Patrick Coffin restates Adam's question:

If Catholics don’t accept sola scriptura, the bible alone, is the only logical conclusion to accept sola ecclesia, the church alone?

Patrick Madrid replied:

"I would respond this way, number one by saying this. I think it entails a fallacy of pitting scripture against the Church. And that would be a mistake. Biblically speaking it would be a mistake to say it’s either scripture or the Church. I believe scripture is very clear that it’s both and.

When Jesus established the Church and sent the apostles forward he didn’t say to them, ‘just go do things on your own and don’t pay attention to scripture.’ Scripture was certainly at the heart of what they did. But they interpreted scripture for their hearers. We see that over and over and over again, beginning in the book of Acts. You could start, for example in Acts chapter two, with the day of Pentecost and Saint Peter preaching to the crowds in Jerusalem.

In Acts chapter five Saint Stephen, interpreting scripture for the scribes and Pharisees and revealing Jesus to them. We just see it repeatedly that scripture and the Church go together. So I would say I don’t accept the premise of it being an either or proposition. In logic that can be known as the fallacy of a false dichotomy. You are faced with two opposing choices, or seemingly opposing choices that really are not opposing to one another. I would argue for a both and.

I don’t accept the notion of sola ecclesia. That’s a term that was cooked up by some of the pop Protestant apologists in recent years. It’s not part of historical Christianity. It’s certainly not a term that either the bible or the apostles used. It’s not a part of apostolic tradition. And I don’t accept it because it implies something about the Church that is simply false. That it sees itself as above the bible or that it always trumps the bible ..."


Catholic Answers, "Open Forum" (San Diego: Catholic Answers, 2013)

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Show air date: September 17, 2013

Name of show: Open Forum

Guest comments by: Patrick Madrid

Question appeared in show: 40:10

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