Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Bear Necessities

The Catholic blogosphere, with which the Bear proudly mingles electrons, is talking about the, well, lameness of Pope Francis' "Ten Ways to Be Happy." (P.S. the Bear hereby claims intellectual property rights for a book called "Pope Francis' 10 Keys to Happiness.") "Live and let live." The Bear thinks he heard Elton John say that.

For those of you still looking to the Pope for spiritual guidance, this must be quite a disappointment.

For everyone else the Bear offers his.

  1. nail your foot to the floor in front of your favorite pew and die there
  2. pray on a regular daily basis, e.g. the Divine Office or other prayers
  3. read the Bible on a regular daily basis according to even a rudimentary plan (e.g. not just poke your finger to select a verse at random every morning over your cup of coffee)
  4. pray the rosary while meditating on the mysteries, and explore other traditional devotions
  5. serve God's Church as you can and are called
  6. have lots of children, and, sure, play with them
  7. make an honest living serving people and using your talents
  8. keep a clean conscience -- you really will sleep better
  9. have a hobby that lets you relax and experience "flow"
  10. pick your battles sparingly and wisely

You may or may not be happy, but you'll be on the right road. And if that doesn't work, there's always this:

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Papa's Delicate Condition

The Drunkenness of Noah, Sistine Chapel
In the 1963 movie starring Jackie Gleason, the family silently works around what they call "Papa's delicate condition," i.e. Papa is an alcoholic.

The "dysfunctional family" model where the Catholic online community just stops talking about the Pope's odd behavior and comments has been advocated by Church Militant TV, who produces Michael Voris' "Vortex" and many other programs. The thought is that nothing is to be gained by airing the family's dirty laundry in public, and the best way to show respect for the office is just to be quiet about Papa's delicate condition.

Along with this idea, the story of Noah's drunkenness is often advanced. Noah got drunk and was discovered exposed and sleeping it off by Ham. Ham carried the tale to his brothers, who respectfully walked backward with a blanket until Noah was decently covered. Ham was cursed. In the same way, we should cover the Pope's faults, not broadcast them with relish.

The Bear is not going to go into what he thinks about all of this. He will point out, however, that analogies only go so far.

The weakness or stigmatizing illness of a family member is a private matter. The proper representation of the Catholic Church before billions of souls is quite another thing. Some of us have small audiences. Some of us (Church Militant TV) have very large audiences. There is an argument that we owe our audiences, no matter what the size, the facts and sensible commentary no matter where it leads. The stakes are too high to cover up the errors that are being spread, and yes, the Bear said errors.

Does the Bear make a difference? Perhaps a tiny one, to those who read him. But, more importantly, his voice joins with many, many other voices in the Catholic blogosphere. Together, we are hard to ignore or silence.

The story of Noah's drunkenness only goes so far, too. Noah was not only seen by Ham, but Ham apparently did something terrible and even unnatural. The biblical account is not explicit, but it is clear between the lines. That is why Ham was cursed, not just because he carried the tale about his father. On the other hand, we in the Church are minding our own business. It is more like Noah getting drunk and blundering out of his tent in a state of dishabille while the embarrassed children wonder what to do with the old fellow.

St. Corbinian's Bear has no intention of turning this into the Papal Enquirer. But when issues that impact doctrine arise -- such as the Caserta speech's mistreatment of ecclesiology -- the Bear will likely comment. This is a subject on which reasonable people can disagree.

The main thing to remember is that none of us are going to be held accountable for a Pope's actions. In a nutshell, you could do worse than nail your foot to the floor in front of your favorite pew and wait until you die there. Surely God rewards pious stubbornness. As for the Vatican II Church, well, this is what we get. We will not see better in our lifetimes.

Does the Pope Play Dungeons and Dragons?

When the Pope starts talking about the Church being not a sphere, but a polyhedron, most people are left scratching their heads.

But there's one group that positively breathes polyhedrons. Role-playing game geeks use polyhedral dice.

Yes, Dungeons and Dragons players get it. Have we learned another surprising fact about Pope Francis? Could he play a Level 20 Cleric with a few friends and a lot of Doritos late nights at Casa Santa Marta? Who else thinks in these terms besides a gaming geek?

The Bear spent many a long night when he should have been doing homework playing Dungeons and Dragons when it first came out in the mid-70s. Yessir, back in those days, there were three slim little booklets that came with something no one had ever before seen: polyhedral dice. A four-sided die (designed to inflict painful injuries when stepped on), a familiar six-sided cube, plus 8-, 10- and 12- siders.

Un milione says the Holy
Father will be a
Lawful/Good cleric again.
Gamers are natural Catholics. They understand the difference between Good and Evil, Clerics are held in esteem, and they are comfortable with a lot of rules. Begin by telling them, "So, the Pope says the Church is like a 20-sided die," and you'll have their attention.

Better yet, maybe we could publish a "Missals and Miters" game where characters level up by "attracting" converts and establishing a "stable group" of non-player characters for a Latin Mass.

A happy belated Gary Gygax day, July 27. He invented an entire industry with his little game. 

If nothing else, at least now when the Pope talks about polyhedrons, you'll have a mental image to go with it.

Maybe Proselytizing Isn't Such a Bad Idea After All

We can't compete
with big hair.
If there's anything Pope Francis hates, it's proselytizing. Catholics must simply walk -- walk is a favorite word -- around radiating attractiveness.

After researching this strategy, however, the Bear has concluded there is a serious attraction gap between Protestants and the Catholic Church. They win, hands down.

For the first time, the Bear has considered trying out women priests.

Okay, he's still working on the concept.

Vatican Publishes Text of Caserta Speech

The Vatican has published the text of the speech given by Pope Francis to assembled Protestants in the southern Italian city of Caserta. The meeting was billed as "private," but the speech -- in Italian -- has been published on the Vatican website. Perhaps there was alarm over the reaction to unofficial published reports.

The official text does not make things better. Zenit has an English translation.

The Pope has a nice religion.
He should come up with a name
First of all, if you read the speech, you might think it is nice, if rambling. Divisions are condemned, and blamed on the devil. The Holy Spirit creates diversity, and brings unity to that diversity.

No doubt the professional chattering class of Catholics will be shoving the text into the faces of those who found the whole thing objectionable. "See! This lovely little speech with bunnies and ponies and rainbows was what you were having a spittle-flecked nutty about!"

The Bear shall remain unmoved.

One cannot disregard the context. The recently-deceased "Bishop" Tony Palmer -- the one who played the iPhone address to televangelist Kenneth "Name It and Claim It" Copeland -- was instrumental in organizing the fiesta. This was Pope Francis going to meet and speak to Protestants. Everything he said must therefore be considered in that context.

The theme was division and diversity, with the now-obligatory apology thrown in. The Pope of Rome never once suggested that that diversity must be found within the Catholic Church, or that unity must be achieved by those outside of the Church coming into the Church. And the official text still contains this remarkable passage:

He who creates division is in fact the Envious One, the king of envy, the father of envy: the sower of darnel, Satan. He interferes in communities and creates divisions, always! From the first moment, from the first moment of Christianity, this temptation was in the Christian community. “I belong to this one,” I belong to that one.” “No! I am the Church, you are a sect.” And so the one who wins over us is him, the father of division – not the Lord Jesus who prayed for unity 

Mark this carefully and remember it. If you distinguish between the One True Faith and a group of Protestants, you are under a delusion of Satan.

In the Franciscan Church, what is essential is "touching the flesh of Christ on the fringes," not consuming the flesh of Christ as a sacrament. Christ's Church is not a sphere, uniform with all points equidistant. It is a polyhedron, with unique, individual faces. (The odd analogy comes from Pope Francis.) The Catholic Church is one of those faces, perhaps a beautiful and important one, but there are many others. Or perhaps, due to its history of hatred and persecution, the Catholic Church has even less moral authority than some Bible-thumping preacher at a tent revival.

Pope Francis succeeds in being "attractive," in preaching a lovely message to those outside the Church. It has fragments of true Catholicism in its concern for the poor. But it is not Catholicism. He could not expose the hollowness of post-Vatican II ecumenism more thoroughly had he tried.

Perhaps the Pope could give one of his famous interviews to the Bear, and explain just what he thinks the Church is, and whether it is essential for non-Catholics to enter it?

The final word goes to G.K. Chesterton, who might have written it for this calamitous occasion. Substitute "Church" for "world."

The modern world is not evil; in some ways the modern world is far too good. It is full of wild and wasted virtues. When a religious scheme is is not merely the vices that are let loose. The vices are, indeed, let loose, and they wander and do damage. But the virtues are let loose also; and the virtues wander more wildly, and the virtues do more terrible damage. The modern world is full of the old Christian virtues gone mad. The virtues have gone mad because they have been isolated from each other and are wandering alone. Thus some scientists care for truth; and their truth is pitiless. Thus some humanitarians only care for pity; and their pity (I am sorry to say) is often untruthful.

The Church has finally gone mad with the same distemper as the rest of the world. Do not be fooled when the professional Catholic chattering class tries to clean up the Caserta calamity. Pope Francis made a lovely speech. But it wasn't Catholic.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Michael Voris: The Joy of the Fight

Is there anything about
jawbone ripping?

Michael Voris, perhaps best known for his polemics, has a very inspirational message in today's Vortex that the Bear highly recommends. It is particularly welcome at a time when many have reached a discouraging tipping point with the Pope's odd behavior and statements. 

The Church may be a field hospital, but that is just a temporary place to recover from wounds inflicted in the real mission of the Church: an army! The Church Militant. We are indeed the fighting Church, our salvation a prize to be won, and souls to be rescued from the clutches of Satan. There is joy in the fight. So come on, Catholics. Stop malingering in the field hospital and throw yourself back into the fight with holy glee. Angels are fighting on your side! 

Tony Palmer Dead

You may remember "Bishop" Tony Palmer, who played a video address by Pope Francis to a Protestant group led by televangelist Kenneth Copeland this January. He has passed away.

Mr. Palmer succumbed to injuries from a motorcycle accident, according to Church Militant TV News.

Problem Pope

Episode IV: A New Pope

Some of you may remember this blog from the very day Pope Francis was elected. One of my Army sons called when the white smoke puffed from the chimney, and we shared his first papal election.

Pope Francis' appearance on the balcony seemed a bit odd, with the "Bishop of Rome" business and informality, but he seemed relaxed and friendly. However, it didn't take long for critics to start in on him. He didn't wear red shoes. Can you imagine what we were blogging about in those days? What wouldn't any of us give if that were the only issue now!

Of course, those early misgivings were clues.

This blog was stoutly ultramontanist. He was the Pope. Don't concentrate on the things that bother you. Listen to what he is saying, and learn what he is teaching.

It was a prudent stand at the time, and I am not going to second-guess myself. It is not a trivial thing to set your face against the Pope. It seemed charitable to give him a chance to really put a stamp on his papacy. After awhile, though, I moved to exploring problems the Pope has presented. Again, I think I was cautious and fair.

Rome, We Have a Problem

Today, however, the Bear says to his children and his friends who read this blog, Pope Francis is not teaching and exemplifying the Catholic Faith in its fullness. Specifically, he has an idiosyncratic view of the Church that is more in line with the Protestant "invisible church of believers," than the well-defined Roman Catholic Church of history.

There are likely other problems, but this is the most serious and most blatant, and so the one that forms this blog's indictment of Pope Francis. He keeps demonstrating what he believes: no mission to Jews; cheapening his office by calling heretic poseurs "my brother bishop;" a fascination with American "Prosperity Gospel" televangelists; and, most recently, telling Pentecostals that it is the devil's "temptation" to believe that the Catholic Church is the One True Faith, and their group just a sect.

Never in any of these encounters is there the slightest suggestion that anyone need even consider becoming Catholic. That is not what the New Evangelization means. (That's what's new about it.)

The Mystery of the Church

Yet I cannot resist entering my appearance for the defense, that being my usual role, rather than prosecutor. And here is defense Exhibit A: the Second Vatican Council Document Lumen Gentium, one of the most noxious weeds from the swinging sixties Council.

This is the one Church of Christ which in the Creed is professed as one, holy, catholic and apostolic, which our Saviour, after His Resurrection, commissioned Peter to shepherd,74 and him and the other apostles to extend and direct with authority, which He erected for all ages as “the pillar and mainstay of the truth”.76 This Church constituted and organized in the world as a society, subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him, although many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside of its visible structure. These elements, as gifts belonging to the Church of Christ, are forces impelling toward catholic unity.  

Catholic Church. (2011). Dogmatic Constitution on the Church: Lumen Gentium. In Vatican II Documents. Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana.

Ever since, many have insisted that "subsists in," (subsistit in) just means "is" (est). (Yes, we are down to arguing about what "is" means again.) The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith visited the vexed issue of subsistit in in 2007, and said it just means est. "Is." Others, predictably, have been more creative in their interpretation. Lumen Gentium called the Church "a mystery," and if it wasn't before, it certainly was after!

The Church herself has lost her way. She is like a wealthy heiress who got a bump on the head fifty years ago and has never recovered her identity. It is entirely possible that Pope Francis has been brought up on an overly-inclusive view of the Church that is not entirely outside the language of the Council documents.

This blog is running a poll on whether Vatican II purported to change Church teaching. I happen to believe that Lumen Gentium does, if not change, at least put at doubt previous clear teachings of the Church. If Pope Francis has an odd ecclesiology, suffice it to say that it does not necessarily come out of the blue. Lumen Gentium is elastic enough to cover a multitude of sins, and perhaps all of Pope Francis' eccentricities.

Pope Francis is the smiling face of the new ecumenical ecclesiology. "Desuetude" is a legal term everyone needs to know. It's what happened to the doctrine of no salvation outside the Church, or, in ringing Latin, extra ecclesiam nulla salus. It was just allowed to die a natural death with no official action being taken. It isn't even on the table. If you raise it, people will laugh. Welcome to the new age of "being Church," and everyone can join in.

What Do We Do Now?

Nothing. Go to Mass. Have a strong devotional life. Be upright. Maintain a hard Catholic identity. Read St. Corbinian's Bear!

But what about the Pope? The Pope is not changing doctrine, so there is nothing that touches infallibility. But can you trust what he is out doing and saying? The unfortunate reality is, no. Not always. Because somewhere along the way he has picked up a seriously wrong idea of what the Catholic Church is (which is extremely ironic, given that he is the Pope). He is not likely to change, as Michael Voris pointed out in his "Chill Out" Vortex, which got a bit of pushback from the Catholic blogosphere. (Trust the Bear on this: they noticed.)

Perhaps the Church needed to have its nose rubbed in Vatican II.

If so, Pope Francis is the right man for the job. 

And if anyone accuses you of being more Catholic than the Pope, just smile and say, "Why, thank you! Yes, I am!"

More from:

The Eponymous Flower -- "Heresies and Schisms are an Expression of the Holy Ghost for Francis"
Steve Skojec -- "Why Would All of These People Lie About Pope Francis"

Bear Doodles for Real

I look pretty good,
if I say so for myself!
For some time now, St. Corbinian's Bear has been wanting to directly comment via his own, special presence. Thanks to my talented in-house art department, you will be noticing SCB in all his artistic glory and  many faces, offering trenchant one-liners to blog articles.

Thanks to Ragan for capturing SCB in his roguish charm. Look for more of his many moods to come.

We try to have fun around here, despite (or because of) the necessity of commenting on so many discouraging stories. We need a little more Bear. Well, Bear we got!

Why Popes are Unmarried

Can this marriage be saved?
Letter from one Jorge Bergoglio (no relation) to his wife, found taped on the refrigerator.

June 29, 2014

Dear Sweetest,

You remember my dear friend Sofie? I have set up a rendezvous, so I will be gone for a couple of days. She is such a breath of fresh air!

Now, don't be jealous, my pet. You know how you persecute people and become generally unpleasant when you get that way. Then I have to apologize to this person and that. Really, you can be such a beast!

You should learn to be more open, my dear. I look around and see all the women, each of them beautiful in her own way, and I want to embrace them all! Such diversity! Oh, I can see that this is making you very jealous indeed! But never doubt that I am a loyal husband!

Oh, I forgot to tell you, but I'll be spending next weekend with Francesca. She's so spontaneous! I must confess I simply adore her. You know, not to be critical, but you might learn a thing or two from her.

I am a loyal husband, so do not get upset. Yes, you're a stodgy old dowager with blood on her hands, but I'm a loyal husband. One-hundred percent faithful. How could you ever think otherwise, silly?

I saw my old friend Antonia yesterday. She looked marvelous! She hadn't aged a bit since last I saw her. I expect you'll remember last time we met her together -- talk about ancient history! -- you insulted her. She still holds that against you, but I apologized for your outrageous behavior and tried to smooth things over. We had a lovely dinner and conversed late into the evening. Oh, it was so refreshing! She's so interesting.

What do I hear you saying? Why don't you ever compliment me like that? I must laugh, my angel. Despite all your many flaws, I am a loyal husband. You know how I feel about you. I don't need to say a thing.

Do you remember Lucia? I'm going out with her tonight. Oh, what a joyful little sprite she is! Such a delight. Don't wait up, my love.

Your loyal husband,

What if Pope Francis Means Exactly What He Says?

So, diversity is the
road to unity?
Here's a story from Catholic News Agency about the Pope's visit to Pentecostals in Caserta, Italy.

In a visit with his long-time friend Evangelical preacher Giovanni Traettino, Pope Francis apologized for Mussolini's persecution of Pentecostals during the 1930s, which Catholics, "tempted by the devil," joined in.

The Pope admitted that he, also was tempted by the devil. He said this: “there is the temptation of assessing: I am the Church, you are a sect. Jesus has prayed for unity. The Holy Spirit makes diversity in the Church. But the same Holy Spirit makes unity, and the Church is unity in diversity. A diversity reconciled through the Holy Spirit.”

This is worth looking at more closely.

  • the Pope is tempted by the devil -- nothing wrong with this, we're all subject to temptation, but...
  • it is the devil who suggests that the Catholic Church is the one true faith, and Traettino's Pentecostals are just "a sect" -- however, this suggestion cannot come from the devil, because it is true, and the devil is a liar and the father of lies, so where is the discernment?
  • the Holy Spirit makes diversity in the Church -- hard to make sense of, but in the context of a meeting with Protestants, it suggests that Protestantism is part of the God-given diversity of the Church (good luck arguing otherwise in the context)
  • the Church is "unity in diversity" -- what is this other than Modernist doublespeak?

So, the Pope holds that anyone who believes the Church is the one true faith and non-Catholic groups are just sects is under a demonic delusion. The Pope believes that Protestantism is just part of the Holy Spirit's wonderful plan of "diversity," which will one day be resolved by that same Holy Spirit, and all of us richer for it.

Was Martin Luther under the influence of the Holy Spirit when he launched the diversity-creating Reformation? Perhaps Henry VIII, when he diversified England with his personal no-fault adultery Church? 

Is there any, any call in anything the Pope says to these people he obsessively meets with, and apologizes to, to return to the Church? Not metaphorically, as in "going to the peripheries and touching the flesh of Christ," but by coming into the Church and consuming the flesh of Christ?

The answer is no. 

What does the Pope really believe about the Church he leads? Deep down and as a practical matter?

Honestly, I don't know.

And that is a pretty disturbing admission.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Pope: "The worst thing you can do Is religious proselytizing"

Update: Here is a story about the meeting with Pentacostals that raises the question that must be eventually answered: just what does Pope Francis believe the Church is? The Bear has an idea by now, but he doesn't dare state it.

According to a summary of an interview given to an Argentinian newspaper, Pope Francis stressed "attraction" over proselytizing, which he called "paralyzing."

Query -- If Catholics simply try to make themselves "attractive" by apologizing to and validating every other faith, do we risk affirming people in their error? Does "being attractive" result in movement from non-Catholic faiths into the Church? What is so bad about a positive and urgent expression of welcome with the goal to save souls by actually bringing them into the Church? One might think some people do not believe it is all that important to salvation to be inside the Church.

The Pope spoke on a variety of topics, including immigration. He held up Sweden as a good example.

Here's the aftermath of a riot in Sweden, where 14% of the population is foreign born. Sweden's third-largest city, Malmo, is dominated by Muslim immigrants, and police have admitted they have no control over what happens there. Sweden is Europe's poster child for the disastrous effects of mass immigration. Other than the European nation that has gone furthest in replacing its native population with Muslims, what success does the Pope see in Sweden of all places?

In other news, the Pope Monday apologized to Pentecostals for the Catholic Church's persecution of them.

Cardinal Sandri spoke about the genocide by Muslims of Christians in ISIS controlled territory, saying that no religion can kill in the name of God.

Hold Your Applause -- St. Pope John XXIII

Read the brief post at Fr. Z, which also has a remark by Pope Benedict XVI, but this deserves as much exposure as possible. St. Pope John XXIII says don't clap in church. "The temple of God is the Temple of God." AMEN. Clap at your child's school musical, but such a vulgar secular display has no place in a church.

At the Bear's parish, people sometimes clap during the announcements at the end of Mass. The Bear must silently pretend to clap lest he blow his cover and people discover he is a Bear. (You'd think it would be obvious, but it's always the little things that give you away.)

And, by the way, how do they handle announcements at Latin Masses? I've always thought it was awkward for the priest to read a long list of announcements, or even to have a parishioner to come up and give a brief talk on some upcoming program, before the dismissal.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Vatican Contradicts Archbishop: 2015 Philly Trip NOT Confirmed

The Vatican Sunday issued a statement specifically contradicting Archbishop Chaput's news release confirming the Pope's attendance at the Meeting of Families in Philadelphia in September of next year. The Archbishop's confirmation was downgraded by the Vatican to a "willingness" to visit America del Norte.

It is a pretty big deal to officially confirm the Pope is coming to visit you, then get shot down by the Vatican within 24 hours. What happened? There's no way of telling, but it is disappointing.

Zoar's Latest Addition

Beau -- 6 weeks old, miniature Australian Shepherd,
future goat-herding dog.

What Bible Do You Use?

Here is a nice blog: Catholic Bibles. Can't say I'm really a fan of Knox, which they like there, though.

What kind of Bible do you use for your personal study and devotional reading? (You do practice lectio divina, don't you?)

Cue imaginary audience participation segment music.

The Bear can't seem to decide.

For awhile the New American Bible, Revised Edition (NABRE) was his favorite, but some of the language seems clunky, like the clinical "sexual intercourse," in Genesis instead of the actual Hebrew "know," which is a rich euphemism for the former. Also the notes can be horrible. The Bear thinks he has mentioned the accusation that Matthew didn't understand Hebrew poetic parallelism, therefore puts Christ riding into Jerusalem on both a colt and a donkey -- at the same time! This is ludicrous, and un-Catholic.  Even so, the Bear has Fireside's nice Rosario edition in the "comfortably-sized" print.

The NABRE is the official Bible of the USCCB, who holds the copyright. You get about what you'd expect.

The Douay-Rheims tugs at his heart because there is just so much Catholic history behind it, and it is untouched by the higher criticism that has sometimes been more destructive than enlightening. Every literate Catholic should own one and it makes a nice change of pace. It slows you down, which isn't necessarily always a bad thing.

For really lingering over verses, there's the Vulgate, if you have a little Latin. What you have to work at can leave a bigger impression. The Douay-Rheims is a translation of the Vulgate, and it is a decent, literal translation originally by saint and scholar Jerome. If you want the full story of Tobit's dog, you'll have to go with the DR or Vulgate.

The Bear keeps returning to the New Revised Standard Version because it is a smooth-reading translation, while remaining accurate. It is approved by the United States Bishops for personal use (along with the NABRE). It is an "inclusive language" translation, which doesn't exactly toot the horn on the Bear's bicycle, but it is not as big of a deal as it sounds.

The Harper Collins Study Bible "including apocryphal and deuterocanonical books" is a good choice. It includes those books accepted by the Orthodox and not by the Catholic Church. The notes are readable, many revealing a slight, unexpected and appreciated "personality." They provide much truly helpful background and explanation. It is what will be on your textbook list if you ever take a college religion course, and is the de facto translation among scholars. The Bear likes it! It is not Smythe sewn, but is a bargain at about forty bucks shipped from Amazon. If you are the rare Catholic that will wear out a Bible in a few years, you can easily replace it.

The only objection the Bear has to this particular edition is that the maps in the text are black and white digital images that have been blown up far larger they their resolution supports. They are functional, but ugly. The maps in the back are full-page color plates, and cover the OT better than the NT.

There is also the Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition, in both the original and 2nd Edition. The translation is kind of old timey in the first, and updated in the second, but both are good, and especially the 2nd Edition is favored by many more conservative Catholics. There is a study version for the New Testament with contributions from scholars like Scott Hahn, but the Bear has just never found this translation in a format he's comfortable with. The Bear gave his son the small zippered version, and it made it to Afghanistan and back.

The study Bible is just the NT, and really big. There are zippered non-study versions with small print, and red hardbacks with hard, shiny, beige paper that is hard to read. Still, this is the Bible you probably want if traditional language like "hail, full of grace," instead of "hi there, be happy!" or some other novelty is important to you. You can probably find an edition to suit you with some research.

As a guilty pleasure, the Bear really likes the New American Standard Bible (NASB) for its literalness, although it is not a Catholic Bible, and is therefore mutilated. It also puts literalness slightly ahead of readability. Paul's long, long, complex sentences are long and complex. John's simple, short, sentences are simple and short. This might be something you appreciate, or you might prefer to sacrifice literalness for smooth reading and ease of understanding. It is the Bear's Serious Study Bible not only because of the literalness, but because it is keyed to useful resources like Strong's Concordance.

Old reference standbys like Strong's, and Vine's Expository Dictionary, and the Thompson's Chain Reference Bible are pretty neutral when it comes to doctrines. And let's face it: there's not much of a market for Catholic Bible study material. So the Bear makes do. Thompson's, for example, makes it easy to find and follow subjects through the Bible, a fairly neutral exercise.

The old saying is, the best Bible is the Bible you'll use.

Using anything that is not explicitly Catholic, however, falls into the "don't try this at home" category. The Bear cannot recommend it, even if he uses a few volumes because they plug a hole in Catholic resources.

New Writing Blog

UPDATE: Housekeeping is complete. The new blog is live, with Chapter Three posted in celebration. The chapters are gone from this blog, although there is a link to the new blog on the right with the other links. The Bear will probably mention any major developments (NY Times Bestseller List, etc.) but will otherwise keep the Bear you know here and the guy who writes stuff other than blog articles there. Fair enough?

In an effort to keep my commercial writing interest separate from my original blog, I have decided to start another blog, at That way no one gets bored by my writing, unless they choose to be. Perhaps I should rephrase that...

Still less would I wish anyone to feel that I was exploiting the fame of St. Corbinian's Bear for filthy lucre.

Of course all my friends are welcome to drop by and see how the grand publishing adventure is going. I have decided to go both print and Kindle. Oh, the book signings and author readings I am imagining --

"Sir, you can't read that here."


"We didn't know it was that kind of book. I'm afraid you'll have to go. Now."

Oh dear. Now I'm imagining sitting at a card table in the parking lot of Barnes and Noble, with a stack of books ready to be--

"Sir, you can't do that here. I'm afraid you'll have to go. Now."

Fine. I'm throwing the stupid things at passing automobiles in Brooklyn, Illinois screaming, "Free book!" You can get away with anything in Brooklyn.

Hope to see one or two of you there. At my new blog, not Brooklyn. We will now resume our regular programming.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Pope: All Things Considered, I'd Rather Be In Philadelphia

Pope Francis and Archbishop Chaput

Pope Francis has accepted Archbishop Chaput's invitation to visit Philadelphia next year. The occasion will be the World Meeting of Families in September.

The Bear wonders if there are any tea leaves to be read in this. Archbishop Chaput, as most readers of this blog will know, is solid. Damage control after the October Synod, or a signal to bishops beforehand?

NOTE: the Bear's essay related to Vatican II and the Babylonian Captivity may be below the "Older Posts," link although it is fresh today. How are Jeremiah's prophecies relevant to us? The Bear has some thoughts here.

The Bear Is Retiring

Dear Friend,

The Bear has terrorized courtrooms in eight countries and three states during a career that has spanned thirty years.

During most of that time, he was a de facto specialist in death penalty defense. He is proud to say not one of his clients ever received a sentence of death. He broke legal ground with issues like change of venue, false confessions, and routine use of electronic graphics in courtrooms.

(He must add, however, that it did not take long for his gains to be rolled back by prosecutors and courts. Such is life in the defense bar.)

His legal adventures have introduced the Bear to Mt. Carmel, high above Haifa, Israel; the seedy port district of Toulon, France; the call of the muezzin in Bahrain; the tapas bars of Valencia; the fishermen's quay in Chania, Crete; the roiling cauldron of Mt. Etna's crater, in Sicily; the overrated dump known as Naples; lecture halls in Chicago; over 20 counties in southern Illinois, plus the federal court; and more evidence of bodily fluids than he cares to remember.

The names of some of his clients are known far better than his own. Coleman. Sheley. Bruny.

No Bears Allowed
He was banned from Israel and, perversely, his C-130 for the return trip home was refused landing. He was also thrown off the USS Wasp after an argument with the Commodore on liberty in Marseilles.

He has seen an innocent man accused of murder vindicated at trial, and got to tell court security, "Remove the shackles from this man." And they did. He has taken his losses like a, well, Bear: hundreds of defendants guilty of everything from spree killings to city ordinance violations. Hopefully not too many innocent ones in that list. Nearly all were plea bargains. The Bear likes to think that some good deals had to do with prosecutors not wanting to mess with a Bear, but that would be a conceited thing to think.

No Bears Allowed
He has even been a doughty prosecutor as Illinois Assistant Attorney General, taking cases too complex, or too sensitive, for local prosecutors: capital murder and dirty cops.

The Bear could have had a much more lucrative career. In fact, he would go so far as to say the money was lousy, by lawyer standards. All the Bear ever wanted to do was criminal law, and he got his wish, and oh, how! The pay might not have been great, but the Bear could not have had a more interesting career, or a more satisfying. Deo gratias.

But it is time for the Bear to put that all behind him.

The time has come to walk away while he still can with his snuffly nose held high.

The Bear is just a little too old, his joints just a little too stiff and sore, his rapier courtroom wit a bit slow and blunt, and his heart just a little less than completely devoted to this jealous mistress who has taken up so much of his time and energy for three decades. The law helped make the Bear real, and he feels like the result described  by the Skin Horse in The Velveteen Rabbit, possibly the best book ever written, and certainly the Bear's favorite.

Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand. 

What next? Writing, for certain, here, and on another project that dwarfs Judging Angels: named Adapt, a novel about a demon-fighting Surgeon General. (Did I mention that all of the Bear's fiction has a touch of whimsy?)

The purpose of whatever the Bear scribbles, however, is serious: to teach the truths of the Catholic faith, whether directly, through commentary, or fiction for those who won't read the commentary. Unlike many people, the Bear has no trouble writing. In fact, several sheets of foolscap covered with crabbed crow quill script fall from his lap every morning when he gets out of bed. No, the problem is prioritizing and editing.

The Bear must say that the blog has been excellent training in the important discipline of writing every day. Writers write -- which brings to mind the hilariously bad efforts of the writing students in Throw Mama From the Train. If the Bear ever publishes anything that bad, please hunt him down and Bruno him.

More importantly, it really does warm the Bear's cold lawyer's heart to hear a reader say -- as one recently did -- that he has gotten some personal benefit from something in this blog. That's all the Bear asks.

Think of the greatest city there has ever been, and all the commerce and transportation and construction it holds. For that matter, think of the Bear's entire legal career. That is nothing, nothing, compared to an eternal human soul. The Bear has always believed that success was not measured by page views, or number of comments, but by bringing a right realization to some reader God has been pleased to introduce to a disreputable old Bear.

The Bear still has his paws full of cases, but the end is in sight. (Despite the self-deprecating remarks, the Bear is still quite competent for the foreseeable future, and remains, after all, a Bear.)

Having identified himself as a lawyer for so long, it will be hard to change. Fortunately, he shall remain,

Yours truly,
The Bear

New Poll on Vatican II

The Bear is curious. Think about the changes wrought by Vatican II. Did any of them purport to reach infallible teachings, like teachings on the nature of the Church, teachings on the necessity of the Church for salvation?

The Bear will have some thoughts on the results.

You may find it on the side bar to the right.

UPDATE: "Purport" does not necessarily mean "claimed to." The Bear chose that word to eliminate a quibble that "it is not possible for Vatican II to have changed an already infallible teaching." It just means that it advanced a teaching that is inconsistent with previous teaching. Example: Lumen Gentium seems to hold out the possibility of salvation outside the Church. On the other hand, Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus is an infallible teaching. So if you believe Lumen Gentium is trying to change EENS, then you could say it "purports" to do so, whether or not you believe it was successful.

Evangelicals to Catholic Church: Drop Dead!

Rorate Caeli has news of a refreshingly clear rejection of ecumenism from the other side: Italian Evangelicals. So the Bear has this to say to the Pope:

Dear Pope Francis:

Despite what your Facetime chums like "Brother Bishop" Tony Palmer might lead you to believe, Evangelical Protestants just aren't that into you. I humbly suggest that we go about being the best Catholics we can be, which includes telling Evangelicals that they risk Hell if they die outside of the Catholic faith. You may not have noticed, but your own Church has big problems that we don't hear you talking about (a powerful homosexual lobby, shabby liturgy unworthy of Christ, dwindling numbers of faithful and a plummeting priest population). I humbly suggest that these matters are more urgent than another ecumenical fandango for the cameras.

Your friend,
The Bear

Pope high fives Texas televangelist James Robinson
after ordaining him a bishop.

More on these goings on here, (link from Fr. Z).

On June 24, another meeting. This time with Texas televangelists James Robinson and Kenneth Copeland, with Bishop Anthony Palmer of the Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches, with John and Carol Arnott of Toronto, and with other prominent leaders. There were also Geoff Tunnicliffe and Brian C. Stiller, respectively the secretary general and "ambassador" of the World Evangelical Alliance. The meeting lasted for three hours and continued through lunch, in the refectory of Santa Marta, where the pope, amid loud laughter, gave Pastor Robinson a high five (see photo).

(The caption is a joke, by the way, but still...)

By the Rivers of Babylon

The Prophet Jeremiah has occupied the Bear's lectio divina for a few weeks. It is a fascinating read.

David and Solomon's great kingdom did not survive them. Israel in the north, and Judah in the south went their separate ways. Israel was invaded by the Assyrians and much of its population deported. (Other peoples were transplanted there, and the mix would become the despised Samaritans of Jesus' day.)

Judah retained Jerusalem and the grand temple of Solomon. The worship, however, had degenerated into a mix of the worship of the true God, and various local deities. Some people even sacrificed their children by fire.

Inept foreign policy led to a destructive invasion from the north by Babylon, the hyperpower of the day. God gave a surprising and unpopular message through Jeremiah, who was only a youth at the beginning of his long ministry.

Give up. Surrender to the Babylonians. God has sent them to punish Judah for its "prostitution" with false gods.

Needless to say, this was tantamount to treason in the ears of the authorities. Jeremiah was beaten, threatened with death, and imprisoned in a muddy cistern. The scroll of his prophecies was brought before the king, who silently cut off pieces of the scroll as they were read, and dropped them into a fire. The kingdom of Judah had plans, allies. The Egyptians would save them.

The Babylonians swatted the Egyptians back, and after a long siege, Jerusalem fell. The king fled, but was captured. His retinue was executed, and then, before his eyes, his seven sons. Finally, he was blinded and taken captive to Babylon. The grand temple of Solomon, the sine qua non of worship, was looted of anything valuable, and burned. All the rich furnishings were taken off to Babylon. Even the enormous bronze "sea," borne on the backs of twelve brazen oxen, was broken up and carted away.

Anyone of any use to the Babylonians -- craftsmen, scribes, officials -- were taken into captivity.

The disaster could hardly have been more complete. The future was hopeless. Their country was ruled by puppets of a foreign empire. Much of the population was in captivity, with no prospects of ever returning. Worst of all, the temple of God had been despoiled. 

Yet Jeremiah was still speaking God's word.

Settle down, he told the captives. Buy houses, plant vineyards. faithfully serve the interests of your captors. Do not listen to false prophets who promise a speedy return. It will be seventy years before the captives return to Jerusalem.

What can we learn from Jeremiah?

  • God may strike even at His own worship to punish the unfaithful
  • our corporate sins may arouse the wrath of God
  • the innocent suffer alongside the wicked
  • false prophets may try to convince us everything is just fine
  • sometimes we need to accept things the way they are and settle in for a long wait
  • God is in control of everything -- even our enemies
  • morality -- especially our covenant faithfulness to God -- is more important than cult

Do these lessons have application to the Church's present situation? One reads Jeremiah's -- God's -- criticism of shepherds that lead the flock astray, of the degeneration of liturgy, of the slaughter of innocents, and of the false reassurances of establishment prophets, and it is hard not to find parallels.

We're fifty years into our Babylonian captivity of Vatican II. It was undoubtedly God's will, although we may not know why. Perhaps in another twenty, things will get better. Perhaps they will never get better. It is all in God's hands.

As for us, we must have a clean heart before God. As God said through Jeremiah, when God brought the people out of Egypt His primary concern was not the details of His worship, but the fundamental covenant between them, and their uprightness of behavior:

22 For I spoke not to your fathers, and I commanded them not, in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning the matter of burnt offerings and sacrifices.
23 But this thing I commanded them, saying: Hearken to my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people: and walk ye in all the way that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you. 

(Je 7:22–23). The New Revised Standard Version is usually the easiest to understand, and here is its translation:

22 For in the day that I brought your ancestors out of the land of Egypt, I did not speak to them or command them concerning burnt offerings and sacrifices. 23 But this command I gave them, “Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people; and walk only in the way that I command you, so that it may be well with you.”

We must plant our vineyards and live out our lives out in the era we have been given. And yet,

UPON the rivers of Babylon, there we sat and wept: when we remembered Sion:
2 On the willows in the midst thereof we hung up our instruments.
3 For there they that led us into captivity required of us the words of songs. And they that carried us away, said: Sing ye to us a hymn of the songs of Sion.
4 How shall we sing the song of the Lord in a strange land? 

(Ps 136:1–4).

We survive, but we cannot forget.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Imagine There Is No Infallibility

Try this thought experiment. First off, imagine there is no infallibility. The Church, in our little experiment, is free to change her teachings, to adapt to the times.

Is there any doubt that all the stress and confusion that has characterized the last fifty years would vanish instantly? The thought experiment requires you to really accept, for the purposes of the experiment that infallibility truly doesn't exist, and never did. The Church would have just "evolved," or "changed with the times," like any other institution. If there were no infallibility to muck things up, things would be so simple.

  • everyone, or nearly everyone, goes to heaven
  • contraception is a modern reality, no problem changing it
  • the Real Presence: fine for people in the Middle Ages, but now? Seriously?
  • reunion with Orthodox: we're ready (what's the hold up with them?)
  • ecumenism is such a nice idea, let's open communion to everyone!
  • do we really want to be the last denomination to deny women a clerical role?

Of course these are extreme examples, but if the Church did not have a 2000 year-old albatross of infallible teaching around her neck, there would be no principled reason not to change.

Vatican II could (and would) be forthrightly explained for what it was: a sweeping rejection of the past. No fancy footwork, no "hermeneutics." One day the Church was one thing; the next it was something else. No problem. We turned the priest around because the Mass is no longer a sacrifice, but a meal. How could you be so dense not to see something so obvious?

Now turn the thought experiment off and hear the 2000 year-old albatross squawking in your ear.

The fact is, we are locked into teachings. The other fact is, those teachings have changed since Vatican II. Hence the cognitive dissonance.

Cognitive dissonance occurs when a person must believe two contradictory things. The Church issued infallible teachings. Those infallible teachings have changed. It causes psychological stress. So much so, that people will believe anything, rather than abandon one or the other of the facts.

Who does not have cognitive dissonance?

  • liberal dissidents -- they never believed the Church was bound to her past teachings anyway
  • conservative dissidents -- they've split from Rome (at least in spirit) and are doing their own thing the way it always was
  • clueless Catholics -- they don't know the difference

The people who are affected by cognitive dissonance are intelligent, well-educated Catholics who recognize the discontinuity and dare not say anything.

In October, it is possible that Bishops may decide divorced and remarried Catholics get a pass, and may have communion. If that happens, they will surely not say, "the Church has said in the past that divorced Catholics could not remarry, but we are changing that rule." The 2000-year-old albatross wouldn't stand for it. Some explanation would smooth things over without touching the doctrine. Yes, that remains the doctrine, but as a pastoral solution, mercy must trump doctrine and we must listen to the heart. 

Meanwhile, more cognitive dissonance would be piled onto the faithful that still believe in Rome yesterday, today and tomorrow. They would be asked to process it as best they may.

And by tacit agreement, no one will say the obvious out loud:

The Church cannot change her teachings. The Church has changed her teachings.

The Bear has no answer. Only:

How long, O Lord? How long?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Is the Bear a Nasty Neocon?

Neocon already has a meaning, so the Bear is bemused by its adoption by Traditionalists.

To be a neocon means to be a foreign policy conservative whose views are perceived to be aligned with Jewish interests. Real conservatives are suspicious of them because they are tainted with the original sin of liberalism.

In a Catholic context, the Bear is not sure what it is supposed to mean, other than Catholics who are neither Traditionalists nor unfaithful to Church teachings. Traditionalists are a subset of Catholics, as are those who are unfaithful to Church teaching, i.e. "liberals" (a distinction that does make sense because they are not normative). Of course, the Traditionalist minority are praiseworthy; the liberals are not.

All Traditionalists are Catholics; not all Catholics are Traditionalists.

What's left doesn't need a name, because they're just Catholics. When you have a steak, you can take a "bite," but there isn't a special word for the steak that's still there on your plate. It's just "steak." (Unless it's Friday. Then it's "fish.")

So why borrow a political term to describe Catholics who do not identify with the small, but significant Traditionalist minority?

Since Traditionalists have a "name," perhaps they feel it is necessary to give "the other side," a "name," too. Catholic would hardly work, so they use neocon. It has a vaguely sinister connotation that carries over from the political vocabulary. Assist at the Mass the Church prescribes on Sundays? You're nothing but a neocon.

That non-traditionalist blogger you don't care for?  A neocon. The Bear would call that blogger Mark Shea. The Bear happens not to agree with Mark Shea sometimes (only when the Bear reads him), yet does not feel the need to call him anything but Mark Shea. Is he part of an identifiable minority or faction within the Church, like Traditionalists? Not to the Bear's knowledge.

Jimmy Aiken. Maybe not as bad as Mark Shea, but still a Catholic Answers neocon.

What are synonyms for neocon? Tool? Quisling? Weak sister? Probably not quite modernist. Neocons may not exactly be heretics, but there's something not quite right, you know. They're just not one of us.

If you detect that the Bear does not care for the term, you're right. It is imprecise, has a bad connotation, is needlessly divisive, and just plain needless. Traditionalists are what they are, and God bless them. That doesn't make everyone else some faction.

The Bear is more than happy to lend his combox to an explanation of just what a neocon is and why we need to identify them. He suspects the definition starts with, "not liberal, but..." In other words, someone who is in the way? A well-meaning boob? A Catholic who would be a Traditionalist if only... what? Are there good neocons? Are Bears neocons?

Seriously. The Bear would really like to know what it means, and why we need it.

French Demonstrate on Behalf of Christians Persecuted by ISIS Moslems

French protesters hold up the Arabic letter nun in
solidarity with persecuted Christians 
in ISIS controlled territory.

Meriam Ibrahim, on Sudan's death row for her faith,
meets Pope today after release.

Gary Indiana Exorcism

How did the Bear miss this? Living in Zoar with no access to television or motivation to read the news, he supposes. Apparently a spectacular case of demonic possession occurred in Gary, Indiana. Very strange goings on such as levitation and walking up a wall to the ceiling -- backwards -- were witnessed by police, medical personnel, and documented by Department of Children and Family Services. Sources hardly predisposed to supernatural explanations.

The article observes that Christians are free to believe credible evidence, but atheists must simply deny it. Nothing, absolutely nothing, will make an atheist believe, except cooperating with the grace God gives them. They can always dismiss all the witnesses as "liars," or wave their hands and say "mass hysteria." They have been similarly dismissing the resurrection of Christ, or even his existence. (Not to imply a contemporary account of possession is on a par with the gospels.)

Once you believe, the universe is a much bigger, richer place, with more explanations. Atheists are crabbed and miserable souls, whether they will admit it or not. While they seem to be advancing culturally, they are in full retreat intellectually, huddling in ridiculous and unscientific constructs like "the multiverse," pitifully seizing on each new "Earth-like planet," until it turns out not to exist at all.

Christians, on the other hand, exist in a purposeful, if damaged, world of the seen and unseen. This world includes beings that would do us harm, as well as those who would help us.

What happened in Gary, Indiana? The atheist cannot make any real investigation. He has already made up his mind. The Christian is free to accept the evidence and make of it what he will. He doesn't have to believe.

But he can.

Pretty much sums things up.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

St. Mary Magdalene, Tuesday's Saint

Here is a good article on the confusion surrounding St. Mary Magdalene, whose feast we who follow the New Calendar (ye gads, we sound like Orthodox) celebrated today. (Yes, we have saints on many days; it causes for mild confusion and much flipping around in our breviaries. And we have those, too.) It addresses the confusion of Marys, and the question of whether St. Mary Magdalene was a ex-whore or not. You can read it at Fr. Barron's Word on Fire blog.

Another mystery of the "Apostle to the Apostles," is her depiction with a red egg. (Trivia: St. Mary Magdalene is depicted in icons with her hair showing, something that is only done in the case of women who have led disreputable lives such as St. Mary Magdalene and St. Mary of Egypt.)

The most common explanation in the Eastern Church stems from a meeting between St. Mary and the Roman Emperor Tiberius. St. Mary Magdalene bravely greeted the Emperor with the (now) traditional phrase, "Christ is risen!"

The Emperor, no doubt with an wry expression to those around him, replied, "Christ is no more risen than that egg is red."

You can imagine what happened next.

St. Mary Magdalene, whatever your past life may or may not have been, you were the first to carry word of the risen Christ: the Apostle to the Apostles!

P.S. Keep scrolling down, the Bear has posted several new articles this evening. If you get to "Every Priest Gets One Bite" you have seen all the new content.


No, not that kind, this kind. This is the Arabic letter "nun," (pronounced "noon"). It is being used to mark the doors of Christian homes in ISIS controlled lands where Christians are being terrorized.

The Bear isn't much for slacktivism, but it is a good way to show solidarity with our brothers and sisters whose ancient churches are being destroyed in Mosul and other places.

Just download it, then make it your Facebook avatar, if you do that.

"We Are In the Fourth Great Crisis of the Church"

Read this as a chaser after "Infallibility, Baby." Bishop Athanasius Schneider: We Are In the Fourth Great Crisis of the Church.

"Was My Campsite Ravaged By a Bear?"

One of the joys of blogging is checking out where your traffic is coming from. Some of it is made up of Google searches. They can be really, really strange. Or sometimes they just make the Bear laugh. So some lucky soul was guided to St. Corbinian's Bear after querying "Was My Campsite Ravaged by a Bear?"

Yes, Virginia, your campsite was ravaged by a Bear.


Next question.

"Infallibility, Baby"

"Infallibility, Baby."
"The Synod will not reaffirm doctrines, it will find solutions." Archbishop Paglia to Vatican Insider.

The Bear woke up this morning, slammed his fist onto the nightstand and said, "You know, what the Church needs is solutions, d----it. Enough of this shillyshallying with must dos, and mustn't dos. Pfft. Ancient history. There are problems to be solved, and Pope Francis is just the man for the job!"

Actually, the Bear woke up this morning with his customary "grrrrobblycoffeegrum," which is the signal for his keeper to begin administering large doses of caffeine.

When fully conscious (around 6:30 p.m.) he found the link to the above story in St. Louis Catholic.

The Bear is doing well to remember his children's name, so he does not pretend to know the movers and shakers of the Vatican. As far as the Bear can tell, though, this Synod is shaping up as Jenga Council III, the loser being the last prelate to destroy the Church. He will have to buy all the other participants a drink and wear a rueful smile, while enduring much playful backslapping. "Ha, you did more damage than Annibale Bugnini, old chum! And, "Guess we'll have to take all that business about divorce out of all the Catholic Bibles," followed by: "They talk about divorce in the Bible?" BWA! HA! HA!

The Bear is married, and while he doesn't know for a fact that people don't get divorced and remarried after fifty years, he's not too worried. It will make the people happy, and garner some good press so they'll stop talking about omosexual-hay  ape-ray of adolescent boys by our darling clerics.

Or maybe our own Cardinal Ottaviani will rise up to intervene, and we won't be out-numbered this time.

Of course, one never knows what to make out of pre-game chatter. If they were going to change the rules on divorce and remarriage, we might have expectations shaped ahead of time. It will be interesting to see the pushback from this toxic little article.

If they do change the doctrine on divorce, the Bear has two words for you: "infallibility" and "baby."

Update: On second thought it doesn't take infallibility to give a "pastoral" tweak here and there. The Bear issues a challenge. Take one drink every time you hear the word "pastoral" this October. The last one to die of liver failure wins.

Every Priest Gets One Bite

In his extremely finite wisdom, the Bear has decided upon a course of action in relation to the priest advancing a "welcome" to "gay and lesbian" people.

Everybody can say something stupid off the top of their heads. Father had just come from a conference (he travels a lot) and obviously took away the theme of "welcome." (He always bases his homilies on his doings of the previous week, not the gospel.) While alarming in the context of the times, his "welcome" could be interpreted as something innocent from someone a bit out-of-touch.

It is important to the Bear's mission to remain, to coin a phrase, on the "down low." No sense in blowing his cover as an average, middle-of-the-road pewsitter who doesn't understand much, and cares even less.

It is a legal principle well-known to watchers of "Lassie" that every dog gets one bite. The sound reasoning behind this is that an owner cannot be held accountable for his dog's tendency to bite that he didn't know about. (Buster is into double-digits now, but please don't tell the dog police; he's only little.)

For these reasons, the Bear has decided to take no action this time. Hopefully this was one of those dumb things that sounded "positive" and "friendly" at the time, and there is nothing substantial behind it.

The contents of the collection envelope will nonetheless go to the homeless shelter this week.

The Bear has chosen the grey martyrdom the of the Novus Ordo. He can't really expect homilies that actually relate to the Gospel, or that swim against the current of homophilia, can he?" He knew the job was dangerous when he took it.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Bear's Parish Now Gay Friendly

The Bear is proud to announce that, as of today's homily, his parish is officially "gay and lesbian" friendly. You see, father said that "gay and lesbian" people were "welcome."

Funny things, words. Now "welcome" could mean -- as the Bear's mate took it -- that persons struggling with same-sex attraction, and trying to remain chaste are welcome to the field hospital with the rest of us sinners.

But when you single "gay and lesbian" people out for "welcome," the Bear hears something different. He hears in this "welcome" that men and women who identify themselves with serious vice are invited to come in with no expectation at all of changing. That's who they are, you see. The Bear is the one who must change, the culture, the Church, God Himself.

So is the Bear mean and unwelcoming?

Yes, when it comes to pulling the Church down around his furry ears. He is extremely unwelcoming of that.

In fact, he is so unwelcoming of homosexuality that any institution that welcomes it can do without a hundred bucks a week, starting with the envelope the Bear intercepted before it reached the basket today. It will be put to good use elsewhere.

What's next? We welcome adulterers? A special shout out to pedophiles? If people who prefer sex with members of their own sex wish to join the fight against sin everyone else in the Church is fighting, then no one will be more welcoming than the Bear.

But if they want to claim a special exemption from morality and undermine the bedrock sexual teachings of the Church as "gay Catholics," the Bear will not be a friend.

Nobody enjoys an unfriendly Bear.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Christianity Ended in Mosul

Rorate Caeli reports sad news from Mosul. Its Christian presence has been obliterated. The intellectual and moral poverty of the United States' "War On Terror" receives a stinging indictment in the brief article. It's well worth reading.

You remember Iraq, right?

We stirred the anthill well and truly yet we still cherish notions of "democracy," and "Arab springs," and "our terrorists." While average citizens seem to be recognizing the truth, our politicians are as venal and mendacious as ever. The State Department spends more time worrying about foreign contraception and homosexual rights than Islamic butchery.

Christians are not high on the sympathetic victim list, it seems.

It is bitter to say it, with two sons in the Army, one a combat veteran of Afghanistan, but this country owns a big part of the mess, and the Lord's arm is not short.

The Islamic world had its strongmen for the simple reason it needed them. It needed them to keep the lid on the simmering hostilities and restless energies of the Islamosphere. We blundered in and easily defeated a country who had first world weaponry but a third world army.

We pretended they yearned for democracy.

The reality was they have never earned a democracy.

What we gave them was a future of bloodshed and confusion in a region of ever-widening instability.

We have learned nothing. Even now, we are trying to paint Syria's Assad -- that country's legitimate leader -- with the Saddam brush, while supporting terrorists fighting against the Syrian government. We're supporting terrorists! Can we lie down with dogs and not get up with fleas? Ironically, the Russians have a better policy than we do in Syria. Have we learned so little from our fiasco in Iraq, and our fiasco in Afghanistan, where the Afghans repay our country's tender concern by killing our boys in cold blood?

Pray that our politicians have learned their lesson. We must never return to Iraq. Shrug, say we gave them a chance, it was a noble effort, anything except "we're going back to fix what we broke the first time."

When the light of Christianity is snuffed out anywhere by any means it is tragic. When that light is ancient and is replaced by a shadow of palpable evil, angels must weep.

Stolen From Father Z: Shakesbear

To which the Bear adds:

Q: What is bears' favorite Psalm?
A: Psalm 95 (96): "Let the land and all its bears rejoice." (Grail Version. Sorta.)

Voris to Bloggers: "Take a Chill Pill"

Watch this strange Michael Voris Vortex episode carefully. 

He does not really defend the Pope so much as attempt to shame bloggers out of their "third-rate" commentary. The Pope, says Voris, is not going to change, and not even the Vatican knows what he is saying, so "take a chill pill" and zip it.

The problem is that the Pope can do tremendous damage in this day and age without officially contradicting Church teachings. Every news cycle is another battle in the planetary war for souls. A single careless statement can demoralize the faithful, embolden the infidels, and sow confusion. We need the Pope to be circumspect and on message.

This is a lesson the Pope refuses to learn. Why?

Of course bloggers should be careful of their facts. But when the Pope grants informal interviews and holds forth on topics that matter to the Church, bloggers are going to comment. That is what bloggers do, you know, Michael.

All of us, bloggers, prelates and popes, should remember this: "In the multitude of words there shall not want sin." Proverbs 10:19. And this:
If anyone does not fall short in speech, he is a perfect man, able to bridle his whole body also. 3 If we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we also guide their whole bodies. 4 It is the same with ships: even though they are so large and driven by fierce winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot’s inclination wishes. 5 In the same way the tongue is a small member and yet has great pretensions. Consider how small a fire can set a huge forest ablaze. 6 The tongue is also a fire. It exists among our members as a world of malice, defiling the whole body and setting the entire course of our lives on fire, itself set on fire by Gehenna.
James 3:2–8.

Or in the words of Billy Joel, we didn't start the fire, no we didn't ignite it, but we're trying to fight it.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Priestesses With Crosiers No Bar to Full Communion With Rome

The Bear did not get out of bed this morning thinking, "Boy, I can't wait to blog about crazy, erm, stuff in the Church today!" But consider this a sequel to his article about including Episcopalian priestesses in the Prayers of the Faithful during Mass. According to the Church, the Bear's wrong about that, too.
(Vatican Radio) The Catholic Church remains fully committed to its dialogue with the Anglican world, despite the Church of England’s decision to ordain women bishops. In a statement issued as the Church of England’s General Synod on Monday voted to admit women to the episcopate, the Catholic bishops of England and Wales said the goal of ecumenical dialogue continues to be full visible ecclesial communion.
That will be some trick, what with mitered priestesses with crosiers and all, but we are animated by the same hope that leads us to fondly imagine Martin Luther and Nero gorging together in Heaven instead of roasting in Hell.

Homosexual Kiss on Vatican Website: Mustn't Try to Cure Homosexuals

From the German Vatican Radio Site. (Sorry the Bear's German is several hundred years rusty, and never included the vocabulary for this kind of nonsense anyway, so this a somewhat Yoda-like Google translation is. Yes, lame it is, but important; read at your own risk.) Note the sweet picture. 

This is your Church. 

St. Corbinian, pray for us. Pray for the German people.

Bear's comment. No doubt homosexuality is as difficult to treat as any other sexual perversion. To say that it should never be attempted is to cave to the gay lobby. What alternative does the Church offer, then? Oh well, we guess since we can't cure it, we ought to just accept it? Find the German here. Google translation follows, picture in the original Vatican Radio story.

This: on the Vatican Radio Website.
Homosexuality must not be "cured"

Bishop of Trier, Stephan Ackermann sees offers to "cure" homosexuality critical. For such initiatives, there is no official church backing, Ackermann said on Wednesday evening in Saarbrücken. Recently had among other things the newspaper "Die Zeit" about physicians reported that advertise in order to change the sexual orientation, and apply it strictly in some Christian circles as a "tip". Ackermann expressed at the Lesbian and Gay Association (LSVD) Saar organized public discussion, attended by around 100 people took part. The two-hour meeting was the first of its kind in Germany On a smaller circle had similar discussions with representatives of gays and lesbians, for example, in the diocese of Essen and Germany ahead of the visit of Pope Benedict XVI. 2011 occurred in the Archdiocese of Berlin. Contested control in ecclesiastical labor The meeting in Saarbrücken were questions about the church's handling of sexuality and the church labor. One topic was the so-called loyalty obligations. Thus, employees in the ecclesiastical ministry, who live in a gay marriage and wish to register the partnership law, expect a dismissal must. The LSVD Saar called Ackermann in a "Saarbrücken appeal" to publicly state that "in his diocese employees of the Catholic Church because of entering into a registered partnership no longer have to worry about a termination of their employment." This should apply at least to "not proclaiming professions," such as for doctors and nurses in Catholic hospitals. Ackermann wooed understand that the loyalty obligations for the church profile of an institution are important. At the same time he acknowledged in some areas a "voltage" a, "which is not good." Currently, the bishops were in-depth discussions on how the loyalty duties were to design the future. The conversation in Saarbrücken rated Bishop of Trier as "honest". He wanted to be "listening watch" and to contribute to mutual understanding on controversial issues. The organizers stressed that it would go about them, to build bridges and to engage in conversation with each other. In what way, the dialogue will continue, is still open.

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