Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Book of Nevermind, the Council of Didn't Happen

In today's Mass, Pope Francis called the wrath of God down upon homosexuals and adulterers. Sorry, the Bear appears to have made a typo. Quoting from the Book of Nevermind and the Council of Didn't Happen, Pope Francis trained his big papal guns on the real threat to the Church and salvation: teachers who don't dialogue with their students.
"... let us pray for the teachers, for the doctors, for those who teach the people of God, that they would not be closed in on themselves, that they would dialogue, and so save themselves from the wrath of God, which, if they do not change their attitude, will remain upon them."
The "faithful" have feelings about things, and stuff. It would be astonishing if these teachers and doctors were passing on sound doctrine in the first place, and just as astonishing if the students were proposing it. The ideal, therefore, is modernist teachers and catechists hashing out Church doctrines with ill-formed Catholics (and, for all we know, Seventh Day Adventists) in a rap session.

Actually, the Pope's advice might be good. During the Bear's brief foray into a master's program in theology, he attempted to dialogue many times with his instructors. They quickly made it clear that they weren't interested in that sort of dialogue and identified the Bear as a danger to his classmates. Halfway through the semester they shot him with a tranquilizer dart (who knew they even had those on campus?) and that was the end of the Bear's aspirations to higher education.

Not the right kind of dialogue.

Whenever the Bear hears the word "dialogue" he releases the safety catch on his Browning. The sole purpose of today's dialogue is to make the participants feel so good about themselves they rush to issue a news release boasting of having accomplished absolutely nothing. No, the Bear takes that back. There is a purpose and that is to distract Catholics from the task Christ actually gave them: spreading the Good News and the Church's unique role in salvation.

The Bear searched for the word "dialogue" in several Bibles and did not find it once -- not even in the New American Bible, Revised Edition. It's pure hokum, and anyone peddling it runs the risk of appearing to be a humbug. It tells instructors, "No, you do not have the truths of the Church in neat packages to give trusting students. Their lived experience is just as valid. You must be quiet and learn from them."


  1. Dialogue is a tactic for not evading the absolute and unchangeable truth that has been given to us by God in revelation. Talk, postpone, evade, talk, repeat. Never commit. Notice that those who call for dialogue are always the ones who want to change, deconstruct or water down the Church's teaching, not the other way around. Jesus had no intention of doing dialogue with Caesar. He stood there, the Truth, and let his silence speak for him. The whole process of dialogue is insincere and so are the people who want to insist on it, e.g. the LCWR. A waste of time.

  2. Take the "not" out in the first sentence. Sorry!

  3. I am so relieved he's focusing on the REAL problems in the Church today.

    I hate "dialogue" as well. It is NOT a verb!!! (Is this same error made in other languages as well?)

    What have catechists--and doctors?--done to deserve this? What are they doing or NOT doing (ok, not dialoguing) to bring the wrath of God upon them? I guess I'm in trouble here as a PSR teacher. Uh, oh!

    1. Wrath of God sounds pretty serious to the Bear. Better get with the program. Just draw out the little darlings' feelings about teachings, but otherwise keep quiet.

  4. Looking at the context of the Holy Father's homily, the identity of the "doctors" and teachers becomes clearer--and you probably won't be surprised when you find out who he's referring to.

    The homily is focused on today's first reading (Acts 5:27-33), in which the Jewish leaders confront the Apostles for preaching in the Temple. In the remarks immediately preceding the Bear's quote, the Holy Father says:

    ...“this is the tragedy of these doctors of Israel, these theologians of the People of God: they didn’t know how to listen, they didn’t know how to dialogue”. This is because, the Pope explained, “dialogue is done with God and with our brothers”. And “this rage and desire to silence all those who preach, in this case the newness of God, that is, Jesus is Risen” is clearly “the sign that one doesn’t know how to dialogue, that a person isn’t open to the voice of the Lord, to the signs that the Lord makes among his people”. Therefore, although they had no reason to, they became infuriated and wanted to put the disciples to death. “It is a painful route”, Francis remarked, also because “these are the same men who paid the guards at the tomb to say that the disciples had stolen Jesus’ body: they do everything possible not to open themselves to God’s voice”.

    On one level, this is sound enough: The Jewish leadership had closed themselves off from the Gospel, even going so far as to make up stories to explain the empty tomb. His invocations of "dialogue" are a little jarring, because the reading itself is almost entirely a dialogue between Peter and the high priests, but I think we know what he's getting at.

    On the other hand, we know that this is yet another of the pope's heavy-handed analogies directed at those who oppose his vision for the Church. Once again, he launches broadsides at those he characterizes as theologians and doctors, who are blinded by rage and desire to silence those who proclaim the newness of God and who are closed to the signs that the Lord makes among his people.

    As is invariably the case, the pope's remarks raise far more questions than they answer. We know that the pope himself is first among those who proclaim the newness of God, but who is trying to silence him? What, precisely, are the signs that the Lord makes among his people, and who gets to discern them?

    If we presume (again, with a high degree of confidence) that the doctors and teachers he has in mind are Burke, Brandmuller, Muller, Gadecki, and company, is it really the case that these men are refusing to dialogue? It seems to me that the opposite is true: the Five Cardinals book was an invitation to dialogue, and one that has largely been refused by the Kasperites, who never seem to address their opponents on the merits of the argument. Instead, they appeal to sentiment and to popular misconceptions about "mercy", and to movements of the Spirit that only they are privy to.

    Once you get to the bottom of things, we are left with the notion of the Vicar of Christ as a kind of guru imbued with preternatural powers to discern the directives of the Holy Spirit, no matter how novel they may seem. Our job, apparently, is just to engage in dialogue by shutting up and letting the Holy Father get on with things.

    Or does that seem unfair?

    (Welcome back. You've been missed.)

    1. Excellent, Murray. Pope Francis is like the elderly grandfather with only one story to tell. The time he tried to open the windows of the Church to love and mercy and the pharisees and Bat Christians tried to keep them closed so everyone would continue to suffer.

  5. I have surely missed the Bear and his ursine wisdom and righteous ruminations! Glad you're back,


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