To Hell with Amoris Laetitia. Here is why.
|Prehistoric Cave painting of Chauvet|
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.