Friday, April 8, 2016

The Apostolic Exhortation

Mercy versus Rules

The Bear is first reading the summary at the Vatican radio website, and writing. That alone has taken a full day, but the Bear's diligence knows no limits for his faithful readership.

It's bad.

The Bear promises he will read the whole thing and report. But, based on the summary, here, it looks like Pope Francis is creating a tension between Mercy versus Rules, with a clear preference for the former, while not touching the authority of the latter. Those are now an ideal, which is something quite different than a teaching or  sin.

In other words, Pope Francis is having his irregular wedding cake and eating it, too. The practice and morals of the Church are subject to (instead of "change," we'll call them  "merciful pastoral adjustments") on a case-by-case basis. The teachings are not changed (ostensibly) -- that would be heresy -- but Catholics in "irregular unions" are, if they can find a sympathetic priest, free to disregard them. Perhaps the Church's actual teaching on marriage will remain, but as an unachievable ideal. Over time, the Church's teaching on marriage will fall victim to desuetudo.

Keep in mind on this issue we have no less an authority than Jesus Christ Himself. That is Who Pope Francis is clubbing with his Mercy Stick. It is appalling. This is the time of the bishops, priests, and laity to say, "No, we do not accept this."

Unfortunately, the reality will be that your chances of "Mercy" will vary from diocese to diocese. Which, frankly, sounds crazy. This will set bishop against bishop. And the divorced and remarried, and homosexual partners will be clamoring for their "merciful pastoral discernment."

The idea of total, unconditional Mercy is wonderful. Unfortunately, Pope Francis has not shown the intellect to happily integrate it into the life of the Church. He sows confusion on a point essential to salvation! It comes across as cheap grace. It doesn't even sound Catholic. Mercy is an exchange between a soul and God, and presents a new chance to amend your life. Pope Francis' concept of Mercy sounds more Protestant than Catholic. You're saved! Snow on a dungheap!

The man conceals his goals in a dozen tropes that he constantly repeats. The Bear doesn't know what our Pope believes.

But Pope Francis is clever, sort of, but not really as sneaky as he thinks he is.

In Cauda Venenum

A Bear trick is to read things like this from back to front so he knows where the author is really going. Try it sometime. Remember: in cauda venenum. We see the return of the Holy Polyhedron, a bit of Pythagorean mysticism worthy of our recent discussions of Hermeticism.

We also revisit "the field hospital." Speaking of "controversial issues," Pope Francis has this curious remark. "The Church does not disregard the constructive elements in those situations which do not yet or no longer correspond to her teaching on marriage." [!]

Continuing through the summary of Chapter Eight, Pope Francis speaks of "unmerited, unconditional, gratuitous mercy," and "pastoral discernment," in the context of "the divorced who have entered a new union, for example, can find themselves in a variety of situations, which should not be pigeonholed, or fit into overly rigid classifications, leaving no room for a suitable pastoral and personal solutions." [?]

The whole topic of what to do with persons in "irregular unions," is so multi-faceted (much like the Holy Polyhedron) that the Pope cannot provide any rules. These matters must be resolved by "pastoral and personal discernment," on the basis of individual challenges. Not to forget "accompaniment," "dialogue," and "walking." So have at it, priests and prelates! I've given you a vague, nice-sounding document to guide you.

Pope Francis places (unconditional) "Mercy" on one side and "Rules" on the other. This tension is really the whole setup for Amoris Laetitia "We put so many conditions on mercy that we empty it of its concrete meaning and real significance. That is the worst way of watering down the Gospel." The Bear would counter that ignoring the explicit "rule" spoken of by Christ is a "worse way of watering down the gospel."

There is a fig leaf, however. "To show understanding in the face of exceptional situations never implies dimming the light of the fuller ideal, or proposing less than what Jesus offers to the human being." [?] Yep. The rules are an ideal, which is very different from a rule or a sin.

Responsible Parents Condemned

Pope Francis had this to say about parents who want to know where their children are at all times. "If parents are always obsessed where their children are and controlling all their movements, they will seek only to dominate space. But this is no way to educate, strengthen, and prepare their children to face challenges." 

Helicopter moms shot down by Pope.

No, this is the Church!
Actually the Bear is reminded of ancient Sparta, which also incorporated free range children.

There is much more talking about the family, and marriage, in general that the Bear will get around to later. But for now, Pope Francis did not give the green light to communion by divorced and remarried, or homosexual partners. But it seems to the Bear that he is inviting bishops and priests to do what he dares not.


  1. Thank you, Bear. I spent the day reading this exhortation and taking notes. I am glad to hear that someone other than me picked up on the Pope's direction that parents should not be concerned where and with whom their children are, but where they are existentially. I guess forbidding one's children from hanging out with certain parties would be considered judgemental legalism and unmerciful. Your analysis is accurate. The first and last thirds are where the real issues reside. The middle third is like reading a transcript of a grandfather giving marital and relationship advice. A very strange document indeed; disorganized, rambling and repetitious. Hey, also very dangerous. The Church has something to learn about marriage from the individual conscience of a person who believes he is giving God his best. Sigh... You just can't make this stuff up.

  2. It is peculiar to feel revulsion at a word like mercy; a word so integral to our Faith. But I now feel physically ill whenever I hear it. The devil took that word for his own purposes just like he took the word "gay".

    Mercy is slavery if it leaves us in sin, separated forever from our God. This heavenly word has been hijacked by demons.

    The world is disintegrating into an anarchy of sin. We live in a time of epic sinfulness; despair. People are hurting, dying, desperate for truth, going to hell by the bushel. And our Church Fathers give us THIS?!

    The proper response to this tripe is derision; outrage; scorn. Round file it. All 260 pages. Worthless.

  3. Haven't we been told for decades now that celibate old men have nothing to say on the subject of marriage and family life in the first place? When priests in general were still advancing the notion that Catholic people should behave in Catholic ways, invalidation resulted. Why--we were all lectured ad nauseam by the forerunners of Bergoglian relativism--should a man not raising a family of his own try to tell the rest of us what's what?

    Well, how about liberal people behaving in liberal ways? Pope Francis, keep your "advice" about the "joy of love in the family" to yourself. What would you and your ilk know about it, anyway?

    (I am saying this tongue in cheek, of course. The sheer, infuriating hypocrisy of this pontiff's faction is surely the least of our worries at the moment.)

  4. I can't read it all now. I have to react. What is this "ideal" business!!!?????? How did some people get to describing being in a state of grace, ie, not in mortal sin, to receive Our Lord as a "reward for perfection." That is patently untrue. It is a manifestation of being in COMMUNION...not in a state of mortal sin. Not "free from all sin" but free from MORTAL sin. Change the language, change the argument.

  5. From what I am gathering it is a disaster on multiple fronts.
    Here is the gauntlet, however nebulous it may be in parts with vague terms and Francis-talk. Enough already. He's not old and infirm. He's not doddering. He's not bullied by the German church. He knows what he's doing. We are on the road to Protestantism. We're well on the way!
    It's now or never, as far as our Cardinals and Bishops. This is the time. Will they defend Christ and His church? Or will they run away as Peter did.

  6. The key is he didn't actually say anything. He just made noises that invites others to do the dirty work. He is as gutless as he is duplicitous.

    1. Exactly. He said lots of mumbo jumbo that invites all sorts of local actions and now "policies" that will be in contradiction to the catechism and to one another.

      I have no idea how it could be harmful to the children of a remarriage for the man and woman to remain chaste. That sounds pretty sacrificial, loving, beautiful. Sounds obedient to God. Sounds like a good example to me.

      There's so much to criticize and object to. We'll be doing this for a long time.

    2. One 'suggestion' he DID make as to 'irregular marriages' and people receiving Communion is NOT to live as 'brother and sister' as John Paul ll had required in order to receive Communion, according to Francis, this would invite more 'sin'.....because........ready? It would invite 'unfaithfulness' on the part of spouses and be detrimental to the children. would invite 'adultery' on top of the 'adultery' already going on. What is WRONG with this man I am really starting to seriously wonder?

    3. TLM, the Bear has faced many terrifying things in 1300 years. Battles, revolutions, bear baiting, hunters, but he's really having to work up his courage to study the whole thing line by line.

      But it makes sense, because people have the God-given right to have sex, and, of course they would commit, er, double-adultery to fulfill their legitimate needs. Right?

    4. Indeed, TERRIFYING, he is!!!

    5. In Yoda-speak no less!

  7. >>A Bear trick is to read things like this from back to front so he knows where the author is really going

    I do that too. Always read the conclusion first--except for books with endnotes instead of footnotes. Then I read the endnotes first, then the conclusion. It makes it easier to confront the author on whether he is actually making his case, rather than being led along with subtle--or not so subtle--errors in logic to the conclusion the author wants to reach.

    1. Part of it is an old lawyer's habit of skipping to the holding.

  8. Your post is now shared on FB, Pinterest, Google+ and Twitter, as is Donald McClarey's at TAC.

    I am disgusted.

  9. Oh boy!!! More instruction chalked full of ambiguity goodness!!!
    I'm sure, upon further examination, we'll finally know what the meaning of "is" is!!!


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