From the December, 2000 issue of Touchstone
The Power of Wise Custom by Thomas Howard

The Power of Wise Custom

Thomas Howard on Ritual & Ceremony

Two words cast a pall over the imagination of those who have grown up since 1960—during this 40 years, that is, when spontaneity, naturalness, creativity, sincerity, and what we might call the visceral, have been so earnestly extolled. The two words are ritual and ceremony.

Spirits wither straightaway. “Dull!” we hear from one corner. “Repressive!” from another. “An imposition! A straitjacket!” we hear from various quarters. “What we want is freedom to be ourselves—our natural, real, unconstrained selves. Ritual and ceremony are guaranteed to sti . . .


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