When we hear the word ‘tradition’ spoken in terms of the Catholic Church, we sometimes hear the cries of those who wish to return to the Mass in its form before the Second Vatican Council, often referred to the Traditional Latin Mass or TLM.
However, when the Catholic Church speaks of Tradition, with a capital ‘T’, it ‘is to be distinguished from the various disciplinary, liturgical, or devotional traditions born in the local churches over time … [which] can be retained, modified or even abandoned under the guidance of the Church’s magisterium’. (CCC 83)
Sacred Tradition refers instead to the Apostolic Tradition whereby the Word of God is transmitted faithfully, originally orally and later, through the power of the Holy Spirit, written down by man in Sacred Scripture.
It is a living, dynamic reality that develops through contemplation, study, experience and the teaching of the Bishops, the successors of the Apostles. It is this Tradition that enables us to grow in our understanding of the truth as revealed in Sacred Scripture.