The Catholic Religion By Vernon Stanley: Excerpt Chapter 8

The Catholic Religion A manual of instruction for members of the Anglican  Communion, by Vernon Staley

The following are excerpts from the 28th Edition 1957, The Catholic Religion, (in much later editions) can be purchased using

ISBN number 0-8192-1327-6

Chapter 8

The Anglican Principle As To The Truth

i.   Some Protestant sects regard the Bible as the source from which everyone may draw his own conclusions as to the truth.  What has been held in all ages by the great teachers counts for little, if anything, in the way of authority.  According to this view, every man becomes his own interpreter of the Bible which, so used, may cease to be the Word of God, and may become the word of man.  The necessary result of such private interpretation of the Scriptures is, that an endless variety of explanations may be given as to the meaning of God's Word.  This is one form of error concerning the ascertaining of the truth.

Roman Catholics are bound by the decrees of the Council of Trent and the Second Vatican Council.  ....... Thus the tendency of the Roman Church is to allow that an article of faith may rest upon church teaching alone, apart from Scripture basis.  The modern Roman Church has also committed itself to a theory of development, which leaves the way open to continual additions to "the Faith once for all delivered unto the Saints". (Jude 3)  This idea of development has gained ground chiefly since the Reformation.  ........ If Protestants have relied upon the private interpretation of Scripture at the expense of tradition, Roman Catholics have relied upon tradition at the expense of Scripture.  It is abundantly clear that neither the Protestant nor the Roman Catholic principles as to the truth, is that of the church in it's earliest days.  They are both novelties unknown for centuries, and fraught with great dangers, as experience and history testify.   They are novelties from which, we may thankfully feel, the English Church, it's real principle being understood, is delivered. 

ii.    What then is the principle of English Church as to the groundword or rule of faith?  We reply - that of the ancient and undivided Church, namely that -

THE HOLY SCRIPTURES ARE THE FINAL AUTHORITY IN QUESTIONS RELATING TO CATHOLIC TRUTH, THE CHURCH BEING THE INTERPRETER OF THOSE SCRIPTURES, AND THAT TOO IN THE SENSE IN WHICH THE FATHERS HAVE GENERALLY UNDERSTOOD THEM. 

iii.   To this Catholic principle, the English Church committed herself unreservedly at the time of the Reformation: to this principle, our great divines appealed all through Reformation times: to this principle, the Anglican Church appeals today.  In the words of Dr. Pusey, "The Church of England has, from the Reformation held implicitly, in purpose of heart, all which the ancient Church ever held."  That this is the Anglican position is abundantly evident.

The Anglican Church also recognizes the authority of the undisputed General Councils.  It was in these Councils that all the great heresies were rejected, and the main truths of the Catholic faith asserted.

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