In Cauda Venenum: the Pope's Homily
The old Latin phrase "in cauda venenum" came to mind when the Bear read the Pope's homily at the synod.
In his storied career as a trial lawyer, the Bear learned that he was the best lawyer in the world as a prosecutor. He had to adjust his expectations as a defense lawyer. He knew that nearly all defense pre-trial motions would be denied by the court. The Bear noticed something else. The judge would always praise his argument at first, and only at the end pivot and give his reasons for denying the motion.
This happened every time.
The Bear supposes that was a way of appearing to be fair, and making a record should it be appealed.
But in the end, it was always "in cauda venenum."
The Pope's statement started out being a powerful defense of marriage. Of course the Pope must have an assistant whose only job it is to make sure the words "migrants," "war," "consumerism" and "social and environmental pollution," and so forth get stuck in, however awkwardly. Still, the overall emphasis was clearly on traditional marriage.
"To carry out her mission in truth, which is not changed by passing fads or popular opinions," said Pope Francis. It was so good, the Bear felt sick.
Because then comes the sudden pivot.
To carry out her mission in charity, not pointing a finger in judgment of others, but – faithful to her nature as a mother – conscious of her duty to seek out and care for hurting couples with the balm of acceptance and mercy; to be a “field hospital” with doors wide open to whoever knocks in search of help and support; to reach out to others with true love, to walk with our fellow men and women who suffer, to include them and guide them to the wellspring of salvation."The sabbath is made for man, not man made for the sabbath," Pope Francis said. (Jesus broke the sabbath rules by eating handfuls of grain as the walked; what rules-breaking does Pope Francis contemplate?) Now he's quoting Our Lord about "the sick" and "sinners." "The Church must be a good Samaritan to a wounded humanity," the Holy Father said. (And so the Church is, already!) He quotes St. Pope John Paul II that, “Error and evil must always be condemned and opposed; but the man who falls or who errs must be understood and loved… we must love our time and help the man of our time” The Church must not close its doors; must be a bridge, not a roadblock.
"The man of our time." Whatever encounter with "the man of our time" St. Pope John Paul II contemplated, it was not turning over St. Peter's keys to him and allowing him to change the doctrines of the Church to suit himself!
"In cauda venenum."
The venom is in the tail.
The end of the speech is what Pope Francis wanted to say. It does not bode well this October day. The only question is how far will he go?