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.


  1. I may be insane, but I truly believe we will see much much better in our lifetimes (actuarily speaking, that is). That great end will only come after a cataclysmic persecution and/or miracle of the Fatima type. So, maybe were expressing the same sentiment.

    But this rotten modernist edifice, wormed through with holes, will soon collapse. By the hand of Someone who can answer the question, Who am I to judge" quite authoritatively.

  2. Decades as a defense lawyer tends to foster pessimism.

  3. Practice pious stubbornness! Nail your foot to the floor in front of your pew and wait until you die there! I love it. Thanks Bear for some of the best advice I've ever read during these dark times. You have been a great help to this troubled Catholic convert.

    1. Thank you. I live for comments like yours. (And I can show them to my wife when she keeps wondering what all the keyboard pecking is about.)


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