Sean, an agnostic friend of mine asked me to post the following multi-part question.
"How old does something have to be to be considered traditional/conservative?"
"Abraham Lincoln is considered a conservative because he wanted to preserve the Union as it had been for the first 75 years of our country. To me 75 years (which also is about 1 lifetime) makes a good rule of thumb. When something has been around 75 years, virtually no one alive has ever experienced life without it, whatever it is."
"More food for thought:
Watching football on thanksgiving is considered a tradition, but television has only been around for 50 or so years. Christianity is generally thought of as conservative, but 2000 years ago it was a radical idea. So again I ask, how old does something have to be to be considered conservative?"
It’s an interesting question and one worth answering well. My only quibble would be the equation of "traditional" to "conservative". Within the context of Christianity, particularly Catholicism, tradition often correlates poorly with the political spectrum. A better choice would be orthodox versus progressive. However, even those are dificult to apply broadly because different groups define each differently and will not always consider them mutually exclusive. That, in my opinion, is one of the greatest strengths of the Catholic Church. Right or wrong, for better or for worse, whatever the Church deems official teaching is ground truth for orthodoxy, like it or not.
So what do you folks think?