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Pelikan on Tradition and Traditionalism

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Tradition is the living faith of the dead; traditionalism is the dead faith of the living. Tradition lives in conversation with the past, while remembering where we are and when we are and that it is we who have to decide. Traditionalism supposes that nothing should ever be done for the first time, so all that is needed to solve any problem is to arrive at the supposedly unanimous testimony of this homogenized tradition.

Jaroslav Pelikan, interview with U.S. News & World Report, July 26, 1989 (the interview focused on his book The Vindication of Tradition)

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