Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The Limits of Truth

The Limits of Truth 

The Bear has told the truth, or at least has applied all of his training, experience and diligence to arrive at what he has reason to believe is the truth, and from a disinterested starting point. He was an apologist for Francis at first, and is still less troubled by his unpleasant quirks and habits of speech. They are really not very important except as convenient little arguments for those who have long
since given up on the man.

He has examined the evidence with a degree of care of which few would believe a Bear capable.

The Church has done one about face after another. It did not begin with Pope Francis, but it did start to manifest around the beginning of the 20th century and got a big boost from V2. Pope Francis has accelerated the process with the deliberate and incessant use of media to appeal to Catholics directly. He drops hints and expects his men to run with them. And how they do! "We hold these truths to be self-evident..." would be one way of putting the Bear's argument.

The mid-19th Century Church could pass the Church of today on the street without recognizing it. It would, in fact avoid eye contact and move to the other side.                                                                                                                                                                      
In a nutshell, the Church has adapted with enthusiasm to the spirit of the World. It has brought upon itself a crisis of credibility, and no amount of wishing is going to make it go away. One signature doctrine after another is being quietly dropped.

The only people who disagree with the Bear are those who are convinced already - those who must be convinced for their peace of mind. There are fundamentalists on both ends of the spectrum although Francis exempts his fundamentalists from criticism.

Unless the Church Transforms the World, the World Will Transform the Church

It is impossible to deny the West is sick and lacks confidence. The same may be seen of its institutions. The Church is failing in the very same way at the very same time as all other Western institutions. Too late we are realizing just how serious the command to baptize the nations was. The Church thrives in a Christian society. If it builds in a swamp, instead of draining it, it will grow sick just like its neighbors. (See Romans 12:2.)

If you look at the intellectual fashions of the West, you will quickly discover that the Church is baptizing and embracing them all. To adapt a phrase, the Catholic Church has become the Democrat party at prayer. If you doubt the Bear's words, look at the USCCB's committees. They are filled with proud socialists, Soros think tankers and liberals of every stripe, all gathered for the greatest exhibition of virtue signaling in the world.

The Magisterium of the Photo-Op and Sound Byte

The Bear learned long ago that deeply satisfying emotional beliefs, e.g. the death penalty, make poor topics for discussion. There is literally no point in presenting arguments, because people will not even listen to them, much less seriously entertain them. Besides, the magisterium of the photo-op and of the sound byte are the only magisteriums that count anymore. One may argue "oh, those don't really  mean anything," and the Bear would  agree, except in what the press reports and interested third parties trumpet and priests decide to implement "pastorally" and in the beliefs of individual Catholics.

It is a brilliant bit of sleight of hand by people who are impatient with the truth interfering with their agendas. The only way it works is because everyone is afraid to call them out on it. The Bear has never offered the alternative. He has always left that to others. It is enough for one Bear to point out the obvious for most who still don't get it, or others have decided to elevate other things higher than the truth of  God.

The Great Battle: The Church of Ought vs. The Church That Is

This is a shame, even a danger, because Catholics desperately need to start bringing "the Church as it Ought to Be" in line with "the Church as it Really is" in a careful, intellectually-sound and deliberate fashion. The old pietistic or ultramontanist kneejerk responses ("there, there, now, we've had bad popes before," or "if only you truly understood Vatican II," or insults and putdowns) are ludicrously inadequate.
The Bear is resting here on the outskirts of the woodlands, because he has said all this before. At some point, the benefit of him stating the truth must be balanced against the danger of harming the faith of certain people of good will. The Bear suspects that those who agree with the Bear's assessment don't need to read it, the rest won't want to read it, and there may be those it could harm.  

The Bear has always stuck to non-supernatural arguments, not because the supernatural is unimportant, but because where naturalistic arguments suffice to explain things, one need not invoke the supernatural. At an any rate, that has been the Bear's approach, and there are plenty of alternatives. Of course, the designs of God are often manifested in the natural world through Providence.

The Church is capitulating to the world, of that there can be no doubt. That is a big enough message for a Bear.                          

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Monday, September 18, 2017

Thursday, September 14, 2017

So, Like What's Up With the Church Changing Teachings?

A Day in the Life

This was as far as Bear got. It took
several valuable seconds.
Oh, dear. The Bear has not felt very motivated of late to dip his paw into the polluted waters of the Tiber and rake the muck.

He did spend several hours, however, planning a Game of Thrones type intro video for this ephemeris. Locations like "Beaver Dam," "Badger's Den," "The Big Clearing," and "The Bear's Cave" would come to 3D life by the patient use of stop-action video and construction paper locations.

So that was time well spent.

Then he had a Department of Fish, Game and Wildlife Office of Large Talking Predators mandated doctor's visit at the VA hospital. The doctor claimed to have finished and enjoyed "Judging Angels" (having purchased a copy during the Bear's last checkup after the Bear got on his knees and cried) and prescribed a sequel.

Or Seroquel. Bear isn't sure.

He promised to write a review. (Hint. Reviews make the Bear's morale soar and inspire him to tend to things like this ephemeris.)

Meanwhile, Over at the Bear's Other Blog

JUST IN: Judging Angels picks up two more 5-star reviews to bring its unbroken string to 20! The book no one expects but everybody likes.

Speaking of which, there is a new, short and funny review up at Amazon, so the Bear reposted it on his other blog as he accompanies and dialogues with the clever reviewer. For those of you who wisely ignore said other blog, the news is that the sequel stands at 85,600 words, or 2000 more words since yesterday. Also, the last-finished chapter is entitled "The Sting of the Lash and the Solace of the Bite." But, anyway, if you're interested in the sequel, there's plenty to read over there.

Did the Bear tell you about his idea for the intro video? Oh. Yeah.

So, here's what the Bear would write about if he were not distracted and beset with ennui.

The Big Question: 
Has or Has Not the Church Changed Its Teaching
on the Necessity of Being a Faithful Catholic in Order to be Saved?

Is there any real question that the Catholic Church has changed its mind on some pretty significant topics like, oh, salvation?


The Bear is not thinking about Pope Francis.

It was commonplace until living memory for popes to condemn "indifferentism" (which is now pushed as "ecumenism"). Numerous exercises of the ordinary magisterium of popes in their encyclicals rap Catholics who dare fraternize in any religious way with Protestants - let alone non-Christians - sharply across the muzzle.

And salvation for heretics, pagans, Jews and other infidels? Surely, you jest.

Now, don't get the Bear wrong. Personally, he doesn't care for that teaching at all. Between him and you, he's not quite sure how much stock to put into it. But, then, the Bear is a terrible Catholic. Nonetheless, that it was the way things were until recently.

Not just here and there. You cannot stroll through Church documents for the vast majority of her existence without tripping over this teaching.

Even into the 20th Century, popes are still acting as if they were the monarchs of a Church that remained the only means of salvation. (Various narrow exceptions were always argued, such as whether catechumens prior to baptism might be saved and "invincible ignorance," but the list was never long, and the exceptions went, as the saying goes, to prove the rule.

"No salvation outside of the Church" was not something invented by Fr. Feeney, as some people seem to believe. (In any case, there is a lot more to the Fr. Feeney story than the validity of a doctrine.) It was harped on by popes on their magisterial harps for ages, and expressed by the Church's extraordinary magisterium three times, just in case you missed the first two. (Council of Florence, Pope Eugene IV, Bull Cantate Domino; Pope Boniface VIII, Bull Unam Sanctam; and Pope Innocent III, Fourth Lateran Council.)

The tantalizingly blighted 15th Century Council of Florence, which saw an agreement on the healing of the Great Schism that was ultimately rejected by the East, put it in fairly typical language.

It firmly believes, professes, and proclaims that those not living within the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics cannot become participants in eternal life, but will depart “into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels” [Matt. 25:41], unless before the end of life the same have been added to the flock; and that the unity of the ecclesiastical body is so strong that only to those remaining in it are the sacraments of the Church of benefit for salvation, and do fastings, almsgiving, and other functions of piety and exercises of Christian service produce eternal reward, and that no one, whatever almsgiving he has practiced, even if he has shed blood for the name of Christ, can be saved, unless he has remained in the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church.

Pope Eugene IV, Bull Cantate Domino, Council of Florence. (If the Bear is deluded in this, someone ought to let EWTN know.)

Bear means, "Yikes!"

Of course, nobody talks like that anymore. Bear thinks it would be a hate crime and certainly a trigger. But, as far as the Bear knows, while Lumen Gentium of Vatican II backpedals glibly across the centuries, the Bear does not remember it stating anywhere that, "Oh, and all that stuff about belonging to the Catholic Church being essential to salvation? We hereby formally declare it all nonsense."

The closest it comes are some confusing hints that the Church might actually be a lot bigger than previously suspected. (As the Bear always says, though, he firmly adheres to whatever infallible teachings might be contained in the turgid meanderings of the pastoral Vatican II Council compromise documents that he can be expected to make the least sense of as a degreed professional and paperback writer.)

On this one issue alone, the Bear is firmly convinced that the Church has always officially stood for the proposition that your chances of salvation were, to say the least, exceedingly dim unless you were a faithful Catholic.

Until, that is, well into the 20th century, when things... mysteriously changed sub silentio.

So, if this is true, then why is everyone up in Pope Francis' business? The Bear suspects the Woodland Creatures and Welcome Visitors might be able to shed some light on the topic.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Pope Videos: The Monthly Intention to Delude Catholics

Big Grandfather brings you a message from the Ministry of Truth.
(Could they have possibly lit the set in a creepier way?)

The Intention to Delude Catholics
Remember those cheesy Pope Videotentions of the Month?

Bear didn't. He forgot all about them and missed many articles that virtually write themselves. But then there's the latest.
First off all, the Bear observes that these so-called "intentions" are nothing of the sort. They are typical of the abuse of real religion we see in this pontificate. They are not asking us to pray to God for Him to protect or promote anything. They are propaganda in which we are told what to think.

Worse, what they tell us is always the same: there are no legitimate divisions among people. The Church is but one expression of brotherhood that includes Lutheranism, Hinduism, Islam, Masonry, Paganism, anything and nothing at all.

Music Brings Humans Together

Music is nice, especially outside where there are bugs. It is nice whether white people or black people or brown people play it, whether in Argentina, Africa, India or some other damned place. It is nice on real instruments and on crude foreign devices made of human bones and skin. It is especially nice when someone with weird bandages on his hands has dragged his piano all the way to the beach to play it, or, best of all, the recurring character of Pope Video Saxamaphone Player plays it.
HMS Conqueror
But not just music. Teenage girls writing how dreamy Kit Harrington is. Liturgical dancers practicing. Painters dancing while painting. Dancers painting while dancing.

Michelangelo? Mozart?

Dead northern white guys. Screw 'em and the island-stealing nuclear submarine they rode in on.
Gregorian chant? Even Marty Haugen and David Hass? Something, oh, Bear doesn't know... Catholic, maybe? No, you silly fundamentalist. Religion divides people.

I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke - New Coke, That Is
You selfish Western bastards!
And so the incessant Celebration of Everythingness goes on as the Church gives every human being (and possibly dolphin) a Good Sportsmanship Award in a cosmos where everyone's a winner except the poor polar bears you're stomping to death beneath your personal carbon footprint. 
I'd like to be the World's Pope and teach it what to sing, because the Church is no longer the Real Thing. New Church is like "New Evangelization" (which, when Bear runs it through his Ovaltine decoder ring, becomes "No Evangelization"). It will be the greatest success since New Coke. After all, didn't former papal press flack Fr. Rosica brag about "rebranding?"
And you didn't take him literally.
Pope John XXIII threw open the windows. Pope Francis is tearing down the walls. Yes, they define who we are, but at the cost of dividing us. That is the greatest evil, and where Christianity went wrong from the very start. In our enlightened age, we know we are all just humans being. We are the World. Imagine there's no borders, no religion, too. Etc.
Humankind's New Religion of Universal Brotherhood
You see a cheesy video produced with no imagination, repeating the same bland and non-Catholic message every month. Ah, but the Bear sees better with his nose. He smells a new gospel of universal brotherhood that transcends religion. Make no mistake. Pope Francis and his minions are very serious about this. Whether this is how a practical Church plans to remain relevant in a Godless future, or whether it has been hijacked by revolucionarios, the details are unimportant because it is directed by one ancient and malevolent will.

Bear happened to be reading John 17:16 before watching this latest New Age drivel.

"They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world."

Being "of the world" is not a compliment when used in the Bible. As for "rebranding," the Church already had a brand. In a world where brands are the vital public image of corporations, worth fortunes and guarded with armies of lawyers, the most recognizable, venerable and powerful brand of them all - the Roman Catholic Church - needs to be changed, we are told.
It's All Really Happening
If that kind of thinking does not scare you in your soul, friend, you do not understand what they are doing. Forget the delirious succession of sound bytes and odd Francisisms, the Little Book of Insults, wacky Bishops, and all the details dear to traditionalists. While you are distracted, they are replacing the foundation and mission of the Church with the world and the message of the world.
It's happening. Right in front of our eyes, something so huge we can't even see it, any more than we can see the Holy Planet we're standing on. Something guaranteed to make anyone who sounds the warning sound like a Bible-thumping loon.
"No, that can't be happening," you object. "That's Bible stuff, not for us. We're just ordinary hobbits. The great events of history are in the past, and the end of the world is a fable, or anyway, a long way off. This is just one pope. Don't go all apocalyptic on us, steady old Bear."
Let's all hope you're right.
But the Bear has decided that the Pope Videos are really no laughing matter.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The Bear and the Man with Scroll - Part II

This is a work of Bear fiction, a fairy tale of a magical Woodlands ruled over by a benevolent despot - the Bear. Any resemblance to any persons, living or dead, described herein, is purely coincidental.

The Woodlands Belong to God

"The Woodlands belong to God. The Man had been given authority to guard it and keep it, to govern it with wisdom, thoughtfulness and charity. He did not have authority to so much as pluck a dandelion except for the good of the Woodlands and its creatures. "

"He told us he owned us," said a three-legged pony, whose story is a long one and must be saved for another time. (And do not imagine the worst about your Bear!)

"The Woodlands are different from a farm," the Bear explained. "We are all free creatures, not stalled and fenced and put to the service of man. A man owns a farm. But no man owns the Woodlands."

The Woodland creatures celebrated, each in its own voice. There were chirps and roars, and squeals and growls, and those who could make no sound at all, demonstrated their joy and agreement in ways left to them. Butterflies fluttered around the fire (but not too close), and earthworms spelled out "Long Live Bear!" with their bodies on convenient flat rocks.

"We live in the Woodlands, not on a farm," the Woodland creatures cried with joy. "We love the Bear, and the old ways."

"So what happened to the man?" someone asked after the hullabaloo had died down.

"Well, nothing," the Bear said.

"Nothing?" asked Badger. "That's a stupid end to your story, Bear."

"Perhaps," Bear said, "but it is true. He moved away. He still maintains he owns the Woodlands, writes its laws, and demands every Woodland creature bend the knee to him. We must believe everything he says."

He's just a man. Why are people
so afraid of him?
"But he's still just one Man," bubbled a salmon.

The Bear swept the frightened thing out of the stream and brought it up to his muzzle, where he looked at it down his nose. "You're right. He is just one man, but don't forget. He has armies of fanatical followers to enforce his will and punish those who would hold him to what is written in the scroll.

The Bear smiled at the salmon, showing his ferocious teeth, then tossed him back into the water.

The Free Folk of the Woodlands

"The Woodlands is one of many colonies of free beasts. We are all refugees now, in a way. But here, we do not forbid good beasts to learn to read and write. Most importantly, we do not forbid them from thinking."

"Thinking is scary," said the mole, who had nearly come all the way out of his hole until the mention of the word, "thinking.' "What if someone thought the wrong thing? Animals are not good at thinking."

The Bear growled softly, and a hush fell over the Big Clearing. Even the fire seemed to shrink at the sound. "Have you never seen Beaver's dam, or the tiny nest of the hummingbird, or the nest of the cormorant? Even Badger's, er, simple den is perfect for Badger. Why, our friends the crows are smarter than dogs. We animals are very good at thinking.

"And not only that," the Bear continued, "but we have noses! If men had noses, they would smell these problems. But it wouldn't matter. You see, they're afraid. They're afraid the Man will shake his scroll at them and burn them with fire. Even if that doesn't happen (and it never has, according to research of the Bear) his fanatic supporters will descend upon what they call 'fundamentalists' and much worse.

"Bear warns his beloved Woodland Creatures. Thinking is considered sedition. And, it is true, it is hard to think properly."

"But what about thinking the wrong thing?" the mole repeated.

The Bear shrugged.

"Anyone can think the wrong thing," he said. "The Man with the Scroll's claim to fame is that he cannot think the wrong thing. And yet, his thoughts are clearly not those of the Wise Woodsmen of the past. Perhaps if he tries not to think the wrong thing, he is given help to succeed. Perhaps whatever magic keeps his words true can be resisted by the Man with the Scroll.

The Bear does not know.


"What the Bear does know is that the Man with the Scroll and his henchmen have been seen in the Woodlands recently, baiting traps."

"Traps!" the Woodland Creatures cried out in alarm. "Those are horrible! We would rather be shot than left to die in a trap."

"There is no doubt, Bear fears. They are laying traps everywhere, and camouflaging them. Even the best of beasts might be caught. And they are baited with the best of baits, too. Lies that seem like the truth."

"But what about thinking the wrong thing?" the mole asked for the third time.

The Bear fixed the mole with his small eyes, twinkling in the red firelight. "It is possible to think a wrong thing, mole, even for your Bear. The question is, is it impossible for the Man with the Scroll to think the wrong thing?"

There was silence now, broken only by the snap of the campfire.

The Bear Remains Lord of the Woodlands,
But they are Owned by God

"But if he is careful, and takes into account the wise Woodsmen of the Past, and - now that he can read - the Bible, it is less likely. Certainly, Bear's best thinking is better than poorly-hidden traps baited with the stench of lies (humans do not have very good noses, and cannot smell their own lies, as we can).

"It is true, there is a risk in thinking. There always is, no matter who does it. That is why we must learn humility.

When Man has sawed down an ancient tree, we see rings on the stump. Each of those rings - so very many of them - are one year in the life of the Woodlands. We possess, friends of Bear, a few rings, but must always remember our rings are not more important than the older rings, just because they are new, or the Man with the Scroll threatens to burn us with fire. They may be our rings, but the rings of the past were rings of the Elders, who were wiser than we, and holier.

"The Bear would rather risk making a mistake with a good heart, than stick his paw into a trap that smells bad. At least his mistakes would be his own, and offered to God. At least he would not permit the Woodland Creatures to be caught in traps, or beaten by the fanatic followers of the Man with the Scroll. The Bear does not threaten to burn you with fire, or shake mysterious scrolls at you in order to frighten you to do his will.

"The Bear is Lord of these Woodlands by the consent of the Woodland Creatures and the dread charge of the Father to be constantly on the prowl for traps, and sniff the air without tiring for the smell of torches borne by fanatics."

"So, who will be Lord of the Woodlands after Bear," asked Raccoon.

The Bear sat down, and looked grave. "The Bear has always been Lord of the Woodlands, in the sense of its guardian. The Bear tore down the Halls of Man and rebuilt the Woodland Chapels of old. The Bear searched far and wide for good  and kind Priests to instruct the Woodland Creatures, although our status is irregular for the time being.

"He will be the Lord of the Woodlands unless he turns back into the dumb brute he was, thinking only of killing ponies. The Bear will stay with you until his fangs grow loose and fall out, and his arms wither, and his claws grow dull, and his nose loses its keenness."

"I'll bring Bear food when he grows that old," said a young fox. "I will chew it up for Bear, and somehow bring honey and tender salmon. Perhaps Raccoon can help." There was a chorus of agreement following the pledge.

 The Bear looked at the fox with love, and when he cast his eyes over the Woodland Creatures, they were filled with tears. "Ah, thank you fox. Bear is certain you would make a very good nurse. But all Woodland Creatures come to the day when they are no longer about to survive in their own home. The Bear is no different. Father will provide another guardian. Perhaps days will come when the need for Bears will be done."

"Not very likely," said Badger with a snort.

"But, for now," said the Bear, "the Woodlands are a safe enough place where Woodland Creatures may gather -" he paused for effect "- and say whatever they wish. They may discuss matters theological and share the locations of traps that our Raccoon sappers have not yet dismantled. The Halls of Man may have been torn down, but the fanatical followers of the Man with the Scroll yet hammer the supposed changes onto the doors of our chapels. Every day, we must all begin by looking for traps and use our noses to find the truth, or at least expose the lies."

"But most of all, we must do the simple things all Catholics must do. Pray. Read the Bible. Use the Sacraments. Help others, and follow our Rule, whatever that is for each of us. The Rule of St. Benedict is full of wisdom."

The Woodlands are Free, not a Farm; the Good Beasts
Are Not Owned Like the Cow and Pig

"This is the Woodlands, not a farm. You are free beasts, not slaves. We all serve the Good God with love and obedience, but obedience to the Ancient Faith in our time, in which the Man with the Scroll is but a part. When he gives us a piece that will not fit into the puzzle left to us, no matter how we try, we must choose how to respond."

The Bear began to notice yawns among the younger Woodland Creatures, and the fire was a bed of hot coals (perfect or broiling salmon).

"Let us rise, then free Woodland Creatures, and cast our thoughts toward the starry sky that is so beautiful tonight. We ask protection against fire and bullets. We ask that our offspring increase. We most of all ask that we love one another and our Father in Heaven, and his Son, the Great Shepherd of us all, and the Holy Spirit, who hovers over us and enlightens us and gives each of gifts for the good of all. And we bless him with our praise.

"And let us pray for the Man with the Scroll, as well, and his followers. May be make a good servant to the Father, and become a friend of the Woodlands, and may the setting of traps and stirring of confusion, despair and discord cease."

And and all the Woodland Creatures said "Amen."

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Chick Arrives in Style via TWA

BUT WAIT! IT GETS BETTER. Red Death went out to check on the chick. She had left the peeper in a chicken wire cage. The chick was gone!

Red Death searched all over, fearing the worst, but guess what? Broody had busted the chick out of chick prison somehow and taken her over to the statue of St. Francis! She is determined her baby will survive.

Broody and Chick

Broody hid this one until it finally hatched. That took a lot of cleverness on her part to defeat the remorseless reaper of children, Red Death. The only part of Checkers visible is the dark cap. Obviously a magical chick.

She is in a premium TWA Ambassador service cup and saucer. Of course, there has not been TWA around for a long time, and airlines do not aspire to the same level of class.

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