The Church's One Foundation
Before the Bear proceeds to the chief business of the day, he is forced once again to address a familiar summertime complaint: weapons of mass distraction.
The Bear surmises that dressing themselves is a very confusing task for many ladies. The Bear is hardly an expert at putting on women's garments, so he has done some research. As he suspected, a lady cannot consider herself completely dressed for Mass if she contents herself to wear a frock, sheer blouse or bicycling attire with nothing -- the Bear blushes beneath his fur to say this -- underneath.
As a public service, the Bear has provided the rotogravure to the left to illustrate the appropriate type of foundation garment women should consider when visiting the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. Note that it provides a layer of decency both south and north of the border, if you get the Bear's drift.
All things considered, the Bear felt transported to one of the remoter areas of Africa whenever his eye was inadvertently caught by one of the young ladies in attendance.
Finally, it is common wisdom that to be involved in an automobile accident without such precautions leads to newspaper headlines such as, "Underwearless Miss Mabel Jones Rescued From Motorcar After Accident Following St. Francis Xavier's Ten O'Clock Mass."
Now to change tone and get perfectly -- one might say deadly -- serious.
Pope Francis the Good Shepherd
Today's Old Testament reading seemed appropriate enough. It is one that would make the Bear tremble like an aspen leaf if had the slightest authority over the sheep. It is obvious to any real Catholic that many of our shepherds delight in misleading the sheep, from the lowliest priest to cardinals closest to the Pope himself.
They mislead. They scatter. They drive away. They do not care for the sheep. By any ordinary measure, faithful Catholics are indeed a remnant. Here is the reading, from Jeremiah 23:1-6 (NABRE).
Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the flock of my pasture—oracle of the Lord. Therefore, thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, against the shepherds who shepherd my people:You have scattered my sheep and driven them away. You have not cared for them, but I will take care to punish your evil deeds. I myself will gather the remnant of my flock from all the lands to which I have banished them and bring them back to their folds; there they shall be fruitful and multiply. I will raise up shepherds for them who will shepherd them so that they need no longer fear or be terrified; none shall be missing—oracle of the Lord.
See, days are coming—oracle of the Lord —
when I will raise up a righteous branch for David;
As king he shall reign and govern wisely,
he shall do what is just and right in the land.
In his days Judah shall be saved,
Israel shall dwell in security.
This is the name to be given him:
“The Lord our justice.”
Smiling Pope Francis has proved himself a good shepherd.
But not by the standards of today's reading.
Pope Francis is a good shepherd according to the lights of the world, and it's Master, Beelzebub. He is adored by the world and its puffed-up organs. He sows confusion and discouragement. (Look at the poll in the right sidebar to see the verdict of the Bear's readers.) He is happiest when the Catholic Faith is in retreat and Francis is put forward.
In the neglected (granted, Puritan) classic, Pilgrim's Progress, Christian and Hopeful get into an argument with Mr. ByEnds and his worldly companions over using religion to attain worldly ends. Christian's final argument is devastating.
"Fifth," concluded Christian, "don't think this simply a fabrication of my own mind that a man who becomes religious for the purpose of gaining the world will be just as willing to throw away religion to obtain it. As surely as Judas had designs on the world in becoming religious, he just as surely sold religion and his master for the same thing. To answer the question [whether one might use religion to advance oneself and one's aims] in the affirmative, therefore, as I perceive you have done, and to accept such an answer as correct, is irreligious, hypocritical and devilish. Your reward will be in accordance with your works."
There are all sorts of men who lust after the world. The least dangerous are those who are dazzled by its treasure. The worst are the ones who gaze at the world, and see their own reflection as big as the world.