Tradition vs. Sola Scriptura
If one were to compare the Catholic Church with other Christian churches, there are many differences, but there are many similarities as well. Growing up Lutheran, many of the same traditions are used. The Eucharist, or Communion, are common to both traditions. Infant Baptism is common. Even the services themselves have the same "style" or "feel" to them. So, what is the difference?
If you have read the section about the Pope, you have been introduced to the idea of sola scriptura already. Sola scriptura is Latin for "by scripture alone." Basically, this means that churches based on sola scriptura take all of their guidance from the Bible alone. They disavow any traditions passed on from the past. The Catholic Church does not however. Instead, the Catholic faith is based on the combination of scripture and the tradtions of the Church itself.
How can the Catholic Church differ so greatly? Returning to the discussion about the Pope, Christ had given Peter the ability to bind things on earth, and those things would then be bound in heaven (Matthew 16:18,19). This forms the basis of the Catholic tradition. For more information, please visit the discussion about the Pope.
Instructions Not Included
One of the most frustrating feelings is to make a major purchase, take it home, open the box in excitement, only to find that these instructions were not included. Sure, it may be possible to still work that gadget or put together that toy, but it is going to be much more difficult. In the end, we may not get the most out of our purchase. When it comes to faith, without and instructions or guidance, we can end up in the same boat. Without directions, it is easy to get off course.
Luckily, the Catholic Church has left us life's instructional manual, the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The Catechism is our guide to living life as a faithful Catholic. It covers both the message in scripture and the traditions of the Church. It is more than a set of rules, it is a step-by-step guide to following Christ. If you are looking for answers, look no further.
For any Catholic, the Catechism is required reading. True, the scripture is of the utmost importance to read, but if you have a little time left over, spend a few minutes with the Catechism.