Churchly Conservative

Tradition is to be corrected or modified, not ditched for innovation. To be living and not fossilized, tradition does have to grow and develop, but we have no call to abolish one world and conjure up another. There is, after all, only one New Creation, formed in Christ, which cannot be reïnvented every succeeding generation.

The Savoy Conference in 1661, called to review the Book of Common Prayer, affirmed respect for tradition. When the Presbyterians proposed ‘that no part of the Liturgy need be read at the communion-table but when the Holy Supper is administered,’ the bishops answered, ‘Unreasonable, since all the primitive Church used it, and if we do not observe that golden rule of the venerable Council of Nice “Let ancient customs prevail till reason plainly requires the contrary,” we shall give offence to sober Christians by a causeless departure from Catholic usage.’

As Edmund Burke wrote in his Reflections on the Revolution in France,

I cannot conceive how any man can have brought himself to the pitch of presumption to consider his country as nothing but carte blanche upon which he may scribble whatever he pleases.

May the catholic tradition live strong in our worship.

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