|Don't worry, be happy!|
It started with a serious question to a cleric. It essentially involves canon law, something like "can Bears be Catholic?" After the usual bouncing around, it finally wound up on Father Kind's desk. His reply to the Bear was a short, "don't worry!" Okay, maybe not that short, but certainly that limited in content. It did not address the explicit question from the Bear.
Now if there's one thing Bears don't like, it's a pat on the head. (Important Bear safety tip: scratch behind the ears; do not pat!)
The Bear replied, again asking for specific information on the matter at hand. It is important, and the Bear was not going to be head-patted. Maybe it's also the lawyer in him.
The reply from Fr. Kind was swift and kind. The tenor can be expressed in the following phrases taken verbatim:
- you should not worry about anything
- the spirit of the law, not the letter of the law
- pastoral concern
- mercy and forgiveness are key here
- God knows your heart
- your faith journey
It was free of substantive content, and did not address the Bear's very specific and simple question. The Bear was hoping for something like, "I spoke with so-and-so, and explained your situation. He said that under the circumstances, the result was such-and-such, and we need to do (a) nothing, or (b) something, and here's what it is."
Fr. Kind is a very kind man, and the Bear loves him dearly. The Bear appreciates his straightforward, no bells and whistles mass, which is said in the newer liturgy. He is an excellent confessor (although the Bear sometimes feels he's a little too kind to the Bear). But the Bear has to say it: Fr. Kind dropped the ball on this one.
The Bear wonders how much Pope Francis' theme of Mercy has already filtered down to the parish level. You could quickly make a Pope Francis address by stringing together the bullets above.
Has anyone else been "Francised" at the parish level? For all the hubbub about the Synod, the Bear wonders if Pope Francis' most immediate, widespread and enduring result is still The Francis Effect.
But who is the Bear to judge?