A continuation from Alice von Hildebrand’s article in “The Latin Mass Magazine”. And I want to add that I admire her so much as a truly cultured, educated, Catholic woman. She has holy class in how she speaks, writes, thinks, and dresses. If only there were more women like her. And thank you to you other women that aspire to holiness and culture.
“Plato’s wisdon reminds us how devastating it is to sever “the golden cord of tradition.” How arrogant of us to assume the past has nothing to offer and that because of our baffling scientific accomplishments, we can look down on our ancestors as if they had been intellectual and artistic paupers. We simply assume that we are superior. Yet to quote Charles Peguy; “Homer is fresh and new this morning, while there is nothing, perhaps, as old and tired as today’s newspaper.” Can the Twenty-first century pride itself of having produced a Homer?
Scientific knowledge is most valuable, but cut off from wisdom, it can easily lead to the destruction of the world. It is most unwise to reject the lessons of the past; it is also unwise to reject the lessons of the past; it is also unwise to reject any development, that is to refuse to water a bud because “it is only a bud.” But today some “progressives” have an iconoclastic passion to destroy any past accomplishment because it is past. How wise Cardinal Newman was when he wrote his great book On The Development of Doctrine. Our debt to the past is incalculable, and ingratitude for it is often a subtle form of stupidity. How right John of Salisbury was when he wrote that “we are but dwarfs sitting on the shoulders of giants….”
Today some fashionable intellectuals favor words such as “revolution” and “time bomb” promising radical and marvelous changes. A modest knowledge of history teaches us that revolutions are usually disastrous in their consequences. The French Revolution was the mother of the terrible moral decadence that followed it. Possibly it was the beginning of the end of Europe. The Russian Revolution triggered the most efficient and abominable reign of mass murder in history. The “revolution” of the 1960s has certainly been responsible for many of the moral woes plaguing contemporary society.
Many are foolish enough to greet “Change” as a magic word that guarantees Progress. In fact, words such as “change” (a word we have recently heard ad nauseam) are meaningless and even dangerous unless we are guaranteed that it will be change “for the better.” Plato warned us that “any change, except to eliminate evil, is evil.” The same applies to the word “progress.” When a doctor says of his patient: “His cancer is progressing,” it is bad news indeed. These are magic words, that throw sand in people‘s eyes and make them forget that to “progress” (i.e. to go forward) can lead us straight into an abyss. Regress is then urgently called for. Such words are mostly political slogans and tools to win the votes of those who respond more to propaganda than to reason, or plain common sense (mercilessly trampled upon in our advanced society). We should also beware of words such as “protest” or “dissent,” unless there is a legitimate reason for protesting or dissenting. To protest as a matter of principle is indicative of a very low IQ.
The original author of this blog passed away in July of 2016. RIP Father Carota.