A Three-Legged Stool

Updated: Feb 9, 2021


Remove Just One Leg and the Whole Thing Comes Tumbling Down


Tradition, an Inextricable Part of the Historic Deposit of Faith

Bishop Callahan


Introduction: For Catholics, Holy Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and the Teaching Magisterium go hand in hand as a metaphorical three-legged stool. Remove one leg and the whole thing comes tumbling down. The people of God, the CHURCH, have as their head, the bishops, in council who are responsible for ensuring orthodoxy, or right teaching.


In this article, I will be discussing a bit of how we determine just what is orthodoxy, and why Holy Tradition is of such primary importance. We will also look into this from the perspective of the Church Fathers and shed some light of a few phrases: “Formal Sufficiency” (Protestant Sola Scriptura) and the Catholic position of “Material Sufficiency.”


In our daily walk of faith is quite common (for me) to engage with Protestant Christians who take umbrage with the Catholic Church. One of their chief concerns usually is related to our reliance on tradition. Ever since Martin Luther, and the Reformation, Protestant churches have been insisting on the “formal sufficiency” of scripture. By this, they usuall