2 Thessalonians 2:15: So then, brethren, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter.
2 Timothy 2:2: . . . and what you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
If these statements did not appear in the Bible, I would suspect that “bible alone” believers would immediately pounce upon them as distortions of the truth by Catholics. Most ministers actually avoid such passages, perhaps with the hope that if ignored, they might go away? The Catholic Church is the most literal bible Church of all in that she makes the entirety of Scripture her own. We keep alive the faith and traditions which come down to us from the Apostolic Church.
A number of years passed before the final composition of the New Testament. Some say the Book of Revelation may have been finished as late as 100 AD. And yet, there is a letter from Clement, the bishop of Rome, in other words, a Catholic Pope, written to the Corinthians in 93 AD. The Catholic Church was teaching and preaching even before the Bible was completed. This is a historical fact! The first complete compilation of the New Testament was not officially completed until the Council of Constantinople in 397 AD. This runs smack in the face of those who claim only private interpretation of the Scriptures. The Bible, from beginning to end, is the Catholic Church’s BOOK. It was only after the persecution of Christians and the peace given by Constantine in 313 AD that the Church could share the inspired documents preserved by various congregations. The bishops would then have to authenticate the writings, deeming which ones were doctrinally sound and also inspired. If this decision were deemed infallible and such is implicit by our acceptance of the New Testament books, then this Church is still infallible. If not, then the New Testament can be disregarded as inconclusive. Non-Catholics are unable to go back to review the work of Catholic scholars and bishops since the source documents have long returned to dust. Catholic monks throughout the centuries copied the original papyruses. Protestants must, on this account, TRUST that the Catholic Church worked under divine inspiration. Given that this is the past case— then why not now? This also casts dispersion on any theory of private bible-alone interpretation.
Before the invention of the printing press (1440 AD), bibles were scarce and the cost was prohibitive. Most people were not literate. The Church made recourse to ritual and art to get across the Scriptural message. Any bible alone notion would have excluded the majority from any real comprehension of the truths of Christ and our stories of faith. This would have been ludicrous! To insure that the Bible was not lost, they were often secured in churches so that the unscrupulous would not steal or destroy them. Faith-filled religious spent their whole lives copying the Scriptures by hand. Such care and self-sacrificing devotion is a sure rebuttal against those bigots who insist that Catholics tried to destroy the Bible.
For more such reading, contact me about getting my book, DEFENDING THE CATHOLIC FAITH.