Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Has Pope Francis Finally Lost It?

As regular readers know, the Bear is a veteran of the United States Navy, where he was a JAG Officer in such dangerous places as the Holiday Inn of Manama, Bahrain swimming pool, where he defended lesbians from the U.S.S. Samuel Gompers. (And, yes, that improbable sentence is meant to be read exactly as written.) As it was, technically, in theater during the first Gulf War, the Bear did qualify for several medals. Never has one Bear given so little for so much.

Today the Bear wishes to evoke an ursine and nautical version of Colonel Blimp. "Gad, this Argentine fellow of ours would be safer commanding a rubber ducky than navigating the Barque of Peter!"

As reported in The Guardian, Pope Francis made what may be the last word of his papacy. Without wishing the Holy Father the least harm, one might wish this were literally true, but here it means the sum and substance of Bergoglioism, a philosophy sharing some characteristics with Roman Catholicism.

"That's what I said. We take the
ship over the mountains!"
Let it be asserted that Lieutenant Bear, USN (Reserve), currently on a meager veteran's disability pension from his aforesaid Gulf War exertions, is in enthusiastic union with His Holiness, happy to lend his professional services as the Barque of Peter meanders up the Amazon to explore the peripheries of sanity. It's like Fitzcarraldo performed by a cast of senior citizens.

That out of the way, let us examine the Pope's statement.

"Christian doctrine is not a closed system incapable of generating questions, doubts, interrogatives. But it is alive, knows being unsettled ... it does not have a rigid face, it has a body that moves and grows, it has a soft flesh: it is called Jesus Christ."

This is what the sheep are fed in the "unsettled Church" Pope Francis wants. Sheep don't like to be unsettled, though. They like to be safe and at peace. That's the whole idea of the Good Shepherd. Or any shepherd. Our Lord told Peter, "feed my sheep." Not tie balloons to their tails and watch them chase around in panic and confusion.

The Pope's statement doesn't really say anything. Like so much in this papacy, Church teaching issues from the idiosyncratic thoughts and beliefs of Jorge Bergoglio, always and exclusively whenever he finds himself in front of a microphone. The sense of it seems to be that doctrine has to be thrown overboard and replaced with Pope Francis' personal WWJD feelings.

However, the sheep like doctrine. This is that, that is good, this is bad. They like certainty and coherence. The Bear does not believe Pope Francis grasps this, or if he does it doesn't matter to him. He pretends to be the people's Pope, but he's the Pope of professors, of the intelligentsia, like his atheist friend Scalfari, of La Revolucion.

What gives him away, though, is that he does not talk in language the people can understand. Re-read that brief quote if you wish. The Bergoglio papacy is not a revolution, but just another South American coup. The Great Leader will reshape our world for us. The Bergoglio papacy fancies it offers Hope and Change, a New Deal, a Great Leap Forward. It's going to change the essence of Catholicism from a solid structure to soft flesh. Pope Francis can channel divine messages every day to tell us what we are to believe, and tomorrow something else will seize his imagination.

The Bear is drawn back once again to the threat concealed in the badly poetic language about soft flesh. There is a name for a person who rejects Catholic doctrine. The Bear suspects Pope Francis has crossed that line and is now just struggling how to say it without causing a fuss. 

For now, Lieutenant Bear will play Van Johnson's role in the Caine Mutiny, and will dutifully look for the missing strawberries, although it is dawning  on him that Captain Queeg may pose issues. (And bloggers are all appropriately played by Fred MacMurray.)


  1. I get the Fred MacMurray analogy. But two ways to avoid that fate: go bolder or go home. I can't make up my mind some days.

  2. It's enough to make one wonder if the abomination of desolation is a weak load bearing stone in the Temple. "A soft flesh"? Really?

  3. "That's the whole idea of the Good Shepherd. Or any shepherd. Our Lord told Peter, "feed my sheep." Not tie balloons to their tails and watch them chase around in panic and confusion."

    Which is a nice variation on what C.S. Lewis once said of church leaders: “I wish they would remember that his charge to Peter was ‘Feed my sheep,’ not ‘Try experiments on my rats.’”

  4. "Our Lord told Peter, "feed my sheep." Not tie balloons to their tails and watch them chase around in panic and confusion."

    I have nothing to say. Just felt that needed to be hi-lighted. Awesome.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. He's an antipope and a really pathetic one.

    Seattle kim

  7. I had same reaction as Tamsin, and I'm a guy. I found it hinting of sex. Very weird, very creepy.

    1. Thanks JB, it's good to know I'm not alone. I deleted my comment, however, after I actually went to the Guardian website and read the whole article. It is quite dismaying.

      “the church ought to be bruised, hurting and dirty

      “it is alive, knows being unsettled ... it does not have a rigid face, it has a body that moves and grows, it has a soft flesh”

      “I desire a happy church with face of a mother who understands, accompanies, caresses”

      Well. No.

      I finally got myself to a self-defense class last month, and it was the first time in my life that I had ever practiced shouting "NO" over and over and over again while striking back effectively at an "attacker". We practiced with dummies. And some of the ladies got to fend off actual cushioned males in helmets: sheriff's deputies who sign up for this Saturday shift because they love their mother, sister, wife and daughter. Because they work with each other on these moves all the time to be prepared to survive in the normal course of their duty to uphold the law.

      I promise to leave this comment here.

  8. Pffft. He's a fine one to criticize a rigid face. I hear that when he was in Buenos Aires, he was known to have a "stone face." Look at some of his pictures when he's not making sure to look pleasant for the cameras. This isn't all I'd like to say, but I'm afraid to unleash a rant.

  9. But his public loves him as they think just like him. He is a feel good kind of guy--get it. How does it feel to be surrounded by idiots?


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