✟ Divine Revelation ✟
Truth of Faith

God has revealed the most important truths He deemed necessary
for mankind's eternal salvation through both written (Sacred
Scripture) and oral (Sacred Tradition) transmission.

Lay Catechist Notes on Divine Revelation
The Truths revealed by God for the purpose of leading mankind to eternal salvation were manifested in two primary modes; Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. Everything required for the human race to know "what to believe" (i.e. Faith) and "how to live" (i.e. Morality) was revealed by God by the end of the apostolic age; at the death of John the Evangelist (the Beloved Disciple) - approximately 100 AD. Absolutely nothing additional ever was or ever will be needed to be revealed by God that will be necessary to know what is required for salvation and an eternal life with God Himself.

How is Truth revealed by God?

Sacred Scripture:

  • Divinely revealed and divinely inspired to be written down.

Sacred Tradition:

  • Divinely revealed, but not divinely inspired to be written down. 
  • This revelation was manifested in what the person said and how the person lived.   The 2 greatest sources of Divine Revelation were Jesus and his Blessed Mother, Mary; yet, neither wrote a single word in what is considered "Sacred Scripture". Both, however, spoke and lived an enormity of revelation that was ultimately either written down by someone else or handed on as Sacred Tradition.  

The final words of John in his Gospel makes clear that the vast majority of what Jesus Christ revealed for the salvation of mankind could not and would not ever be "written down"; but would be passed on by what we now call "Sacred Tradition":

  • "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 21:24-25)

Ordinary Universal Magisterium:  

The Church's Magisterium (the Teaching Authority of the Bishops in union with the Pope) is critical for the faithful to understand how to interpret Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. Without a divinely guided authority such as this, the result is hundreds and even thousands of "variant" Churches/Religions that can never fully agree on many of the core essentials of Divine Revelation. One only needs to ask themselves why an Almighty God, and specifically the third person of the Holy Trinity, the Holy Spirit, would desire to have thousands of "Churches" that all have disagreements on one or more essential elements of Revealed Truth. The answer is simple; He wouldn't - He has one Church - the Holy Roman Catholic Church that has held firm to all Divinely Revealed Truths since the time of Christ.

Catechism of the Catholic Church
  • 74 God "desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth": that is, of Christ Jesus. Christ must be proclaimed to all nations and individuals, so that this revelation may reach to the ends of the earth: God graciously arranged that the things he had once revealed for the salvation of all peoples should remain in their entirety, throughout the ages, and be transmitted to all generations.
  • 75 "Christ the Lord, in whom the entire Revelation of the most high God is summed up, commanded the apostles to preach the Gospel, which had been promised beforehand by the prophets, and which he fulfilled in his own person and promulgated with his own lips. In preaching the Gospel, they were to communicate the gifts of God to all men. This Gospel was to be the source of all saving truth and moral discipline."
  • 76 In keeping with the Lord's command, the Gospel was handed on in two ways:
    • - orally "by the apostles who handed on, by the spoken word of their preaching, by the example they gave, by the institutions they established, what they themselves had received
    • - whether from the lips of Christ, from his way of life and his works, or whether they had learned it at the prompting of the Holy Spirit";
    • - in writing "by those apostles and other men associated with the apostles who, under the inspiration of the same Holy Spirit, committed the message of salvation to writing". . . continued in apostolic succession
  • 77 "In order that the full and living Gospel might always be preserved in the Church the apostles left bishops as their successors. They gave them their own position of teaching authority." Indeed, "the apostolic preaching, which is expressed in a special way in the inspired books, was to be preserved in a continuous line of succession until the end of time."
  • 78 This living transmission, accomplished in the Holy Spirit, is called Tradition, since it is distinct from Sacred Scripture, though closely connected to it. Through Tradition, "the Church, in her doctrine, life and worship, perpetuates and transmits to every generation all that she herself is, all that she believes." "The sayings of the holy Fathers are a witness to the life-giving presence of this Tradition, showing how its riches are poured out in the practice and life of the Church, in her belief and her prayer."
  • 80 "Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture, then, are bound closely together, and communicate one with the other. For both of them, flowing out from the same divine well-spring, come together in some fashion to form one thing, and move towards the same goal." Each of them makes present and fruitful in the Church the mystery of Christ, who promised to remain with his own "always, to the close of the age".
  • 81 "Sacred Scripture is the speech of God as it is put down in writing under the breath of the Holy Spirit."
      "And Tradition transmits in its entirety the Word of God which has been entrusted to the apostles by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit. It transmits it to the successors of the apostles so that, enlightened by the Spirit of truth, they may faithfully preserve, expound and spread it abroad by their preaching."
  • 82 As a result the Church, to whom the transmission and interpretation of Revelation is entrusted, "does not derive her certainty about all revealed truths from the holy Scriptures alone. Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honoured with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence."
  • 84 The apostles entrusted the "Sacred deposit" of the faith (the depositum fidei), contained in Sacred Scripture and Tradition, to the whole of the Church. "By adhering to the entire holy people, united to its pastors, remains always faithful to the teaching of the apostles, to the brotherhood, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. So, in maintaining, practising and professing the faith that has been handed on, there should be a remarkable harmony between the bishops and the faithful."
  • 85 "The task of giving an authentic interpretation of the Word of God, whether in its written form or in the form of Tradition, has been entrusted to the living teaching office of the Church alone. Its authority in this matter is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ." This means that the task of interpretation has been entrusted to the bishops in communion with the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome.
  • 86 "Yet this Magisterium is not superior to the Word of God, but is its servant. It teaches only what has been handed on to it. At the divine command and with the help of the Holy Spirit, it listens to this devotedly, guards it with dedication and expounds it faithfully. All that it proposes for belief as being divinely revealed is drawn from this single deposit of faith."
  • 87 Mindful of Christ's words to his apostles: "He who hears you, hears me", the faithful receive with docility the teachings and directives that their pastors give them in different forms.
  • 88 The Church’s Magisterium exercises the authority it holds from Christ to the fullest extent when it defines dogmas, that is, when it proposes, in a form obliging the Christian people to an irrevocable adherence of faith, truths contained in divine Revelation or also when it proposes, in a definitive way, truths having a necessary connection with these.
  • 89 There is an organic connection between our spiritual life and the dogmas. Dogmas are lights along the path of faith; they illuminate it and make it secure. Conversely, if our life is upright, our intellect and heart will be open to welcome the light shed by the dogmas of faith.
  • 90 The mutual connections between dogmas, and their coherence, can be found in the whole of the Revelation of the mystery of Christ. "In Catholic doctrine there exists an order or hierarchy of truths, since they vary in their relation to the foundation of the Christian faith."
Ecumenical Council Documents
  • General Council of Trent (1545)
    • Session IV - "Decree Concerning The Canonical Scriptures"
      • "It also clearly perceives that these truths and rules are contained in the written books and in the unwritten traditions, which, received by the Apostles from the mouth of Christ Himself, or from the Apostles themselves, the Holy Ghost dictating, have come down to us, transmitted as it were from hand to hand."
      • "Following, then, the examples of the orthodox Fathers, it receives and venerates with a feeling of piety and reverence all the books both of the Old and New Testaments, since one God is the author of both; also the traditions, whether they relate to faith or to morals, as having been dictated either orally by Christ or by the Holy Ghost, and preserved in the Catholic Church in unbroken succession."
      • It has thought it proper, moreover, to insert in this decree a list of the sacred books, lest a doubt might arise in the mind of someone as to which are the books received by this council - They are the following:
        • Of the Old Testament, the five books of Moses, namely, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy; Josue, Judges, Ruth, the four books of Kings, two of Paralipomenon, the first and second of Esdras, the latter of which is called Nehemias, Tobias, Judith, Esther, Job, the Davidic Psalter of 150 Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, the Canticle of Canticles, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Isaias, Jeremias, with Baruch, Ezechiel, Daniel, the twelve minor Prophets, namely, Osee, Joel, Amos, Abdias, Jonas, Micheas, Nahum, Habacuc, Sophonias, Aggeus, Zacharias, Malachias; two books of Machabees, the first and second.
        • Of the New Testament, the four Gospels, according to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John; the Acts of the Apostles written by Luke the Evangelist; fourteen Epistles of Paul the Apostle, to the Romans, two to the Corinthians, to the Galatians, to the Ephesians, to the Philippians, to the Colossians, two to the Thessalonians, two to Timothy, to Titus, to Philemon, to the Hebrews; two of Peter the Apostle, three of John the Apostle, one of James the Apostle, one of Jude the Apostle, and the Apocalypse of John the Apostle.
      • "If anyone does not accept as sacred and canonical the aforesaid books in their entirety and with all their parts, as they have been accustomed to be read in the Catholic Church and as they are contained in the old Latin Vulgate Edition, and knowingly and deliberately rejects the aforesaid traditions, let him be anathema."

  • 1st General Council of the Vatican (1869)
    • Profession of faith
      • 3. Likewise I accept Sacred Scripture according to that sense which Holy mother Church held and holds, since it is her right to judge of the true sense and interpretation of the Holy Scriptures; nor will I ever receive and interpret them except according to the unanimous consent of the fathers.
    • Dogmatic constitution on the Catholic faith
      • 5. Everybody knows that those heresies, condemned by the fathers of Trent, which rejected the divine magisterium of the Church and allowed religious questions to be a matter for the judgment of each individual, have gradually collapsed into a multiplicity of sects, either at variance or in agreement with one another; and by this means a good many people have had all faith in Christ destroyed
    • Chapter 2 - On Revelation
      • 1.The same Holy mother Church holds and teaches that God, the source and end of all things, can be known with certainty from the consideration of created things, by the natural power of human reason : ever since the creation of the world, his invisible nature has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. 2. It was, however, pleasing to his wisdom and goodness to reveal himself and the eternal laws of his will to the human race by another, and that a supernatural, way. This is how the Apostle puts it : In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets; but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son.
      • 2. It is indeed thanks to this divine revelation, that those matters concerning God which are not of themselves beyond the scope of human reason, can, even in the present state of the human race, be known by everyone without difficulty, with firm certitude and with no intermingling of error.
      • 4. Now this supernatural revelation, according to the belief of the universal Church, as declared by the sacred Council of Trent, is contained in written books and unwritten traditions, which were received by the apostles from the lips of Christ himself, or came to the apostles by the dictation of the Holy Spirit, and were passed on as it were from hand to hand until they reached us.
      • 6. These books the Church holds to be sacred and canonical not because she subsequently approved them by her authority after they had been composed by unaided human skill, nor simply because they contain revelation without error, but because, being written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they have God as their author, and were as such committed to the Church.
      • 7.Now since the decree on the interpretation of Holy Scripture, profitably made by the Council of Trent, with the intention of constraining rash speculation, has been wrongly interpreted by some, we renew that decree and declare its meaning to be as follows: that in matters of faith and morals, belonging as they do to the establishing of Christian doctrine, that meaning of Holy Scripture must be held to be the true one, which Holy mother Church held and holds, since it is her right to judge of the true meaning and interpretation of Holy Scripture.
    • Chapter 3 - On Faith
      • 1. Since human beings are totally dependent on God as their creator and lord, and created reason is completely subject to uncreated truth, we are obliged to yield to God the revealer full submission of intellect and will by faith.
      • 2. This faith, which is the beginning of human salvation, the Catholic Church professes to be a supernatural virtue, by means of which, with the grace of God inspiring and assisting us, we believe to be true what He has revealed, not because we perceive its intrinsic truth by the natural light of reason, but because of the authority of God himself, who makes the revelation and can neither deceive nor be deceived.
      • 8. Wherefore, by divine and Catholic faith all those things are to be believed which are contained in the word of God as found in Scripture and tradition, and which are proposed by the Church as matters to be believed as divinely revealed, whether by her solemn judgment or in her ordinary and universal magisterium.
    • Chapter 4 - On Faith and Reason
      • 13. For the doctrine of the faith which God has revealed is put forward not as some philosophical discovery capable of being perfected by human intelligence, but as a divine deposit committed to the spouse of Christ to be faithfully protected and infallibly promulgated.
      • 14. Hence, too, that meaning of the sacred dogmas is ever to be maintained which has once been declared by Holy mother Church, and there must never be any abandonment of this sense under the pretext or in the name of a more profound understanding.
Papal Encyclical Documents
  • Providentissimus Deus (1893) - God of Providence - Leo XIII
    • "This supernatural revelation, according to the belief of the universal Church, is contained both in unwritten Tradition, and in written Books, which are therefore called sacred and canonical because, "being written under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, they have God for their author and as such have been delivered to the Church."

  • Humani Generis (1950) - The Human Race - Pius XII
    • False Teachings/Magisterium/Papal Primacy/Divine Revelation

  • Veritatis Splendor (1993) - The Splendor of Truth - John Paul II
    • Absolute Truth/Moral Authority of Church/Natural Law/Fundamental Option Sin

  • Evangelium Vitae (1995) - The Gospel of Life - John Paul II
    • Dignity of Life/Murder/Abortion/Euthanasia/Capital Punishment

  • Ut Unum Sint (1995) - That They May Be One - John Paul II
    • Sacred Scripture & Sacred Tradition/Eucharist/Real Presence/Holy Orders/Magisterium/Mary/Ecumenism

  • Fides et Ratio (1998) - Faith and Reason - John Paul II
    • "One currently widespread symptom of this fideistic tendency is a “biblicism” which tends to make the reading and exegesis of Sacred Scripture the sole criterion of truth. In consequence, the word of God is identified with Sacred Scripture alone, thus eliminating the doctrine of the Church which the Second Vatican Council stressed quite specifically. Having recalled that the word of God is present in both Scripture and Tradition, the Constitution Dei Verbum continues emphatically: “Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture comprise a single sacred deposit of the word of God entrusted to the Church. Embracing this deposit and united with their pastors, the People of God remain always faithful to the teaching of the Apostles”. Scripture, therefore, is not the Church's sole point of reference. The “supreme rule of her faith” derives from the unity which the Spirit has created between Sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture and the Magisterium of the Church in a reciprocity which means that none of the three can survive without the others."
Church Magisterium Documents

  • Redemptionis Sacramentum (2004) - Sacrament of Redemption - John Paul II
    • On Certain Matters to be Observed or to be Avoided Regarding the Most Holy Eucharist
    • Important issues covered:
      • Vessels that can and cannot be used during consecration 
      • Prayers during Mass
      • Communion under both species
      • Distribution of Holy Communion
      • Use of "Extraordinary Eucharistic Ministers"
      • The Reservation of the Most Holy Eucharist
Fathers and Doctors of the Church Documents
  • Summa Theologica - Sacred Doctrine (1265) - The Highest Study of God - Thomas Aquinas
    • The Nature and Extent of Sacred Doctrine:
      • Whether it is necessary?
      • Whether it is a science?
      • Whether it is one or many?
      • Whether it is speculative or practical?
      • How it is compared with other sciences?
      • Whether it is the same as wisdom?
      • Whether God is its subject-matter?
      • Whether it is a matter of argument?
      • Whether it rightly employs metaphors and similes?
      • Whether the Sacred Scripture of this doctrine may be expounded in different senses?