[Tomorrow is the Feast Day for St. Thomas More in the Catholic Church. Here is an excerpt from his Response in 1523 to Martin Luther’s tract against King Henry VIII.]
By St. Thomas More
If, as you consistently affirm, all extrascriptural matter is to be maintained only freely and none of it held fast by faith, what is the meaning of this Apostolic admonition: “Stand and hold fast the traditions which you have learned through our word and letter”? [2 Thess 2:15]
The preservation of both word and letter is equally charged by the Apostle. Extrascriptural matter was thus handed down, and on a binding, not a take-it-or-leave-it basis! What do you say to that, Luther? And to this: “Many things were done which are not written in this book,” a passage of the Evangelist’s? [John 20:30]
These things which you have remarked as absent from the other scriptural books also, and of which John says that the whole world cannot contain them – aren’t they to be regarded as miracles at least? Wouldn’t you also find that an ignorance of many of them would jeopardize faith?