Visible Unity of the Apostolic Succession
Christ gave his Church qualities and names, that proved it to be a visible organization, with visible unity among its followers.
Romans 12:5 - So we being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of
Ephesians 4:3 to 5:3 - Endeavoring to keep unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. 4. There is one body, and one spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling. 5. One Lord, one faith, one baptism, etc.
John 10:16 - And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold and one shepherd.
No, this doesn't mean you, Lutherans - sorry, Jesus is referring to all Gentiles. All non-Jews who were not a part of the "lost sheep of Israel".
Romans 12:4, 5 - For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the
same office, etc.
John 17:21 - That they all may be one; as thou Father, art in me and I in thee, that they also may be one in us; that (as a consequence) the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
Paul comments on Apostolic Succession:
1 Corinthians 4:1 - Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.
2 Corinthians 5:20 - Now then we are ambassadors for Christ as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.
Hebrews 5:4 - And no man taketh this honor unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.
Hebrews 5:1 - For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins.
And what of those who claim to be a disciple of Christ, but are really not?
Galations 1:8-9 - But though we, or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again; if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
Romans 16:17 - Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned and avoid them.
2 John 1:10 - If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed.
What is overlooked by various protestant denominations for the sake of their own justification, is the visible unity of the Apostolic Succession - a unity that is self-evidently missing in all protestant denominations.
Unwritten Apostolic Traditions Followed by non-Catholics1
1.) Who suggested that infants should be baptised?
Origen wrote about it In Levit., Hom. VIII, 3 (PG, 12, 496; Baehrens, p. 398); In Epist. ad Rom., V, 8 (PG, 14, 1038; Lommatzsch, p. 397; Kirsch, n. 249; EP, 501.
2.) Who suggested that an infant being baptised should have "God-parents" and what their
qualifications should be?
St. Augustine, City of God, II, 272, but he may not have been the first.
3.) Who suggested taking an oath renouncing the devil before receiving baptism? The source
for pouring water or immersing three times?
Tertullian comments on these as already taking place in De Corona, 3-4 (PL, 3, 78; Oehler, p. 425); transl. Van den Eynde, p. 278; ET LF, 1842, Vol. 10.
St. Basil, in 375, was collecting this information as it already existed in De Spiritu Sancto, 9, 22 (PG, 32, 105a; SCh, 17;1945, p. 145).
4.) Where do we first read of people calling themselves "Christian"?
Trick question! - Acts 26:28 and 1 Peter 4:16.
5.) Who decided that baptism conferred by heretics was still a valid baptism?
St. Cyprian, Ep., 75, 6 and 85, 5. Pope St. Stephen concurred.
6.) Who decided the celebration of certain liturgical feasts, such as Christmas, the
Resurrection and Pentecost? Who decided what date they would be celebrated on?
Christmas: In the earliest days of the Church there was no such feast. The first mention is made by St. Clement of Alexandria (c. 200) and it was kept on May 20. The Latin Church began around the year 300 to observe it on December 25.2 Scripturally, in Luke 1, Zachary enters the Holy of Holies to offer incense (verse 9), which was only done once a year - mid to late September. Elizabeth hid herself five months into her pregnancy (verse 24). A little later, the angel Gabriel appears to Mary and tells her Elizabeth is in her sixth month (verse 36), which would have been mid to late March. After agreeing to participate in the Divine Conception, the Virgin would give birth nine months later - late December.
Feast of the Resurrection: Was disputed as early as around 150A.D. St. Polycarp (d. 166) discussed the issue with Pope St. Anicetus in Rome, and when they couldn't reach an agreement, simply decided each should observe his own. Later, the Eastern Church3 chose to celebrate it on the same day as the Jews celebrated the Passover, on the 14th day of the Jewish month, Nisan, regardless of what day it might fall on. This tradition they claimed to have recieved from the Apostles John and Philip.
The Western Church always celebrated the Christian Pasch on the Sunday following the 14th day of the full moon on the vernal equinox, because that day was regarded as the exact date on which Christ arose from the dead. They claimed this tradition as stemming from the Apostles Peter and Paul. After several disputes, the issue was settled at the General Council of Nice (325), where it was decided that all would celibrate Easter on the same Sunday, with provisions as to which one that would be.4
Pentecost: The feast is named Pentecost, because it comes nearly fifty days after Easter. It was a Jewish festival, and had been celebrated in the Church since the days of the Apostles.
7.) The veneration given to the sites of Calvary and other Holy Places of Jerusalem?
St. John Damascene (675-749) quotes St. Basil in De imaginibus Or. (A.D. 730, I, 23 (PG, 94, 1256).
8.) The consecration of Bishops on Friday, and in the presence of others?
9.) Fasting? Abstaining from meat?
St. Irenaeus, Frag. 3, after Eusebius, HE, V, 24, 12-17. St. Leo says that "the great fasts were instuted by the holy apostles, taught by the Holy Spirit". Sermo, 47 (9 de Quadrages.), I (PL, 54, 295); Sermo, 44, 2 (PL, 54, 286).
10.) Not to fast on Sundays?
11.) The appropriate day of worship is Sunday?
St. Dionysius of Alexandria (265) in Ad Basilidem, transl. Conybeare, in JTS, 15 , p. 438. The Church of Scientology, having recognized this tradition stems from the Catholic Church, made their day of obligation Saturday, following the Jewish custom.
12.) Offering a chalice of wine mixed with water?
St. Cyprian (258) in his Epist., 63, 9-13, (PL, 4, 380-3; Hartel, pp. 707- 12).
Know of other traditions we may have overlooked, or who started the traditions we didn't answer (like #8 & 10)? E-mail us!
Traditions Followed by non-Catholics with no Historical Basis
1.) Who decided baptism would now be called a "christianing"?
2.) Who decided that grape juice should be distributed, when Christ and the apostles after Him distributed wine? And by what authority?
3.) Who decided women could preach in assemblies, when the St. Paul strictly forbids it? (1 Cor. 14:34)
The Anglican Church on November 11, 1992 in their decree, or vote.
4.) Who decided "the Bible alone" is the source of salvation, when the "Bible alone" doesn't say that?
"What can we say of men who in expounding the very Gospels so whittle away the human
trust we should repose in it as to overturn divine faith in it? They refuse to allow that the
things which Christ said or did have come to us unchanged and entire through witnesses who
carefully committed to writing what they themselves had seen or heard. They maintain - and
particularly in their treatment of the Fourth Gospel - that much is due of course to the
Evangelists, who, however, added much from their own imaginations; but much, too, is due to
narratives compiled by the faithful at other periods, the result, of course, being that the twin
streams now flowing in the same channel cannot be distinguished from one another. Not thus
did Jerome and Augustine and the other Doctors of the Church understand the historical
trusworthiness of the Gospels."
Spiritus Paraclitus, Pope Benedict XV, September 15, 1920
"And from hence you may gather an irrefragable argument for the authority of tradition, that Holy Scripture does not suffice for building up the true faith and morals of the Church, but that there is need likewise of Apostolic traditions. This is one of the false negations of the heretics. For tell me if you can, from whence you know that this is the Gospel of St. Matthew, and Canonical Scripture, and that the Gospels of Thomas, of Barnabas, and the Twelve Apostles, which were formerly in circulation, are not Canonical Scripture, except by the tradition and consent of the Church? For many books have false titles, and are inscribed with the names of other authors, as is plain by the works of Sts. Augustine, Jerome, Cyprian, and other Fathers. In the same way some Gospels which were compiled by heretics, were inscribed with the names of Sts. Bartholomew, Thomas, and Barnabas."5
1. Some of this information was gathered from Tradition & Traditions, The Biblical, Historical, and Theological Evidence for Catholic Teaching on Tradition, Congar, Yves M.-J., O.P., Burns and Oates, Ltd., 1966.
2. New Catholic Dictionary, quoting Gueranger, tr. Shepherd, The Liturgical Year: Christmas, Dub., 1886.
3. All Catholic Churches in one of the four great patriarchates of Alexandria, Antioch, Constantinople and Jerusalem.
4. New Catholic Dictionary, quoting Kellner, Heortology, A History of the Christian Festivals, St. Louis, 1908.
5. ? Catholic Encyclopedia?