Our tradition also includes dynamism.

The Catholic Church stands on solid foundations, from which it draws and from which it must not deviate. Historian and Catholic priest Branislav Dado, SJ, says that on the other hand, as the world and society develops, so does the Church. “We can’t stand still, we church leaders and lay people have to react to many things as well.”

For example, the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, which forms one of the pillars of the Catholic faith, built on the sacred Tradition and the Holy Scriptures, remains unchanged. They spring from the same divine source and lead to the same goal – to lead people to salvation, to the eternal goal, as taught by the Second Vatican Council in the Dei Verbum constitutions ( DV , 9).

First , we need to  understand the term Tradition of the Church correctly. “We are familiar with terms such as folklore traditions or national tradition and the like. When we talk about the Tradition of the Church, we mean something quite different,” explains the historian.

Tradition in the Church is  all faith handed down from generation to generation in a living way. In our understanding, the word tradition (tradó, tradere) does not denote folklore, but content, objective facts, treasures of faith.

In sociology, Tradition represents the sum of customs, rules inherited from generation to generation. In theology, Tradition means the teaching of faith of a religious community, which is transmitted in writing or orally. This contrast  the written, canonical revelation in the Bible, which is “God’s word, God’s revelation”.

The written Tradition also includes the writings of the church fathers, theological doctrine and the content of the teaching office of the Church. “It is primarily about spiritual and moral values, legal norms, guidelines for the life of the Church. Also about the liturgical and moral side,” adds Branislav Dado.

The entire revelation of God is completed in Jesus Christ. “He commissioned the apostles to preach the gospel that was promised through the prophets. Christ built his Church on St. Peter as on a rock.

“The apostles fulfilled this mission and proclaimed the Gospel as a source of spiritual truth and moral standards, thus conveying God’s gifts to people. The Gospel was transmitted first orally, then in writing. To keep it intact and alive in the Church, the apostles appointed bishops as their successors.”

We call this living transmission of faith, carried out in the Holy Spirit, Tradition, because through it the treasure of living faith is passed on intact from generation to generation. “Tradition is therefore the place of action of the Holy Spirit in the Catholic Church and through it in the world.”

In the Church, communities are a manifestation of the action of the Holy Spirit and a sign of its dynamic life. Illustration picture:

At the same time, however, Catholicism is developing and forming as a spiritual direction. Different currents in the Church have always been a response to the current needs of the times. “However, we must distinguish whether the direction that is being formed is guided by God’s Spirit, or whether it is Catholic. The Church has always distinguished in this area in the light of the Holy Spirit.”

Healthy currents got their specific name. These are religious orders, secular institutes, movements, societies of apostolic life. At the time of its creation, each of them was the response of a specific person or group of people to the current problems of the time and the needs of the Church.

“In addition to official movements, various prayer, charitable or educational communities are also established within parishes or dioceses. All of them are a manifestation of the action of the Holy Spirit and a sign of the dynamic life of the Church.”

It is natural that this development and movement within the Church also brings with it certain tensions. According to Branislav Dada, it is important that potential tension becomes a space for spiritual discernment. In humility and openness to the Holy Spirit and under the guidance of the competent authorities of the Church, we should know where and how to move forward.

However, if this distinction replaces the promotion of one’s own opinions and attitudes, conflicts occur. “The history of the Church is full of them. However, they are also a manifestation of the fact that the Church is a living organism, that it is a community of weak people marked by sins.”

As for the liturgical-legal regulations, they are also evolving, also often under tension. “It is important not to exclude anyone from the range of love. The only thing that can and should truly appeal to people is unadulterated, sincere love, open to dialogue and respectful discussion while preserving Catholic teaching and fidelity to the Magisterium of the Church.”

We see such a procedure, for example, with Saint Dominic (1170 – 1221), Francis of Assisi (1181 – 1226) or Francis of Sales (1567 – 1622).

Today, however, we are offered some directions and more liberal views that also affect the Church, so you have to be careful. “A faithful Catholic cannot wait for the Church to dictate to him a list of permitted and prohibited opinions, trends or groups. In today’s pluralistic society, this is not even possible. If only because there are many different directions and currents within the spiritual life.”

However, there is, for example, a developed ecumenical dialogue, within which we also get to know other, non-Catholic Christian traditions and communities. According to the historian, this dialogue has its positives, but also its risks. Therefore, it is necessary for faithful Catholics to know the official documents, to have them explained by competent authorities and to discern based on this knowledge, guided by the Holy Spirit.

“However, the basic approach still remains – unadulterated humility. It does not mean servility or submissive behavior. I therefore encourage the faithful to find time to study church documents, and I also encourage the priests to know them well and in their pastoral service to help the faithful in the communities to find their way,” adds the Jesuit.

The Church distinguishes according to Tradition
“Perhaps readers will notice that we use two ways of writing – Tradition with a capital T and Tradition with a small t. It’s not a typo. The tradition of the Church with a capital T is, together with the Holy Scriptures, a source of apostolic teaching. He transmits what the apostles received from Jesus Christ and what the Holy Spirit taught them.

Theological, disciplinary (legal norms and morality), liturgical and similar traditions must be distinguished from this Tradition. These are also closely related to the teaching office of the Church, that is, to Tradition, but it is possible to modify them, of course, in accordance with and in the light of the faith that is contained in God’s word and Tradition.”

Church historian Branislav Dado also gives examples when tradition and Tradition show us the direction. The first concerns the possibility of human life arising outside the mother’s body, i.e. so-called artificial insemination. “Although science gives us rich possibilities, we do not have the right to manipulate and play with life. We are not its creators, but its receivers and bearers.” In this regard, tradition shows us what is moral and what is not.

It is similar in the case of artificial intelligence currently being addressed. “First of all, it is necessary to think about whether we can talk about artificial intelligence at all, because intelligence is a natural property of a person, not a machine. A machine, computer or drone will always only be programmed by someone intelligent – ​​a human.”

Thus, with current topics, we ask to what extent the given facts are moral, and “the Church, guided by the Word of God and Tradition, thinks about these modern questions and examines them in the light of the Holy Spirit”, concludes the historian.

This entry was posted in Nezaradené. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *