ORDER OF THE PUBLISHING APOSTOLATEThe object of the publishing apostolate is thus the doctrine of the Church, which it draws from Holy Scripture and from Tradition and explains with arguments from reason.
But, we may ask, is the apostle not allowed to put before people the genuine sources of Holy Scripture and Tradition?
The answer is that not only is it lawful - it is necessary. Still, there has to be an order. Precedence goes to the Church's doctrine because that constitutes the proximate rule of our faith. Then follow Scripture and Tradition, which constitute faith's remote rule.
But even here the apostle must follow the directives of the Church because on her and on
her alone Jesus Christ conferred teaching infallibility.
Doctrine of the Church
The prime and principal duty of the publishing apostolate is to communicate to people the Church's teaching by becoming a relay, a voice, a loud hailer of the Church, of the Pope and of the Bishops, of the Catholic priest. "You are our very voice" the Holy Father Pius XI1 told newspaper correspondents, welcoming them in a paternal and informal way before the throne of truth.
It is obvious why. The majority of people are unable to continue to devote themselves sufficiently to religious studies and to deepen their knowledge of the true religion. God, who never falls short in matters that concern our goal, made provision by instituting the Church infallible, indefectible and catholic so that, in every place and in every age, people could turn to it in all surety to know the true and the good.
Thus, by turning to the Church in every occasion and doctrinal upheaval, men and women, and all nations will always know God's truth and the sure way to reach heaven. The words of Christ himself testify to this: "He who hears you
hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me."2
Instructed in the Church's doctrine the priest and the lay person are also qualified to follow the Church in her work of endorsing and investigating the truth; in other words, to study the sources of revelation - Holy Scripture and Tradition - these remote rules of our faith which contain revealed truth. First comes Holy Scripture, this great book or divine letter that God addressed to his sons and daughters inviting them to heaven, setting before them the truths to be believed, the deeds to be fulfilled and the means of grace for getting there.
But since personal interpretation of the Sacred Text is disallowed because God entrusted to the Church, and to her alone, the deposit of truth, the Bible must be read and studied in accordance with her directives.
The resolve of the publishing apostle, son or daughter of Holy Mother Church, is to make God's book known to all, while adhering at all times to the norms of the Church and rejecting whatever
does not comply with her principles and her genuine interpretation.
The apostle is to remind scholars that, in general, what they need in order to deepen their knowledge of the Sacred Text, apart from the study of Theology and a sound introduction, is an especial devotion to the Church whereby they accept the elucidation proposed or at least approved by her.
Let the publishing apostle suggest to the people and the faithful to read the texts devoutly but with the added aid of a commentary, one of a popular rather than of a scholarly nature, and in accordance with the norms set out further ahead.
In addition to the doctrine of the Church and Scripture, the publishing apostle is to popularize Sacred Tradition and to propagate it. It is that part of God's Revelation that completes Holy Scripture, and hands down to us truths which are not contained in the latter. It is a source of the truths that are then interpreted authentically in the Church's solemn teaching and in her ordinary teaching, in both theory and practice.
Under the Church's guidance, the publishing apostle is to clarify, ratify, enforce and defend the Catholic faith by means of Tradition. Let him know how to use it as a source of works that redound to the glory of God and the salvation of people's souls.
1 * The Italian text adds, v.m. = of venerable or venerated memory.
2 Lk 10:16.