Monday, May 18, 2015

A little teaching ..

The relationship between the Church and the Scriptures is very like the relationship you have with your family photo album. The pictures help you remember your family's life. Only the members of your family really know what the pictures record. People outside the family can work out certain things for themselves but only those who are in touch with and live the family traditions can really know the truth.

The Scriptures are the photo album of the Church. They record her foundation by the Master and her early life and only those within the living tradition and memory of the Church can truly know what these pictures mean.

To read the book in isolation from the living memory of the Church, i.e. the Tradition of the Church, can lead to gross errors and has done so many times in the past.

A simple example is the mistaken reading of Mark 6:3 where the 'brothers and sisters' of Jesus are mentioned. Those within the tradition, those within the memory of the Church, know that Mary had only one child, and that this seeming confusion comes from a problem of translation.

Those who are outside the tradition can only say, 'Well, it says here that Jesus had brothers and sisters so he must have had brothers and sisters.'

Outside the Tradition remain only the words and not the memory, just as those outside your family will have just the photo and not the family tradition.

Usually they will take the picture to one of the family members and say, 'When and where was this taken? Who is this? How come so and so is missing? etc. What is the meaning of this picture?'

Once an individual accepts the authority of the Church over the interpretation of Scripture so many problems disappear.

Five men outside the Tradition will have five differing interpretations of Scripture. Within the Church there is only one.

We believe, for example, in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. If you read John 6 you will get a pretty good exposition of this doctrine but that is not why we believe it.

The Church believes it because Jesus revealed it to her and we believed it decades before John was written.

John 6 remembers what the Church already knew and was already practising. Unfortunately, many denominations today, reading John 6 in isolation, cut off from the Tradition, reading nothing but the words, have failed to recognise the doctrine of the Real Presence contained in the writing.

This is why there is so much division between the churches. It's all a question of authority, isn't it?


  1. I love this analogy! It is so simple, but explains so much and is so easy to understand. And what a joy to be a child of this family!

  2. Authority is what everything really comes down too. When you accept the authority of the church you can accept all that she teaches.

  3. Excellent. Scripture is the family picture album of the baby Church!

  4. Well, you have even a little more to go on. The greek was a transliteration. i.e. Aramaic as far as I know uses the same word for brother and male cousin. It is possible St. Joseph had been married before, it would have been natural to call these children the "siblings" of the Lord. i think the old translation of "brethren" was much better. Even taken textually on the surface of it, in those times it would not have been proper for a younger sibling to question the authority of an elder sibling. And had Jesus HAD true siblings, why would He need the apostle John to look after His mother. I do not argue from scripture, believing of course that there was tradition before any written word, and that what was deemed scriptural would have been in keeping with the tradition and not contrary to it. Even a protestant, if those things were pointed out, might admit to himself, that his argument from "bible alone" isn't so airtight as it might seem to him.