Tradition and Ideology


Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the contributor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.

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9 Responses

  1. Weirdly enough, I think that given the terms and definitions I've adopted, Marxism has at many times been a tradition. It depends on which Marxists we're talking about. I'm no expert on Marxism, but I'm under the impression that Marx developed his theory in conversation with a broader European socialist movement, e.g. his arguments with Proudhon. Traditions in general are quite promiscuous; they change and wander and blend and split, just like literary genres.

    I don't really know how to use the word "ideology" consistently, so I prefer to couch everything in the language of more and less vibrant traditions whenever I can. When I say ideology, I probably just mean that I think the tradition is ossified.

    I'm not Catholic, but as an outsider it always seems to me that the Catholic Church keeps moving; it just does it very, very slowly. Debate takes much longer to percolate through the Catholic hierarchy than it does through the media of western democracies, and I don't think this is an entirely bad thing. The Catholic church is big enough to contain scores of theological subtraditions all in conversation with each other, which is why it takes so long to make changes. Report

  2. Avatar E.D. Kain says:

    William, regarding the "slowness" of change within the Church I agree. Proper change should be slow. That's the point, often as not, of conservatism in general – that slow change is better than rapid, or haphazard change. The issue of marriage in the priesthood, though, I think has had a long enough incubation period and it's simply time for parish priests to be allowed to have families. Of course, I think that the proper way to decide this is through a forum similar to Vatican II. Report

  3. Avatar matoko.kusanagi says:

    You talk like cultural evolution doesn't and your self-examination is happening in some sort of sterile laboratory.
    This is like the TAS post dismissing evolutionary psychology as "vulgar evo psych".
    While the catholics and the conservatives are bizzy navel-gazing and contemplating the triumphs of the past, science and technology are whizzing past into detailed explanations of human nature.
    Behold, my new favorite mindtoy……
    Cognitive Anthropology.

  4. Avatar E.D. Kain says:

    What a surprising comment. You don't happen to be related to matako chan do you? Report

  5. Avatar BobRoth says:

    The issue not discussed, at least directly, is the origin of any particular tradition. While some in the GOP might like to claim they are doing God's work none would claim, I hope, that the GOP speaks for God. The GOP remains a secular institution. The Catholic church on the other hand does claim such authority. When the pope speaks ex cathedra he is doing so on God's behalf , the Holy Ghost has intervened making sure that such statements are error free.

    As has been pointed out the Church is slow to change doctrine. And much of the debate arguing for or against change is behind closed doors or off the radar of the faithful in the pew. So even long debated issues once resolved may come as a shock to the average catholic. And regardless more conservative catholics may well refuse to accept the change. Even after 50 years of Mass being offered in the vernacular widespread objections exists.

    Changes in traditions of the Church are dangerous, they open doors to questioning all traditions or dogma. Did God change His mind? Indeed it seems the perfect slippery slope. This accounts for the election of the current pope, a counter reformation. Vatican II is much disdained. Even young Catholics seem more enamored of their great-great grand fathers church. A certainty of authority. The majesty of the Latin Mass. Shelter from modernity.

    Regardless of the lack of Priests Benedict will never allow for a married priesthood. And he is insuring that legacy with his appointment of conservatives to the College of Cardinals. In fact Benedict's election confirmed the resurgence, and dominance of, the conservative wing of the Catholic Church. The Cardinals knew the were electing God's Rottweiler, Defender of the Faith.

    Changing the traditions of the GOP are nothing compared to changing the Church. Report

  6. Avatar E.D. Kain says:

    Lots of good points, Bob. What baffles me about the priesthood is simply that in Eastern Catholic and East Orthodox traditions parish priests have been allowed to marry for thousands of years. So there is a strong Christian tradition there – and in Eastern Churches that are part of the wider Latin Church this has been allowed for centuries. So there is precedent. And it would be good for the Church. Report

  7. Avatar BobRoth says:

    E.D., I can't explain it either. I don't know what sort of rational irrational institutions, or folks, use when confronted with the sort of issues you bring up. ( I would guess that Western Catholics still consider the Eastern Church hetrodox,, in error on many issues. ) It's akin, exactly the same actually, as some Christians venerating Old Testament injunctions against homosexuality while ignoring other equally strong commands. Seems irrational to me.

    BTW, I'm the "Bob" that previously posted here. With the change that you recently initiated I had to change my user name. Nothing nefarious afoot.

    I like the change, now that I can navigate it.

    The Old Bob (new Roth) Report

  8. Avatar E.D. Kain says:

    Actually the Eastern Catholic Churches are in full communion with Rome. (So, not East Orthodox, but actually East Catholic) and yet still are allowed to have married Parish priests (not monks).

    From the wiki:

    Most Eastern Churches distinguish between "monastic" and "non-monastic" clergy. Monastics do not necessarily live as monks or in monasteries, but have spent at least part of their period of training in such a context. Their monastic vows include a vow of celibate chastity.

    Bishops are normally selected from the monastic clergy, and in most Eastern Churches a large percentage of priests and deacons also are celibate, while a portion of the clergy (typically, parish priests) may be married. If a future priest or deacon is to be married, his marriage must take place before ordination to the diaconate. While in some countries the marriage continues usually to be arranged by the families, cultural changes sometimes make it difficult for such seminarians to find women prepared to be the wife of a priest, necessitating a hiatus in the seminarians' studies.

    This seems like a very smart, very doable compromise… Report

  9. Avatar BobRoth says:

    Well I guess I guessed wrong. But I guess that makes my Irrational statement rational.

    I don't make any pretense to know how or what religious folk believe, it's all oogedy-boogedy.

    Smart? Maybe. Doable? I'm not holding my breath. Report