Thursday, October 23, 2014

Infant Jesus of Prague

The Bear and his mate visited the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville, Illinois yesterday. (It's the only place around here you can find a good Reuben sandwich, among its other attractions.)

In the gift shop, the Bear's eye was caught by a doll of a crowned child. One hand held an orb, the other was raised in blessing. Little fancy garments were offered for sale alongside it. It was the Infant Jesus of Prague, of course, but beyond that the Bear knew little. He had seen a few in Catholic homes, usually under a glass dome. Frankly, they seemed weird and a little over-the-top.

After returning home, however, the Bear's mind kept returning to the innocent, if strange, image. Each time his thoughts rested on the Infant Jesus of Prague, his heart felt an unaccustomed lightness. The infancy, the childhood of Jesus, spent within the loving embrace of Mary and Joseph. Why not have a devotion to the Child Jesus? After all, many saints have. St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Francis, and Bernard of Clairvaux come to mind. That night, pleasant dreams followed, involving a baby.

How strange for a Bear to be touched by a dressed-up baby doll!

The origin of the Infant Jesus of Prague can be traced to Spain, where pious legend says it was once owned by St. Teresa of Avila. It came into the hands of a noble Spanish family, and was brought to Prague when a daughter of the family married a nobleman there. The woman's daughter later presented it to some Carmelite novices, and the Hapsburg Emperor Ferdinand II provided funds for its honor and upkeep.

In 1630, the Protestant army of Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden rampaged through Prague and sacked the oratory where the Little King was installed. The statue was buried in trash, its hands broken off. Seven years later, Fr. Cyrillus is said to have been miraculously led to the statue. It remains to this day displayed in an elaborate shrine in Our Lady of Victory, Prague.

Like many Catholic devotions, it is surrounded by an extravagant growth of promises and reported miracles. Perhaps we have learned to be too cynical in our day as we believe our ancestors to have been too credulous.

The clothes are modeled on the fashions of 17th century aristocrats -- He may be a child, but He is a king, after all! They are often changed in keeping with the colors of the Church calendar.

The motto associated with the statue comes from Fr. Cyrillus' vision: "The more you honor me, the more I will bless you." The devotion was granted a plenary indulgence by Pope Leo XIII.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Michael Voris Still Michael Voris

Michael Voris of Church Militant TV has publicly fallen on his sword for going with Cardinal Burke's comments about the Pope "harming the Church"  in a way that led we "third rate" bloggers and those in our comboxes to claim Voris had finally succumbed to the temptation to criticize the Pope.

The Bear has always shrugged and said the policy of Church Militant TV is whatever they want it to be. It isn't the Bear's place to even comment on it.

As for those who thought Voris was at long last going to start criticizing the Pope, this is what the Bear wrote on October 18 :

You know in his heart of hearts, Michael Voris has felt that Pope Francis is harming the Church. It must have been very satisfying for him to, at long last, say it, even if they were someone else's words. The Bear does not expect this to signal a change from the "hey, nobody toucha the pope, capice?" policy. If anything, there is less reason now than before, after the Pope appears to be hoist on his own petard.

So, perhaps we have risen to the status of a second rate blog!

Michael Voris, does however, feel it is his place to comment on those who disagree with his policy.

The Bear does what he does. No doubt some of it is edifying, and some of it isn't. Some of it is done with a pure heart, and some out of a mixture of pride in his own imagined cleverness. Has the Bear ever bragged about how wonderful or impressive his apostolate is?

No. He knows his limitations.

Right from the start, anyone who wanders into the forest knows that the author of this blog is nothing but a Bear. Not even a human being, but a beast that struggles to walk on its hind legs in pathetic imitation of real men. (Take that for a metaphor, if you wish.)

Expect some clowning, and expect some roaring. Beyond that, the Bear can't make any promises.

Except that he'll be honest with you, and not play any have-my-cake-and-eat-it-too-while-scolding-you-for-having-your-cake games

The Bear could say more, but Michael Voris seems pretty upset already about the whole thing. The Bear still considers him a friend, but feels a bit Bearish at the moment.

Here's the "Clarification" for your perusal. What do you think? It's all fascinating to watch, but pay particular attention at the 3:00 minute mark.

Query: just a couple of pieces down here, the Bear wrote about the "Best Vortex Ever." Do you think THAT is really the broadcast that got things stirred up?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Jenga Problem

Rorate Caeli has an excellent piece by John Zmirak that says better what the Bear has been arguing for some time. It is so basic, how can prelates who would even think to come up with the infamous Relatio not get it?

The Bear calls it the Jenga Problem. As you know, Jenga is a game in which long wooden blocks are stacked into a tower. Play consists of players removing a block each in turns, until a block is pulled that brings the whole thing down.

If you pull the Guardian Angel block, sure, that's an important one, but in the hierarchy of Catholic teachings, it is "only" theologically certain, not dogma. You have every reason to believe you have a guardian angel, but it is not de fide. You can deny your guardian angel and remain a Catholic in good standing. (You may wish you were a little more appreciative when he's standing next to you come Judgment Day.)

But marriage? Holy Matrimony isn't just another block. It's a sacrament. On the face of it, it is what secures future generations of Catholics. That means priests and bishops, provided Catholics start breeding like good Roman rabbits again. (And don't say it can't be done these days; look at the pew-filling, philoprogenitive traddies at your local Latin Mass.) But beyond the obvious, the indissolubility of marriage was defined infallibly by the Council of Trent.

So if the Church were to change its teaching on marriage, there goes the infallibility block. Make no mistake, it would mean the end of all infallibility in principle. This is so because, if the Church got even one infallible teaching wrong, there is no reason to believe any other so-called "infallible" teaching by a council. It is like a bursting bubble. Everything, from the divinity of Christ to Papal Infallibility is up for grabs.

Papal Infallibility? Why yes. It was defined as a dogma by the Vatican I council in 1870. All councils are suspect, remember. So there goes the papal infallibility.

But the disaster is just beginning. The Bible records Jesus Christ as saying if someone gets divorced (for reasons other than sexual immorality) then remarries, that person and their new spouse commit adultery. No more scriptural inerrancy if Jesus never taught that.

But wait, what if the Bible got it right? What is the implication of the Church teaching something directly contrary to what Jesus said? One of two very bad outcomes. Jesus didn't know what he was talking about, OR the Church is deliberately rejecting an important teaching from the lips of Jesus Christ Himself. Either way, by now, there goes the whole Jenga tower of the Church.

Game over, man.

What in Hell's name are these men playing at?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Best Vortex Ever?

Got to hand it to Michael Voris and Church Militant TV. He's saying it without saying it, but everybody knows he's saying what needs to be said. And -- this is the important part -- he's adding what needs to be remembered after all is said and done. The Bear salutes the Hair!

The results of the Bear's last poll demonstrated that his readers are in it for the long haul, no matter what. Good job! And, please, do read the piece below about Pascal and Jesuitical casuistry. It's pretty amazing that the current leadership of the Church is using a 500 year-old playbook and no less than Blaise Pascal was writing against them in the 17th century.