Respect for Tradition Absolutely Does Not Impede True Progress

July 25, 2016

From a speech of Pius XII to the Professors and students of the Liceo Ennio Quirino Visconti of Rome, February 28, 1957:

It has been correctly noted that one characteristic of Romans, almost a secret of the timeless greatness of the Eternal City, is their respect for traditions. Not that such respect implies a fossilization in forms that time has left behind; rather, it means keeping alive what the centuries have proven to be good and fruitful. Tradition, in this way, does not in the least obstruct healthy and happy progress, and yet at the same time it is a powerful stimulus to persevere along the right path, a brake in the adventurous spirit inclined to embrace all novelty indiscriminately; and it is also, as we say, a warning signal against decadence.

Nobility Book

Discorsi e radiomessagi di Sua Santità Pio XII (Tipografia Poliglotta Vaticana), Vol. 18, p. 803 in Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, Nobility and Analogous Traditional Elites in the Allocutions of Pius XII: A Theme Illuminating American Social History (York, Penn.: The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property, 1993), Documents V, p. 492.


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