Is Tradition Important?

Who cares about tradition? The Pope misses his late night pizza runs, which I guess is his tradition.

In a recent interview the Pope Francis I revealed that he doesn’t expect to be pope for very long, maybe three to five years. He has already been sitting on St. Peter’s throne for two.

And thus the fallout continues following the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI two years ago. The position has apparently been reduced from one of calling to just another job. Soon it will have term limits.

I can appreciate Francis’ love for pizza, and I am sure it is annoying to no longer be able to nip out anonymously for a late night snack. But he was a cardinal before being elected pope; he knew what the job entailed. He could have made it clear to God and his peers that he had no desire to serve. “Take this cup from me…”

The question, to me anyway, is whether the church (or God) can and should demand more of its people than would be expected in other positions. Is there indeed a higher calling, where sacrifice is expected and accepted? Certainly as I have always understood the tradition, that was the case. Now apparently the rules have changed.

Tradition for tradition’s sake needs to be challenged. I have no problem with that – discussion and dialogue foster understanding. And maybe after 2,000 years of popes it was time to look at whether it was necessary for the head of the Roman Catholic Church to always die in office. But if there was discussion and debate I missed it. Just a pope who announced his retirement, and now his successor is planning on stepping down in favour of pizza.

A generation ago, in an attempt to be more relevant, the Catholic Church abandoned the Latin mass in favour of the vernacular. I maintain this has had an overall negative impact on the church. No longer do Catholics have a common language in every church on the planet. I think having that in common was a real strength.

Yes, the Latin mass had to be explained to those unfamiliar, since no-one speaks Latin anymore. These days most people don’t go to church so anyone visiting is going to need interpretation anyway – everything that happens in a mass will be foreign to them, even if they understand the language.

Maybe it makes no difference if the pope no longer serves for life. I haven’t asked any of my Roman Catholic friends how they feel about it; maybe I am in the minority and everyone else thinks it is a great idea.

To me though it is sad when tradition dies. I hope Pope Francis enjoys his retirement pizza. I wonder if he will find that it is worth it.

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6 comments

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  3. Maybe I was taking a bit of licence with the news story I read http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/pope-francis-predicts-brief-papacy-of-4-or-5-years-1.2994151. I don’t think he really would step down because he misses being able to go for a pizza run. But he is talking about a short papacy, which is a huge shift in tradition. I think at the very least there should be discussion and debate as to whether that is a good thing. John Paul II resisted calls to step down. Benedict XVI, perhaps because he worked so closely with his predecessor, chose to retire when there really was no precedent. For such decisions to be made in a vacuum would seem to me to be a disservice to both God and the Church. Should popes retire because of health concerns? Until the 21st century that would have been unthinkable. Any thoughts?

    1. The Manang · · Reply

      Hello. πŸ™‚

      Should popes retire because of health concerns?

      That is a tough question.

      St. Pope JPII did not resign in spite of poor health because he wanted to sacrifice for Jesus.

      Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI resigned because he can no longer meet the physical and mental demands of the papacy.

      My opinion is that both decisions came from divine intervention.

      The first was a humble choice: to serve Jesus until his last breath.

      The second was a wise choice: to give way to a more capable pontiff to serve Jesus.

      It is their freedom of decision intertwined with divine intervention.

      Let us not forget, the Popes are guided by the Holy Spirit. The two of them are true friends of Jesus and they have genuine love for the Church.

      And what about Pope Francis?

      Well, this is what he said: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-31875507

      No plans to resign as long as he has physical strength.

      This is just my opinion.

      I don’t mind whether the papacy is long or short. The pope is not the center of our faith. Jesus is. All three popes are faithful to their Petrine duties. The Catholic Church is very blessed πŸ™‚

      What about tradition? Do you mean Tradition? As in capital T?

      Yes. Tradition is very important.

  4. The Manang · · Reply

    my friend, i think you misunderstood our beloved Pope Francis. or maybe i misunderstood your blog post? πŸ™‚

    i read the news from Time. Pope Francis said he misses the freedom to eat pizza in a public place without anyone recognizing him. he is now very famous so wherever he goes, people follow him. i think what he misses is privacy. but it doesn’t mean that he is going to retire because of pizza. πŸ™‚

    Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI resigned because of poor health.

  5. Michael · · Reply

    The pope may retire in a few years. The pope misses some freedoms, such as going out for pizza. How can one argue he is ‘planning on stepping down in favour of pizza’? That is an irresponsible linkage that detracts from the post. Reuters is reporting that the pope may step down for health reasons. Please cite the source suggesting stepping down for pizza.

    Given the proliferation of English, I don’t think Latin is as important.

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