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I have heard that, although Catholics use the Bible, their faith is not solely based upon it. I have heard it said that for Catholics, tradition precedes the Bible, and that is why there are some practices and doctrines that the Church has that cannot be found in the Bible. The alleged reasoning behind this is that tradition predates the Bible and it's the tradition that influenced the making of the Bible. I'm not sure about this though. Is it true that the Catholic Church has some beliefs that override the Bible, or are not based upon it? I'm sorry if this sounds stupid, but I don't really have a clue.

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Highly related: What is the difference between Magisterial teaching and Sacred Tradition in Roman Catholicism?. In fact, the answer there probably answers your question. – Ryan Frame Dec 6 '13 at 18:17
And welcome to Christianity SE! – Ryan Frame Dec 6 '13 at 18:18
Is any Christian faith purely based on the Bible? Nope. – Dan Dec 6 '13 at 21:02
Welcome to the site! This next has nothing to do with the quality of your question (which was good), it's just standard to help new visitors avoid misunderstanding the site (as I did at first.) As a new visitor, I'd recommend checking out the following two posts, which are meant to help newcomers "learn the ropes": help page and How we are different than other sites? – David Dec 7 '13 at 0:08

2 Answers 2

up vote 13 down vote accepted

Is the Catholic faith purely based on the Bible? No. Is it largely based on the the Bible, and is the Bible the most sacred text in the Catholic faith? Yes.

There are lots of important parts of Catholic theology that are extrabiblical traditions, and generally not believed by Protestant congregations who consider themselves "purely" based on the Bible. Protestants are not "purely" based on the Bible, either. It is entirely possible both churches would be purely based on the Bible, but the Bible doesn't answer every question people like to ask.

Here is one belief that deviates from the Bible in both churches: the virginity of Mary after giving birth to Jesus. If someone believes anything on that subject, they have exceeded the scope of the Bible.

Certainly the Bible says that Mary was a virgin when she conceived, through the time when she gave birth to Jesus (see Matthew 1:23-25). The Bible does not talk about her sex life after that. In Protestant churches, many people believe Mary would have had a normal sex life with her husband Joseph, even going on to bear more children. Evidence: Jesus has siblings. In the Catholic church, the official belief is that Mary was eternally a virgin -- that is, throughout her entire life, she never had sex. Jesus' siblings are explained away by other extrabiblical traditions: perhaps Joseph was a widower, and had children from another wife; perhaps the translation is incorrect, and the words for "brother" or "sister" should truly be translated as "cousin".

Both beliefs are based on things outside of the Bible. Because the Bible doesn't say one way or another.

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Decent answer, but it's not necessary to even mention Protestantism when the question specifically asks about Catholicism. Am I alone in thinking this? "Is the Catholic faith purely based on the bible?" – H3br3wHamm3r81 Dec 6 '13 at 20:58
I thought it relevant to the discussion. Many Protestant churches advertise themselves as "Bible-based". To me, that's meant to create contrast, like when an advertiser selling Egg Nog writes "Does not contain High-Fructose Corn Syrup" on the package. – philipthegreat Dec 6 '13 at 22:26
It's not reasonable to say that the Bible says nothing about Mary's continued virginity. Given that it does clearly state that Jesus had brothers and sisters, and given that the Bible gives no reason for her continued virginity, Occam's Razor means that the best explanation is she had sex with Joseph. – curiousdannii Dec 7 '13 at 0:32
@philipthegreat, both Catholic and non-Catholic faiths may not be purely based on the Bible in our own perspective, but that is beside the point. But what's important is do they officially claim that they aren't purely based on the Bible? Some sects claim that they are. Not sure about the Catholic church though. – supertonsky Dec 7 '13 at 8:50
It was not my intent to debate the validity of either view regarding the continued virginity of Mary. I brought it up merely as an obvious difference between Catholicism and mainstream Christianity (where some churches market themselves as purely Bible-based). I do not personally believe in Mary's eternal virginity, feeling much the same as @curiousdannii. Further discussion on this topic should be placed on a more relevant question: – philipthegreat Jul 24 '14 at 22:30

The Catholic church is a organization made up of parts of many old pagan religions, many of the "traditions" come from hindu, Christianity, Greek, and many other religion's all combined into one religion with the purpose of separating men from God. Basically they took the favorite parts from many other religion's and combined them to suit their needs. The Catholic church uses the bible but does not use the whole bible. Any church that does not teach the whole bible as it is does not warrant you going there. For one they changed the Sabbath and made it sunday, the bible clearly says man can not do that. Do some research on the Catholic church and the anti-Christ you may not sleep another night, but most important, anything you read or are told, pick up your bible and read and research that information first, the Bible is never wrong, no matter what men distort its words to be.

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Welcome to this site! We're different than other sites here, in that we aim to provide expert answers. Your answer, other than being a typical, uninformed anti-catholic rant, follows the format desired by this site, but I strongly encourage you to try and read our help center and take the tour anyways. – the dark wanderer Mar 24 at 20:51
The good parts of this answer are that it addresses the question, in saying that the Catholic Church uses some subset of 'the Bible' rather than the whole thing, and supports this by claiming the Church leaves out the part of the Bible that says mortal man (which you assume the Church is) cannot change the day on which the Sabbath is observed. It's also good that you provide some explanation ("Catholic church is pagan hindu blarghhhh!") for this behavior. You also direct the querent to further reading for a more in depth treatment of the subject, which is the mark of an excellent answer. – the dark wanderer Mar 24 at 20:54
The bad parts of this answer are that it makes use of highly questionable sources (except the first one), and is generally wrong about everything (the Catholic church is typically hated on for using more books, not less, though that isn't exactly a better argument. Neither Hinduism nor The Church seek to separate Man from God.) – the dark wanderer Mar 24 at 21:05
Furthermore, the answer comes across as proselytizing, which this site supports only in a very restricted manner, which you our not compliant with, and could certainly make use of more sources to support such surprising and ahistorical claims. Some of these claims are completely irrelevant to the question at hand, which is also a bad sign (though one that is completely not your fault; knowing what claims are 'the norm' and thus ok and which are 'exceptional' and thus have to be on topic is hard. That's why we have comments). – the dark wanderer Mar 24 at 21:11
Lastly, grammar and spelling errors tend to convince people you are talking out of the wrong orifice, especially when your position is so extreme. I have proposed an edit to your post, see what you think. I'm Catholic, by the way. I hope you have a nice day :) May God have mercy on your soul. – the dark wanderer Mar 24 at 21:43

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