Baroque, Tradition, and doing theology

Exactly why is there such an attachment to this Baroque expression of Tradition? This, I suspect is a question which cuts to the heart of people’s perception of the nature of Tradition. It is a sociological issue also, which I am not qualified to comment on. Somebody put to me once that many people were greatly upset and even scandalised when Papal Rome made a wholesale rejection of the Baroque in the late 1960’s. The array of Papal ceremonial was replaced with something very functional and austere: somewhat like the ethos of the 1960’s itself. Consequently, and for precisely this reason, there is a very negative attitude amongst some to modern expressions in the style of vestments. Had 1960’s Rome decided to use beautiful damasks for the Papal vestments instead of the plainest of silk, perhaps attitudes might have been different.

From Just a question of taste?

A similar argument can be made about scholasticism and neo-scholasticism! Many who consider themselves traditional (and Traditionalists) see one method not only as normative but as enforced. They would like to stop things in the 60s. (Notice the continued use of Denzinger: The Sources of Catholic Dogma!) Distrust of individuals and their theology is based on the assumption that they have not used a particular method: they use new words, new ideas, new insights which may fall outside of what strict scholasticism had envisaged.

Although I have great respect and admiration for the scholastic method (and am by nature a more analytical person), I also realize that it is not the only way of doing theology (nor philosophy). Some of the great insights of modern thought cannot be ignored because they come from outside a perceived norm.


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