Authority, Scripture, and Tradition
Note: all of the scripture quotes are taken from the Douay-Rhiems Bible which is the oldest English translation of the Bible upon which the greater part of the King James Bible was based.
Saint Peter says in his first Epistle: “But sanctify the Lord Christ in your hearts, being ready always to satisfy every one that asketh you a reason of that hope which is in you.” (1 Peter 3:15) And how can we satisfy those who ask if we don’t take the time and effort to learn our faith. My dear friends, believers in Jesus Christ, but who are yet not members of the Catholic Church I write this for you. Certainly, in many cases, you put us Catholics to shame with your diligent study of Sacred Scripture, and I fear all too often you are better examples of living the Christian life than many Catholics are. Yet you are still but our separated brethren, for you have left or have remained apart from the the Church which was founded by Christ.
My friends I do not wish to begin a polemical fight with you which will accomplish nothing. Rather I would like to discuss in a calm, logical, and charitable way the topic of authority, Scripture, and Tradition as the fundamental issue keeping you from returning to the true fold of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. It is ultimately upon this issue that all of your issues with the Catholic Church rest. Every other argument you can hold against Catholics can be solved if we can resolve this one issue. I hope by putting forth this explanation it might help to shed some light on this very important topic.
Where does all authority derive from?
The answer for any Christian must be our Lord Jesus Christ and rest of the Blessed and Adored Trinity. This is explicated by the glorious Apostle Saint Paul as follows:
“Let every soul be subject to higher powers. For there is no power but from God: and those that are ordained of God. Therefore, he that resisteth the power resisteth the ordinance of God. And they that resist purchase to themselves damnation.” -Romans 13:1-2
And he was merely reiterating the words of Solomon:
“Hear, therefore, ye kings, and understand, learn ye that are judges of the ends of the earth. Give ear, you that rule the people, and that please yourselves in multitudes of nations: For power is given you by the Lord, and strength by the most High, who will examine your works: and search out your thoughts” -Wisdom 6:2-4
The words of Iesou son of Seirach:
“The power of the earth is in the hand of God, and in his time he will raise up a profitable ruler over it.” -Ecclesiasticus [Sirach] 10:4
And of the Prophet Daniel:
“…the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men: and he will give it to whomsoever it shall please him…” -Daniel 4:14
How is the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ manifested on earth so that we His faithful disciples might know His will and that might follow it?
The answer again for every Christian must be that His authority is manifested in the visible Church He established before ascending into Heaven, which He established with the Apostles (the first Bishops) as its first leaders and with Saint Peter at their head. Therefore Christ is the Head of the Church and His Vicar here on Earth was Saint Peter and has been afterwards his successors in an unbroken line of succession leading all through the following nearly 2000 years to the current Holy Father Pope Francis all the while being guided by the Holy Spirit. This is clearly established in Sacred Scripture in the following passages:
“And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.” -Matthew 16:18-19
“And Jesus coming, spoke to them, saying: All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.” -Matthew 28:18-20
“And he said to them: Go ye into the whole world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be condemned.” -Mark 16:15-16 (Here and in the passage above Our Lord is speaking to the Apostles specifically, and not to the faithful in general, explaining to them their duties as the leaders of the Church)
“When therefore they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter: Simon son of John, lovest thou me more than these? He saith to him: Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. He saith to him: Feed my lambs. He saith to him again: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? He saith to him: Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. He saith to him: Feed my lambs. He said to him the third time: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved, because he had said to him the third time: Lovest thou me? And he said to him: Lord, thou knowest all things: thou knowest that I love thee. He said to him: Feed my sheep.” -John 21:15-17 (His “sheep” meaning the Bishops and Priests of the Church, and His “lambs” refers to all of us.)
“And he hath subjected all things under his feet, and hath made him head over all the church, which is his body, and the fullness of him who is filled all in all.” -Ephesians 1:22-23
“And he gave some apostles, and some prophets, and other some evangelists, and other some pastors and doctors, for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” -Ephesians 4:11-12
“…Christ is the head of the church. He is the saviour of his body. Therefore as the church is subject to Christ…” -Ephesians 5:23-24
Even if one is not convinced by this line of argument thus far, it is essential to keep it in mind in order to understand the Catholic Church and why it does what it does and in the way it does it. One must see this truth that the Catholic Church is the one true Church founded by Jesus Christ and that the “gates of hell will not prevail against it”. This is not to say that those who make up the Church even those in high office are not fallible, for certainly we are all human, but our Lord made a promise and He cannot but make good on it. Even though members of the Church, even at the highest levels, have made mistakes, but the faith as give by Jesus Christ and transmitted by the Apostles, and then their successors, has never been corrupted and taught officially by the Church as such. Even if even some high ranking members of the Church hierarchy in the past have been mistaken, the Pope himself who is the mouthpiece of Jesus Christ has never and can never officially promulgate error, even if he were to personally and privately hold to a particular error (which has happened, i.e. Pope John XXII). This is the wonderful guarantee of Papal Infallibility; not that the Pope is never wrong but that he is protected from teaching error “when, in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, and he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole church” (First Vatican Council, Session 4, Ch. 4, #9, 18 July 1870). This is also what is called the indefectibility of the Church which is again derived from Mathew 16 and explained in much greater detail by the Church guided by the Holy Spirit throughout the last 2000 years. Now I think this point is very important as there are many misconceptions about the Catholic Church’s teaching on Infallibility, even among Catholics:
“For the holy Spirit was promised to the successors of Peter not so that they might, by his revelation, make known some new doctrine, but that, by his assistance, they might religiously guard and faithfully expound the revelation or deposit of faith transmitted by the apostles. Indeed, their apostolic teaching was embraced by all the venerable fathers and reverenced and followed by all the holy orthodox doctors, for they knew very well that this see of St. Peter always remains unblemished by any error, in accordance with the divine promise of our Lord and Saviour to the prince of his disciples: I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren [Luke 22:32].” -First Vatican Council, Session 4, Ch. 4, #6, 18 July 1870
It is very important that one keep this perspective as they follow this line of argument from here. Even if one doesn’t agree, they have to understand that any question raised will ultimately come back to this point, and that this is the lens through which one must look to understand what will be said in the following paragraphs.
In what medium does the Sacred Deposit of the Faith reside?
It seems that most mainline Protestants will posit that it resides solely in Sacred Scripture as interpreted by each individual Christian. While the Sacred Scriptures are very important as they are the Infallible Word of God, however, they are not sufficient unto themselves, nor can they stand alone. This is because, while the Old Testament comes to us originally from the Jews, both it and the New Testament come to us thanks ultimately to the Catholic Church. Martin Luther himself said that we owe a debt of gratitude to the Catholic Church for Sacred Scripture. Luther knew this well as he was a Catholic Priest, before he instigated the Protestant revolution which tore apart Catholic Europe.
If the Bible was the sole rule of faith then Christians of the first four centuries after the death of Christ would have been in a difficult position since there was no such thing as “The Bible” during that time. The last book of the New Testament (The Apocalypse of Saint John) was completed around the year 100AD, but the complete Biblical Canon was not finalized until the Synod of Rome in 382AD, and the Councils of Hippo (393AD) and Carthage (419AD). Clearly then there must have been another way that the Faith of Jesus Christ was passed on during this time, and of course that was via Tradition.
Scripture is in fact part of what is known as Written Tradition, but there is also the very important Oral Tradition. Tradition comes from the Latin Verb: Tradere, meaning “to hand down”. Authentic orthodox Catholic teaching is that the Deposit of the Faith is contained in Scripture and Tradition as interpreted by the official Magisterium (from the Latin magister – teacher, meaning teaching authority) of the Church. There are two components of Tradition: Active and Passive. Passive Tradition is simply that which is being handed down and this is what most people think of when they think of Tradition. Active Tradition on the other hand is the way and means by which the Passive Tradition is handed down. Now while Tradition is either written or oral the ultimate agent of Tradition is the Magisterium of the Catholic Church.
Unfortunately there are some Catholics today who fall into the error of Sola Traditio which is a reliance on Passive Tradition to the exclusion of Active Tradition, just as Sola Scriptura is the reliance on Sacred Scripture to the exclusion of all Active Tradition as well as all other written and oral Tradition. But in order to have the whole faith we must have both Scripture and Tradition with the Magesterium of the Catholic Church with the Pope at its Head guided by the Holy Spirit as the sole interpreter of Sacred Scripture and Tradition. Our Lord promised the guidance of the Holy Spirit to His Church to keep it free from officially teaching any error, and to be able to pass down His teachings without corruption for all ages. This same promise was not given universally to individual Christians. This is why fewer weeks have passed since Luther nailed his 95 Theses on the door of the Wittenberg Castle Church in 1517 than there are Protestant denominations currently in existence. This is what happens when each person decides for himself what the Bible means. Our Lord didn’t set it up that way; instead He gave us the Church. Even Luther himself lamented the degeneration of the faith because of private interpretation of scripture: “Unfortunately, it is our daily experience that now under the Gospel [his] the people entertain greater and bitterer hatred and envy and are worse with their avarice and money-grabbing than before under the Papacy.” (Walch, XIII, 2195, as quoted in The Facts About Luther. Cincinnati: Pustet, 1916; Rockford, IL: TAN, 1987, pp. 215-255.)
But really the biggest problem with Sola Scriptura is that it disproves itself, for nowhere in the Bible does it say of itself that it is the sole rule of faith, however it does speak about the need for oral Tradition:
“Many other signs also did Jesus in the sight of his disciples, which are not written in this book.” -John 20:30
“But there are also many other things which Jesus did; which, if they were written every one, the world itself, I think, would not be able to contain the books that should be written.” -John 21:25
“Now I praise you, brethren, that in all things you are mindful of me: and keep my ordinances as I have delivered them to you.” -1 Corinthians 11:2 (Clearly referring to Oral Tradition as these “ordinances” he gave to the Corinthians while on his missionary journey to Corinth are not recorded in scripture.)
“Therefore, brethren, stand fast; and hold the traditions which you have learned, whether by word, or by our epistle.” -2 Thessalonians 2:14 (Here it is explicitly referring to Tradition, and describes it as both written and oral.)
“And we charge you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw yourselves from every brother walking disorderly, and not according to the tradition which they have received of us.” -2 Thessalonians 3:6
“Hold the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me in faith, and in the love which is in Christ Jesus. Keep the good thing committed to thy trust by the Holy Ghost, who dwelleth in us.”
-2 Timothy 1:13-14
“And the things which thou hast heard of me by many witnesses, the same commend to faithful men, who shall be fit to teach others also.” -2 Timothy 2:2
“But continue thou in those things which thou hast learned, and which have been committed to thee: knowing of whom thou hast learned them.” -2 Timothy 3:14
“As for you, let that which you have heard from the beginning, abide in you. If that abide in you, which you have heard from the beginning, you also shall abide in the Son, and in the Father.” -1 John 2:24
“But you, my dearly beloved, be mindful of the words which have been spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ.” -Jude 1:17
The Bible being the sole rule of faith is found nowhere in the Bible itself, and since you can’t use any sources outside of the Bible (since it is the sole rule of faith), you are in somewhat of a difficult position. The Bible does, however, actually command the following of oral Tradition. Not to mention that 1 Timothy 3:15 says:
“But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.”
So the “pillar and ground of the truth” is not the Bible, but the Church. Our Lord Himself teaches the Apostles that we must submit to the authority of the Church:
“And if he will not hear them: tell the church. And if he will not hear the church, let him be to thee as the heathen and publican. Amen I say to you, whatsoever you shall bind upon earth, shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever you shall loose upon earth, shall be loosed also in heaven.” -Matt. 18:17-18
Even Sacred Scripture itself attests to its own insufficiency because of the inherent difficulty in understanding it:
“…our most dear brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, hath written to you: As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are certain things hard to be understood, which the unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, to their own destruction.” -2 Peter 3:16-17
“And Philip running thither, heard him reading the prophet Isaias. And he said: Thinkest thou that thou understandest what thou readest? Who said: And how can I, unless some man show me?” -Acts 8:30-31
“Understanding this first: That no prophecy of scripture is made by private interpretation.” -2 Peter 1:20
And remember, the first Christians and for several Centuries into Christianity there was no such thing as “The Bible”. The Bible was produced by the Church and for the Church, not the reverse. The authority of the Sacred Scriptures was always based upon the authority of the Church. The Canon of the Bible was not settled until the 4th Century, and then only by the authority of the Catholic Church. There was the additional problem that until the 1400s the Sacred Scriptures were not available as they are today to the general public because of the difficulty in producing copies of the Bible. So what should be the fate of those millions of Christians who lived before the Printing Press was invented? Yet these Christians were in daily contact with the Sacred Scriptures through the Liturgy of the Catholic Church in Holy Mass and the Divine Office (the book of Psalms and prayers said by all priests, monks, and nuns each day), and thus followed sacred scripture not by reading it but hearing it: “Faith then cometh by hearing; and hearing by the Word of Christ.” (Rom. 10:17) Additionally the whole notion of the Bible being used as the sole rule of faith was invented by the founders of Protestantism who saw it as a way of rejecting the Church. Sacred Scripture is very important since after all it is the Infallible Word of God, but clearly it cannot be the sole rule of faith.
We must hold fast to the successor of Saint Peter. Submitting oneself to the Holy Father is essential in order to be a part of the Church founded by Christ upon Saint Peter and the office he was entrusted with. The centralization of authority with Peter and his successors is not something that came about in the 1800s or even the middle ages, but it was an integral part of the Church from day one. This is demonstrated first in scripture (provided above) and can be continued throughout the history the Church. The following quotes will supply the continuity of this reality well into the middle ages:
“Where the Bishop is, there let the multitude of believers be; even as where Jesus is, there is the Catholic Church” -Saint Ignatius of Antioch, Epistle to the Smyrnaeans, 8:2 [A.D. 110], a disciple of Saint John the Evangelist
“[T]he blessed Peter, the chosen, the preeminent, the first among the disciples, for whom alone with himself the Savior paid the tribute [Matt. 17:27], quickly grasped and understood their meaning. And what does he say? ‘Behold, we have left all and have followed you’ [Matt. 19:27; Mark 10:28]” -Clement of Alexandria, “Who Is the Rich Man That Is Saved?” 21:3–5 [A.D. 200].
“[T]he Lord said to Peter, ‘On this rock I will build my Church, I have given you the keys of the kingdom of heaven [and] whatever you shall have bound or loosed on earth will be bound or loosed in heaven’ [Matt. 16:18–19]. . . . Upon you, he says, I will build my Church; and I will give to you the keys, not to the Church” -Tertullian, “Modesty” 21:9–10 [A.D. 220].
“Be it known to you, my lord, that Simon [Peter], who, for the sake of the true faith, and the most sure foundation of his doctrine, was set apart to be the foundation of the Church, and for this end was by Jesus himself, with his truthful mouth, named Peter, the first fruits of our Lord, the first of the apostles; to whom first the Father revealed the Son; whom the Christ, with good reason, blessed; the called, and elect” -The Letter of Clement to James, [A.D. 221].
“The Lord says to Peter: ‘I say to you,’ he says, ‘that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church.’ . . . On him [Peter] he builds the Church, and to him he gives the command to feed the sheep [John 21:17], and although he assigns a like power to all the apostles, yet he founded a single chair [cathedra], and he established by his own authority a source and an intrinsic reason for that unity. Indeed, the others were that also which Peter was [i.e., apostles], but a primacy is given to Peter, whereby it is made clear that there is but one Church and one chair. So too, all [the apostles] are shepherds, and the flock is shown to be one, fed by all the apostles in single-minded accord. If someone does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he [should] desert the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church?” -Saint Cyprian of Carthage, “The Unity of the Catholic Church” 4; 1st edition [A.D. 251].
“[Jesus said:] Simon, my follower, I have made you the foundation of the holy Church. I betimes called you Peter, because you will support all its buildings. You are the inspector of those who will build on Earth a Church for me. If they should wish to build what is false, you, the foundation, will condemn them. You are the head of the fountain from which my teaching flows; you are the chief of my disciples. Through you I will give drink to all peoples. Yours is that life-giving sweetness which I dispense. I have chosen you to be, as it were, the firstborn in my institution so that, as the heir, you may be executor of my treasures. I have given you the keys of my kingdom. Behold, I have given you authority over all my treasures” -Saint Ephraim the Syrian, Homilies 4:1 [A.D. 351]).
“The bishop of Constantinople shall have the primacy of honor after the bishop of Rome, because his city is New Rome” -Council of Constantinople I, Canon 3 [A.D. 381].
“Likewise it is decreed . . . that it ought to be announced that . . . the holy Roman Church has been placed at the forefront not by the conciliar decisions of other churches, but has received the primacy by the evangelic voice of our Lord and Savior, who says: ‘You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it; and I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you shall have bound on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you shall have loosed on earth shall be loosed in heaven’ [Matt. 16:18–19]. The first see, therefore, is that of Peter the apostle, that of the Roman Church, which has neither stain nor blemish nor anything like it” -Pope Saint Damasus I, Decree of Damasus 3 [A.D. 382].
“I follow no leader but Christ and join in communion with none but your blessedness [Pope Damasus I], that is, with the chair of Peter. I know that this is the rock on which the Church has been built. Whoever eats the Lamb outside this house is profane. Anyone who is not in the ark of Noah will perish when the flood prevails” -Saint Jerome, Father and Doctor of the Church, Letters 15:2 [A.D. 396].
“There are many other things which rightly keep me in the bosom of the Catholic Church. The consent of the people and nations keeps me, her authority keeps me, inaugurated by miracles, nourished in hope, enlarged by love, and established by age. The succession of priests keep me, from the very seat of the apostle Peter (to whom the Lord after his resurrection gave charge to feed his sheep) down to the present episcopate [of Pope Siricius]” -Saint Augustine, Father and Doctor of the Church, Against the Letter of Mani Called “The Foundation” 5 [A.D. 397].
“In seeking the things of God . . . you have acknowledged that judgment is to be referred to us [the pope], and have shown that you know that is owed to the Apostolic See [Rome], if all of us placed in this position are to desire to follow the apostle himself [Peter] from whom the episcopate itself and the total authority of this name have emerged” -Pope Saint Innocent I, (Letters 29:1 [A.D. 408]).
“We enjoin upon you [my legates to the Council of Ephesus] the necessary task of guarding the authority of the Apostolic See. And if the instructions handed to you have to mention this and if you have to be present in the assembly, if it comes to controversy, it is not yours to join the fight but to judge of the opinions [on my behalf]” -Pope Saint Celestine I, Letters 17 [A.D. 431]. (Sent Saint Patrick to Ireland)
“Philip, presbyter and legate of [Pope Celestine I] said: ‘We offer our thanks to the holy and venerable synod, that when the writings of our holy and blessed pope had been read to you, the holy members, by our holy voices, you joined yourselves to the holy head also by your holy acclamations. For your blessedness is not ignorant that the head of the whole faith, the head of the apostles, is blessed Peter the apostle. And since now [we], after having been tempest-tossed and much vexed, [have] arrived, we ask that you order that there be laid before us what things were done in this holy synod before our arrival; in order that according to the opinion of our blessed pope and of this present holy assembly, we likewise may ratify their determination’” -The Council of Ephesus, Acts of the Council, Session 2 [A.D. 431].
“Our Lord Jesus Christ . . . has placed the principal charge on the blessed Peter, chief of all the apostles, and from him as from the head wishes his gifts to flow to all the body, so that anyone who dares to secede from Peter’s solid rock may understand that he has no part or lot in the divine mystery. He wished him who had been received into partnership in his undivided unity to be named what he himself was, when he said: ‘You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church’ [Matt. 16:18], that the building of the eternal temple might rest on Peter’s solid rock, strengthening his Church so surely that neither could human rashness assail it nor the gates of hell prevail against it” -Pope Saint Leo the Great, Letters 10:1 [A.D. 445].
“We exhort you in every respect, honorable brother, to heed obediently what has been written by the most blessed pope of the city of Rome, for blessed Peter, who lives and presides in his own see, provides the truth of faith to those who seek it. For we, by reason of our pursuit of peace and faith, cannot try cases on the faith without the consent of the bishop of Rome” -Saint Peter Chrysologus, Father and Doctor of the Church(Letters 25:2 [A.D. 449]).
“Macedonius declared, when desired by the Emperor Anastasius to condemn the Council of Chalcedon, that ‘such a step without an Ecumenical Synod presided over by the Pope of Rome is impossible.'” -Macedonius, Patriarch of Constantinople (466-516) (Macedonius, Patr. Graec. 108: 360a (Theophan. Chronogr. pp. 234-346 seq.)
“Yielding honor to the Apostolic See and to Your Holiness, and honoring your Holiness, as one ought to honor a father, we have hastened to subject all the priests of the whole Eastern district, and to unite them to the See of your Holiness, for we do not allow of any point, however manifest and indisputable it be, which relates to the state of the Churches, not being brought to the cognizance of your Holiness, since you are the Head of all the holy Churches.” -The Emperor Justinian (520-533), writing to the Pope (Justinian Epist. ad. Pap. Joan. ii. Cod. Justin. lib. I. tit. 1).
“Teaching us all orthodoxy and destroying all heresy and driving it away from the God-protected halls of our holy Catholic Church. And together with these inspired syllables and characters, I accept all his (the pope’s) letters and teachings as proceeding from the mouth of Peter the Coryphaeus, and I kiss them and salute them and embrace them with all my soul … I recognize the latter as definitions of Peter and the former as those of Mark, and besides, all the heaven-taught teachings of all the chosen mystagogues of our Catholic Church.” -Saint Sophronius, Patriarch of Jerusalem (c. 638) (Sophronius, Mansi, xi. 461)
“How much more in the case of the clergy and Church of the Romans, which from old until now presides over all the churches which are under the sun? Having surely received this canonically, as well as from councils and the apostles, as from the princes of the latter (Peter and Paul), and being numbered in their company, she is subject to no writings or issues in synodical documents, on account of the eminence of her pontificate …..even as in all these things all are equally subject to her (the Church of Rome) according to sacerdotal law. And so when, without fear, but with all holy and becoming confidence, those ministers (the popes) are of the truly firm and immovable rock, that is of the most great and Apostolic Church of Rome.” -Saint Maximus the Confessor (c. 650) (Maximus, in J.B. Mansi, ed. Amplissima Collectio Conciliorum, vol. 10)
“Without whom (the Romans presiding in the seventh Council) a doctrine brought forward in the Church could not, even though confirmed by canonical decrees and by ecclesiastical usage, ever obtain full approval or currency. For it is they (the Popes of Rome) who have had assigned to them the rule in sacred things, and who have received into their hands the dignity of headship among the Apostles.” -Saint Nicephorus, Patriarch of Constantinople (758-828) (Nicephorus, Niceph. Cpl. pro. s. imag. c 25 [Mai N. Bibl. pp. ii. 30]).
“Since to great Peter Christ our Lord gave the office of Chief Shepherd after entrusting him with the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, to Peter or his successor must of necessity every novelty in the Catholic Church be referred. [Therefore], save us, oh most divine Head of Heads, Chief Shepherd of the Church of Heaven.” -Saint Theodore the Studite of Constantinople (759-826), writting to Pope Leo III (Theodore, Bk. I. Ep. 23)