Sunday, February 28, 2010

Living Tradition

Monsignor Brunero Gherardini has worked for the Vatican for over 40 years, being a professor at the Lateran Pontifical University in Rome. Author of hundreds of books and many hundreds of articles in a variety of fields, his latest offering -- published last summer and already re-printed twice -- will soon be translated into English. Titled The Ecumenical Vatican Council II: A Much Needed Discussion, the work assesses changes in the Catholic Church resulting from the pastoral council of 1962-1965.

Here are snippets of insights gleaned from the book about the modern notion of "living tradition" (translated from the French at DICI).

Living Tradition
The expression "living tradition," which has been all the rage of the modernized Church, is a radical departure from what the Church has historically done and taught.

Further, "living tradition" is too unspecific, too generic, and has ended by allowing anything to be attempted in the name of tradition except what has traditionally been done.

It is "radically irreconcilable with its past," and fostered the notion during and after the council that "only what was new appeared to be true."

"The truth is...that we speak of living Tradition only to rubber stamp any innovation presented as the natural development of truths officially handed down and received, even if the innovation has nothing in common with the said truths and is something far removed from a new shoot out of the old trunk."

"The present call to living Tradition can be summed up as a genuine danger for the faith of each Christian and of the Christian community as a whole."


Tradition is essentially immutable.

Does this mean that the phrase "living tradition" is contradictory or nonsensical?

As the moderns use the term, yes, absolutely.

What Monsignor Gherardini reminds his readers is that the living character of Tradition is manifested "by the fact that it initiates a transition from an implicit to an explicit statements of the contents." Thus, Tradition is not evolutionary in the sense of becoming something different, and it can never contradict itself: it is the same at all times in all places in every circumstance.

Read more on the correct meaning of Tradition here.

No comments: