On Divine Tradition
Cardinal J.B. Franzelin, S.J.
Peritus at Vatican I
Translated by Ryan Grant
With an Introduction by Fr. Chad Ripperger, PhD
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On Divine Tradition is one of the most important theological texts dealing with the notion of Tradition in the Church. Unlike other authors who wrote very well on the subject but tailored it to the issues of their day, such as Melchior Cano and St. Robert Bellarmine, Cardinal Franzelin wrote a treatise considering tradition in itself, and then applied the fruit of this discussion to refute the Protestant notion that Tradition is opposed to Scripture.
Thus, in 26 Theses, Franzelin explains for us the notion of Tradition, where we seen tradition in history; how Scripture is also a witness to it; that Christ founded a living magisterium of witnesses to guide His Church; what is infallibility and how do we see it exercised; what are the monuments; what is the authority of the Fathers of the Church as well as the Theologians? What do we make of St. Vincent of Lérin’s definition, always, everywhere and by all?
Questions such as these, are treated in depth in a serious theological study considered to be classical in theological studies, which set the discussion for every other writer on the topic, even after Vatican II. Hitherto locked away in Latin, Ryan Grant (Director of the Bellarmine Translation Project) has rendered them into a good, readable English while preserving the scholastic and Thomistic language of the original, having given a great contribution to Theology which for too long has been impoverished on account of being cut off from its Latin patrimony.
Today, much confusion is created when a current Pope appears to contradict an earlier Pope, council, or whatever magisterial act you like, and to make things worse, there are plenty of yes men who will tell you that you are nuts for seeing the obvious contradiction in papal statements. How can this be? Have the gates of hell prevailed?
In this reprint of several articles originally appearing in Christian Order, Fr. Ripperger helps us to understand the theological principles and the limits of magisterial authority, as well as what one ought to do when Popes contradict each other. This little book is a must read for anyone concerned about events today.
Also available on Kindle
A collection of the articles written by Fr. Chad Ripperger on various theological and philosophical topics.
Also Available on Kindle
The average faithful of a conservative or traditional mind, who has the goal of recouping and restoring the tradition of the Church not only in liturgy or in devotion but also in theology, often feels assaulted on all fronts by theologians and clergy who have forgotten that Jesus Christ is pre-Vatican II. Yet most books written by and for traditionalists on current miscellanea address effects of the problems in the Church today, or various facets of the problems around liturgy, doctrine, ecumenism and the like. None of the works out there go back to the very core of the problem, they do state the effects, namely the prior magisterium universally taught “x”, but today clergy, prelates and even members of the magisterium at least appear to be saying the opposite. The real question is what is the “Tradition”, and what principles have been deviated from that we should see the crisis in the Church not only unfold but continue?
Thankfully, we have at last, a clear and concise statement of principles on the tradition and our duties toward it in Fr. Ripperger’s brief but exacting The Binding Force of Tradition (BFT). At 55 pages it is not a lengthy read, but page after page is a clear laying out of principles. In fact, it could be rightly said that the strength of the work is in the very fact that it does not attempt to take up specific examples of teaching or practice which are, or at least appear, at variance with the universal Tradition. Instead, Fr. Ripperger lays out exactly what it is, where it comes from, what authority it has, what the misconceptions are, and what the duty not only of the lay faithful, but even more of the clergy is toward it. Better still, for the lay reader who does not have the benefit of formal orthodox training in philosophy and theology, is that it is a succinct read, well ordered and to the point. As Fr. James McLucas says in his Foreword to the work, “Father Ripperger utilizes the exacting scalpel of Thomistic precision to explain the problem and its solution.”