Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Reflections

The oldest Christian Church, established by Christ Himself as per Biblical and historical accounts, is celebrating the Year of Faith, which of course aims for us Catholics to grow deeper in the love and service of God and neighbor. But why does not the average Catholic experience a faith-renewing Church, as we speak?

I have come up with a few reflections myself.

I
I was an active debater on religion on the Catholic side. But then I decided to be lie low, really low, and refrain from doing those debates, not because my cardiologist says that I should avoid too much and unnecessary stress if I want to live longer, but because I no longer see a good reason to offend other religions such as the Born Again Christians, Mormons, and the Iglesia ni Cristo.

Some would stand up to me and say that as the Apostles defended the Church in its formative years, and the Church Fathers and Saints did so in their times, I must do so, too. Fair point, but wouldn't it be better to tend to the spiritual needs of the brethren, answer their questions about their own Church, and pray and serve with them, rather than waste time debating with people and offending their beliefs, knowing that they would either change the course of the discussion in response to a good argument or attack you with ad hominems or ad ignorantiams? I would rather educate my brethren about their faith than do endless debates with both sides having bad feelings at the end of the day.

II
There had been a widespread statement on Facebook not too long ago which goes something like "The Church won't adjust to the people." What exactly does that mean? It may be taken as the Church won't let her moral principles become less firm, which implies that Catholics become more immoral as days pass by, a failure on the part of the Church. There also had been a homily delivered on one of the Sundays of Easter this year in my parish which had the line: "Whoever stands with the Church and her precepts shall be rewarded in the life to come. Those who don't will not get their reward. This is how we see who is faithful and who isn't," or something like that. But shouldn't we focus on making the people realize why they need to be faithful, in a manner worthy of delivering the Good News of the Lord? We declare in the Profession of the Faith that we believe in the Communion of Saints. We believe that Christ is the Good Shepherd who leaves his ninety-nine to look for the lost one. Let's live up to those beliefs.

III
I wanted to become a priest, and I am still praying for God to decide and work if He wants me to really become one; I'll just follow where He leads. And I believe that the priesthood is a vocation requiring of patience, endurance, humility, understanding, and faith. I believe that those who aspire to become priests must lead the people by example, and not whine endlessly on social media about the dysarthria or mere mispronunciation of people of the Angelic Salutation (the "Hail Mary"), brag about what they know about the Church, or announce how often they go to confession, among others. They must bring Christ closer to the people, not farther. They must show that Christ is a loving God, and loving Him should entail sacrifices, not making Him appear as a taskmaster with numerous rules to follow or else go to hell.

They must not also be self-righteous, thinking that they are the standard for faith or morality in a community. These people must bear in mind that pre-marital copulation does not necessarily mean excommunication: they should show that God works stronger than sin, and that His mercy encompasses all; that through Him, one can do anything because he is strengthened by God, even fighting sin.

IV
Pope Francis also had his fair share of bashing and criticism, yes, from "devout" Catholics themselves. When he assumed office, there had been numerous questions on his policies, stands, and even on the pectoral cross he wears.

The papacy had come a long way since the Age of Kings in Europe. Now, the papal tiara is not worn anymore, the papal coronation has been replaced with a simple investiture, and if the Church is for the poor, she must be with the poor. The Church had made some serious mistakes in the past, and she tries to correct them, and do other good things to her children. His Holiness cannot do things on his own, we the Church should cooperate. One simple act would be to stop the discrimination between rich and poor inside the Church, and that could come a long, long way. When we have Christ, there is no rich and poor, for God does not look in to what material gifts you can give Him. It is on how you live your life in service to Him and to others which matter the most.

(To be continued)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Annus Fidei: Reviving the One, True, Catholic, and Apostolic Faith (PART ONE)

Siguro ilang taon din ang lumipas bago ko tuluyang natanggap ang katotohanang marami sa mga Katoliko sa Pilipinas ay mga "Sunday churchgoer" lang, i.e., mga nagsisimba lang kada Linggo kasi naging routine na lang nila 'yun, sometimes hindi na rin nila alam kung bakit pa sila nagsisimba. Minsan nga, hindi rin alam ng iba 'yung mga turo ng Simbahan, mula sa kung bakit sa Katoliko lang ang "Antanda ng Krus" ("Sign of the Cross"), hanggang sa kung ano ang turing sa mga santo at kanilang mga imahen, hanggang sa kung bakit nga ba tutol ang Simbahan sa RH Bill.

Alam ko namang bago mag-First Communion ay may Catechism na ang isang bata: it even starts at home, sometimes. Pero hindi lahat ay talagang nakakaintindi rito: maraming tanong ang hindi naitatanong o hindi nasasagot, kasi either nahihiya magtanong 'yung tao or hindi masagot ng maayos ng tinatanong, que katekista o kahit pari.

So may pagkukulang ba ang mga pari? Yes, of course. May mga pari na hindi mo talaga malapitan dahil ubod ng yabang o nakakatakot. May mga pari namang hindi dapat maging pari. Kaya ang laki ng load ng mga paring mabubuti, 'yung talagang may koneksiyon sa buong parokya (hindi lang sa iilang may pera) at 'yung approachable talaga, at 'yung, basta, you know a good priest when you see and meet one. Sinusubukan nga nilang maging mabuting ama sa komunidad na ipinagkatiwala sa kanila ng Ama, pero may mga tampalasan namang nagpapabigat ng sitwasyon.

Kaya kailangan din ng tulong ng mga pari mula sa laiko. O sa mga taong marunong at malakas ang pananampalataya, pero hindi naman pari o madre. Kasi kulang tayo sa mga mabubuting pari: and even so, we won't dare sacrifice quality for the quantity.

There's a good number of Catholics who are capable of strengthening the faith of others. Ang kaso nga lang, kulang ng push. Marami akong kakilalang magaling talaga sa doktrina ng Simbahan. Ang iba nga sa kanila, magaling din makipag-debate. At ako, dati rin akong mahilig makipag-debate.

Naisip kong medyo mag-lie low muna sa pakikipag-debate sa mga non-Catholic kasi masakit sa ulo minsan 'yung pagiging illogical ng arguments at ang mga sentence pattern nila (minsan nga may sinabihan akong bumalik sa elementary school para mag-aral ng English grammar). Isa pa, kasi naisip ko rin na mag-focus na lang muna sa pagkalinga sa pananampalataya ng mga kapatid ko kay Kristo: nalalaman nga ng mga kalaban ko sa "paghahanap ng katotohanan" 'yung mga bagay-bagay tungkol sa Simbahan, samantalang hindi pa rin ito alam ng marami kong mga kapatid.

At isa pa, kadalasan ay pataasan lang naman ng morale ang nangyayari sa debate. Naghahanapan ng loophole sa mga argument, gumagamit ng masasakit na salita, at kung minsan nag-aaway-away pa ang magkakapatid. Alam ko na dapat nating ipagtanggol ang pananampalataya sa mga sumisira rito, pero mas kailangan nating patatagin ang pananampalataya ng mga kapwa nating Katoliko.

Kailangan din ng isang magandang environment sa Simbahan: 'yung lahat nakangiti, masaya, at walang distinction ng mayaman at mahirap. 'Yung mararamdaman ng lahat na bahagi sila ng isang pamilya, hindi 'yung iilan lang ang nagkakaintindihan. Nagagawa nga ito ng maliliit na sekta dahil pursigido sila, hindi dahil konti sila. Dapat nga mas maging masaya sa loob ng Simbahan, kasi 'di ba, "the more, the merrier"?

(Itutuloy)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Battle against Pride: Survival of the Fittest


ONE of the teachings of the Catholic Church regarding the ‘Seven Deadly Sins’ is that all other six roots are begotten of pride: as one priest calls it “the enemy within” (Cole, 2007). But how does one, really, combat against pride and emerge as victorious?

Pride perhaps is the root of all evil. The fall of man is associated with pride (Gn 3:6) as Eve wanted herself and Adam to be equal with God, that is, by gaining wisdom. But does that make pride evil in itself?

The concept branches from self-esteem, which we all know is necessary for human survival in the social world. We may take pride in ourselves as humans, in what we have achieved, i.e., passing a critical exam which none of the students know if approved by consensus or merely brought about by their professor’s angst, graduating on time despite the potentially delaying factors, and the UP Maroons winning against the UE Red Warriors in men’s senior basketball, though the only victory so far. But the saying goes, “All of too much begets evil”, and pride may be defined as the hulk of self-esteem.

As you know, pride is:

  • the reason why many scrimp their allowances to buy an overpriced gadget 
  • the reason why many eat in expensive restaurants
  • the reason why there are divisions inside the Catholic Church
  • the reason why some people start their own churches and use the Bible illogically to point to the Catholic Church all the evil described in the Scriptures
  • the reason why there's a clash between faiths (sure, "search for truth", sure)
  • the reason why some of us look down on the masses: what they wear, what province they're from, and what music and film they listen to and watch
  • the reason why we UP students underestimate other schools (explain the acronym "DLSU" written on a UP shirt spelled out as "Di Lumusot Sa UPCAT", please)
  • the reason why rich people are treated favorably than the poorer ones, even inside the Catholic Church (though not only in the Catholic Church). Even St. James noticed this (James 2:1-4)
  • the reason why there are broken homes
  • the reason why corruption exists, and why there's such a thing as "political dynasty"
  • the reason why many speak in English in front of the masses, especially in a pseudo-impressive manner (teaching them? Or boasting what you can do?), or just the reason why many people attempt to communicate in English.


Parting from all the worldly pressures may free one from the chains of pride. Sure, perhaps many would think this is easy. Decide to cede all your belongings and have nothing to compare – you won’t go selling your iPhone 4S when your friend gets an iPhone 5, or won't have a picture of yourself with an overpriced camera, or drink. Live the life of a celibate and you won’t have to divorce your wife because she bears you no children. Keep calm when some people call you a moron on the streets and you won’t have to kill them. Order what you can afford and what you can consume so nothing would go to waste. Let God and yourself know that you’re a regular churchgoer, almsgiver, feast day observer, pilgrim, Bible-reader, faith defender. Are these easy?

Winning the battle against pride may take a lifetime, like attaining salvation. One could not say “Today, I am saved!” but cheats on her boyfriend the next day, unless certified as a hypocrite. Concurrently, both require faith and works; for if faith was a tree and works is just its fruit, would not an unfruitful tree be cut down? And the battle against pride requires effort, as said before, to part from the earthly pleasures.

The Buddhist doctrine of Nirvana was explained as complete emptiness: neither happiness nor sorrow. Winning against pride may be the same: for if you forgo of all you hold, what would make you happy that would not make you sad, and similarly, what would make you sad that would not make you happy, at all, forever? In contrast, the Christian concept of eternal life is described as unceasing joy. Either way, both are unimaginable, yet attainable.

Whether the Buddhist Nirvana or the Christian Eternal Life, they are attainable. Attaining either (or both?) must start from conscious little efforts: cutting costs by taking public transport (or walking), whenever possible; abstaining from romantic relationships when unsure of what you feel; being less feisty and more compassionate; buying only necessary things, and; by stopping using “Like-if-Jesus-and-scroll-if-Satan” posts on Facebook.

Everything is possible through good faith and unceasing effort: even toothpaste could be shoved up back in its tube if tried. That includes winning and surviving in the battle against the self, in the battle against pride.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Do You Believe in the Modern Prophet?

"Do you believe in the (sic) modern prophet?"


These were the words my cousin Brent asked me a few days ago through text. And because I wasn't that sleepy yet then, I decided to respond to his message not through text, but through writing. 


Brent,


As suggested by the article "the", it is implied that you are talking about a particular person, or in this case, a prophet, as the noun is in its singular form: "the modern prophet". By then I would say, "No, I don't." Why?


In the Church's nearly two millenia of blessed existence, there had been countless heretics who led Christians astray from the pristine Catholic faith, as foretold by Matthew 24:5. Some of them claim to be the modern prophet, who, allegedly, have received divine revelations from our God. Some, like Joseph Smith Jr. (1805-1844), the founder of "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints", which regards him as "the prophet of restoration (Joseph Smith.net, 2010)".


Here in the country, there are some people who are like him, too. One is Ptr. Apollo Carreon Quiboloy (1950-) from the Restorationist "Kingdom of Jesus Christ, The Name Above Every Name", who does not only claim to be God's prophet, but His own "appointed son (Kingdom of Jesus Christ.org)".


Another is Felix Ysagun Manalo (1886-1963) of the Iglesia ni Cristo (sic), whom the INC holds as "God's Messenger in These Last Days (Wikipedia, 2012)", claimed to be the "ravenous bird" described in Isaiah 46:11 (who is actually Cyrus the Great of Persia), and the "fourth angel" in the book of Revelation. His church also claims that they were "re-established" because the Catholic Church "strayed away from the pristine faith (This is the Iglesia ni Cristo, 1977)".


By "modern", I suppose you mean the time since the apostolic era. The three men I mentioned above lived more than a thousand years after the time of the Church Fathers, and all of them have established different "Christian" churches which, of course, hold on to some different doctrines.. Like all other 32,000 Christian confessions around the world, their churches hold their leaders/founders as their "modern prophet", like what Smith is to the Mormons and so on.


These so-called prophets used the 66-book "Bible" (the original Catholic Bible has 73) to support their varying claims about themselves and how God "foretold" their existence. They used the supposedly unifying agent as a divisive one, which, of course, Jesus did not want (John 17:21).


These prophets have followers, some who became pastors/ministers. They interpret the Bible on their own, not according to how the Church Jesus established upon St. Peter, 2,000 years ago, does so (Mt. 16:18).

I would have said "yes" if you replaced "the" with "a", or made it like "Do you believe in modern prophets?" All Christians should be modern prophets, that is, by proclaiming God's greatness, love, and mercy to all the ends of the earth. Not to start a schism, but to bring them to God's family here on earth, the One (1 Cor 1:10), Holy (Eph 5:27), Catholic (Mt 28:19), and Apostolic (Mt 16:18, 28:20) Church. When we were baptized, we shared in the threefold mission of Our Lord Jesus Christ as king, priest, and prophet. We ought to do our part until our last breath.


But until then, it is a "no". Why would I believe in people (and their teachings) ought to divide the Church?


I do hope this long post has answered your question. I would be happy to answer more some time.


May God bless you and your family, now and forever.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Think Beyond the Box

Even before Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta , or Lady Gaga, set foot on Philippine soil to hold her concert here, nagpahayag na ang ilang religious movements ng kanilang pagtutol sa pag-perform dito ng isang artistang may mga awiting diumano ay lumalapastangan sa pananampalatayang Kristiyano at mga music video which exhibit sensual and other sensitive scenes. Nandiyan ang iba't-ibang uri ng protesta sa kung saan-saan; sa Facebook, sa email, sa text. at may nagsagawa pa nga ng mobilizations. All of them will to cancel the performer's concert in the country.

Which all left me dismayed in one point and disappointed in another. Una sa lahat, even though the Philippines is a predominantly Catholic-Christian country, such a concept of "state religion" doesn't exist here. A de facto religion maybe, which is Catholicism, but it is not the official religion. Id est, walang karapatan ang sinoman na pigilan ang mga ganitong uri ng pagtatanghal just because it offends religious feelings. Indonesia is an Islamic country kaya naipagbawal ang concert doon. Sa loob nga ng bansa kahit kapag walang concert, may heavy metal songs aired on radio na tahasang nagsasabing anti-Christ ang kumakanta (o sumisigaw?). Mayroon ding lantarang offending of religious feelings between two "Christian" sects with seemingly different orientations (in fact, may mga programa ang dalawang grupong ito on air which feature converts from the opposite sides). Marami pang kahalintulad din nito in different forms, pero the question is, why are these still alive kung "kontra" sila sa bastusan ng paniniwala?

Maybe Articles 132 and 133 of the Revised Penal Code (s. 1930) are enough to protect the different beliefs  here in the country. Besides, hindi naman nag-concert si Lady Gaga sa loob ng simbahan o sinagoga, ni nanghimok ng mga mananampalataya na manood sa kaniya at makinig while she "insults" Christianity. Her fans went on their own, her concert wasn't even promoted heavily. Kung ang isinisigaw ng mga nagpo-protesta ay hindi nila hahayaang maipamana sa kanilang mga anak ang "imoralidad" ng tinaguriang "Mother Monster", then so be it. If their spiritual and/or biological children (who, presumably, watched the concert) have been deeply rooted in the faith, siguro naman, kahit si Satanas pa mismo ang mag-concert sa SMX, walang magbabago sa pananampalataya ng mga bata. Just like the story of Job in the Old Testament, kahit pinahihina na ng kaniyang mga kaibigan ang kaniyang pagtitiwala sa Diyos, he remained steadfast to his faith and was rewarded. And Our Lord, too, when He was tempted by the devil, naging matibay siya at hindi nagpadala sa tukso, then the angels attended to Him. Siguro this is God's way of testing the faith of the Christians who were there in the concert. And this, too, is His way of building His Church stronger.

Equivocated daw ang mga kanta ni Lady Gaga and one must not simply interpret these songs in plain view. Well as you know, interpretations vary, sa Bible pa nga lang ehh. Kaya from One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, there are now more than 30,000 Christian sects and denominations. So we'd better leave the interpretation to her and her team, besides, sila ang talagang nakakaalam kung ano ang ibig-sabihin ng mga kanta and MV's. Pero if we'd stick to our own interpretations, let the faith be a greater positive number and let the songs and videos be a lesser negative number, para kapag pinagsama, positive pa rin ang result. It's up to the Church and the person himself to make that faith grow more and more each day, mula sa isang maliit na positive number, to perhaps a bigger one than the number before faith got tested.

Lady Gaga is a Catholic at isinusulong ng ilang nagmamarunong that she be excommunicated from the Church. We should leave these things to the Canon Lawyers, the Curia, and to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI himself. Marami pang kailangang pagdaanan ang motion for excommunication. Of course the case must be heard for a number of times with both sides explaining, then proceeding with the verdict. Hindi dahil against siya sa ilang tuntunin at pamantayan ng Santa Iglesia, excommunication na agad. Remember the story of Jesus and the sinful woman who was about to be stoned to death. Remember and reflect before you throw that stone to Lady Gaga.

To end (whoo, finally), I am not a fan of the pop icon neither am I against my Mother, the Church. I just don't see the point, really, why her concert was about to be banned. Just let faith shine stronger than what you call sin. Remain steadfast in what you believe in and let this faith thrive in your children para walang palag ang kung anomang impluwensiya sa kanila.

And to those who think, time and time again, that the whole Church is being an extremist, please do think again, at huwag niyo namang sabihing idiot ang Simbahan sa Bibliyang dahil sa kaniya ay nag-exist. Think twice, thrice... seventy-seven times before you say things on air, online, and in print. Hindi rin divided ang Iglesiya sa bagay na ito, the Church is just too big and we are working on evangelizing each and every one to have the same mindset as ours.


I am a devout Catholic and I love my God, so do I love His Church. I just think beyond the box and hope everyone does the same before commenting on a certain issue.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Another Call for Defense

Sa totoo lang, I'm so, so fed up with all these people who're trying to bring the whole Catholic Church down by her simple mistakes and shortcomings. Ang stereotypical, sobra. I can't blame them (some of them were proven to be atheists kaya hindi na rin ako nagulat), though, may mali naman kasi sa simbahan na kailangan nang ayusin.

RH Bill, for the nth time

As I write this, oo, suyang-suya na rin ako.

The question is simple: "Bakit ka sisiping sa kama kung ayaw mong magka-anak?" And is supplemented, "Bakit mo ipagpapalit ang maayos na pamumuhay ng anak mo para sa sandaling 'kaligayahan' ?"

These advocates want to propagate immorality, and extinction. Think of this, kung maisasabatas ang RH Bill, then magiging trivial na ang carnal relations. At kapag naging trivial na, it won't be sacred anymore: yes,  it is sacred because God made it so. At away from His approved manner, say, extra and pre-marital sex, one commits sin.

So what do we want to do, educate the people and convince them not to engage in such activities daily? Yes. It's possible, only immoral people say it isn't.

If this bill would forever be outlawed, then mag-iisip na 'yung mga mag-asawa to abstain from marital activities. And I suppose pati 'yung mga hindi mag-asawa, mag-a-abstain din?

And I suppose this question would be raised: "Eh paano 'yung minors who engage in these activities?" Oo, alam nating lahat na ineligible pa for detention ang mga menor-de-edad. Siguro, to resolve this na lang muna ang atupagin naman sana ng mga kongresista, hindi na lang 'yung puro anti-planking, anti-angry birds. Psh.

Benedict XVI on salvation


I am this open-minded Catholic na hindi talaga matanggap ang idea of exclusive salvation (kaya nga I've had numerous clashes with a friend na talagang ipinagpipipipipipipilitang sila nga lang talaga ang ililigtas sa araw ng paghuhukom) bago ko pa mabasa 'yung "Is there salvation outside the Catholic Church?" sa Know Your Faith published by St. Paul's bookstore na there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church; because the Catholic Church, by its namesake, includes all humanity.

And then, with the help of a friend, I read from dailymail.co.uk:

"Pope Benedict XVI declared yesterday that Christian denominations other than his own were not true churches and their holy orders have no value.

"The claims came in a document, from a Vatican watchdog which was approved by the Pope.

"It said the branches of Christianity formed after the split with Rome at the Reformation could not be called churches "in the proper sense" because they broke with a succession of popes who dated back to St Peter.(Caldwell, 2007)"

Then arose speculations na sinasabi raw ng Santo Papa na ang Santa Iglesia Catolica lang ang maliligtas. What? Ang sinasabi lang, the Catholic Church (Mt 28:19) was instituted by Christ upon St. Peter the Apostle (Mt 16:18) who was its first pope, whose position was then assumed by Benedict XVI after 264 successions, so all other churches aren't true, kasi they are built by men(and in fact, magkakaproblema kapag hindi inirehistro sa Securities and Exchange Commission), not by our Lord.

Marriage among the homosexuals and infertile

Threat naman talaga kasi to humanity ang homosexual marriage. So tell me, how would population grow if we tolerate this kind of marriage? Well, the Bible doesn't say anything about what should not be done in marriage, it says what has to; man and woman, then create children. Tapos. If the Philippine government allows homosexual marriage, basta 'wag lang nilang pilitin ang Catholic priests to witness.

At isa pa, 'yung kasal among the infertile. Retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz once "said" that people who are unable to create must not marry; they will only commit sin in front of God.

Ako man, sa una, nagulat. Kasi I remembered Elizabeth and Zachary, John the Baptizer's parents. The woman was infertile, but she and her husband gained favor in the eyes of God.

Maybe the retired priest meant something beyond the layman's definition of "marriage", I don't know. Besides, try to research about that issue, 'yung pagbabawal ng Catholic Church sa mga baog na magpakasal, I believe you'd only come up with one site which has the exactly similar content you are looking for.

Marami pang ibang napakaliit na issue na susubukan kong pag-aksayahan ng panahon para sa mga mag-aaksaya ng panahong basahin 'to.

Sana naman, there must be mutual respect ammong beliefs and faith. Pero I'll be happy to answer more of these issues, hangga't kaya ko. I won't assume to know what I don't; besides, mas marami pang may kayang sagutin lahat ng mga isyung 'to.

To end, sana naman stop stereotyping. Look at the entire picture before you react (kaya nga medyo matagal rin bago ko 'to naisulat), hindi 'yung magre-rebelde ka sa sarili mong simbahan simply because you think you're brilliant.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Catholic Truth: Tradition Over the Bible

I've had a friendly discussion with a Born Again Christian pastor not so long ago. Of course, as an aspiring Augustinian Recollect priest, I had many questions and raised several topics which made the discourse last for nearly half an hour.

One of the two topics I liked the most in our discussion was about the Tradition and the Bible (the other was on salvation). He said that the Catholic church has "moved out" of the Biblical doctrines, giving strange terms and performing such extra-doctrinal rites. He added that the Baptist church sticks to "Bible over Tradition" while the Catholic Church does otherwise.

I've been living my life from that day thinking that what he said was wrong, until when I began to realize the truth in what the pastor said. Well, that is not because I'm giving up my faith.
Tradition, defined in the Catholic way, is the teaching authority (Magisterium) of the Holy Catholic Church (Mt. 16:18, Mt. 28:19-20). Before, there was no Bible to speak of. There were writings yes, but they were safeguarded by Christian communities who were hiding from the Romans thus, making the scriptures limited to the people. They weren't kept in caves or somewhere else which other "Christians" tell they were.

It's this: without the Catholic Tradition, we could not have availed of the Bible today. As you know, the word "Bible" comes from the Greek word "βιβλιος" which means "book." Mind you, the word "Bible" doesn't exist in any of the 73 books of the Bible. So, if the Catholic Tradition made it possible for a collection of divinely-inspired writings to be named as the "Bible", then the Tradition also made it possible to provide the name "Catholic" ("καθολικός": universal) for Christ's universal church (Mt. 28:19).

Also, it is because of Catholic tradition that we come to know the 73 books of the Holy Bible. And I know that the Catholic Bible has a seven-book "excess" over the Protestant, which has only 66. Before the Lutheran revolt in 1517, the Catholic Christian Bible (the Latin, or Vulgate edition, as compiled and translated by St. Jerome) has originally 73 books, and was later deducted by Luther. And in one of those seven books is where the concept "purgatory" can be found.

St. Jerome working on the Biblia Sacra Vulgata
(c) paintinghere.com 

It's because of the Protestant misconception and wrong definition of Tradition that makes the Catholic Church "very extra-Biblical," though normal human logic should make the former thankful to the latter.