Monday, July 6, 2015

Milestone, St. Maria Goretti and Catholicball

The Bear reaches a milestone: 200,000 views! This makes him the most-read Catholic Real Bear blogger in the world. (Of course, so did 1 view.) Thank you for visiting. And thanks to Pewsitter, and every blogger who has linked to St. Corbinian's Bear.

It is hard to remember what the Bear wrote about before Pope Francis demanded near daily attention. 

St. Maria Goretti

Today, for example, is the feast of St. Maria Goretti (1890-1902). She is one of our youngest canonized saints. When she resisted the sexual advances of a neighbor youth, he stabbed her 14 times. Her defense of her purity would shortly cost her her life, but before she died, she forgave her attacker. He repented in prison and became a lay brother after he was released.

Her story touched the people of Italy, and she was canonized by Pope Pius XII in 1950.

St. Maria Goretti is the patroness of rape victims and purity. Today, more than ever, we need her example of purity.


A year ago the Bear wrote about the Facebook phenomenon "Catholicball." Since the Bear's audience is considerably bigger and the story is interesting (and short), here it is again.

Catholicball and the New Hard-Identity Catholicism (July 9, 2014)

While older Catholics are stuck in our rut of Traditionalist vs Vatican II-nistas, something new is happening. Across social media like Facebook, younger Catholics are flexing a hard Catholic identity, even militancy. Here is a picture from the Facebook group Catholicball:

[Update: the green Muslimball is about to touch the statue of St. Peter. An angry Catholicball threatens Muslimball with crusade, while the large and menacing Crusaderball approaches. Meanwhile Inquisitionball with torch (!) lurks in the background.]

Nothing apologetic here. They are passionately pro-life, unafraid, and embrace Catholic history. On a local level, these young Catholics are actually doing the new evangelization that the hierarchy only talks about. One young man is putting together a "Catechetical BBQ" for fallen away Catholics.

Now that's what the Bear calls initiative.

How many people are in this diffuse movement? Impossible to say. Catholicball, based in Argentina, has 5792 likes. RevolutionCatholic has 3025 likes. These are just two groups. But these numbers, though small, represent a genuine and encouraging reaction to the ills of the modern world and the paralysis of the Church.

Passion and courage are tremendous force multipliers. They may not represent the future, but they will be a part of it, and it would probably be wise not to get in their way.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Francis Learns From ISIS

Move over Dalai Lama. There's a new top holy man in town with a new generic religion.

Pope Francis is harping on Christian unity again. Of all the weird stuff that issues from The Oracle of Santa Marta, the Bear finds this the most disturbing. This is what Pope Francis said Friday.

"When those who hate Jesus Christ kill a Christian, before killing him, they don't ask, 'Are you Lutheran, or Orthodox, or Evangelical or Baptist or Methodist?'" the pope said. Francis added that these killers say "'You are Christian' and they cut off their heads." 
"If the enemy unites us in death, who are we to divide ourselves in life?" Francis asked rhetorically.

First off, while he cannot bring himself to identify the cutters off of heads, at least he's acknowledging the problem, and calling them "the enemy."  The Bear has to give him some credit. But then, being Francis, he casts all logic aside and attempts to use it as a teachable moment on Christian unity.

It is no doubt true that Muslims fail to appreciate the differences between Catholics and Methodists. (In this they are similar to many Catholics.)  For that matter, they cheerfully chop the heads off of Hindus, too, and animists, and even other Muslims.

Because Catholics and Hindus are united in death by a common enemy, should we be united in life, too? Because some backward, homicidal goon fails to distinguish between Catholics and Lutherans, should the Pope of Rome make (and teach) the same error?

Worse, if ISIS is proving that all Christians are really the same, or, to be more precise, have no differences worth bothering about, where does that leave the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church under the Bergoglio Papacy?

It seems to the Bear that the Pope's logic makes the Church just one of many flavors of Christianity. In all humility, we can't even say it's the best flavor. (Since popes have been compulsively apologizing to anyone who will listen, it may, in fact, be the worst.) At most, we can say it is a particular expression of Christianity that may have its own value, just like the Methodists, Lutherans, and Evangelicals. If it were to disappear, no doubt it would be a loss, but former Catholics would just be absorbed by another expression of the Unity that is Christianity.

And so we are harvesting the bitter grapes of ecumenism. The very nature of the Church is being confused and deranged by the guy in charge himself. He is accountable to no one and apparently immune to good advice.

For the Most Humble Guy In the World, Francis seems to take a lot upon himself. He slyly nudges homosexuality into the orbit of polite discussion. He takes it upon himself to speak for the whole planet -- excuse the Bear --Sister Earth. 

Now he's some sort of pan-Christian bodhisattva.

Pope Francis never follows through on the logic of his own statements. So, just what does his united Christian front mean for the Church's historical understanding of itself? Are there distinctions that make a difference, or is the word "heresy" merely a relic of a sad past? Are evangelism and apologetics no longer part of the Church's mission? Are Jews tacitly included beneath Francis' benign gaze, and the other "great Abrahamic religion," Islam?

Why stop there? What about those headless Hindus and animists? Clearly the mere Catholic Church is too small a stage for a man of Pope Francis' capabilities, or at least ambitions.

The Bear started off liking Pope Francis. Then came reservations. Now the Bear is frankly alarmed and discouraged. Pope Francis doesn't seem to be a thinker, but he sure is a talker. 

One thing is for certain. One or the other of Pope Francis and the Bear is desperately wrong.

The Bear is beginning to think that if he wants to belong to a group that actually believes things, and believes that they matter, he ought to be in the local Evangelical "faith community." They don't worship squirrels and you might actually hear a sermon about Jesus once in awhile instead of gun control or global warming. 

But for better or worse, that's why the Bear nailed his paw to the floor in front of his favorite pew and is grimly resolved to die there.

After-Mass Surprise!

Meet Wellie, a male kid from Ava and Deuce, born at 1:30 p.m. at Zoar. Still a bit messy, but like human babies, they don't come out scrubbed and powdered. We were really hoping for a little girl, because we have enough boys already. We need dairy goats, not a bunch of guys eating up the goat chow for the occasional roll in the hay!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Chicken Break

Behold, the Chickens of Zoar! Norma gets curious at the end, which some viewers might find frightening. The Bear finds current events depressing, so it stands to reason that one or two of his readers might, as well. Zoar posts are a reminder that there is a natural order to the small freehold, beyond unreliable clerics and a country that seems to be less familiar by the day. You are all guests of Zoar by virtue of your tarrying here. The Bear hopes you find just a moment of peace or humor in his silly posts.

Free Range Chickens