Tradition Works!

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Tradition is an essential part of the Christian religion. Tradition and Scripture, as the two sources of divine revelation, are the foundations of our Faith. In a broader sense, tradition works. Let's illustrate this point with an example from the history of exploration. Through experience, the well-known Danish explorer Peter Freuchen found that the local traditional means of travel were generally the safest and most effective. "He was sure no clever modern inventor could sit in his laboratory and think out anything better than what the experience of thousands of years had taught the Eskimos to use in their own region."1

Tradition grows organically through a continual sifting of ideas and experiences. Learning acquired through the process of tradition accumulates through the painstaking process of trial and error. As a result, tradition works because it is the accumulation of the wisdom of the ages. In contrast, modernity represents the wisdom of just one generation. It is for this reason that the fruits of tradition are superior to those of modernity.

"By their fruits you shall know them" (Matthew 7:20). It is now obvious that that the Church is in the throes of an unprecedented crisis. Today, the Church faces the mortal danger of the modernist heresy, described by St. Pius X as the synthesis of all heresies. Prior to the Second Vatican Council, the Church was a flourishing and respected, if not always liked, institution. Numerically, the Church was growing ever stronger, coping successfully with challenges such as the secularizing influences of industrial society and opposition from atheistic communism. Since the Second Vatican Council and the subsequent modernization of Church life, Catholicism has suffered from declining church attendance and seminary enrolment, to cite just two examples of today's unprecedented collapse in religious observance. Within the Church, modernity has proven itself to be a bankrupt ideology.

In other walks of life, modernity has proven itself to be just as bankrupt. We have abandoned traditional family life and ended up with countless children suffering from the agonizing effects of family breakdown. We have abandoned traditional morality and ended up with epidemics of disease. In education, we have abandoned traditional methods of instruction and discipline and ended up with children who can't read and a situation where bullying in schools is out of control. In economics, we have abandoned the idea that prosperity may have something to do with hard work, saving, and thrift rather than borrowing and spending and ended up with a tidal wave of bankruptcies.

The brutal nature of communism is a subject that has received much attention. A less discussed characteristic of communism is its drabness. Citizens of communist countries spend endless hours waiting in line for shoddy goods. They live and work in dreary buildings, the product of Stalinist architecture. Similarly, a not-so-discussed characteristic of modernity is its drabness. Modern art is unappreciated by and unintelligible to the great majority of individuals. It is an understatement to say that the beauty of the skyscrapers which dominate the skylines of modern cities pale in comparison to the castles and cathedrals of the medieval period. Life in modern society often consists of being tied up in traffic jams enroute to and from boring jobs, after which evenings are spent eating plastic food in front of dumbed-down television programs designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator. Modern society is organized dysfunctionally, with cities so crowded that much time is wasted in traffic jams, houses are unaffordable to many families, and social problems such as high crime rates abound. Meanwhile, much of the countryside has become so depopulated that many rural communities find it difficult to maintain basic services or a viable community social life.

Modern Church life is also characterized by drabness. Modern church buildings, if not ugly monstrosities, are certainly almost always devoid of any spiritual inspiration. The new liturgy is full of boring banalities. The rich Catholic treasure house of devotions, pilgrimages, sacred art, the wise writings of the Church fathers, and so on, lies mostly forgotten.

There is an answer to the failures and drabness of modern times. There is an answer to the present crisis of the Church. The answer is not to implement the phoney solutions being proposed by liberals. More of the same liberalism that caused the problem in the first place will not solve the problem. The answer is to return to the tried, tested, and true principles of tradition. In his book, The Antichrist, Fr. Vincent Miceli explained that every crisis in the Church's history has consisted of a confrontation between tradition and novelty. In every case, tradition has eventually triumphed.

Tradition adds meaning to our lives, giving us a sense of who we are. If certain aspects of life, such as the way we worship, are continually changing, confusion abounds. Malachi Martin once illustrated this truth by pointing out that if the American flag were continually changing, people would soon lose a sense of what it means to be American. Incidentally, Canada's flag was changed, a factor that may have contributed to this country's weak and confused sense of identity. Since Vatican II, virtually all aspects of Church life have been turned upside down, so it is not surprising that so many souls have lost a sense of what it means to be Catholic.

Tradition endures, whereas modernity does not. It is an old saying that if you marry one generation, you will end up as a widow in the next. Tradition maintains its value and appeal as ages pass. The great Gothic cathedrals are just as impressive today as when they were built hundreds of years ago. In contrast, the styles of the 1960's have dated rapidly and already look ridiculous.

Writing from the perspective of someone living in the New World, Triumph Communications is committed to recovering the ethnic heritage of our European ancestors. Imbedded, often imperceptibly, in the cultures of European nations are centuries of Christian traditions. As Hillaire Belloc wrote, "The Faith is Europe. And Europe is the Faith."2
There is one final aspect of tradition that is of prime importance. In raising a family, it is an error to neglect the fun component of the Faith. Without this component, the children of even devout parents will likely eventually lapse from the Faith. Traditional Catholicism recognized this principle, weaving a colourful tapestry of feasts to celebrate throughout all seasons of the year.

In conclusion, Triumph Communications invites you to join with us in a crusade to recover and restore the traditions that made us strong, that made this life a joy as well as a sacrifice, and that led our souls to their eternal destiny. It is in recovering our traditions that we can lay the foundation for the restoration of a Christian civilization.

1 Heyrdahl, The Kon-Tiki Expedition, pp. 29-30.
2 Belloc, Europe and the Faith, p. 192.

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