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Trustworthy or Immature?

I remember once buying an old freezer. This would have been around 1998. The freezer was made around 1965. It purred like a kitten, was always perfect temperature, and in the 10 years that we owned it (I wish I still had it!), it never once needed a repair. That don't make 'em like they used to! Why not, I wonder?

I like old stuff. Older styles, and older designs, they had something to them that we seem to have lost lately. It is not just a matter of workmanship (although quality of workmanship is largely in the tank these days), it is a matter of the attitude toward "new stuff" and toward "old stuff". We have become obsessed with "new stuff" to such a degree that yesterday is old in many people's minds. No longer is there much sense of stability of the past.

I can think of many times when someone referred to a tradition of the Church (which was apparently fine for numerous generations of Catholics before the 20th century) as "archaic" or "the old way" or (the worst of all) "pre-Vatican II". This says automatically that "newer is better" and that we always have to be contemporary in our practices (which is impossible since time is always moving forward). This mistaken notion is almost non-existent before the modern age. There was a time when Catholics thought of something "new" in the same way that we think of something that is "immature".

If you read through the Scriptures you will find an assumption that makes modernists uncomfortable. I speak of the assumption that something new cannot be trusted, and that youth is foolish. New things are always suspect and need to be proven before relied upon. If you look at the lives of the Saints you will see the same thing: an attitude that knows what is already proven gives confidence, but what is immature and untested needs time to show its worth.

So then, yes, I prefer the old stuff, but not just because I like the designs of the past (which I do), but also because I am not a modernist. I do not assume that newer is always better, nor do I assume that older is better (but it is likely more settled and stable!). Can we move forward? Yes. Can we advance? Yes. We should not, however, seek to do so with a disdain for that which is solid and trustworthy.


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