The Pope on Fads and Tradition

By Larry Ray Hafley

In an Associated Press article we hear the Pope denouncing fads and defending tradition. “Pope Paul VI denounced what he called ‘fads’ against tradition in the Roman Catholic Church … He restated his belief that progress for the church comes along the path of tradition.” (St. Louis Globe-Democrat, Sept. 28, 1972, p. 17).

Could it be that the Pope is unaware of the fact that traditions are nothing but senile fads? Traditions of Catholicism are just fads that got old. If “the progress for the church comes along the path of tradition,” how “comes along” the Pope to denounce the source of, said tradition? Can he not see that the “path of tradition” is worn and marked out by the footprints of fads? Infant baptism, mechanical music, and the counting of beads were once “fads.” They are now traditions. Fermented fads become the wine of tradition. Even the Pope’s office was once an ambitious fad, which was renounced more strongly than any modern fad in Romanism, but now it is an ancient tradition. Why, if all fads had been summarily expelled, Pope Paul VI would never have had his job! Our friend, the Pope, had better be careful not to name a specific fad of the day and, denounce” it, for in a hundred years it may be one of those hallowed traditions in “the path” of progress.

Well, did not Paul say, “hold the traditions?” Yes, but which traditions? The ones “which ye have been taught, whether by word or our epistle” (2 Thess. 2:15). Unless a thing can be heard from the lips or read from the epistles of the apostles, it is not that which is to be held. The “progress for the church” indeed “comes along the path of tradition,” apostolic tradition, or teaching. Other traditions, such as Popes and Catholicism, are “along the path” that is wide and broad and “that leadeth to destruction.” So, we “restate” our “belief” that “the progress of the New Testament church comes along the path of New Testament tradition.”


April 12, 1973