A Time When the Bear Was Among Pope Francis' Chief Defenders
The Bear has written about Pope Francis a lot. So have many Catholic ephemerists.
At first, the Bear defended the Pope against all complaints. The Pope was "teaching," or had "a personality." The Bear was critical of the Pope's critics. This went on for a long time. The Bear doesn't regret that. At least he gave him a chance, studied him, before he was forced down another path.
Gradually, it became apparent that Pope Francis was more interested in stamping his own idiosyncratic beliefs and practices on the ancient faith, rather than upholding it. Furthermore, his behavior sometimes crossed the line from eccentric to bizarre.
Pope Francis' True Colors
His methods seemed very much at odds with his image as "Francis the Humble." His handling of the entire Synod on the Family and followthrough appeared to be underhanded. His "pastoral" approach does not help Catholics conform themselves to the Church, but, rather, the Church to conform itself to Catholics, and not at their best. It is a transparent scam to split practice from dogma to avoid the bother (actually, impossibility) of changing the dogma. Dogma is simply to wither away into desuetude.
The Bear is alarmed at his constant interfaith and ecumenical gestures. On his watch, a document was released that stated Jews do not need Jesus at all, and that the Church has no mission to the Jews. He is flying to Sweden this Halloween to celebrate Martin Luther's sins and rebellion with a Lutheran lady bishop. Apparently, if Pope Francis had his way, Lutherans, at the very least, would be receiving the Blessed Body and Blood of Our Lord if they felt in their "conscience" it was the right thing to do.
He apparently sees no reason at all for anyone to covert to the Catholic faith.
Pope Francis even spoiled the practice of praying for the Pope's intentions. Now they are an excuse for cheesy, manipulative videos mostly promoting one left-wing cause or another, but never anything recognizably Catholic. The editorial board for these videos consists of the predictable interfaith salad: Jew, Moslem, Evangelical. And a Jesuit.
Pope Francis has climbed atop the bones of St. Peter in order to displace the Dalai Lama as the Generic Spiritual Leader of the World. Is this a humble man? Is this a Catholic Pope?
The YouTube Pontificate. How small. The Sound Byte Pontificate. How sad. The Conscience Pontificate. How dangerous.
Is The Pope Catholic?
The Bear is not going to recite the entire indictment. At this point, the Bear cannot say with certainty what, if any, dogmas of the Church our Pope actually believes.
That's right. The Bear does not believe the Pope is Catholic. Unless replacing the ancient faith with your personal hobbyhorses counts as Catholic.
The Bear believes people vastly underestimate the destructiveness of Pope Francis. He has to shake his head a bit when he hears people say, "Well, there have been a lot of bad popes in history." This may be true. However, the Bear has a sense that only Pope Francis has his knife to the Church's very throat. He is not wrong in one, or a few particulars, he is wrong period. Wrong about everything. Wrong in his foundation. Wrong for the job.
The Bear also realizes that he has come along at a very troubling time in Church history. A Church crisis in the 21st century is not a crisis in the 8th century. In our day, the walls of Jerusalem are down and the enemy is in the sanctuary. The defenders have nearly all fled. We are but shadows of the old Catholics who fought heresy and Turks. In other words, history ain't what it used to be.
So, He Must Not Be Pope, Right?
The Bear understands the sentiment, sympathizes with the cognitive dissonance that resolves for people. The Bear wishes he could believe Jorge Bergoglio were not the Pope. That Vatican II was a robber council. That we just need to hit the reset button to 1958.
But he can't. The Bear cannot take it upon himself to declare Jorge Bergoglio to be an anti-pope. So, Francis is Pope. And he is a very bad Pope. The Bear said Pope Francis held a knife to the Church's throat, but it is more like a poisoned chalice to her lips. The damage is subtle and systemic, but no less deadly.
How does a Bear resolve believing a man is not even Catholic, and believing the same man is also Pope?
He doesn't. He can't. He's not sure he has to. But since conscience is all the rage these days, the Bear must do what he is absolutely certain is the right thing. Pope, Jorge Bergoglio may be, but the Bear cannot remain silent. And since it is not a matter of this error or that, but a fundamental character problem with the man, the whole man must receive the attention of the Bear.
Bears -- at least talking Bears -- fight with biting wit and vicious swipes, and don't count the blows. Where satire will work, then it will be satire. Where sober analysis is better, then sober analysis it shall be. But it would all probably hurt Pope Francis' feelings if he read it. That's the way God made a Bear. Bears do not worship any man. If Francis wants the Bear to bend the knee, let him wear the crown.
"Nail Your Foot to the Floor in Front of Your Favorite Pew and Die There."
But let the Bear always remember to beg his reader: stay. None of this makes sense. It doesn't have to. You can do a lot worse than to put your head down and exercise the virtue of Holy Stubbornness. Indeed, agree with the Bear or not, but that is the only choice. It has its own benefits.
The watch-phrase is still, "Nail your foot the floor in front of your favorite pew and die there." If things were fine, you wouldn't have to nail your foot to the floor. This is the Catholic Church of our time, bad Pope and all. It may not look like much, but it's our home