What About Tradition?

Democracy in the Church would give far to much power to the currently living and
make a mockery of 2000 years of tradition.

“But there is one thing that I have never from my youth up been able to understand.
I have never been able to understand where people got the idea that democracy was
in some way opposed to tradition. It is obvious that tradition is only democracy
extended through time. It is trusting to a consensus of common human voices rather
than to some isolated or arbitrary record. The man who quotes some German historian
against the tradition of the Catholic Church, for instance, is strictly appealing
to aristocracy. He is appealing to the superiority of one expert against the awful
authority of a mob. It is quite easy to see why a legend is treated, and ought to
be treated, more respectfully than a book of history. The legend is generally made
by the majority of people in the village, who are sane. The book is generally written
by the one man in the village who is mad. Those who urge against tradition that
men in the past were ignorant may go and urge it at the Carlton Club, along with
the statement that voters in the slums are ignorant. It will not do for us. If we
attach great importance to the opinion of ordinary men in great unanimity when we
are dealing with daily matters, there is no reason why we should disregard it when
we are dealing with history or fable. Tradition may be defined as an extension of
the franchise. Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes,
our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the
small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about. All
democrats object to men being disqualified by the accident of birth; tradition objects
to their being disqualified by the accident of death. Democracy tells us not to
neglect a good man’s opinion, even if he is our groom; tradition asks us not to
neglect a good man’s opinion, even if he is our father. I, at any rate, cannot separate
the two ideas of democracy and tradition; it seems evident to me that they are the
same idea. We will have the dead at our councils. The ancient Greeks voted by stones;
these shall vote by tombstones. It is all quite regular and official, for most tombstones,
like most ballot papers, are marked with a cross.” – G.K. Chesterton

Church Should Be More Democratic-Leading Cardinal

“VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – In a move certain to spark debate about the choice
of the next pope, a leading cardinal has said the Catholic Church should be more
democratic, allow women to be deacons and give laypeople a say in selecting bishops.”

Cardinal Calls for Church Governing Body

“VATICAN CITY – A cardinal once mentioned as a possible successor to Pope John
Paul II is reviving calls for a broad council to help the pope govern the church
and is suggesting top bishops might also take part in a conclave to elect a new

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