Bible for
teachings of our Faith. Admittedly there are some verses which would seem to
say something like we can only follow the Bible but under the pressure of close
scrutiny our opponents arguments unravel. So, in order for some one to accept
the teaching of Sola Scriptura they would have to accept the word of someone
(outside the Bible). This of course would nullify their theory of following only the
...the Church was spreading for decades, long before the New Testament books
were written, gathered and officially canonized, or collected in an authoritative
collection. Historians who are objective will see that the Church saw itself bound
to the Word of God as it was handed down from Christ to the apostles and their
successors in their doctrine, in their worship and in their morals apart from New
Testament books. The New Testament books were in a certain sense occasional
documents written to help certain congregations or certain area churches with
particular questions, but nowhere does the Bible say, or does the New
Testament regard itself, as a compendium that is sufficient for everything we
need to know to live the Christian life.(Dr. Scott Hahn)
Historically for the first one thousand years there was one visible church! Not
until 1054 AD did we have a major split. There was one authority for all those
years, admittedly there were many heresies, but the existence of heresies would
only show that there must have been a truth!
Some one once told me that the term Catholic only came into being when the
Protestant Reformation started. Over the years I have heard many different
ideas of when the term Catholic started. I suggest to anyone who wants to know
the truth merely look the term Catholic up in any dictionary or encyclopedia.
For example the following is an excerpt from the Encyclopedia Britannica:
Encyclopedia Britannica Article
(from Greek katholikos, "universal"), the characteristic that, according to
ecclesiastical writers since the 2nd century, distinguished the Christian
Church at large from local communities or from heretical and schismatic

A notable exposition of the term as it had developed during the first three
centuries of Christianity was given by St. Cyril of Jerusalem in his Catechesis
(348): the church is called catholic on the ground of its worldwide extension, its
doctrinal completeness, its adaptation to the needs of men of every kind, and its
moral and spiritual perfection.
There are many other sources available for this information but for the sake of
brevity this should suffice.

We can also see in the writings of the "Early Church Fathers" reference to
disagreements that were settled by either "Councils" that represented the Pope
or directly by the Pope himself.
Between Catholics and the Christian sects of the East... both sides admit the
Divine institution and Divine authority of the Church, but there are contentions
concerning the bearers of the authority, the organic unity of the teaching body,
the infallibility of the pope, and the existence and nature of dogmatic
development in the transmission of revealed truth. (CE)
In the writings of the Church Fathers:
About AD 96 for example, in the pontificate of Clement I, a faction in the Church
in Corinth created schism by ousting some bishops and presbyters. Clement
wrote a strongly worded Letter to that church. He begins his Letter apologizing
for his delay "in giving our attention to the subjects of dispute in your
community." Vigorous persecution of the Church, especially at Rome under Nero
and Domitian, had prevented the Church at Rome from intervening earlier.
[...] Clement commands the schismatics to be "obedient to what we have written
through the Holy Spirit." He warns them, "But should any disobey what has been
said by Him [Christ] through us, let them understand that they will entangle
themselves in transgression and no small danger."
Had the Church at Corinth appealed to Clement to settle the schism? That
Clement apologizes for delay in intervening suggests it had. The Corinthians
were not simply seeking help from some authoritative person. Were that true,
they could have appealed to the apostle John. According to early testimony, at
that time, he was still living and in a city (Ephesus) much closer to Corinth than
Rome. No they appealed to the successor of Peter. At the end of the first
century, Rome's authority and responsibility for settling such matters was
already recognized.
How did they respond to Clement's intervention? They held Clement's Letter in
almost as
high esteem as Sacred Scripture. Eusebius tells us 70 yrs. later, it was
still read during Sunday Liturgy!
(TR, 02/97, p. 36; 06/97, p. 25)
And the last reason why "The Bible Alone" is an untenable teaching.
Before the invention of the "printing press" in 1450 the Bible alone was an
impossibility! Up until this time not even every church had a full copy of the
bible. Each parish would have parts of the bible and they would trade them off to
each other every so often so they could cover more of the bible. Only the places
charged with copying the bible from one generation to the next would have had
whole copies and perhaps as in every time, the very rich.
(Jesus didn't write a bible and give it to the world! He started His Church, "I tell
you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church,")
We can see from Scripture that only Peter was given rule over the Church by
Christ. The word "feed" when applied to humans = rule.

(John 21)
15 When therefore they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter: Simon son of
John, lovest thou me more than these? He saith to him: Yea, Lord, thou knowest
that I love thee. He saith to him: Feed my lambs.
16 He saith to him again: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? He saith to him:
Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. He saith to him: Feed (4165) my lambs.
17 He said to him the third time: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? Peter was
grieved, because he had said to him the third time: Lovest thou me? And he said
to him: Lord, thou knowest all things: thou knowest that I love thee. He said to
him: Feed my sheep. (Douay Rheims = DR)

(Acts 20)
26 Wherefore I take you to witness this day, that I am clear from the blood of all
27 For I have not spared to declare unto you all the counsel of God.
28 Take heed to yourselves, and to the whole flock, wherein the Holy Ghost hath
placed you bishops, to rule (4165) the church of God, which he hath purchased
with his own blood.
29 I know that, after my departure, ravening wolves will enter in among you, not
sparing the flock. (Douay Rheims)

4165 poimaino poy-mah'-ee-no
from 4166; to tend as a shepherd of (figuratively, supervisor):--feed (cattle), rule.
Strong's Bible Dictionary
4165 - Greek
poimainw poimaino

The high priests speaking to King Herod.
Mat_2:6 Mat 2:6 And 2532 thou 4771 Bethlehem 965, in the land 1093 of Juda
2448, art 1488 not 3760 the least 1646 among 1722 the princes 2232 of Juda 2448:
for 1063 out of 1537 thee 4675 shall come 1831 a Governor 2233, that 3748 shall
rule4165 my 3450 people 2992 Israel 2474. (rule: or, feed)
King James Version w/ Strong's Numbers
6 And thou Bethlehem the land of Juda art not the least among the princes of
Juda: for out of thee shall come forth the captain that shall rule my people Israel.

John_21:16 Act_20:28 1Peter_5:2 Rev_2:27 Rev_7:17 Rev_12:5 Rev_19:15
(New Testament Greek Concordance)
Greek. to feed.
Psalm_78:70-72; Psalm 78:70 He chose 977 David 1732 also his servant 5650, and
took 3947 him from the sheepfolds 4356 6629:
Psalm 78:71 From following 310 the ewes great with young 5763 he brought 935
him to feed 7462 Jacob 3290 his people 5971, and Israel 3478 his inheritance
5159. (following: Heb. after)
Psalm 78:72 So he fed 7462 them according to the integrity 8537 of his heart
3824; and guided 5148 them by the skilfulness 8394 of his hands 3709.
King James Version w/ Strong's Numbers
70 And he chose his servant David, and took him from the hocks of sheep: he
brought him from following the ewes great with young,
71 To feed Jacob his servant, and Israel his inheritance.
72 And he fed them in the innocence of his heart: and conducted them by the
skillfulness of his hands. (DR)

Pro_10:21; Isa_40:11;
Jer_3:15; Jer 3:15 And I will give 5414 you pastors 7462 according to mine heart
3820, which shall feed7462 you with knowledge 1844 and understanding 7919.
King James Version w/ Strong's Numbers
15 And I will give you pastors according to my own heart, and they shall feed you
with knowledge and doctrine. (DR)

Eze_34:3; Mic_7:14; Zec_11:4; Mat_2:6;
(Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge)
feed/tend = rule

The primacy was conferred when Christ, after His Resurrection, gave the
mandate to Peter, after the latter's three-fold assurance of His love: "Feed my
lambs!...Feed my lambs!...Feed my sheep!" (John 21:15-17). Here, as in Mt. 16:18
et seq., the words are directed solely and immediately to Peter. The "lambs" and
the "sheep" designate Christ's whole flock, that is, the whole Church (cf. Jn 10).
"Feed" in ancient and biblical language means, in its application to human
beings, rule or govern (cf. Acts 20:28). By Christ's thrice-repeated mandate,
Peter obtained, not re-appointment to the Apostolic office-he did not lose this
through his denial-but the supreme power of government over the Church.
(Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma by Ludwig Ott)
"Feed" in ancient and biblical language means, in its application to human
beings, rule or govern". I would add, as we can see from the above Scripture
quotes, "feed" also means "teach".
1 Cor 11:23 "For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you,"

Books and monuments of every kind are a means, an organ of transmission, they
are not, properly speaking, the tradition itself. To better understand the latter it
must be represented as a current of life and truth coming from God through
Christ and through the Apostles to the last of the faithful who repeats his creed
and learns his catechism. (CE)
The living Magisterium, therefore, makes extensive use of documents of the
past, but it does so while judging and interpreting,...
she still finds her doctrine and rule of faith in these venerable monuments; the
formulas may have grown old, but the truth which they express is always her
present thought. (CE)

Quick Explanation:
Mat 16:18 And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my
church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. Mat 16:19 I
will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth
shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in
John 21:15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon,
son of John, do you love me more than these?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord, you
know that I love you." He said to him, "Feed my lambs." John 21:16 He then said
to him a second time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" He said to him,
"Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." He said to him, "Tend my sheep." John
21:17 He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" Peter
was distressed that he had said to him a third time, "Do you love me?" and he
said to him, "Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you." (Jesus) said
to him, "Feed my sheep.
That's it! The "Promise" and the "Foundation"!
(Acts 20:28 KJV "feed")

(CE) Catholic Encyclopedia   
(NAB) New American Bible for a non Catholic, free download Bible study aid that I
have used (but not the Commentaries) try
e-Sword, contains Douay Rheims.   

(All scripture is taken from the NAB unless noted)
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