Monday, May 2, 2016

Bear Baiting

Classic Bear writing. He's not going to be chained in Pope Francis' Bear pit any longer. The Bear is going to return to the woodlands and be the Bear, not fight every dog the Pope, his minions and camp-followers throw at him. Oh, and the Bear is still on vacation. Maybe.

Bear Baiting

To Hell with Amoris Laetitia. Here is why.

Bear Baiting

Prehistoric Cave painting of Chauvet
No sooner than early humans were done worshipping Bears as gods, they domesticated dogs. With these two facts juxtaposed in their primitive brains, they invented a game they called "Bear baiting."

It is a cruel sport where a chained Bear is set upon by a small number of large dogs. As the Bear dispatches his tormentors or the dogs are exhausted by their jolly performance, they are immediately replaced. No matter how many dogs are worsted by the Bear, there are always more. Bears being valuable commodities, the fight was not always to the death of the Bear, but death was often preferable.

In order to give the dogs a better chance, sometimes a Bear's fangs are pulled out and claws cut back. In any case, the Bear is always given very little room to maneuver.

Psychopathic Henry VIII and his corrupt issue Elizabeth I loved Bear baiting, which should surprise no one. It remained popular in England until the 19th century, where venues were given the lovely name, "Bear gardens." It is still considered great fun in backward places like Pakistan and South Carolina.

Yes, the Bear said South Carolina. It is legal there, and quite popular with slack-jawed yokels, who call it "Bear baying." If you don't believe the Humane Society, look at the B-roll footage from the link at the bottom of their page. Caution: it is not pleasant and the tender-hearted should refrain.

For going on a couple of years, now, the Bear has had a feeling of déjà vu. Now he's got it figured out. 

He is in the Bear pit, again. 

Every day Pope Francis, his minions and camp followers, throw two or three more dogs at the chained Bear. No sooner does the Bear ephemerally dispatch one hound of outrage, two more appear. There are hundreds of hounds in Amoris Laetitia alone. The Bear was very foolish to play this ancient game.

Pope Francis Gives Us a Serpent


Pope Francis gives us a serpent instead of a fish.

The Bear is not wasting any more time on Amoris Laetitia. There are plenty of good examinations of it, if you are interested, but it's just a bad snake. That's all the Bear needs to know. When the Bear recognizes a poisonous snake, he does not sniff it, or take small bites to make sure. He does not dissect it and examine it under a magnifying glass. It's a poisonous snake. Bears and other sensible woodland creatures recognize such vipers, and even many humans.

If the Bear finds a bad snake on the riverbank, he might tell a friend, "Watch out, there's a bad snake up the trail," but he's not going to waste 100,000 words over six months on the topic. It would surely weary his friend and put the Bear's own sanity at risk.

At least now we know the answer to Jesus' rhetorical question in Luke 11:11. "Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he?"

He will if his name is Jorge Bergoglio. We ask for a delicious and nourishing salmon, and he vomits forth an unstoppable stream of serpents.

The Real Meaning of Amoris Laetitia

However neatly we parse it, in the end, it is another trendy, saccharine, bloated and gaseous Catholic document such as we first became familiar with out of Vatican II. What does it mean? Whatever the worst elements in the Catholic Church want it to mean. What more do we need to know?

Don't get stuck taking Amoris Laetitia seriously.
It's a tar baby that will just waste your time.

Take it from a Bear. The Bear never wins in the Bear pit. He may survive, but tomorrow there are always more dogs, and the Bear will still be chained to the same post. The only way the Bear wins is to escape.

Who would write a 247 page Apostolic Exhortation, meandering and repetitive, full of sly winks and dog whistles if they intended anyone to read it? Perhaps this is no accident. It defies close analysis, nor does analysis matter. When Pope Francis suggests -- apparently without the slightest trace of self-awareness or irony -- that families patiently and prayerfully read the whole damn thing together, the Bear burst out laughing. It's full of dogs, meant to wear us down and monopolize our attention. We search for secret messages in the footnotes, while the real action is elsewhere. It's the stage magician's patter whose only purpose is to distract the audience while he makes the rabbit disappear.

Meanwhile, Kasper puts in his dogs at the right moment, Hans Kung next, some American dim-bulb bishop following that. And Pope Francis himself has no end of hounds, of course. 

Visitors, friends and woodland creatures, can't you see how we're in the Bear pit? They send in the hounds, and, of course, instinctively we fight, because real Catholics are fighters. We roar, and we grow weary, and the hounds tear at our peace, our charity, and our faith.

The Bear has escaped, thank God. Oh, he still has fearsome jaws, wrecking ball paws and a terrifying roar. But from now on he's going to use them on his terms. On fair ground. Let the Shadow Church send as many hounds as it can muster into the woodlands. The Bear will amuse himself with the ones he chooses, right up until he snaps their spines. The Badgers, and Ferrets and Phoenixes and the rest of the woodland creatures are deputized to terminate invaders with extreme prejudice, and crush the head of every viper.

The Show Must Go On

Pope Francis no longer controls this ephemeris. The Bear will have to re-learn creativity, and return to the beginnings of a quirky, often funny, sometimes thoughtful ephemeris that talked about the things no one else was talking about. And if he writes about Pope Francis, it will be because that day he felt like it. Not because he has to because of the latest controversy. The Bear has been so blind and stupid to stay in the Bear pit when he belongs in the center ring making people smile.

When they send in the hounds, we'll send in the clowns. And our trick ponies, and aerialists, our roustabouts, and barkers, elephants and Bears. The last people in the world you want to get into a fight with is circus folk. It's about time we had some real fun around here.

26 comments:

  1. The Bear did not mean to slight any woodland creatures by omitting their names. His memory just isn't very good. It would be useful to have a muster of all the woodland creatures, including visitors who want to take that momentous step of assuming the role of woodland creature that best expresses their character or aspirations.

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  2. Pope Francis thinks my husband and I and our children are rabbits, so I guess Rome has spoken. But he also called us bats ,so where do we go with that?

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    Replies
    1. Bunnies who can operate in total darkness?

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    2. That's a frightening thought.....those pointy teeth and all......

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    3. Haha great campy movie!!

      Seattle Kim

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  3. Beaver here. I'm not much good at fighting, but if you need a dam built, just let me know.

    Elizabeth R

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    Replies
    1. Beavers are very important. Their tail slap warns the other woodland creatures of danger. And if it comes to it, they can dam the Tiber and wash out the Vatican.

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  4. First one that popped into my head was a woodpecker. But I hate heights and I get migraines, so maybe not.

    I thought of a badger. I guess I am surprisingly mean when roused. At least that's what I'm told. But do I want to be the "don't bug her she's mean" woodland creature?

    I would pick a fox but Christ referred to Herod as a fox, and not in a charming way.

    I am probably overthinking this ...

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  5. By the way, did you know badgers were baited, too? I just found out.

    That settles it. Your account of being baited made me realize that's what was happening to me ... badger it is.

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    Replies
    1. Well, there used to be a Badger that frequented the woodlands. If she's lurking, there might be a badger vs. badger battle. You could be a honey badger, made famous by the internet. Honey badgers are pretty awesome and eat cobras. Like the internet says, "Honey badger don't give a _______" pretty much sums up their indomitable spirit and strength. Honey badger gets bit by a cobra? After a short nap, she comes back to life! There is a hilarious YouTube video that sounds like Mutual of Omaha Wild Kingdom with a gay Marlon Perkins. It has quite a bit of profanity, but the Bear busted a gut laughing. Not going to provide a link, but you could do worse than searching for original honey badger with narration by Randall. It's the one with 800,000+ views. But what with profanity and all, no matter how funny, the Bear does not recommend it. Unless you wanna.

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  6. This is something that I was going to post elsewhere but didn't. I have many such writings. You are absolutely right, AL is bear bating, it is a giant time sink, was never meant to be read in total, but it was meant to have little bits and pieces used to change everything. Put another way, AL is a tar baby.

    Do we not do violence to a text when we interpret it according to a hermaneutic that is not congruent with the spirit in which the text was written?

    It should be very clear by now that Pope Francis does not see his teachings, whether it be this document, another, or an interview on a plane, to be a part of the historical theological continuity of the Church. Therefore, various endeavors to interpret according to historical patrimony is not in keeping with the intent and thought of Pope Francis and necessarily does violence to the same, and, in fact, both. Is it not disrespectful?

    Yes, we would rather not find ambiguity, changes in practice, ignoring of doctrine, statements that are at best at odds with dogma, but should I not understand the thought of Pope Francis for what it is rather than trying to make it fit into a foreign hermaneutic?

    Is trying to make AL "fit", rather than seeing it directly, going to do anything? If we see AL just as a document, not a papal one, not automatically a Catholic one, do we not reach a much clearer understanding of what Pope Francis is saying? How would we handle the document if a student turned it into us for a grade?

    How do we best try to show our filial love to the Sovereign Pontiff? Is it not to accept him and his thought for what they are, not that which we try to make them out to be?

    As for a woodland creature, the owl that watches alone, in the dark, from high atop the dead tree.

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    Replies
    1. All good points you make, O wise Owl.

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    2. Thanks, but not wise am I. Just alone in a dead tree. There are many other woodland creatures alone in their own dead or dying trees, but, as it is night, they dare not speak least they become a meal for that which prowls in darkness. I am high in a tree, watching, hooting now and then.

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  7. "Who would write a 247 page Apostolic Exhortation, meandering and repetitive, full of sly winks and dog whistles if they intended anyone to read it?"

    The same could be said for the "Affordable Care Act."

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    Replies
    1. LOL -- I wonder if the Pope read what his ghosties wrote before he voted on AL.

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  8. I lived a few years in India, so I think I'll take my woodland creature persona from Kipling. Like Rikki Tikki Tavi, I'll be a mongoose. Good for hunting snakes.

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  9. Well let me hop on the spirit animal train with everybody else. I'll be a coyote, quite ugly, but very efficient hunter. Lost one cat to a coyote, but I learned my lesson and only have indoor kitties now.

    Kim of the very woodsy Seattle suburb

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    Replies
    1. P.S. If I was gonna copy you with a saint animal blog persona, I would be St Felix of Nola's Spider. My youngest dressed as him for All Saints---wore a robe and carried a gigantic Halloween spider web in front of his face. People were just clueless as to who the heck he was but he insisted on being that Saint. He was 8.

      Seattle Kim

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    2. No offense, but a spider just doesn't have the charm and showmanship of a Bear. Charlotte is probably the closest.

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    3. Spiders would come in real handy on the World Wide Web.

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  10. Can a mountain lion be imported into the woodlands from California? She will promise not to eat other woodland creatures, but she will eat Amoris Laetitia for breakfast.

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  11. I've like to fight like a wolverine, but I'm too old and slow, so I think I'll be a skunk and raise a stink in the Woodlands and beyond. Sandy near Bellevue Beach

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  12. I think my name is a dead giveaway. 😀

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  13. A mistake at the beginning, is a mistake indeed.

    St Thomas Aquinas

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