Tuesday, July 18, 2006
In this section, we see the melding of Scripture and Tradition as being a co-responsibility of bishops and the faithful:
Sacred tradition and Sacred Scripture form one sacred deposit of the word of God, committed to the Church. Holding fast to this deposit the entire holy people united with their shepherds remain always steadfast in the teaching of the Apostles, in the common life, in the breaking of the bread and in prayers (see Acts 2, 42, Greek text), so that holding to, practicing and professing the heritage of the faith, it becomes on the part of the bishops and faithful a single common effort. (cf. Pius XII, apostolic constitution, "Munificentissimus Deus," Nov. 1, 1950: A.A.S. 42 (1950) p. 756; Collected Writings of St. Cyprian, Letter 66, 8: Hartel, III, B, p. 733: "The Church [is] people united with the priest and the pastor together with his flock.")
"Authentic" interpretation is reserved to the teaching office. Dei Verbum does not broach the subject of the role of the theologian in this "living teaching office," though we can conclude that bishops bear both catechetical and pastoral responsibilities. The role of the Spirit is vital, too, as we read:
But the task of authentically interpreting the word of God, whether written or handed on, (cf. First Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Catholic Faith, Chap. 3 "On Faith:" Denzinger 1792 (3011)) has been entrusted exclusively to the living teaching office of the Church, (cf. Pius XII, encyclical "Humani Generis," Aug. 12, 1950: A.A.S. 42 (1950) pp. 568-69: Denzinger 2314 (3886).) whose authority is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ. This teaching office is not above the word of God, but serves it, teaching only what has been handed on, listening to it devoutly, guarding it scrupulously and explaining it faithfully in accord with a divine commission and with the help of the Holy Spirit, it draws from this one deposit of faith everything which it presents for belief as divinely revealed.
Not only are Scripture and Tradition linked, but a third leg of that tripod is the catechetical portion of the Church. Though each has an appeal to people and each has a distinctive role to play, the three aspects are closely joined:
It is clear, therefore, that sacred tradition, Sacred Scripture and the teaching authority of the Church, in accord with God's most wise design, are so linked and joined together that one cannot stand without the others, and that all together and each in its own way under the action of the one Holy Spirit contribute effectively to the salvation of souls.