Handing On Divine Revelation: Vatican Council II

Decree On Divine Revelation, Chapter 2

... God has seen to it that what He has revealed ...
would abide perpetually in its full integrity
and be handed on to all generations.
... Christ the Lord ... full revelation of ... God ...
commissioned the apostles ...
this commission was faithfully fulfilled ...
by their oral preaching,
by example, and
by ordinances,
... (the apostles)
handed on what they had received
from the lips of Christ,
from living with Him, and
from what He did, or
what they had learned through the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
... in order to keep the gospel forever whole and alive ...
the apostles left bishops as their successors,
handing over their own teaching role to them.
This sacred tradition, therefore, and
sacred Scripture of both the Old and New Testament
are like a mirror in which the pilgrim Church on earth looks at God ...
... the apostolic preaching,
which is expressed in a special way in the inspired books,
was to be preserved by a continuous succession of preachers until the end of time.
... what was handed on by the apostles includes
everything that contributes to
the holiness of life, and
the increase in faith of the People of God;
so the Church
in her teaching,
life, and
perpetuates and hands on to all generations
all that she herself is,
all that she believes.
There is a growth in the understanding of
the realities and
the words
which have been handed down ...
through the contemplation and study made by believers ...
through the intimate understanding of spiritual things ...
through the preaching of those who have received through episcopal succession the sure gift of truth.
Words of the holy Fathers witness to the living presence of this tradition;
Through the same tradition the Church's full canon of the sacred books is known;
and the sacred writing themselves are more profoundly understood and increasingly made known in her.
... there exists a close connection and communication between
sacred tradition, and
sacred Scripture ...
both of them
flowing from the same well spring ...
merge into a unity and
tend toward the same end.
Sacred Scripture is the word of God
consigned to writing under the inspiration of the Spirit;
sacred tradition hands on in its full purity God's word
entrusted to the apostles by Christ.
... it is not from sacred Scripture alone
that the Church draws her certainty about everything which has been revealed.
Sacred tradition and sacred Scripture form one sacred deposit of the word of God.

Previous Chapter Previous Section Next Chapter

Beginning of Chapter Table of Contents Book Home Page

By Paul Flanagan and Robert Schihl.
Catholic Biblical Apologetics, © Copyright 1985-1997, Paul Flanagan and Robert Schihl

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture texts are taken from the New American Bible with Revised New Testament and Revised Psalms © 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Email comments to pdflan@catholicapologetics.org

Last Updated: January 3, 1997