In the spirit of the election of the new Roman Catholic Pope (well, not really, but it makes a nice intro), I've been thinking about the role of special days in religion. Based on what I know of them, it seems that apart from defining a special role for Sabbath (be it the modern Christian sunday, the Muslim Sundown-Sundown Friday, or the Judaist Sundown-Sundown Saturday), none of them actually have theological requirements for holidays, their mandates largely deriving from tradition. Perhaps it's part of enlightenment-era thinking that seperates theology from tradition, marking the second as unnecessary. Looking back on the era, perhaps the results of that kind of thinking on religion has damaged theology as well, or perhaps merely fit into a general downswing in religion. Does tradition invisibly protect core tenets of faith? In some communities, it keeps a sense of identity, but when it comes to Christianity, which at least in name dominates EuroAmerican life, the Christian identity is so dominant that it's nearly invisible. Does it protect core tenets in another way?
I am, of course, rather happy that the enlightenment has degraded Christianity so much, and perhaps even a bit happy that capitalism has done the same, for while I abhor the other effects of capitalism, the effects of one on the other has offered a bit of Lebensraum for my way of thinking and living. It will be an interesting struggle to see if anything remotely resembling my ideals of life can come about without being suspended between those two giant and nasty ways of being.
The connection with the RomanCatholic Pope actually relates to something I read on the Wikipedia article on the Pope -- specifically the justification of the office of Pope. Apparently, they derive the entire Pontificate from a phrase where Jesus tells Peter that the Church will be built on him, and says that things he decides on earth will be true in heaven. They apparently jump from there to the idea that what seems like a message for a particular person becomes an office that's passed down along the ages. Justifications for power don't need to make sense, it seems.