It seems the "Sola Fide", "Sola Scritura", and tradition debate never ends. In the Catholic Church, Faith, Scripture, tradition and the Magesterium of the Church are all so inter - twined that, one can not separate them. To settle a discussion with a Baptist friend and a "Cradle Catholic" friend, I must ask these two questions:
1. How important is the written word of God (The Holy Scripture for our measure, and in defending and evangelizing the Catholic Faith? Reason being so many Protestants ask,"Where in the Bible do you get your beliefs"?
2. Living the life of Christ (actions, works, etc) is the main way of evangelizing our faith; The Holy Word of God and our Catechism, which utilizes Scriptural references, are combined with actions, works, and loyal obedience to the Church, are they not?
If we do not read and spread the word of God, via Catechism and Bible; if we do not utilize Prayer,the Divine Office daily, Confession, and the Rosary are we not living in a spiritual vacuum?
Thanks for the e-mail. The entire Catholic Faith is contained in the Bible. However, as two thousand years of Christianity of have shown, the Living Tradition or Magisterium of the Church is necessary to correctly interpret the teachings of the Bible. That is why we need the Catechism. Mark P. Shea, who is also a convert from Protestantism, has an excellent explanation of this in his book By What Authority?
Your summed it up very well in your last paragraph. We must always be alert for opportunities to witness to our Catholic faith--not only by actions, but by words. I say it that way because sometimes the hardest thing is to say something about our beliefs when we feel we might be criticized, laughed at, etc. St. Paul says that faith comes by hearing--and of course, the inner action of God's grace.
Fr. Phil Bloom