One of the Most Frequent and Most Grave Defects of Modern Sociology Lies in Underestimating Tradition

November 3, 2016

From the allocution of Paul VI to Slavic pilgrims of various countries, especially the United States and Canada, on September 14, 1963, the eleventh centennial of the arrival of Saints Cyril and Methodius in Greater Moravia:

The Knitting Lesson by Eugene de Blaas

The Knitting Lesson by Eugene de Blaas

“It is characteristic of Catholic education to draw from history not only cultural material and reminders of events, but also a living tradition, a spiritual coefficient of moral formation, a constant direction for a direct and coherent progress in the march of time, a guarantee of stability and endurance, which gives to a people its dignity, its right to life, its duty to act in harmony with other peoples.

Homecoming from the harvest (On Lake Zug), painting by Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller

Homecoming from the harvest (On Lake Zug), painting by Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller

“One of the defects of modern sociology, most frequent and most serious, is to underestimate tradition, that is, to presume that a firm and coherent society can be established without taking into account the historic foundation on which it naturally rests, and that the breaking away from the culture inherited from preceding generations can be more beneficial to the life of a people than the progressive development, faithful and wise, of its patrimony of thought and habits.

Mountain procession in Ramsau, Austria, painted by Leopold Munsch.

Mountain procession in Ramsau, Austria, painted by Leopold Munsch.

“And furthermore, if this patrimony is rich with those universal and immortal values which the Catholic Faith instills in the conscience of a people, then to respect tradition means to guarantee the moral life of that people; it means to give them the consciousness of their existence, and to merit for them those divine helps which confer to the city of this world something of the splendor and perpetuity of the heavenly city.” (The Pope Speaks, Vol. 9, no. 2 [1964], p. 184.)

 

Nobility Book

Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, Nobility and Analogous Traditional Elites in the Allocutions of Pius XII: A Theme Illuminating American Social History (York, Penn.: The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property, 1993), Documents VI, p. 492.

 

 

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