Saturday, February 28, 2015

Stabat Mater

The Bear and his mate have added the Office of Readings to our Morning Prayer from the Divine Office. Has the Bear's frequent mentions of the Liturgy of the Hours (LOTH) piqued your curiosity, friends known and unknown? We began it about three years ago, as it is required for Benedictine Oblates. It takes awhile to learn and become prayerful, but it is worth it. It is available in the following formats:
  • Four-volume complete set of the LOTH
  • One volume "Christian Prayer" that has the full Morning and Evening prayers, plus Night and Daytime prayers, and a large selection of hymns (this is the one we usually use)
  • Four-Week cycle of psalms with hymns, intended to be chanted to the eight tones of St. Meinrad Monastery (the publisher, and the Benedictine monastery to which we are attached)
There are also instructional books, such as the charming Divine Office for Dodos. To pick out the tones (short lines of music for chant) there is the indispensable iChant app for iOS and Android. On the subject of apps:
  • Divine Office is unique in that it has audio in addition to the on-screen material. Audio has been a mixed blessing as some of the volunteer readers have indulged in overwrought interpretative dramatics. Fortunately, they are finally addressing that. It is definitely the easiest way to learn the rubrics and get a feel for how it all is supposed to sound.
  • Universalis is an app that puts everything you need into your hands, although you will have to supply the sound yourself. This is another good way to learn the rubrics, and a very handy way to pray the Hours. You don't have to be tethered to a wireless connection, either, which makes it good for day trips.
 If you should decide to give it a try, feel free to bring any questions to the Bear. It can appear quite formidable, but is really much simpler than it looks.

Today we sang the haunting Stabat Mater from the Adoremus Hymnal. The Bear was struck by one verse:

Who could see from tears refraining
Christ's dear mother uncomplaining,
In so great a sorrow bowed.

The Bear couldn't help but notice the profound difference between this traditional treatment of that dolorous scene and the bitter, raving woman spitting accusations toward a silent sky. These little things matter.

But that's for another time.

The Seven Bears of the Bible, Prelude

Perhaps because the Bear is listening (that's right, an excellent audiobook) to the Confessions of St. Augustine for Lent, he has been inspired, or has at least concocted a scheme, to provide his woodland friends with a few little essays based on the happy coincidence that the word "bear" (the animal one, not the "carrying" one) appears seven times in the Bible. The early fathers of the Church could find no end of allegory in the Old Testament. Perhaps the Bear might be able to do something similar.

In Hebrew (there are no New Testament bears) the word for bear is "dob." Hebrew, like Arabic, is a very logical language when it comes to nouns. Both languages develop words from various standard permutations of a tri-literal root. In the case of "bear," it is based on the big animal's unexpectedly smooth, even gracefully flowing movement. (To this day, in Arabic, "to crawl" has the same tri-literal root, which is why a tank is called "dobaba," and "bear" is -- wait for it -- "dob.")

The Bear knows you love it when he gets pedantic.

The first occurrence of the word "bear" in the Bible is from 1 Samuel 17:34,35. King Saul and his men are more than skeptical when young David steps up to tackle Goliath. But there was more to David than met the eye.

And David said to Saul: Thy servant kept his father’s sheep, and there came a lion, or a bear, and took a ram out of the midst of the flock: And I pursued after them, and struck them, and delivered it out of their mouth: and they rose up against me, and I caught them by the throat, and I strangled, and killed them.

The Holy Bible, Translated from the Latin Vulgate. (2009). (1 Sa 17:34–35). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

What kind of practical or allegorical wisdom do you think might be found in this passage?

The Bear hopes your first full week of Lent went well. As stated earlier, the Bear is taking it easy on the blogging, and avoiding controversy (and the Pope) entirely.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Lenten Home Shrine

Lenten Shrine

The Bear's posting rate may not be as frequent during Lent. Thank you for your understanding and don't forget your old pal.

-- The Bear

Friday, February 20, 2015

Catholic Life Hack

The Bear has a very small table by his couch upon which sits a fancy book rest. It has a base, a stand, and a slanted flat piece with a ledge at the bottom. It does a wonderful job of holding the Bear's Bible or other book while the Bear takes a load off his back.

It looks sort of like this, but is light-colored, and has a lot of fancy cut-out work.

It is put together with screws, and the Bear noticed the stand part was loose. He replaced the screw with a longer screw after putting a matchstick in the hole. Somehow the new screw broke, flush with the wood. Not only that, but the Bear knocked the book ledge off, rendering it useless!

They don't let Bears take wood shop, so he's not much with tools and what not. Eventually, he hammered a bunch of nails through the back into the ledge, which seemed to have fixed that problem at least. The base has two guide-dowels that position the base. (The broken screw was supposed to be the thing that actually held it together.)

The dowels will hold it for now, but tomorrow I'm going to get some longer finishing nails and hammer the base into the stand. Somehow.

Anyway, the Bear can heartily recommend such a setup, especially if you spend a lot of time studying.

Why Catholic Men Convert to Orthodoxy

The Bear can tell you the main reason men leave the Catholic Church and join the Orthodox Church.


That's all there is to it. Beards are encouraged in the Orthodox Church among men. Also, unless things have changed, you won't find girl altar boys, or women reading the epistle. What's more, women are not even allowed in the "altar," the area behind the iconostasis.

For the most part, Orthodoxy is an almost militantly manly religion. Orthodoxy doesn't sniff the trail of the world. Orthodoxy doesn't change things, certainly not in comparison with the Catholic Church. Perhaps part of this is not having a pope who can turn everything upside down with a word. (The ecumenical patriarch is only symbolically the head of anything.) Conversions to Orthodoxy are hardly ever initiated by the women. Men don't feel they have to apologize for being men in Orthodoxy.

Meanwhile the Catholic Church is wringing it's pale, thin hands over "empowering women," or some such gimcrack idea. The Bear is going to go way out on a limb here and say that the Church works best when it best serves souls. The line at judgment is going to be "Sheep" or "Goats," not "Men" or "Women."

Many men will simply lose interest in a feminized religion that does not include temple prostitutes. Hey, in 10 more years that may be just another "lifestyle choice," and "women's role." Kardinal Kasper, (his head preserved in a jar) will read the latest survey, and blow bubbles from his gap-toothed grin as he explains how God isn't afraid of sex.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Bear Gets Trapped in the Vortex

The Bear thought he would give a little background on Mr. Terry Carroll's broadside over the Bear's article on Michael Voris' and CMTV's no-criticizing-the-Pope policy.

Mr. Carroll and the Bear enjoyed an intermittent -- if verbose -- correspondence on various topics, especially CMTV's reasons for not criticizing the Pope. To say that there was considerable flattery that the Bear enjoyed, would not be unfair to either party. (If ever you are caught by a Bear, tell him how lush and shiny his coat looks, and how white his teeth are.) He consistently held up for examples a handful of blogs that he thought were doing it right. At one point he mentioned that the Bear would be part of something exciting. The Bear promptly forgot about that. Apparently it was to be a guest on Mic'd Up, Michael Voris' live talk show.

If you were to conclude the Bear felt like he was being groomed, you would be right. Apparently one of Mr. Carroll's jobs is to maintain blogger relations for CMTV. (If the Bear knew what his official title was -- if any -- he has forgotten.) For example, Mr. Carroll likes Connecticut Catholic Corner. And, once upon a time, he liked the Bear. There was also quite a bit of discussion about outlets Mr. Carroll didn't care for too much.

Once, the Bear pulled an article about Michael Voris that he was persuaded might not be entirely fair. (It might have been the famous incident where Mr. Voris announced he did not go to communion because he reported Cardinal Burke's comment.) Aside from that, Mr. Carroll had no further influence on St. Corbinian's Bear.

As for CMTV's policy of not criticizing the Pope, the Bear has no problem with that. However, since the Bear does criticize the Pope, anyone's reasons for refusing to do so are directly relevant to this blog and subject to fair comment. Remember, it was Michael Voris who decided to start all this, when he and his young proteges took on The Remnant on Mic'd Up. That, too, invites comment.

The Bear found two things disturbing in Mr. Carroll's comments.

First, since when is a guest spot on a CMTV program a reward for right-thinking? This is the same Bear who gradually went from a Francis booster to doubts, to disappointment, discouragement and worry, with attendant criticism of specific blunders (e.g. "Rabbitgate"). The Bear is surprised that he would suddenly become un-guest-worthy over a single article. So, we disagree about whether it is ever right to criticize the Pope. We do not disagree about whether Pope Francis poses a danger to the Church. One of us is willing to talk about it and the other isn't. It is as simple as that.

I am surprised someone of Michael Voris' journalistic background would cross a guest off the list solely because he will not act as an amen chorus for MV. Heck, the Bear might even be persuaded, if he heard a good argument. At a minimum, the Bear would provide the counter-point. Not to mention, how often to you get to have the world's only Catholic blogging Bear as a guest?

The other thing that bothered the Bear was Mr. Carroll's analogy that criticizing the the Pope was like men sitting around in a bar complaining about their wives. The Bear feels his guests deserve better than that, and when he said that he found it insulting, Mr. Carroll sarcastically asked if the Bear were going to call "the tolerance police." The Bear is not quite sure how a conversation that does not include race, sex, orientation, national origin or non-Christian religions, implicates the tolerance police. It was just snotty. The Bear is certain Mr. Carroll didn't think before typing it, and now regrets it.

The analogy isn't very good because the situations are so dissimilar. After you read an article in SCB, Pope Francis is still the Pope, and you still can't do anything about it. You will, perhaps have been encouraged that someone else feels the same way you do, and your devotion to the ancient faith and your own parish -- where, never forget, Christ dwells, whether the music is lousy or not -- has been renewed. The Bear has never received a single email saying, "I was so depressed by your last posting I'm chucking the whole thing for the SSPX." Instead, he receives emails of appreciation and thanks.

The Bear is confident he is doing good, honest work here. Up to this point, the most charitable word to describe Pope Francis is "reckless." Where does that leave CMTV? "All the news that's fit to print -- and Pope Francis isn't fit."

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Playmobil Luther Big Hit

The old degenerate, Martin Luther, is making a big comeback -- as a children's toy. (There are rumors Calvin and Hobbes is going to be "reimagined" as Calvin and Zwingli.) Something about this story doesn't ring true. There isn't even a privy, or a Devil figure Luther can throw his inkpot at. How many times can kids pretend to nail the 95 theses to the Church door? Could one of the Lutheran sects be buying up the little Luthers to make it look like he's relevant?

Romans... hmm... saved by faith, er...
by itself... no... alone! That's it!

Michael Voris: To the Left of Me, the Church of Nice; to the Right, the Reactionaries

As told here, Michael Voris has used one of his live Mic'd Up programs to slam news and opinion outlets he considers to the "right" of Michael Voris.

What is this all about?

Here it is in a nutshell: Michael  Voris will expose, criticize and ridicule any bishop of the Catholic Church who fails to adhere to his own conservative sensibilities. That is mostly what his flagship program, The Vortex, does, day after day. Michael Voris cannot stand the "Church of Nice," (i.e. ordinary Novus Ordo parishes) nor the weak, compliant and corrupt bishops who lead them. However, Michael Voris can't bear to lay any mistake or misdeed at the feet of the Pope.

Hence we have Christine Niles of CMTV saying at least some forms of criticism of the Pope were "just unacceptable." Michael Voris interjects an "amen."

Michael Voris is the furthermost right of legitimate Catholicism. Everyone to the left is despised as the "Church of Nice," and everyone to the right is dismissed as reactionaries.

It is very narrow spectrum of opinion, if you think about it!

Now, Michael Voris and the rest at CMTV know the problems with Pope Francis as well as anyone. They admit (albeit in a sort of hypothetical way) all the problems we talk about concretely here at SCB. So it isn't that they are fans of Francis (as far as the Bear can tell), or do not cringe at his mistakes.

The ostensible reason for Michael Voris and his people to ignore Pope Francis is that if media powerhouses like CMTV, or The Remnant, start pecking at the Pope, in no time people will desert the Church for more appealing havens, such as SSPX, whom they dismiss as "schismatic."

Mr. Voris also characterized the Catholic blogosphere by putting both hands by his head and making rapid "talking gestures" while babbling -- apparently suggesting ill-informed chatter by hysterical malcontents.

Mr. Voris was quick to point out that the Pope could never err in doctrinal matters, other people do not understand infallibility, and the Pope can entertain and even express wrong ideas on a human level.

Fair enough. But the answer to that is: Mr. Voris, with all due respect, where have you been the last fifty years? Has it been changes in doctrine that have all but destroyed the Church? Or has it been everything but doctrine that has undermined our worship, polluted Catholic culture, and confused the faithful? The Pope does not have to infallibly change doctrine to do mischief! Indeed, why would he, when he can use "gradualism," and "compassion" to change the implications of existing doctrine until the same words mean the opposite?

The Bear isn't sure where Mr. Voris is coming from with regard to the Pope. The risk of driving people to SSPX seems small to the Bear.

But to pretend that the Pope cannot harm the Church so long as he does not exercise his infallibility is ludicrous. If adulterers are welcomed to the communion line, one may be sure it will not have been because any doctrine has been changed. Indeed, the Church will take pains to explain that nothing has really changed, but our times demand an enlargement of compassion, not following the letter of the law in some picky way that doesn't meet human needs.

One supposes Michael Voris and Church Militant TV will pass over all that in silence, unless they can blame the Bishop of Poughkeepsie, instead of the Bishop of Rome.

The irony of what you are reading right now is that the Bear isn't what you would call a "traditionalist," not in the way traditionalists would recognize, anyway. He doesn't think Francis is not really the Pope, and can personally take or leave the Latin Mass. He tells everyone at least once a week to "nail your foot to the floor in front of your favorite pew and die there."

But to adopt a policy of ignoring Pope Francis short of him infallibly declaring the Moon to be made of green cheese is unsupportable in a Western institution. If God wanted robots blindly obeying the big cheese in every tiny detail, no matter how ridiculous or harmful, He would have not a pope in Rome, but an imam, and there would be a great big mosque where St. Peter's sits, around which we would all deliriously orbit.

It is clear where the loyalties of Michael Voris and CMTV  lie. The Bear certainly doesn't fault them for being loyal, even if he thinks loyalty has its limits. It's the narrowness of their moral vision that is a bit surprising. Does Michael Voris really think that he occupies the narrow channel of truth, and anyone to the left or the right is running into the rocks? Why pick a fight with The Remnant now? (Although that has been bubbling for awhile now.) [Update: and why pick on a poor old Bear? See comments. Terry Carroll is a CMTV spokesman.]

Peter is not the Church. Peter is not the Bride of Christ. Peter is not Red Queen who cries, "Off with his head!" at the wrong word. Peter is a more or less flawed person with a great deal of authority and influence that he can use for good or evil. When he uses it (innocently or not) to the detriment of Church, God must judge between whose who side with Christ's Chuch, and those who side with the Pope. These are very unusual times, and may God be merciful to all persons of good will.

Fifty Shades of Bear

Just this for the Bear's commentary on an extremely unsurprising cultural phenomenon.

The Bear has not read the book, nor seen the movie. The very idea makes him throw up a little. From what he gathers, the message is that women secretly enjoyed being stalked, dominated, and abused.

What can a blogger even write about this? Two or three paragraphs earnestly arguing that normal women actually prefer to be treated with respect and tenderness? That if a man should find a woman who really does want to be treated like trash he should mutter a quick prayer for her and run in the opposite direction?

Because that, when they knew God, they have not glorified him as God, or given thanks; but became vain in their thoughts, and their foolish heart was darkened. For professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. (Romans 1:21, 22)

No good can come from this, and so it joins the rest of the rotten modern culture we have earned. It was so inevitable the Bear can only yawn. No doubt there will be a rash of movies covering other psychosexual diseases. We've come a long way from the old Hays Code joke: "Hollywood is a place where Jews make movies to sell Catholic theology to Protestant audiences."

It would probably be a good idea to say a rosary for all concerned: those that created this trash and those people who will go see it.

It enjoyed a big opening, but is getting bad reviews, at least. Perhaps bad word of mouth will kill it.

St. Valentine's Day

St. Valentine receives a rosary from Our Lady.

The may behind the stories surrounding St. Valentine is obscured by pious legend. As a now-anthropomorphic Bear who was once used as a saint's pack-animal, the Bear certainly isn't going to hold that against him!

St. Valentine was probably a 3rd century martyr. He is the patron saint of (no surprise) engaged couples and happy marriages, bee-keepers, plague, and epilepsy. But now, above all, he is associated with romance. One is expected to give one's spouse a romantic card; to a wife, perhaps some chocolate or roses, or some other token of affection.

Of course, today, there are detestable cards such as this one:

Hey, at least they got it right.

Catholics are so easy to buy presents for. Yesterday we celebrated by going to the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows, and Catholic Supply in St. Louis. My spouse had ordered me a beautiful Douay-Rheims Bible from St. Benedict Press, and picked up a lovely birthstone rosary at Catholic Supply. (Peridot. There's no such thing as a girly rosary.) The Bear can't wait to take it for a spin later today.

The Bear got his mate a knitting needle organizer, which, on account of the vendor's incompetence, will not arrive for several days. But he was able to find a rosary booklet from the Magnificat publishers so she would at least get something this morning.

A couple of observations.

First, the Bear has chronicled the decline of the Snows' gift shop. It is in sad shape. Repeated questions to shop girls were greeted in the negative. Votive light holders? No, but we have the candles. The Little White Book for 2015 that accompanies the Bear's breviary? No, we don't have those anymore.

At least they have plenty of priests, so we could take advantage of the 11 a.m. confession

Catholic Supply, fortunately, continues to carry a good stock for your devotional needs. The Bear would prefer a more diverse selection of books, especially Bibles, and would get rid of the Richard Rohr and Medjugorje junk, but even so, he found the Navarre commentary on the Minor Prophets.

Secondly, speaking of rosaries, with all due respect to St. John Paul II, doesn't it take a lot of guts to change the Church's premier devotion and break its symbolic link to the psalter? Old news, yes, but we're seeing the attitude writ large lately. What ever happened to the idea that we should preserve the Church to hand on to future generations as we received it from the ages? Aren't we in the mess we're in precisely because our leaders have failed to recognize this?

Just a thought. Anyway, A belated happy Valentine's Day to all the lovers among his readers.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Fr. Peyton Draws Half Million Catholics to Rosary Rally In SF

There are many Catholics who remember the pre-Vatican II Church. It seems ages ago, a distant epoch in Church history.  But it was not that long ago. Priest faced God, the language was Latin. You could trust the Church, the Pope, the prelates, to tell you what the Church teaches, not whatever happened to cross their mind the moment a microphone was put in front of them.

In 1961, Father Patrick "The Family That Prays Together Stays Together" Peyton led a rosary rally in San Francisco. It drew half a million people to Golden Gate Park and was attended by dignitaries.

Fr. Peyton's Rosary Rally in San Francisco, 1961

What happened in the decades following Fr. Peyton's rally is the same thing that is happening right now. There's a precise word for it: evil. "Bitter clingers," the old men of Vatican II have sunk their cold, yellow talons into the Church, determined to do as much damage as possible before death brings their sorry careers to a welcome close.

When they're gone, the faithful must pick up whatever remains of their Church -- a pitiful remnant, to be sure -- and reclaim it. Everything that marks the modern Church must go up in a bonfire of the vanities. Ugly, modern churches must face the wrecking ball. Protestantized Masses must be replaced with the old form. Homosexuality and modernism must be thoroughly rooted out of seminaries. Let's see the Index of Forbidden Books make a come-back. Demand that Catholic universities be Catholic. Oh the howls will be music to the Bear's ears! Let's do a thousand different things to build a fortress Church that does not engage the world in endless, whining "dialogue," but marches forth to conquer it.

In short, let's be the Church our enemies think we are, the one that makes Satan shrink in fear.

A lot of damage has been done since 1961, when Fr. Peyton led a half million Catholics in the Golden Gate Park in saying the rosary. Something of that spirit must have survived We've to to start getting serious. The biological solution is overrated. The second wave of clerics is not much better than the first.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Bad Pope

"Do you love me?"

Peter knew he had denied Christ. The question must have hurt. It would be repeated twice more, each time like a hammer blow on a nail, or the thrust of a spear.

"Feed my sheep."

The final, Luciferian answer is unexpected.

I love you, Lord, but I love my own idea of the Church, the good it can do by raising awareness of worthy causes. I love you Lord, but I confess I love the world more. I am thrilled by the attention. People hang on my every utterance! I am famous for my deeds of humility. Indeed trumpets sound when I bend the knee to an outcast. I wish to smell like the sheep, but I have no interest in feeding them. Indeed, I will not feed your sheep. The sheep are mine, and I will do with them as I please. The Church is mine. When it comes to it, Lord, you will see. The sheep will follow me, whom they can see, even when I do not feed them. They will not follow you, whom they cannot see.

Where is the Church? What is its future? What if there came a time when the Church lies in ruins, and a pope and his prelates thought nothing of twisting the very words of Christ Himself?

Human beings get used to nearly everything. Put them in a jail, and within a couple of weeks they will have made a sort of home for themselves, adapted to the routine, learned the ropes. Catholics have gotten used to homosexual priests molesting adolescent boys, and the string of bankruptcies caused by diocesan settlements. We have gotten used to liturgies that are uninspiring, at best, and travesties at worst. We have gotten used to ugly, modern churches. We have gotten used to heresy: Modernism. We have gotten used to African priests, shipped over because we no longer make priests of our own.

And we are already getting used to a Pope who ignores Church teaching and blurts the first thing that pops into his head when asked about important matters. A pope and bishops who just don't like the Church very much, not as it is. The old liberal dream has traded its radical uniform for clerical garb. We cannot love the Church as it is, they tell us, for it is cruel and old-fashioned. But you can trust us to change all that.

The Church must be more inclusive, more ecumenical, more interfaith, more social justice, more new, more this, more that, anything but more holy, more saving. And by any metric you care to cite, these people are killing out Church.

We have gotten used to so much more than we usually realize, until you sit and think about it. Things are far worse than we ever imagined, even in our darkest mood. If it had all happened in a week, the Bear believes people would have literally died of shock and heartbreak. "Gradualism," and evolution, and a never-ending stream of happy propaganda have spared us the shock, but left us paralyzed by a malaise. We look for the Church in vain.

The Bear wonders if there could ever be a clear -- it would have to be very clear -- choice between Peter and Christ. Some would say no. God would never torture us with such a dilemma.

We can all survive one bad pope. The first step is recognizing that we've got a bad pope on our hands. It will just be more of the same, which is not good, but not fatal. But whatever else Pope Francis has done, he has raised questions. What is non-negotiable? Where do we draw the line? What can we do to, first, survive, and, second, to rebuild a ruined Church? When do look for the Church outside of Rome?

These are the questions that will never get asked on the airplane, that Pope Francis will never get to answer in his usual, careless manner.

The Bear is only a Bear, and does not have the answers. His foot is still nailed to the floor in front of his favorite pew, and he is trying his best to live within the wingspan of his guardian angel. But there's no denying that Church has imploded. It will be remade by whichever group is more determined, although possession of the hollow institutions are a tremendous advantage. How that might work out the Bear doesn't know. But he does know that Pope Francis is all about Pope Francis, and he will not feed the sheep unless there's a television camera on the scene.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Jihad vs. Crusades: Just Wow

This is a must-see. It's just a few minutes long but has just about everything you need to know about the canard that "Yes, there is terrorism, but [you] Christians had your Crusades." Only a liar or an imbecile would float this argument.

St. Scholastica

St. Scholastica and St. Benedict
Today we celebrate St. Scholastica's feast. St. Scholastica (d. 543) was the little sister of the hero of western monasticism, St. Benedict of Nursia. She founded a community of nuns near her brother's monastery of Monte Cassino.

To be the parent of one saint is quite remarkable. Of two is scarcely imaginable!

One evening St. Scholastica was in deep conversation with St. Benedict. As the hour grew late, St. Benedict insisted on returning to his monastery. When St. Scholastica's entreaties did not change his mind, she prayed to God. Suddenly, a terrible thunderstorm swept over them. St. Benedict had no choice but to stay the night, which they spent in spiritual conversation.

Three days later, St. Scholastica died. St. Benedict laid her body in his own tomb. He was comforted, however, by a vision of his little sister's soul ascending into heaven.

There is a charming pious practice of saying "St. Scholastica!" at the first peals of thunder from an approaching storm. It invokes her intercession and reminds us of her love for her holy brother.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Twilight Zone Science

The poles of fear, the extremes of how the Earth might conceivably be doomed. Minor exercise in the care and feeding of a nightmare, respectfully submitted by all the thermometer-watchers in the Twilight Zone
-- Rod Serling's closing narration, "Midnight Sun"

You may recall the Twilight Zone episode where a sweat-bathed woman is sweltering in oppressive heat, a doomed Earth circling closer and closer to the sun. But like today's climate change hucksters, Rod Serling had it both ways. At the end she awakens from a fever dream to find a frozen Earth spinning into cold, cold space.

Same Scam, Different End of the Thermometer

Many have been onto the climate change scam for awhile, now. The Bear is old enough to remember the threat of global cooling. In fact, his favorite prog-rock band, Jethro Tull, did a wonderful song about it on their War Child album, "Skating Away on the Thin Ice of the New Day." (Now frontman Ian Anderson sings about global warming. How quickly we forget, Ian.) Throughout the '70s alarmists were sounding the frozen claxon in Time magazine, Washington Post, LA Times, the Boston Globe, the Christian Science Monitor and every other news outlet with column inches to fill.

But it wasn't just a warning. The professors had solutions to global cooling. It was all our fault, and we would have to mend our rotten ways. Internal combustion engine? It goes without saying that would be banned. Children? Births would be regulated, with criminal sanctions for the philoprogenitive. Why, democracy itself would have to be sacrificed, according to climate researcher Dr. Arnold Reitze of Case Western Reserve University, speaking in 1970.

Funny how no matter whether we're going to freeze or boil, the cause and solution are the same: us, and controlling us in new ways.

Politicizing Science

Paul Homewood, writing in the blog Not a Lot of People Know That is publishing original research that shows conclusively that much of the global warming data is made up out of whole cloth by professional alarmists. As an example, he documents that all of Paraguay's temperature records have been altered to -- falsely -- make it look like it has been heating up.

The late Michael Crichton wrote a sobering essay warning of the dangers of mixing science and politics.  He compared eugenics -- establishment science in its day -- with global warming. The first had unimaginably tragic results when Adolph Hitler put eugenics into practice on a broader scale than the United States. (Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger was an enthusiastic supporter of eugenics, but, then again, so were Theodore Roosevelt, George Bernard Shaw and Luther Burbank. It was the global warming of the pre-WWII West.)

Global warming is a scam invented by people who want to control your life and your economy. It does not matter how thoroughly debunked it is, however. Question it and you are a "science denier." Get it? Like "holocaust denier." But what few people realize is that global warming is not the only scam they're running.

Global Warming Is Only Part of the Story

Every time the Bear reads a headline that says, "Scientists Say..." he wants to reach for his revolver. Hardly a day goes by when the Big Bang isn't discredited by theories about the multiverse, or a new "Earth-like planet" is discovered. If the apparently uniquely privileged position we occupy in the universe should trouble an atheist's sleep, there is always a new discovery to comfort him.

Take Gliese 581, which debuted in 2007. "One of the most exciting planets ever discovered!" It basked in the temperate "Goldilocks Zone" that made it just right for life. And it was a mere 20 light years away! In fact, there was only one tiny problem with Gliese 581.

It didn't exist. Not at all. It was nothing more than a misinterpretation of data by over-eager scientists.

Now, if you had made a big splash in all the papers about a new planet that turned out not to exist, you might feel a little chastened. Not our Gliese 581 team. “While it is unfortunate to find that two such promising planets do not exist, we feel that the results of this study will ultimately lead to more Earth-like planets.”

That's science logic for you. If you win you win. If you lose, you win. You just don't understand how science works. Bill Murray in Ghostbusters gave our climate researchers and planet-hunters their motto: "Back off, man. I'm a scientist."

From outer space to the interior of our cells, consensus science is being challenged. Even the patron saint of science, old Charlie D himself, is revealed to have feet of fossil-rich clay. Stephen Meyer wrote a fascinating and devastating critique of the science behind Darwinism in Darwin's Doubt. If you want a book to reawaken the childhood wonder of science (real science) Darwin's Doubt is a masterpiece. Darwin, it seems, was wrong, at least if you look at the fossil evidence, not at his cheerleaders.  Meyer devotes the conclusion of his book to examining the implications for Intelligent Design.

Of course, if you entertain a heresy like I.D. you're a "science denier."

Climate, planets, evolution, but wait. There's more. Did you know there's no you reading this? No soul, just randomly firing neurons somehow creating the illusion of you? Scientists haven't quite solved what has been called "the hard problem of consciousness," but every day you can find some researcher claiming that new research has practically abolished you, your free will, your loves, and your hope for immortality.

Science has declared war on faith, and does not scruple to cheat. Canadian journalist Denyse O'Leary's blog Uncommon Descent is a great resource to track fake science.

This is why it is so unfortunate when Catholics link their faith to current science. First of all, it is imprudent in that the science is often dubious and ephemeral. What then happens when the scientific basis of Catholic magisterial teachings on the origin of man, and his relationship to his planet, and the nature of his soul are revealed to be false? The Bear will be very interested to see what Pope Francis has done with his upcoming ecocyclical. No doubt he'll be hailed as the "greenest Pope in history," but at what cost in mischief?

Politics and science have proven to be a lethal cocktail. Religion and science can only travel a tense and tricky journey together. The Bear is all for real science, but too often researchers and political hangers-on have turned it into a one-way ticket to -- The Twilight Zone.

(Watch "Midnight Sun" on Hulu.)

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Best Quote So Far This Year

 “We will be happy to keep an eye out for runaway Christians, but it would be nice if he would face the reality of the situation today. The Medieval Christian threat is under control Mr President. Please deal with the radical Islamic threat today.”

--Bobby Jindal on the President's anti-Christian prayer breakfast remarks

Saturday, February 7, 2015

The Single Most Important Thing You Should Know About Global Warming

 UPDATE: Just a bit more about charity vs. super-state programs.

No normal person can read through the reams of global warming documents littering the political landscape. The healthy mind simply freezes. It would be as if one were required to actually read and understand the EULA for a new computer program before ticking that "accept" box. By now, the Bear could have sold his firstborn a hundred times over without knowing it.

Everyone will say they have read Pope Francis' upcoming Ecocyclical, but everyone will lie. It will be the first encyclical ever written that no one will read. He is famously opaque once he ventures beyond sound bytes or three-point homilies. When he dives into global super-state jargon and climate apocalypse fever dreams, it will be Katie bar the door, as the Bear's old dad used to say.

What it all comes down to is a global power grab to change the world's economy. Global warmers hardly ever talk about climate without also launching into their real motivation: economics. The rhetorical link is that "climate change has the greatest impact among the most vulnerable among us." You've seen similar headlines like this: "Sun to Go Supernova! Women and Minorities Affected Most!"

Pope Francis' encyclical will no doubt make this connection. The science -- among the global warmers -- is a given. The real business is how to use this catastrophe to get into other people's pockets. If the encyclical does not contain the words "protect the most vulnerable among us," the Bear will eat his hat. By very crude sleight of hand, the Pope will turn this manufactured climate threat into the same old shake-down used by everyone who has power but no understanding how money is actually made. The real crisis is global pickpocketing.

And here's another thing. The Bear has the idea that God wants you to help the poor at least as much as he wants the poor to be helped. Trust the Bear, this makes sense, even if you have to let it sink in. Poverty as an opportunity to see love in action. It is more than finding some redistributive mechanism imposed by the super-state to fill bellies. The Bear believes we should all do what we can. This is different from being forced to give what people with guns demand. (That would be the government, in case the Bear was insufficiently clear.)

Also, the United Nations Executive Secretary for Climate Change is alien queen Beltra from the planet Algaenoid. Here is proof:

Queen Beltra, UN Executive Secretary for Climate Change

Connie Francis, recording star, possibly body-snatched by aliens
It's also possible that Queen Beltra has indeed snatched Connie Francis' body. (Thanks to our Nightingale, Jane; see comments.)

February 14 Rabbit Day


Greetings, fellow Catholics! The Bear officially proclaims February 14, 2015 as Rabbit Day! All able-bodied, married, American Catholics shall devote February 14 to the pursuit of the amorous arts, with the special intention of bringing into the world the priceless resource of children in God's image!

Won't you help us meet our goal of 10 million babies this November? We can do this! If only half the of the baptized Catholic couples in the United States have just one baby, we can easily meet this goal.


If you have never had a baby before, here are some of the benefits you can look forward to:

  • fun making them
  • buying stuff baby will need (car seat!)
  • proudly showing them off in church and at other public places
  • posting pictures of them on Facebook
  • providing a wealth of cute anecdotes to entertain your friends
  • training them to perform useful household tasks
  • comparing them favorably to other babies
  • taking care of you in your old age

All this, and more, can be yours, absolutely free!*

So, tell your mate, "Let's have 10 million babies!" If he or she protests, "But that's the population of North Carolina," just say, "I know! Isn't that great!"

Isn't that great, indeed.

*"free" does not include incidental baby expenses such as doctors' fees

Friday, February 6, 2015

Franciscan Credibility Gap

In quick succession:

  • Rabbitgate 
  • Bimbogate 
  • Spankin'gate 

In Romans, we find God punishing people by just letting them be all that they can be. The Bear has been talking about the horrible need for a Franciscan credibility gap in 2015. And now we are seeing exactly what the Bear is talking about. He who lives by the sound byte is made to look foolish by the sound byte. So many more opportunities to come, too!

Right now we need a pope with a hard Catholic identity, willing to take on the world, not recline beneath its caresses. That would be a pope deserving of credibility. Sadly, so much of what comes out of Pope Francis, is, if not a mess itself, ripe to be turned into one by the media. But this is not a one-way street, and public opinion is fickle.

So keep talking, Pope Francis. Maybe by the time you get to pastoralizing and gradualizing the 10 Commandments into Francis's Ten Happy Thoughts, no one will be listening.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Not Your Church, Not Your Mass

By now you have probably heard about the Superbowl "Seahawk Mass." The Bear won't belabor the wrongness of this. Res ipsa loqitur, as the lawyers say.

Here is the root cause of liturgical abuse, and novel "pastoral solutions" to everything, Many clerics forget that the holy sacrifice of the Mass, and the Church herself do not belong to them.

The Church is not a stage for egotists to play out their amateur theatrics or delusions of grandeur. The people who criticized Pope Francis from the get-go for his failure to adhere to tradition might have been premature, but they were right. The small stuff matters. For want of a nail, and all that.

The Bear cannot fathom how anyone who has the slightest understanding of and respect for the Mass could turn it into pep rally. (It didn't even work, the Bear adds.) What a titanic ego! But this is just one example of the chief problem in today's Church: people who think the Mass and everything else is their personal play toy or experiment.

Can you imagine this happening at a traditional Latin Mass?

No, you cannot. It is an impossibility.

Some day, all of this will be no more than an unpleasant memory. The Superbowl and Soccer Ball Church simply cannot survive. It has cut itself off from the Vine and shall assuredly wither. Protestants do this schtick better, and eventually most Catholics will trickle away from the Church into their local evangelical worship centers.

Yet there will always be a faithful remnant who will be ready when that time comes.

And I will leave me seven thousand men in Israel, whose knees have not been bowed before Baal, and every mouth that hath not worshipped him kissing the hands.

1 Kings 19:18.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

American Catholic

Thank you for the kind words from American Catholic, who said the Bear has a "good sense of orthodoxy and a twisted sense of humor." This blogger obviously appreciates fine music, too, since he reproduced the Bunny Song.

Study: Muslims Aren't Violent

In a story that would make the author of "How to Lie With Statistics" blush, internet rag Vox claims that Muslims are no more violent than any other religion. In fact, their headline screams, a new study "obliterates" the "myth." You see, the murder rate in Muslim countries is supposedly less than non-Muslim countries.

Now the Bear, who knows a thing or two about murder, wonders a few things.

Does Pakistan keep records of crimes as meticulously as the FBI? Is Iranian CSI as high-tech as ours, leading to a high probability of solving cases? Do honor killings count as murder? How about freelance beheadings of infidels? (Obviously judicial executions of Christians, crane-hangings of homosexuals and the like wouldn't be included in the stats.) Are murders committed by Muslims in other countries taken out of their host country's total? Are we assuming that everyone in, say, the U.S. is Christian in the same way everyone in Saudi Arabia is Muslim? Is the murder rate less for totalitarian states in general?

The Bear wonders how 9/11 casualties are treated. (Bet: not.)

Are we comparing those murders committed by Muslims chanting "Allahu akbar," to those committed by Christians shouting "Praise the Lord!?" (Ah, there's the rub, isn't it?)

To compare, let's considers this week's horrific murders: (1) first by Muslims in their own little ISIS, where they are free to be Muslims to the nth degree and shout Allhu akbar! until they're hoarse; and (2) by Christians, acting on behalf of Christ. Well, there is only the first, actually. Towns captured by ISIS are decorated with corpses the way we hang Christmas decorations. The Bear wonders if those deaths would be included in the statistics?

Today they put a captured Jordanian pilot in a cage and burned him alive. [Previous graphic photograph removed. The Bear sometimes forgets other people are not as inured to violent death as his criminal law practice has made him.]

America has a lot of murders, no doubt. The Bear will have to research the last cage-burning by Episcopalians, since he can't recall any at the moment.

The Bear wonders why even police won't go into enclaves of "peaceful" Muslims in France and Norway.

Perhaps it is true, that Muslims are spectacularly unmotivated to commit violent crime that is not associated with their religion, although this study hasn't shown that. It's the powder-keg element of Islam that we rightly worry about. And those non-murderous Muslims are keeping the powder nice and dry by their silence and excuses for the one thing Islam is famous for today: violent death.

At The Federalist, David Harsanyi invites Vox to put it's head where its mouth is, so to speak.

But if you truly believe all the world’s great religions are equally violent (“intrinsically” speaking) there is social experiment one could undertake to find out. A Vox reporter could walk around Washington DC or Dallas or Atlanta holding a sign that says “Jesus is a myth” and see what happens. And then that reporter could head to Medina or Karachi or Gaza City and do the same thing with a corresponding sign about Islam. Afterwards, let’s compare results.

What If the Pope Attacked the Pieta With a Sledgehammer?

In the previous article, the Bear observed that the Bible -- and one might add most Catholic saints -- are severely opposed to the sorts of things the Bear does nearly every day: murmuring, gossip, backbiting, and ridicule. No one, not even the Pope, escapes his snark.

Let's see what we can all agree on.

  1. the Church has been facing a crisis since the 1960s, one that is statistically and anecdotally beyond dispute
  2. during the course of this crisis, the Church has prided itself on being "more open to the world" and novelty
  3. Pope Francis -- surely with the best of intentions -- embodies this spirit of novelty and "openness to the world"
  4. the approaches reflected in Nos. 2 and 3 have contributed to the crisis of No.1 and can only deepen that crisis
  5. The imprudent series of statements and actions of Pope Francis and his allied prelates are a clear and present danger to the well-being of the Church
  6. One should not criticize or ridicule the Pope, prelates or priests

If we can agree on 1 through 5, let's take a closer look at 6 -- one should not criticize or ridicule the Pope, prelates, or priests. Why not?

  1. It is a sin to speak ill of any person
  2. It is particularly serious when that person is a cleric, especially the Pope
  3. It may cause scandal to people, who may even leave the Church
  4. It may degrade the Church's mission

In a nutshell, the attitudes and beliefs of Pope Francis and like-minded prelates seem to be made of similar stuff as the poisonous "spirit of Vatican II," with a few new, and even more noxious ingredients. The Pope and his men have turned their back on Catholicism and embraced a sort of "mere Christianity," to use C.S. Lewis' term. Beyond that, it seems not a week goes by without a scandalous comment by the Pope, which confuses and upsets the faithful.

But we risk sin if we comment in the same way we do in the rough-and-tumble political discourse to which we are accustomed.

Is there an exception to No. 6? Are there circumstances under which we may criticize the Pope, prelates and priests without the risk of sin?

You will recall that a man tried to demolish the Pieta with a sledgehammer. Now, ordinarily, one cannot assault a person by laying hands on him. But would we be stopped by such a rule from attempting to save the Pieta by physical force? The Bear would not hesitate, and he suspects neither would his readers.

What if it were a bishop, or the Pope wielding the sledgehammer? Does that make a difference? The Bear does not believe it does.

Now, what if, instead of a sledgehammer, a man somehow had the power to destroy the treasures of the Church, even its most sacred ones, by his words alone? He could speak,and metal would dissolve to rust, marble to dust. What if, furthermore, he could erase the very words of Our Lord, destroy the teachings of the Church and subvert its sacraments, all by just speaking? Are we not back to our maniac with a sledgehammer attacking the Pieta, only not just a statue, but the very substance of the Catholic Church?

So, yes, the Bear believes the deference we owe clerics has its limits when we are defending the faith from those very clerics. (Surely no one will require a demonstration that clerics can teach to the harm of the Church. From Arius to Luther to the current news cycle, it is clerics who are doing the most damage to the Church.)

One might object that it does more harm to the faithful than good to criticize the Pope. However, the Bear never gets emails or combox feedback that he is destroying people's faith or driving them out of the Church. Instead, they are glad to find someone saying out loud what they feel, and encouraging them to "nail your foot to the floor in front of your favorite pew and die there."

So that is why the Bear criticizes the Pope, prelates and priests. Not because he is deluded into thinking they will ever read what he writes, or change, but to frankly acknowledge the mess they are creating and encouraging his fellow pewsitters.

Sometimes, the Bear may enjoy himself a little too much, it's true. He has two defenses to that charge. (1) A blogger has to hook his reader and entertain them, at least to some degree. Humor, a memorable turn of phrase, and visuals all help to gain and keep an audience. (2) Credibility is credibility. You can painstakingly rebut every remark and position, with footnotes. Or you can photoshop a clown nose on someone. If the Bear is going to be in this fight, he reserves the right to use whatever rhetorical tools suit the occasion. As the Bear has said before, until the Pope and his prelates demonstrate a healthy Catholicism, it is best that they have no credibility.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Bless Me Father, For I Have Blogged

Harmless Fun With Rabbits, or Courting Damnation?

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you realize that we will be judged more strictly, for we all fall short in many respects. If anyone does not fall short in speech, he is a perfect man, able to bridle his whole body also. If we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we also guide their whole bodies. 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. 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. 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 3:1-6 (NABRE)

James may be noteworthy for its  percentage consisting of warnings about the tongue, but you can find similar admonitions throughout the Bible. Our Lord said:

21 “You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, ‘You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment, and whoever says to his brother, ‘Raqa,’ will be answerable to the Sanhedrin, and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ will be liable to fiery Gehenna.

Aside from prophets, who were speaking directly on behalf of God, speaking ill of another is universally condemned.

Yet every day thousands of Catholic bloggers sit down before keyboards and bang out criticism and even ridicule of not just anyone, but priests, bishops, and even the Pope. The more outrageous we can be, the more people like it, it seems. Often, our comboxes are filled with the same.

The Bear wonders about this. Behind every blog is a blogger working out his or her salvation. Are they damaging themselves spiritually by harming the reputation of others and causing scandal?

There are three types of blogs, or blog articles. The Bear will skip straight up reporting. So next would be commentary, which will often characterize the actions and motivations of persons. Then there's agitprop, which is usually not informative, but is designed to encourage and entertain the blogger's audience by an appeal to humor or pathos.

Are there limits to fair comment? To agitprop? Clearly, it would be safest to not blog at all, or keep it non-topically "cozy." The Bear has some ideas about this, that he will share in the future. For now, though, what do you think? How do other bloggers reconcile the moral component of blogging?

The Bear asks just one thing. Don't anticipate what his answers are yet.

Dawkins: Television Free Islam

It's not up there with his fatwa against allowing Downs Syndrome children to live, but Dawkins' latest tweet is interesting. Not that the Bear holds any brief for Islam, but Dawkins is living up to his "more cunning than any beast of the field" ambition.

Unfortunately for Dawkins' plan, they already have tons of porn in Islamic countries. Osama bin Laden was said to have had an enormous collection.

The Bear thinks a better plan would be to parachute Dawkins into Mecca and permit him to debate the existence of Allah with the mullahs. Perhaps he would develop a new appreciation for the Christian West.

(The tweet was removed shortly after it was posted.)

Left Behind

Bears sometimes have a hard time getting out of bed. This morning, the Bear was running a little late for Mass. Nonetheless, he eventually trundled downstairs, said Lauds and had a delicious omelet prepared by his mate. Just has he was wiping his muzzle before arising from the table to get dressed, he was surprised to hear his mate say, "Bye!"

There he was in his robe and slippers, a napkin hanging from his paw, as his mate and son drove off, feeling like Humphrey Bogart watching Paul Henreid and Ingrid Bergman fly off at the end of Casablanca.

Now, the Bear had every intention of going to Mass. In fact, he made the heroic effort of actually getting out of bed and coming downstairs for a second cup of coffee. But, the fact remains that he didn't.

In the pre-Franciscan Church, this would probably be a sin. The Bear knew he had to go to Mass, and in fact was looking forward to it. He should have gone to bed early, and not hit the snooze button. Good intentions are not enough.

But Pope Francis would undoubtedly say, "If a Bear is really sleepy, but seeks God and has a good will, who am I to judge?"

Oh, bother.

Vatican Issues New "Life of Women" Video

After backlash over a video featuring an attractive 50-year-old Italian actress, the Vatican has issued a new video to promote their "life of women" campaign.

The new "You Don't Own Me" video features lip-syncing to the 1964 Leslie Gore song by the same name by a couple of dozen persons, many of whom appear to be women. It has been translated into 6,900 languages. It drew instant praise from Phyllis Zagano, of Hofstra University, who told the National Catholic Reporter that this time the Vatican is sending the right message.

"These are real women, not some bleached blond bimbo with pumped up lips. The outside isn't important. It's what's inside that makes a woman, namely, a uterus and ovaries. Where rosaries don't belong, I might add."

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