Sunday, August 31, 2003

What is Tradition?

Today's Gospel concerns traditions of men; many well-meaning Christians often take Our Lord's words here in Mark's Gospel to mean more than they do, concluding that all tradition is beyond the pale. With the Orthodox, Catholics have a different view.

In that context, Gerard Serafin today posts a quote from Lutheran-turned-Orthodox church historian Jaroslav Pelikan which well distinguishes Sacred Tradition from traditions of men:

"Tradition is the living faith of the dead; traditionalism is the dead faith of the living."

Well said. It echoes Chesterton's famous quip that Tradition is the democracy of the dead, as found in Orthodoxy, written while he was still Anglican. (Go here to get more of the quote.)

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