Monday, November 9, 2015

How Bears View the Church

Bears are always on the outside looking in, which gives us a different perspective on human institutions. In the case of the Church, the Bear sees a combination of a multinational corporation and a university, on a global scale.

It is like a multinational corporation in that
  • its top man sets the tone
  • the top man is assisted by a circle of high-ranking officials
  • it has a practically ungovernable bureaucracy
  • it has offices in many countries, and, perhaps, branches in every town
  • it enjoys good press, and hates catastrophes or scandals
  • its wealth and influence gives it political clout
  • it enjoys sponsoring programs and issuing news releases
  • it is very wealthy
It is like a university in that
  • it is insulated from the world ("ivory tower")
  • it is subject to capture by intellectual fads and popular causes
  • its scholars like to push pet, often absurd or harmful, theories
  • professors sometimes flatly oppose the supposed ideals of the university
  • it is a nest of perpetual politics, unseen by the public
  • it is unresponsive to public input
  • professors are nearly impossible to remove
  • it enjoys sponsoring programs and issuing news releases
  • it is leftish due to O'Sullivan's Law*

The Church as Multiverse

The Bear remembers that this "mulitiverse" Church is less a monolith than a global collection of interests, each with multiple agendas. There is a caucus for every cause, some more powerful, some less. There are sub-cultures within the Church, such as the infamous "gay lobby." What goes on in public may not give a clue to what goes on in private. 

Are there Modernists? Practically everybody! Are there Masons? Sure! One-worlders! You bet! Jesuitical schemes? Almost certainly. Satanists? A few.

Today, all institutions of any size are going speak out against global warming. In the same way, they will all be for homosexuality. All large institutions get carried along by the zeitgeist as sure as boats float down the river. (Of course, the Church will have to be careful here, but must at least feint gay.)

Then, of course, the Church is subject to O'Sullivan's Law, just like any large institution.*

It's disappointing that the Church is not immune to worldly pressures and allurements, and often looks like just one more natural institution, scheming and spinning, and floating with the current. As we shall see, however, thats not necessarily all bad.

Pope Francis

The Bear marks Pope Francis as "Exhibit A" and moves that he be entered into evidence and published to the jury. Evidence of what? A plot, of course! Or call it a campaign, if you will. But a collection of interests that no blogger or even professional journalist fully understands combined to make Jorge Bergoglio pope.

Oh, the unholy curiosity about how many votes Jorge Bergoglio would get if the election where held today! Institutions do not like unpredictability, and one has to wonder how many enemies Francis has made. But Francis is Pope, full stop.

Sometimes the Church even acts for the good of Christians. It is unknown how many of the Church's personnel wake up with that thought. Oh, not that they're all plotting evil schemes. The Bear suspects that, like all of us, they are concerned with their own problems and interests.

In other words, the Church is unique, but incorporates elements familiar from secular institutions. What we see, now that we are plugged in 24 hours a day with news and blogs, is exactly what we would expect to see. The Church is a complicated, powerful and conflicted global institution that in some ways combines the medieval and modern worlds.

That is, we see a mess. Pope Francis seems to thrive in it, but one wonders about the everyone else.

Why the Multiverse Isn't All Bad

Why does the Bear take comfort in such a cynical view? 

Because what we're seeing is not necessarily a good vs. evil battle with the Church itself at stake. Who can deny that the Germans are worried at least about the kirchensteuer (church tax) revenue as they are motivated by compassion for the divorced and remarried? The Bear would much rather deal with greed than heresy. 

The Bear suspects that no party within the Church will push so hard as to break it (were that possible). They all share an interest in the prosperity of the Church, and won't risk schism.

But what about Francis? St. Malachy's "Peter the Roman?" (That would be "Peter" Sellers in the quirky 1979 hit Being There about a simple-minded gardener whose vacuous statements are assumed to be profundities by a fawning circle of power brokers.)

One suspects that within his breast beats the heart of a Latin revolutionary. But as we saw in the Synod, even popes don't always get their way. No one will ever convince the Bear that the power players completely understand, therefore trust, the man they put into power.

Checks and balances.

And one prays that the Holy Spirit, if it does not burst into the room with tongues of flame as at Pentecost, can at least seep through the ancient cracks and make sure the Church doesn't get lost in the Multiverse.

*Any organization or enterprise that is not expressly right wing will become left wing over time.


  1. Very good Bear. Not a bad description of the way things are. But it's been a long spell since we have had a Pope like Francis who seems driven to relieve the Church of any guilt inducing dogma. In some ways Francis is the new Luther bringing his personal conception to how the Church should be. And to me this is a whole lot of not good.

    Personally I have never felt as bad about the Church as I do right now. It is all so very depressing and nearly intolerable. I don't think Jesus had in mind that being in the Church would, itself, be one of the hardships and challenges of getting to heaven. When the Church harms our search for grace we have a problem.

    1. "But it's been a long spell since we have had a Pope like Francis who seems driven to relieve the Church of any guilt inducing dogma."

      We've had only one other like that, really, and that was Paul VI.

      Who was, of course, the worst pope in history.

  2. DOMUS

    Father sleeps in another room
    We his children
    Have lost aplomb --
    Father sleeps in another room.

    Father’s walked out of the house
    Left us with
    The beloved spouse --
    Father’s walked out of the house.

    Father’s in vogue but from us he runs
    He’s now one of them
    And the family he shuns --
    Father’s in vogue but from us he runs.

    Father sleeps in another room
    But our Uncle’s sons
    The Bridegroom

    They sacrifice,
    Preserve our seemed,
    Tomb --
    While Father sleeps in another room.

  3. Bear I'm so glad you are feeling better! :) I felt for your family too, there's nothing worse than a crabby bear.

    I'm with Michael. This is bad. One could ponder that the Holy Spirit may step in at any moment and halt this papacy, but, the longer he is in the more confusion he sows, and worse, the more red hats he gives out. This is exactly what President Obama is doing in the US, where the gates are thrown open knowing that all comers will vote Democrat, thereby securing future election results. If you can't get Americans to vote for your failed ideology, bring in hordes of NEW Americans.
    If this goes on "too long" it will cause a test of faith. One begins to wonder what the gates of hell prevailing must look like, since the destruction of dogma by changing practice must come pretty close. If that goes on and on...
    Oh, did I say that out loud? I am trying to learn how to keep negative thoughts to myself since apparently negative thoughts disturb people.

  4. Negative feelings are best expressed. Negativity, though, i.e. a habit of negative feelings and statements don't help anyone.

    The test I use is to go back and look at my comments. When you see the whole picture it can be pretty disturbing. "I wrote that?

    This article was primarily about how the Church mirrors elements of human institutions. It had very little about the Pope, and that was in the context of the thesis.

    For better or worse, readers choose to exercise criticisms about the Pope. So I can only conclude that many article wasn't interesting enough to spark conversation. That's why no one should take this as criticism. If comment through moderation, it was a good comment.

    I am trying by charm, juggling, and appeals to the intellect and imagination to make something really unique here. There is so much more conversational territory to explore than The Pope About Whom Everything Has Already Been Said. (Although the Bear has a good one coming up.)

    For instance, what about the idea that the powers that be have discovered someone who's not a team player in Francis and will put aside their differences tho protect their interests in the Church, whether they're Masons, or atheists, or homos, or Germans or whatever.

    What about the Bear's vision of the Church as a global "multiverse."

    Let us stipulate that we have a problem Pope and raise our thoughts to other, interesting themes without covering up, denying or minimizing. Of course everyone is welcome to write what they want, and the Bear enjoys to read and share them. Just a little feedback. The Bear is in a friendly mood having just had his medicine.

  5. I like your analysis of competing interests within the Church: "it is a nest of perpetual politics, unseen by the public."

    The bad news is there are factions; the good news is there are factions.


Moderation is On.

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