You can't restore a tradition, but you can renew one (context matters)

I found this talk very thoughtful and thought provoking:.

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Very well said by Br. Casey. Cultural context is everything, when you change the place a statement or action is said, the meaning also changes, and we can not restore where these statements used to be said.

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I found it interesting but, as with so much today, it all seems to depend on how people ‘today’ (a phrase mentioned quite often) ‘perceive’ things.

I believe it was G. K Chesterton who remarked that one of the wonderful things about being part of the Catholic Church was that it freed us from being slaves ‘to the present’.

I also believe that the poster was spending so much time focusing on ‘the now’ while paying lip service to the use of ‘the then’ that everything was skewed toward the utilitarian ideal, “Make use of what you choose in the way you wish, but it’s all about YOU”.

Even the ‘then’ was said to be that kind of utilitarian “started out as an innovation, meant something to people and so they used it until it no longer meant anything and then they started something else’. . .

And I find that to be a misunderstanding of Catholicism.

While there are big T and little t traditions which arise as helps. . .consider the rosary, which came about built on the idea of praying the psalms coupled with the multi-culture use of prayer beads or ropes, and which itself developed through a matter of 3 centuries to the current form. . .The genesis of all traditions is not that they be useful to Fred and Freida of the Fifteenth Century but totally discarded by Sam and Samantha of the Seventeenth Century, never to exist again, but rather that traditions are often ‘local’ ways to embrace universal truths. The universal truths always exist; it isn’t true that the Immaculate Conception was something unknown until the 19th century, and that it can ‘rise’ to a feast day and then just kind of ‘disappear’ when it is no longer ‘meaning something’ to people.

Pious customs or traditions might need modifications but not to be discarded wholesale.

And those who ‘revive’ them are not looking to go back to a ‘different time’ but rather recognizing that (and this was mentioned in a way) that something ‘lost’ and needed needs to be renewed. . . Although I still think ‘restore’ is a perfectly good word.

The poster very carefully stayed away after a brief sideways bring up of V2 and vernacular liturgy from the TLM, so I don’t know if he considers that something being’ renewed’. In either case though, it is not being ‘brought back’ to be at the use of a ‘different generation’, it’s being recognized as never having left in the first place. Those who seek it aren’t trying to ‘go back’ or to ‘use’ it to fulfill a 21st century need, after the late 20th century ‘didn’t need it’, and with the assumption that it might not be needed at a future time, but rather are guarding it, as all tradition should be guarded, because while the Church can modify where necessary, the Church was not given by Christ to be the Great Innovator for each generation ‘as they need’ but rather as the guardian of the treasure of the Deposit of the Faith—which includes traditions—which the Church carefully is to keep from being lost, or stolen, or defaced.

But again, an interesting video and as you say, thought provoking.


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