Friday, April 28, 2017

Bear's Novel Released

Finally, the Bear's novel, Judging Angels, is available for purchase! It's a BIG, Bearish tale that begins with a series of crimes that put the criminal justice system on TILT. Does our hero George Able find a Christmas Miracle? Or does his second chance require a pact signed in blood? Whatever the case, the deal comes with one beautiful young redhead who is in love and lethal and clueless about her origins. A fractured family must put aside its problems to mount a rescue.

Red Morgan, as the woman calls herself, seems essential to their efforts. Yet troubling clues convince George's estranged wife Alice that there is only one obstacle to Red's fantasy of her and George's white wedding in Vegas: Alice herself.

The Bear has tried to pack a lot of interesting things into the story, but they are really there to keep the reader's interest during an exploration of common issues faced by everyone, but especially Catholics - and most especially lapsed Catholics - today.

  • How does the Church's apparent waffling on divorce affect a man tempted by a bad marriage and a beautiful new love?
  • What is the right way to deal with near occasions of sin - and the very, very, wrong way?
  • Why is the sin of pride so insidious?
  • What effect do the sins of parents have on their children?
  • Why are some smart people tempted to drift away from the Catholic Church?
  • How can two similar men choose different responses to changes in the Church?
  • How can seemingly weak priests occasionally surprise you?
  • And most of all, how far will each of the characters go to rescue Sandy, the youngest of the family who has been kidnapped by evil incarnate?

This a book where characters have grown-up discussions with one another. And sometimes kill people. Chapter by chapter, the temptations are ratcheted up, and the choices  become narrower.

And in this C.S. Lewis meets Raymond Chandler oddball there are - to paraphrase a line from A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum - plenty of dames, guns and schemes, for those of you who have absolutely no interest in pirates - erm, theology.

The Bear hopes you enjoy. Just set aside all expectations... all of them except the fact that this novel was written by Your Bear, with his Bearish sense of humor.

By the way, it bears little resemblance to the early version sent out to readers. Thanks to some constructive criticism and a major revision, the Bear is proud to release this novel, the first in the Rubricatae Chronicles. Yes, if you enjoy it, God willing, there will be plenty more of some of the most original writing out there.

There are a few instances of bad language, and a some Bearish scenes involving bloodshed, although, for the most part, the Bear toned that down.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Bears to Church: "We Got This"

Planet of the Heretics

"You bloody fools. Ah, damn you!"

That's it. Bears are taking over. Resistance is... yummy. For a preview, check out the Bear's favorite website.

Why does the Bear feel like Charleton Heston on the beach at the end of Planet of the Apes?

Ann Barnhardt's inaugural podcast was pretty gosh-darn good, and not just because she cites the Bear. She gets the high stakes we are playing for.

The Terrible Truth Everyone is Afraid to Acknowledge

IF we can have a pope who spouts the bull... erm... crap that Francis does; who is elected and reigns unchallenged; diminishing, no changing, the Faith in fact by exceptions and distractions; who one day dies; and 95% of the Catholic Church declares he was a saint among us, who was humble, and truly cared for those on "the peripheries;" whose abominable encyclicals remain on the shelf next to those of great, faithful popes of the past, THEN


There is a PROBLEM with the papacy itself.

And if a problem with the papacy, then a PROBLEM with the Church itself.

And if a problem with the Church itself, there is no logical reason to believe anything the Church has ever declared to be the truth. The Bear means, if you catch your spouse cheating, why should you believe him or her the next time there is reason to suspect adultery? A promise has turned out to be a broken thing. There are things you can do after breaking a promise, but un-breaking it is not one of them.

But God made this promise, right? So it is impossible that Pope Francis is Damien in his old age, right?

Anyway, Bear forgot. Adultery's no big deal anymore. The Bear would think of a better example if he did not run such a slipshod ephemeris.


Now, are you awake? Are  you shocked? Is there a flaw in the Bear's logic? A divinely guided institution is less like a machine than a diamond. A machine can have worn out parts and still function, although perhaps not as well.

A diamond is whole or not. Period. You can't admit a flaw to its integrity or it is essentially changed.

"But we've had bad popes before."

You know, the Bear does not believe that is even worth the electrons it would take to argue, but here goes. Those popes may have been immoral, and they may have been mistaken, but they did not start tearing down the Faith starting at Genesis 2:24. Also, a Medieval pope did not have the ability to wage unceasing warfare against the Faith on a one-to-on basis.

Worst argument ever. It would be fine if Jorge Bergoglio was just a "bad pope." He is far, far worse than that. He is an enemy of the Church. Possibly a major cosmic player, but let's not get carried away. It's like having a Bear rampage through your house and saying, "Oh, we've had pests before."

We really need a new theology of the papacy to logically cover the facts that (a) Francis is Pope, and (b) he is actively destroying the Catholic Church and the ancient Faith. Good luck with that one. You know, though, if you're going to make all these claims about your pope and your Church, you had better be able to explain Jorge Bergoglio. Submitting a dubia did not accomplish anything. And that is charitable.

The solution is... Yeah, Bear's got it here in his pocket...
Oh, wait, Bear doesn't wear pants. He doesn't have a pocket. Uh...

So what is the solution? The Bear's earlier shocking example cannot be simply dismissed unless we are to fall into fideism. Logically, it remains a viable option that can be forensically presented with a reasonable degree of confidence, if one were not Catholic. Right now the Bear would hate to have to enter into a debate with a Protestant about the Glorious Shining Truths of the Unchanging Catholic Church.

"Divorce? We Catholics don't believe all that crap anymore. Can we talk about something relevant, like migrants?"

But do not fear. The Bear is not going to adopt that logical and defendable position today.

But he's got to tell you, we are being so abused by our churchmen, by our theologians, by our thinkers, and by 99% of the Catholic media, and especially by the ultramontanist faction. Why does some STUPID BEAR who can't even shop at a normal menswear store have to sit here with comfort-honey smeared all over his muzzle trying to figure out this crap with his 450 gm. brain?

The Bear isn't going to adopt that logical and defendable position he outlined before, you know, the one that we've been duped all along. That exercise is not the take-away.

He will adopt some other logical and defendable position.

Except he does not know what the Hell it is, and it is apparent none of our gelded darlings who manage what we believe are going to tell him. Freaking do-it-yourself Catholicism by blog. The Bear is sick and tired of it.

Pope Corbinian

Tell you what. If everything's up for grabs anyway, the Bear declares himself Pope Corbinian. Is that any more ridiculous than Pope Francis turned out to be? Would the Bear be a worse pope? Could he? Heck, the world would love him more than Francis. "A Bear! That is so adorable!"

So, great. First act: everything Jorge Bergoglio ever wrote is collected and burned. Second act: every act of Jorge Bergoglio's papacy is abrogated. Third act: Jorge Bergoglio is excommunicated with bell, book and candle and he is banished to the Vatican dungeons in chains.

The absence of microphones will prove fatal within days.

Pope Corbinian. Governing the Church from this ephemeris since April 26, 2017. Because, in all seriousness, the universe is not big enough for the contradictions inherent in there being a Catholic Church and Jorge Bergoglio being its pope.

Happy days are here again.

Pope TED

Everybody loves to hate TED talks. It is an official entry on the "Stuff White People Like" website. Comedian Sam Hyde was spot on when he gave a ridiculously self-congratulatory TED talk on "the 2070 Paradigm Shift" a few years ago, while dressed like a Greek hoplite.

With his "Neo-Earth Good Government League" he should have been the warm-up act for Francis' TED talk.

 Among the gems (this is Sam Hyde):

What inspires me, is teaching African refugees how to program Javascript. What inspires me is finding out how to use MagLev trains to get resources to the moon. These are the challenges that tomorrow's going to face.

It should be no surprise that Pope Francis popped up on a TED to talk about the "Future You."

The Bear finds that phrase ominous, since, actuarially, the future Bear will shortly be fertilizing the daisy patch. But, of course, the future is full of hope for Pope Francis. But what kind of hope?

As the Bear read the bland comments, he recalled the brilliant po-mo generator that assembles jargon into academic essays that have fooled at least one journal. It would not be hard to create a "Francis Generator" that did a quick paste job using solidarity, refugees, migrants, youth, arms dealers, dialogue, and those evil northern bastards who stole everything from the south, etc.

This talk could have been generated by the Bear's hypothetical program. And it is just as hard to write a sensible story about. You can skim it for yourself. It isn't that long. It is devoid of any genuine Catholic insights. The theological virtue of Hope is reduced to an expectation for a better tomorrow - here on earth. Pope Francis actually calls for a revolution. A worldly revolution, of course, that would put in power progressives like himself.

It makes an uncomfortable read, because you realize that this is not someone who is all that interested in souls, or Heaven, or any of that stuff. Jorge Bergoglio was elected Pope to advance the agenda of the Prince of This World. His gospel is the anti-gospel of the Prince of This World.

The Bear will pull one comment for analysis, though.

If there is one parable that is the most abused, it is the Parable of the Good Samaritan. Your Pope makes it sound like it is being declaimed by Lenin while the Internationale plays in the background.

The story of the Good Samaritan is the story of today’s humanity. People's paths are riddled with suffering, as everything is centered around money, and things, instead of people. And often there is this habit, by people who call themselves "respectable," of not taking care of the others,

So far, so not too awful. There are many who put caring for another person far down on the list. Especially rich bastards, but, still, this isn't so bad. But then here's the sting.

thus leaving behind thousands of human beings, or entire populations, on the side of the road. Fortunately, there are also those who are creating a new world by taking care of the other, even out of their own pockets.

"Thousands of human beings." "Entire populations, on the side of the road." But, hey, those who support my immigration policy are "creating a new world." Heaven on earth. You would think his Bible had "The Parable of Redistributing Wealth to Entire Populations By the Side of the Road." If his papacy lasts long enough, yours will, too.

The Bear will let you judge for yourself whether Pope TED has a clue about what the Parable of the Good Samaritan means. But here's a hint: forbid any Marxist interpretation and he would be left stammering.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Where's That Story?

The Bear reconsidered. If the original blogger thinks it should be dropped, the Bear should respect her wishes, rather than perpetuate a story that - really - was not his. We are a community, and... well, that's all. (Re: Arkansas condemned.)

Monday, April 24, 2017

Interview of the Bear on his Novel JUDGING ANGELS

Please examine the elements of the
cover carefully. They are each there for
a reason. Do not say you were duped by
the Bear into thinking you were
buying a Pooh book.
Q: When will Judging Angels be published, and who is the publisher?
A: If they made wristwatches big enough to fit on the wrists of Bears, the Bear would be looking at his. Hope and Life Press.
Q: Once and for all, who really wrote Judging Angels?
A: The same intelligence, wit and style behind this ephemeris is behind Judging Angels.
Q: What genre is Judging Angels?
A: All of the above. [Audience light flashes: "Laugh."] It has been marketed as a "psychological thriller," and "urban fantasy." But it also has elements of crime, mystery, police procedural, soft science fiction, adventure, and even romance. Perhaps it is best to say that a family and the criminal justice system meet something very difficult to digest. The "secret ingredient" is theological, however. Whatever loud explosions and bright lights are going off to distract readers, the heart of Judging Angels is God. Think of it as a cross between C.S. Lewis and Raymond Chandler.
Q: How would that work?
A: Dames and guns, see, but in the service of the Church and souls.
Q: That seems like it would be hard to make work.
A: Yeah? Well, not for a Bear, see? And not for any characters who are "not from around here" as they prefer to say, wink wink. Mostly it's dark, but it is well-lubricated by mordant humor. The purpose is to throw some ordinary people into the midst of various temptations and see what happens. And laugh at them. Here's a hint: [Bear shakes head sadly]. While the details might be fanciful, the principles are frighteningly realistic. Let's just say, you'll probably put the book down thinking about getting into Confession.
Q: What do you mean by that?
A: There are consequences to every decision. Don't come looking for cheap grace or the kind folks of Bedford Falls to come and bail out poor old George Bailey. There is a reason there needs to be a lot of humor. It deals with serious things like exactly how everyone is going to Hell. That's what's really scary, not a throat getting slit or something. (Hypothetical example... if that means what the Bear thinks; but it happens to people!)
Q: How does it compare with The Brothers Karamazov?
A: A lot more laughs. Um, Bear forgets. How many people got shot in that book?
Q: The Godfather?
A: Um, how many people got shot in that one?
Q: Obviously, you're joking, right?
A: Yeah. Joking.
Q: What audiences is Judging Angels suitable for?
A: That's a good question. A Hell of lot fewer than the Bear thought before this interview. Just kidding, just kidding. It is not as bad as the Book of Judges, to put things in perspective. It deals with things like maybe shooting people, and near occasions of sin. Oh, also strangling people. And maybe a pitchfork. That's it... okay: knife. I'm not going to give everything up. Some of the violence is what we call "off scene." Nothing explicit. Bear took all that out. Actually, some stuff was taken out, and 'explicit' is hard to define, but the Bear will say there is nothing tasteless. No Bear attacks. Although that's a great idea. It may not be too late for that. Maybe fraternizing with supernatural beings of uncertain origin, like redheads. [Audience light flashes: "Laugh."]
Q: Anything besides violence?
A: There are dark themes such as suicide, and human mating rituals, but this is published by a very respectable publishing house, after all. Tough to write about human behavior while keeping it all innocent. Even Goldilocks was a felon. The Bear writes what he knows about, except no salmon, and no honey. It has some language C.S. Lewis probably didn't use too much, but you've probably heard worse in the Marine Corps. Besides, the Bear thinks one character is responsible for nearly all of it. And it isn't the Marine. Sin and damnation is grownup stuff. It's not for pre-teens.
Q: Do you have a favorite character?
A: Sure. The one on the cover. Seriously, the Bear thinks most of them would be best as a meal. Two she-bears eating everyone wouldn't be a bad ending. The 15-year-old has the best lines and the worst parents ever, so you got to kind of like him. There's a six-year-old who is pretty harmless. In this book.
Q: Can you tell us anything about the plot?
A: Sure. The easiest-to-kidnap member of the family gets kidnapped, and everybody nearly sets aside their various issues to try to rescue her. (Watch the trailer) But that is the least important thing going on, which is the big joke that everybody but the main characters get. Oh, I forgot something. Tarot readings.
Q: What about them?
A: There are some, but done by the bad guys. Let's just say, they don't help. Oh.
Q: What?
A: That made me think of something else. Maybe someone else gets shot... at... urm... But there is a strong anti-violence message. The message is violence is bad, and stuff. It doesn't solve anything. Also a strong gun responsibility message. Guns are bad, but if you have to use them, do so safely. And effectively. Also, there is a strong softball bat responsibility message, and same goes for that wicked-looking thing in your grandpa's toolshed whose name you don't know. Look, bad guys do bad things. The author was a death penalty defense lawyer, for Pete's sake! And a Bear, who has, let's call them issues with firearms and humans, okay? And redheads. One redhead, he means. His driver, bodyguard, factotum and lawfully wedded wife under the Munich Bear Exception, Red Death.
Q: Aren't you afraid of controversy coming out with a Catholic novel like you've described?
A: Oh, so you haven't read the Bear's ephemeris! No. Nobody is going to order Judging Angels thinking it was Pilgrim's Progress for Catholics. The Bear believes you have to take risks, and Catholic fiction should not live on its own National Forest Reserve. You would have to reach to find something to be offended at, unless you're a Baptist, but even so, the Bear has always considered Judging Angels a mainstream novel with characters dealing with human problems that have eternal consequences. The Bear certainly hopes no one would have to be Catholic to enjoy this book, or find value in it. It will resonate most strongly with Catholics, though. And Bears. And guys who like redheads and guns. With everyone, really.
Q: Thank you for making yourself available for this exclusive interview.
A: You're very good. It was almost like interviewing myself.
[Audience light flashes: "Applause."]

The comments reflect the opinions and humor of the Bear, and his for-human-purposes persona "Tim Capps", and not necessarily those of the publisher.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Bear's Prediction: Francis Will Leave Little Legacy

A rhumba of rattlesnakes. (Yes, that is what it is called.)
The Vatican may be a rhumba of rattlesnakes, but too few of them are motivated by aberrant ideology to risk a repeat of Sampson's after-dinner show for the Philistines.

Bear predicts there will be the usual polite language when Bergoglio go-goes, but inside, most prelates are going to be saying, "Boy, did we elect the wrong guy. How could we have been so stupid? Let's get back to normal ASAP before the Bear hops a tramp salmon freighter and cleans house, but good."

The Bear does not think the institutional Church enjoys turmoil. Nor does it wish to court schism, however small the risk. And, who knows? Perhaps there are 10 righteous men in Sodom-on-the-Tiber.

The next pope will be a reliable Italian. This whole darts-at-a-map thing has not worked out very well. His job will be to settle the hens down after that fox Bergoglio is gone. The era of the magisterium of the sound byte will be over. Everybody has seen what a disaster it has been.

Nobody likes to be made fun of incessantly.

There will be the usual suspects agitating, but the Bear repeats, institutions do not enjoy chaos. The mainstream plus the faithful will out-vote the cardinals of questionable orthodoxy.

The Bear does not think Bergoglio was voted in over a desire to extend Holy Communion to divorced and remarried persons. The Bear thinks he was elected to be the outsider that would fix things. Perhaps he even ran for pope on that platform. "I'm from Argentina. And if there's one thing that Argentina is known for it is fixing problems with institutions."

Bergoglio is a little man. He has done what many little men have done when given a big office. He has strutted around like Generalissimo Peron while telling us descamisados how humble he is. The last thing the next pope will want to hear is, "...carrying on the reform of the Church begun by Pope Francis..."

There is a contrary scenario, however. While the institution does not enjoy turmoil, it enjoys popularity. If Bergoglio is perceived to be a populist who made the Church relevant again, we might get someone similar in style. Even so, the Bear still has to believe orthodoxy is going to count at the next conclave.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Can Francis Destroy the Church?

Bears have a saying: "A bee on the end of your nose is big." Meaning, when we're focused closely on something, it is easy for things to look bigger than they are.

The quick answer to Can Francis Destroy the Church is probably not. This moves us to the second question: Can Francis Destroy the Papacy. That's a closer question.

The tools the Bear has are practical ones developed over centuries to smoke out liars. One of the most important of these is simple the assessment of credibility. It's a seat-of-your-pants skill we all use. It may seem like bootstrapping, because, after all, determining credibility is supposed to be the result of inquiry in court. Yet most people can size up someone pretty quickly and surprisingly accurately. Credibility is the short-cut to knowing if a witness is telling the truth in particulars.

Once you decide someone is not worthy of your belief, his credibility is shot, and you don't need to worry about whether the streetlight was out at the time he said he clearly saw the nighttime murder across the street. Liars lie, buh-bye.

The Bear alludes to the greatest engine for determining the truth known to mankind - cross examination. Exposing bad testimony in particular answers is fine, and a good cross is darned near unbeatable (except by a truthful witness not playing games).

Ah, just the name is charged with drama and tinged with more than a little fear. Cross examination is seldom fun for the witness. Especially when he is being cross examined by a Bear.

You might catch a witness in an outright falsehood. That would certainly put a ding in his believability. You might learn that he is legally blind without his glasses, which were sitting broken on top of his TV as he peered out the window, or he was in Las Vegas when the crime was committed back in Peoria.

Or, you might just observe the witness and listen to the little fibs and accumulation of backtracks. Then, maybe you learn he's a convicted felon who is the best friend of the alternate suspect. A pattern builds up over time and one can can conclude this:

"This person is simply not the truth-telling sort of man I'm going to pay much attention to in this important matter." There is no recovering in the eyes of the jury from losing credibility.

The Pope of Rome is unique among all people in that his job is to speak the truth, and only the truth, but, moreover, he is preserved from error by a whole lot of complicated rules that we can forget about for our purposes. Unless someone cares to explain why it's okay for the Pope to avoid the truth on important matters such as communion for the divorced and remarried as long as he doesn't have his lucky rabbit's foot in his pocket, the Bear does not draw nice distinctions in the age of the magisterium of the sound byte.

So when a sentient Catholic must concede the obvious - Pope Francis is not telling the truth - it matters. Big time. After all, if the Pope can spend his entire papacy running around contradicting Jesus and shoveling untold millions of souls into Hell (maybe), what good is he? And if the signature office of the Catholic Church is worse than useless, what else did those devious medieval clerics dupe us about?

If Pope Francis had not already said Martin Luther was right, the Bear might suspect he was. As it is, the opposite of whatever our Pope says is a veritable rock of the faith.

So, is it time to stock up on Jack Chick tracts and hit the hallelujah highway? This is really another way of coming at a favorite theme of the Bear: cognitive dissonance. Catholics are being required to believe two opposite things at the same time. The Bear doesn't know about you, but that gives the Bear a headache. A headache and a craving for human flesh.

So what's the answer? Stay tuned, but feel free to try your hand.


The Bear has been busy. He will be glad to be able to return to regular blogging.

Editing goes back-and-forth like a tennis match. Bear gets an edited manuscript, marks it up and sends it back, then awaits the return volley. The Bear has just submitted his final edit. In other words, as far as the Bear is concerned, Judging Angels is finished.

Bear will get it back one last time. When he's happy with it (and he should be, by now) that's it. You may fire when ready, Gridley.

Since this is a series, the Bear has been thinking about a name for that. All the ones he wanted were already taken. (Dante Chronicles - taken.) There are "The Red Files," or "The Rubricatae Files." There is also "The Return of the Firstborn," or "The Firstborn Chronicles."

Comments welcome.

More than a few folks volunteered to be readers, but did not get back to the Bear. The Bear wants you to know that's fine. It's a long book, and things are much less rough now than they were then. Not everyone likes urban fantasy. Whatever the reason, the Bear says heavy attrition is expected and  he does not take it personally.

The Bear would hate for old friends to feel they could not post  because of some reason or another.     

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Checkers Lives!

We had thought old Reynard the Fox had inflicted a death blow upon our brave rooster, Checkers. He  did valiantly fight the fox, giving his hens time to escape to safety. However, with some TLC from his girls, he survived. His crow, however, will never be the same. It is now a drawn-out croak, instead of a ringing challenge to darkness and foxes.


Croak with pride, thou Auroura's falcon,
who purpleth the sky with thine enemies' blood,
thou dost not show thy wounds, but singeth.
Chicken thou never wert.

Revolutionaries or Thieves?

When we hear the account of the crucifixion of Jesus, some might be surprised to learn that Jesus was crucified between two "revolutionaries," instead of the traditional thieves.

Let's look at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishop's New American Bible (Revised Edition), the Vulgate, the Douay Rheims Bible, and the original Greek.

NABRE (and Lectionary):
"Two revolutionaries were crucified with him, one on his right and the other on his left." New American Bible. (2011). (Revised Edition., Mt 27:38). Washington, DC: The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The Vulgate (the Latin word latrones means brigands, robbers, highwaymen):
"Tunc crucifixi sunt cum eo duo latrones: unus a dextris, et unus a sinistris." Biblia Sacra juxta Vulgatam Clementinam. (2005). (Ed. electronica., Mt 27:38). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
 Douay Rheims Bible (a translation of St. Jerome's Vulgate):
"Then were crucified with him two thieves: one on the right hand and one on the left." The Holy Bible, Translated from the Latin Vulgate. (2009). (Mt 27:38). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
Other translations have "bandits" (Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition) or "robbers" (New Revised Standard Version).

The original Greek is λῃσταί, or lestai. It comes from a root meaning "booty." The Greek word in the original Gospel manuscript simply meant "robber." It is probably closer to our word "brigand," as in one of a band of robbers, not a lone mugger. "Thief," is not the best translation, however, because a thief can be a shoplifter or embezzler. Brigands often killed people. It is quite possible that the criminals crucified next to Jesus were murderers. (In St. Luke's Gospel, one of them -- described as "criminals" -- even admits that they were being justly punished for their crimes, hardly the words of a martyred freedom fighter.)

Some provincial funerary inscriptions from Roman times record that the dead were killed by latrones, i.e. brigands. Starting in the 1950's, leftist scholars began arguing that these well-to-do Romans had been killed by "revolutionaries," anti-imperialist freedom fighters.

Since the Roman province of Judea was a hotbed of rebellion, the NABRE translators decided that these latrones, λῃσταί (lestai) -- brigands -- must have been Jewish zealots who were rebelling against the Romans. They departed from the traditional translation and came up with the eccentric "revolutionaries."

They may have been freedom fighters, or just murderous brigands, or some combination. But the actual Greek does not compel a translation to "revolutionaries." Indeed, there are other Greek words that could have been used had St. Matthew intended to convey that idea.

The NABRE is usually a close and reliable translation from the original languages. The Bear believes in this particular instance, however, translators read something into the text that is not there.

As for why the USCCB would want to put Jesus between two revolutionaries on Calvary, your guess is as good as the Bear's.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017


The Bear knows some have expressed interest in contributing to this august journal, known as SCB.

It's easy. Keep it topical, short and interesting. If you can squeeze a chuckle out of it, so much the better. Just email it to the Bear. Don't pretend to be the Bear. No guarantees, A rejection may only mean that the Bear is working  on a similar piece.

You would be credited with your own name, or any woodland creature pseudonym you wish.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Pope Lets Down Bloggers Once Again

The whole idea of blogging is that somebody does something and the blogger offers insightful commentary. But Pope Francis is so mind-numbingly stupid there's just nothing to add.

Muslims mass-murder Christians in Egypt and the Pope says this:

We pray for the victims of the attack carried out unfortunately today, this morning, in Cairo, in a Coptic church. I am close to my dear Brother, His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, and to the Coptic Church and to all the dear Egyptian nation I express my profound condolence; I pray for the deceased and the wounded, I am close to the families and to the whole community. May the Lord convert the heart of all those persons that sow terror, violence and death, and also the heart of those that produce and traffic arms.

Sorry, Bear got nothing.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Bear Francis Cartoon

Insist on genuine AMORIS LAETITIA explosives to get that Adultery Express Lane done on schedule!

Friday, April 7, 2017

So, If Adulterers Can Receive Communion...

ACCEPTING THE FOLLOWING AS TRUE for the sake of this experiment...

If adulterers can receive Holy Communion, then who must not?

  • Murderers
  • Child abusers
  • Active Homosexuals (just kidding, but of course!)
  • Um...

The list seems pretty short to the Bear. Who really needs the sacrament of confession? If it all comes down to the interior forum of your conscience anyway, and Francis has set a pretty low bar of adultery, why should a Bear or anyone bother with going to confession? (It was not very much used anyway, if you compare the confession line to the communion line.)

There is a line in The Caine Mutiny where Fred MacMurray says the ship was "designed by geniuses to run by idiots." With no offense to the Petrine Office, the Bear thinks the Church is pretty much the same. It does not take a lot of talent to avoid totally screwing up everything. The dumbest pope in history could fake his way through a decade or so. "Where is il papa?" "Oh, he's around here someplace, praying, I think."

Most of us have had the experience of finding the end of a loose thread and pulling. And pulling. It just never stops. At the level where most Catholics live, do you really believe most of them are not going to find the logic of "if adulterers, then..." compelling? Where does that logic stop? You cannot ignorantly or wickedly fool around with complex equipment with many interacting parts, or even a sweater.

The question of communion for adulterers was answered long ago. Now, Francis has not just messed up our theology of Holy Matrimony, he has attacked at least two other sacraments, as well: the Holy Eucharist and Confession. The Bear says "at least" because the more Francis throws well-established truths into what he views as the dustbin of history, the more challenged the credibility of the Church itself becomes.

Francis may or may not realize he is sawing off the limb upon which he sits. The Bear believes he doesn't care. The Bear thinks he wakes up every morning saying, "What good is being Pope if I can't change everything?" He won't be around for the drop.

"If adulterers can receive Holy Communion on the whim of a pope, what good is a pope, anyway?" Let's just make it official and become Lutherans.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Judging Angels Ready

[UPDATE OUT IN APRIL] It won't be long now. Judging Angels is all set up for printing and looks fantastic. The Bear could not be more pleased by the early reviews. Now the Bear must walk through the valley of the shadow of edits and submit his final comments, pleas, and rawrs. Bears can work pretty quickly. The Bear will try to get a publishing date and details about how you can get your own autographed copies through this ephemeris.

If you believe you have a free copy coming to you, please remind the Bear by email to . Please put "FREE COPY" in the subject and remind the Bear of the circumstances, plus your mailing address.

The sequel is rolling along nicely, too, anywhere from a quarter to a third finished. The Bear will toss out some chapter titles when he gets some more. Of course, it will be hard to beat "Hotel Blocks Cops, Tots Chopped," but the Bear will do his ursine best.

New characters, and the domestic drama becomes a full-fledged conspiracy with favorite old characters take on roles of cosmic significance.

Soon, Woodland Creatures! Thank you for your encouragement.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Wicker Man Midwestern Edition

Awake Woodland Creatures, Awake and sing the ancient lays,
Dance the ancient dances, hunt the sacred eggs of fertility laid by
magical rabbits!  Awake, awake, for Ostara has come to brighten the Woodlands.

11 Days of Compassion as we roll into Ostara. The Bear doesn't know about your parish, but in his parish, Ostara is a very busy time to make sure you're seen at all the right events so people will think highly of you. This looks very complicated, however. Perhaps we could substitute Eleven Days of Random Bear Mauling. It would be simple, cheap, fun for the Bear, and exhilarating for survivors.

Perhaps you'll feel like doing a little mauling yourself after reading our Ostara events.
  • Compassionate Community Teen Photo Exhibit
  • Compassionate Community Photo Exhibit
  • Unity in Community Fast ("in your tradition")
  • Read "12 Steps to a Compassionate Life" by St. Karen Armstrong (not sure about the "St.")
  • All Species Puppet Workshop (WTF?)
  • Peace Coalition Monthly Vigil, Theme "What Does Compassion Look like?" (Like Pope Francis, dummies!)
  • Non-Violent Direct Action Principles and Practice, "when traditional advocacy and protest fail." (Um, once traditional advocacy and protest fail, doesn't sound like there's much left besides throwing bricks at Trump supporters.)
  • All People's Walk (sponsored by United Nations Association Southern Illinois Chapter, etc. (Guys, it's more fun if you at least jog. For the Bear that is.)
  • The Sultan and the Saint, SIU Law School Auditorium a docudrama about Muslim-Christian Peacemaking. Sponsor Dr. Zahoor & Sumera Makhdoom. (It will either be full of crap or the shortest movie ever.)
  • Potluck and Healing of the Nations Prayer Service, Epiphany Lutheran Church
  • Family-Style Story Time - children's books and activities exploring compassion and getting along. (Kids would like the Bear better, and might actually learn something useful)
  • Bystander Training for Teens - how to safely respond to conflict and stand up for others (get those cell phones out kiddies)
  • SIU Law School, "Upstanders: Are You One?" Dr. Ralph Anderson interfaith dialogue program includes a panel discussion on being "Upstanders" with representatives from oppressed groups: Jews (seriously?) African Americans, Muslims, and LGBTQ. View WEAPONS OF THE SPIRIT video. (Wait, no Bears? Lucky for us we don't need any help.)
  • Transpoetic Playgound: Sexual Assault, at Gaia House. Spoken word performances on the theme (for the poetry-challenged)
  • Intro to nonviolent communications. "Nonviolent Communications shows us a way of being very honest, without any criticism, insults or putdowns, and with any intellectual diagnosis implying wrongness blah blah blah." (Sure it does. We've seen what the left actually does, so not interested in watching them stroke each other.) RAWR.
  • Preventing Ideologically Inspired Targeted Violence, i.e. against marginalized populations. (Note: "WE do not have an ideology, we're just right, so this doesn't apply to us.")
  • Random Tokens of Kindness.(Make junk out of clay to deter people from ever being kind to weirdoes again.)
  • Immigrants in our Community (Bear will be there with video, ICE on speed dial)
  • All Peoples Walk (DISCRIMINATION!)
  • Restorative Practices (peace-keeping, communications and conflict resolu... (What? Bear dozed off. But he may have discovered a great way to fall asleep.)
  • FISH FRY! The Bear enjoys this one the best, and it is at least recognizably Catholic! ("I still don't understand. If I BOUGHT all of the fish, you have to GIVE ME all of the fish.")
  • Feed Your Neighbor 5k Run.( Sometimes the Bear is still hungry after the FISH FRY and he is, after all, a neighbor. Hi neighbor. No, just keep running.)
  • All Species Puppet Workshop Puppet Hike. Sponsors; Beloved Puppetistas. Bear promises only to eat the puppets. Wait. There's what inside them?
  • The Bear (1988) - (they thought they were going to screen The Crash, but this is better.)
  • Race Unity Fishbowl and Interactive Dialogue. (Bear will be there with his fishing pole.)
  • Hymns of Love and Kindness - Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. (Man, have the Mormons lowered their standards or what?)
  • The Quran - The Environment for Developing and Maintaining Compassion. Fatih-based presentation o the Quran's recurring theme of Compassion. Sponsor: Carbondale Muslim Center. (Make up your own joke.)
  • Face 2 Face: a dialogue of compassion. (Bear stuns other person with earsplitting roar and when the victim wakes up his head will be covered with catsup, Everybody laughs.)
  • Compassionate Response: Mental Health First Aid (Ounce of prevention and all that - don't put any of this crap in the Bear's bulletin and he won't need mental first aid.) 
  • Step Into My Shoes - Improv for Understanding ("That Bear's hogged the stage for 45 minutes and we can't understand anything he says." / "Are you going to tell him to leave?" / "RAWR RAWR rawr. Rawr? RAWR!" / "I think he wants us to laugh." / "But how do you know this isn't the wrong time?")

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Berogliologo for Chrisloslems

The Bear assumes everyone is used to the blasphemies of the current occupant of the Vatican. Therefore you will not be surprised by the latest misuse of what is, after all the Cross of Salvation, in a FrancisLogo that combines the Cross upon which Our Lord died for us with the Crescent that has historically flown over armies and fleets hostile to Christ.

It's two great tastes that taste great together!

The Cross means no more to Francis than the Nike swoosh or the bitten white Apple. Just another corporate symbol which the Marxists and homosexuals that apparently run things cheek-by-jowl with Francis the Merciful may mix together with in an astonishing display of ignorance.

Especially is now the wrong time to be awarding cred that has not been earned. The one message Islam needs until they progress in civilization is,"No, you're not doing well at all. You will get a visit from the Pope when you've earned it. He's just going to have to get his virtue signaling fix some other way."

Pope Francis, I am a Bear. You're not fooling me. It is not just the Bears. Everything down to the field mice are onto your racket. Leave. Retire. Go home to all your non-Catholic besties.

Or better, think of the ground-breaking ecumenical-interfaith funeral you could unleash! A Jew, a Muslim, a Buddhist, then the evangelicals, Lutherans, etc. This would be your biggest moment in your life. Homosexuals, Masons,!

Don't worry about me Jorge. I'll be okay. Just thinking about it gets me excited.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Bella Sicilia

One day, during some war or another in which his adopted homeland was involved, the Bear sailed off to do combat with the Saracens. (We won, so on to more interesting things.)

The Bear then settled into garrison duty with his family in occupied Sicily for a few years. He was a un colpo grosso in the piazza walking up and down, arm in arm with the leading men of the region. The Bear did not know if his popularity was because he was a Bear, or because of all his children. It depends on what the word stallone means, he guesses.

The Bear recently read a blog by an expat complaining about how her attempts to speak Italian were met in Sicily. She had majored in Italian, and was annoyed when Sicilians would furrow their brows in a show of incomprehension, or correct her pronunciation.

If the Bear had to guess, her problem was she was trying to be an Italian speaking Italian. We collected words for our vocabularies like pretty seashells and strung them together like primitive tribesmen to express our thoughts. We butchered their language, then served it up with overdone pasta, but by golly, it was an honest Sicilian dish. We lived in our village and learned the dialect of our neighbors.

Of course, when we went to Rome, we sounded like, "Wee doggies, Granny, them's some tasty possums ya'll got there." Heh. We were proud to be the Catania Hillbillies.

The funny thing is, Sicilians never seemed to mind our earnest efforts. Sicilians like Americans, especially Americans with a troupe of performing blond bimbi. Especially Americans with access to meat, liquor and cigarettes from the base exchange. Sometimes we were flat out shaken down, by, for instance, a shepherd who refused to move his nasty sheep off the road while mimicking smoking. More often we just participated in the informal economy and culture of goods and status.

As Dottore Bear, your narrator had the cachet of being American and the status of being a lawyer. It is difficult for egalitarian Americans to understand how status-conscious a culture can be.

In the Bear's extensive travels, he learned the whole idea of travel is to be someplace different. People will treat you as you expect to be treated and treat them in return.

Not to single out Germans, but madonn', they goose stepped off their tour buses in formation and occupied a trattoria. Then they complained, presumably that it was not exactly like Germany. The Bear found this to be true in more than one country. "Ve von this country fair und sqvare, und we have to eat after Belgians."

Sadly, he never got to Germany to return the favor. Come to think of it, they would have just shot him. Bruno + 2006. "The shooting has happened. The bear is dead." Wow, Manfred, shootings that just "happen," and animals that are "dead," with no linguistic connection is pretty cowardly if you ask the Bear. One moment please. (Bear steps into prototype teleporter and mauls Manfred Wolfl and returns.)

We found Sicilians to be warm and lovers of life's simple pleasures, as well as gray market goods once in awhile. The Bear would move back in a heartbeat, provided that it had not changed since the Battle of Lepanto or whatever had brought the Bear there to begin with. Unfortunately, Tunisians were a problem there before being assaulted by refugees was cool. The Bear suspects things have not changed for the better.

Oh, bother. Reynard has just dealt a death blow to Checkers, our rooster. A bold dastard. And no sooner does the Bear write the above than the predator is back. This time Red Death set the hounds on him. We used to be able to shoot stuff, but humans encroached all around the Bear's territory, making it tricky.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Dapper Bear Drinking Cosmo

The Bear received by Woodlands Post this delightful token of admiration from Badger. It is a portrait of a dapper Bear dressed in what appears to be a very fine 1940s suit, drinking a Cosmopolitan (or to interpret it less anachronistically, perhaps a gin-based Daisy).

It is drawn on a large leaf from "Wilson's Tales of the Borders, and of Scotland. Historical, Traditionary and Imaginative." They were originally published in weekly installments beginning in 1834. The story this particular page comes from is dated 1835 and appears to be from "The Orphan."

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Jesus and the Samaritan Refugee at the Well

The powerful drugs the Bear is required to take so Fish, Game and Wildlife's Large Talking Predators Department  will allow him to walk freely among men just aren't powerful enough sometimes.

You see, in our parish, we recently learned that the Samaritan woman at the well was really "a refugee."

Now, the Bear knows Pope Francis and liberals have shoved refugees down our throats like Jorge B. slinging it at a Buenos Aires coprophagia party. Refugees are the flavor of the month. Meanwhile, homosexuals, Blacks, and other people on the periphery of our awareness (which is where I have banished Francis) are eye-rolls, get-losts, and move-alongs.

Try the Dalia Lama. He's looking for relevance these days.

Sorry, but live by the virtue signaling of others, die by the virtue signaling of others. It was never about you in the first  place, Sunshine, as you may be figuring out, but probably aren't.

Anyway, the story is now given current relevance by turning the Samaritan woman into a refugee. That's the deal, see. Jesus never realized it, of course, nor did John the Evangelist, but now we have after all these centuries.

The real story of the Samaritans began when they were forcibly removed by the Assyrians. They got a good dose of paganism, intermarried, came back, worshiped idols for awhile then invented a new religion sort of based on Judaism. Kind of like Pope Francis did with the Catholic Church. The woman at the well shows Samaritans already had the merciful Franciscan view of divorce and remarriage, since she had five husbands.

Oh, and by the way, the Lenten penitential service will be held next... Oh, what's that? Never. Fine with the Bear. Just blow off the whole freaking thing. If my parish is Catholic, my name is Paddington. Who should have eaten Jorge in his crib, but didn't because he's a poor excuse for a Bear.

Friday, March 24, 2017

News of the World as Recalled by the Bear

Here is a recap of world news based on the Bear's cursory reading of stories the past few days. The Bear has been busy and may have gotten a few details wrong, but he's pretty sure the gist is accurate.

  • WASHINGTON D.C. (March 24, 2017) -- Trump the Usurper hosted a hunting trip for Soviet strongman Vladimir Putin. The pair were seen on the banks of the Potomac River clubbing adorable baby river seals to death with babies. Witnesses also report Trump the Usurper backed a dump truck full of $100,000,000 bills and buried a laughing Putin. The two men spent the rest of the afternoon playing in the pile of money like children in autumn leaves.
  • WASHINGTON D.C. (March 24, 2017) -- Legitimate President Dear Leader Hillary Clinton staged a lightning raid on Richmond, Virginia yesterday, freeing thousands of slaves. Trump the Usurper had last Thursday declared the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments to the constitution null and void, opening the way for the return of slavery for the first time since 1957. A Gallup poll shows 100% of Americans support the campaign of Dear Leader to restore America to the golden years when Legitimate First Partner Bill Clinton was president.
  • PARIS (March 23, 2017) --  The religious harmony of France was broken by a White male using a loudspeaker to cry "Jesus is Lord" from the top of the Eiffel Tower. Witnesses say he had a distinct American southern accent and raised an enormous Confederate flag on the tip of the landmark. He mowed down thousands of curious Parisians gathered below with an automatic machine assault rifle firing bullets of depleted uranium. With a final cry of "Soldiers of the Cross do thou likewise" he detonate a 20 megaton nuclear bomb strapped to his back, destroying France. 
  • VATICAN (March 24, 2017) -- Today Generic Spiritual Leader of the World Pope Francis condemned frequent terrorist attacks by Christians. "Out of all religions, why do we only see Christians committing all these terrorist acts? The exclusivist nature of a religion that offers only one means of salvation can only breed hatred. Their beliefs taste like excrement in my mouth." The pontiff announced that a new bible was being prepared that eliminates all references to violence and incorporates wisdom from other faiths.
  • DHARASA, INDIA (March 21, 2017) -- The 14th Dalai Lama unveiled a new campaign to retake the role of the Generic Spiritual Leader of the World and wisest, most merciful  man ever from Pope Francis. Since the leader of the world's 6.7 billion Catholics was elected in 2013, his press has pushed the top Buddhist monk out of the public eye. "Sure, Francis is a nice guy," the Dalai Lama told reporters, "but the Catholic Church does not offer trendy practices like meditation and reincarnation. And I'm totally behind gay rights and shared restrooms and tolerance. Real big on tolerance." The Dalai Lama released the first of what he promised to be monthly videos. Critics panned the first video, however calling it "boring," "cheesy," and "what the Hell is this even about?"
  • EUROPE (Just About Any Day) -- A White Asian man killed some people while yelling something. Experts declare he is mentally ill, "possibly bipolar or agoraphobic or something." The leaders of the country warned against any backlash against Asians. The Dalai Lama quickly issued a statement urging everyone to be nice. Authorities continue to search for a motive, but say there probably is not one. "Who knows why crazy people do things like this?" Many are calling for the banning of guns/bombs/knives/swords/cars/hate/mental illness. The Dalai Lama issued a second statement, saying, "Yes, ban all those things. And pass laws making stories about Pope Francis illegal."

Feel free to add your own stories if you think the Bear missed something. Again, he may have gotten some of the details wrong, but these are an accurate impression based on stories the Bear has glanced at.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

I Have a Rendezvous with Death

The protagonist of the Bear's novel, Judging Angels, is a death penalty defense lawyer, although the death penalty has nothing to do with the story itself, and our hero does not so much as step into a courtroom. The book begins like this:
It was the day of very last things.

A well-dressed man approaching the street squinted against a morning sun that offered brightness, but not warmth. He knew that today, his old adversary, Death, would collect 150,600 souls and no one would notice. Just like every other day. More or less.  
If a tsunami took them all at once, it would be a tragedy. People would question the existence of God. Let an attractive White woman be murdered and she’s she is a celebrity. Someone else dies of colon cancer and nobody cares. George Able held the proper, unsentimental perspective on death. Everybody dies one at a time and in the dark, and that was all. The rest is just selling the news.      
You know, he's onto something. Every day we make plans, and gamble that we will not be one of the unlucky 150,600. Dad was an insurance salesman. Some of my earliest memories are of the posters in his office, the words of which I would amuse myself trying to pick out while he wrote reports. "You put your shoes on this morning, but who will take them off tonight?" Today, one or two inappropriate responses come to mind, but the innocent child understood.

With the passing of my older brother, it has struck me that I am in the on-deck circle of life. As I was approaching my 60th birthday anyway, I was already getting the feeling that at some point, no matter how I have reinvented myself - indeed changed my very species - there was no denying things were winding down.

I remember once reading of an upcoming execution. I knew that an autopsy would be performed. What anyone hoped to find that they did not already know I never understood, but that is not what jarred. The strange thing was that the pathologist - I knew him well, of course - had asked his secretary to schedule an autopsy for a healthy man who was still alive. If there are things one just does not do, scheduling autopsies in advance has to be near the top of the list.

We have a rendezvous with death, you and I. Our autopsies, so to speak, are already written on the secretary's calendar. Maybe many years from now; maybe we shall not see the morning. The Church, unless I am wrong, used to speak of this. Catholics used to be encouraged to contemplate their own deaths, the brevity of life. I could dilate on that thought, but will hasten to my conclusion.

I do not fear death much, but I do fear pain and I do fear fear. Especially that fear of inevitability, that now it is really happening. I expect I'll be burning a pinch to the merciful god Roxanol if I have a chance. What I really fear is judgment. I am just not sure about the new soccer-program-theology of everyone getting an an award just for participating.

I wish everybody lived a long time and went to heaven. I know the first is not true, and have grave reservations about the second. And I hate it that I'm nearly always right.

Monday, March 20, 2017

A Bear's Lent: The Perfect Bear

While he wandered disconsolately after Father Corbinian laid upon him the hard burden of no honey for three moons and no ponies forever, the Bear tried to make sense of everything.

He remembered confessing to Father Corbinian whenever he did something really bad. Father would not absolve a Bear, but he would counsel him. Sometimes the Bear would feel very, very bad and get discouraged after, for example, killing more sheep than he could even eat.

And now he had killed a pony. He felt like giving up. Pleasing the Good God was too hard for a Bear. However, Father Corbinian always said the same things when the Bear got discouraged.

"A Bear killed some sheep?" the old man would cry out in mock horror. "How is such a thing possible? Especially for you, Bear! You, my old friend, are the height of perfection of all God's creation! No. It is impossible. I will never believe that you, O Perfect Bear, could ever do anything bad!"

When he had finished his display of sarcasm, his voice would become gentle. "Bear, you are right to feel bad for what you did. But it is very bad to feel discouraged. That is the devil. It shows that you have the very worst of sins, Pride, in that you believe you cannot fall. Worse, you are also questioning the Good God's mercy.

"As the holy Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians, 'For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.'

"Father Benedict knew that even monks would struggle with sin, and wrote much in his rule about their punishment. If monks, who have extraordinary support all day and night can do evil - and they do, Bear - then so shall you, out in the wild world."

Then he would tell the Bear to make up for the farmer's sheep by leaving a large mess of fish at his door every Friday for six moons, and game every once in a while. Once again, the Bear would be carrying a burden from Father Corbinian, but sometimes it felt good.

"Be merciful, Bear. Have mercy on the poor farmers and herders who have little enough to begin with. The Evangelist says to be merciful as your Father in Heaven is merciful.

"We must not let 'mercy' get a bad name because of certain misuses of it. The whole Christian religion is ultimately one of mercy. Of providing a way for immortal but imperfect creatures to escape the doom they deserve for their sins and live with God forever.

"Always remember the Good God is the source of mercy, Bear, but He has given you the power to be merciful, too. It would please Him if you could curb your worst instincts and learn to show mercy yourself."

That is hard for a Bear, thought the Bear. God made him fierce, with roars and growls for a voice. Sometimes the Bear envied humans, who are weak in flesh, but find it easy to be good, with no bear skin to shed.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

A Bear's Lent: No Honey for Three Moons and No Ponies Forever

One afternoon, the Bear met Father Corbinian in the woods on the sunset side of the abbey, where the saint liked to spend time alone. However, he also seemed to enjoy frequent visits from his ursine friend. On this particular occasion, the Bear was very pleased with himself, and knew that Father Corbinian would have kind words for him.

The Bear found the old man sitting on a stump, reading a book, his back to the Bear.

"Father," the Bear said excitedly, "Bear saw a fat pony today!"

"Um-hmm," the old man responded.

"Bear wants you to know he didn't kill it!"

"Is that right?" he observed mildly.

"Yes. That is right." The Bear waited for praise, but Father Corbinian just kept reading.

After several minutes, Father Corbinian asked, "Do you think it will rain tomorrow, Bear?"

The Bear wondered if he had heard his good news. "No, Father. Did you hear what Bear said? He didn't eat the fat pony!"

"No," he replied after he had read some more, "I didn't think it would rain, either. Well, I must be going Bear. Good evening." And with that he got up and left.

The next morning, the Bear wandered near the same pasture he had seen the fat pony at the day before. He looked at it for a long time, for it was very fat. When he returned to his den, the blood all over his muzzle spoke as eloquently as Abel's.

The Bear did not seek out Father's Corbinian's company for a couple of days. When he did, he found him just as before, sitting on the same stump, reading a book with his back to the Bear. Neither spoke for a long time.

Finally, the Bear began, "Father--"

"You killed the pony," Father Corbinian observed, without looking up from his book.

"I am sorry, Father, but that is true. How did you know?"

"When you visited me last, you proudly took credit for not doing something bad," he answered, finally looking up and turning around.

"First, if you do not do evil, you should thank the Good God for his grace, not take credit for yourself. Second, if you are pleased with your efforts today, I can promise you that tomorrow you will fall. This is how God teaches us not to be proud, and not to take credit for the grace he gives us. He will wound us with a thorn to keep us from being too pleased with ourselves. If the Good God has permitted you not to displease Him too much, fear the morrow. Fast and pray. For you can be sure the Devil will be laying his snares."

"Why does the Good God punish us with the Devil when we have a good day?" the Bear asked.

Father Corbinian shut his book and rapped the Bear on the muzzle with it. "Are those furry round ears of yours deaf? The Author of all the good you do is the Good God. The author of all the bad is you. And another thing. Why did you go back to the pasture with the pony?"

"Bear, um... thought it would do no harm just to look."

"Are you really so wonderful that you can ignore temptation?"

"No, Father."

"That's called a 'near occasion of sin,'" Father Corbinian explained. "Avoid deliberately putting yourself in the way of temptation. That is very foolish and will end badly. If you weren't near the pony, you could not have harmed it. I thought you understood this!

"I hope you have learned your lesson from this sorry incident. Now, the abbey has a pony to spare to replace the one you killed. But as for you, eat what the Good God has provided in the wild. Except for this. Bring all the honey you find to me for the next three months."

"That is hard, Father," the Bear complained.

"And you have a special weakness for ponies, not to bring up ancient history. You must be extra careful about this vice. All of us reach perfection the same way, but each of us is caught in a different snare, as the devil knows well."

The Bear lumbered off deeper into the woods, thinking, No honey for three moons and no ponies forever.

Baby Goats from Two Mamas At Once!

A sampling of today's gift from God of four babies. One has been rejected, so we will have another bottle baby to entertain us. Ava denies she had anything to do with the dark goat, accepting only the white one. You have to like the one with the white cap and ears and black face. The top one has already been named Daisy; the bottom one is nameless. Both of these are from Ava, although she has disowned the bottom one. Ava and Blanquette agreed to have them at the very same time this Sunday afternoon..

Thank you for your kind words.

Panda is not happy. It is goatdemonium out there!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Oh, to Know THIS Story

Delivery pizza box noticed in the Bear's garbage. You think they might be more concerned about the Bear, but there it is, all neatly printed out and official.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Only 7 Pony-Eating Days Until Lent! [Photo Update]

Only 7 Days Until Lent!

My, the time flies on the liturgical calendar! As usual, the Bear is way behind the calendar curve and must scramble to prepare himself for Lent by eating as many ponies as possible.

First, thanks for all the great comments. It is nice to know the woodland creatures did not abandon the place while the Bear was off on Official Bear Business.

Second, it is the Bear's intention to offer something special for the 40 days of Lent. Things are crazy right now, but he'll do his best.

Third, don't overlook the featured article on the right sidebar, "Acedia," which is an important and misunderstood topic, especially going into Lent.

Question on Liturgy of the Hours  

Finally, let the Bear make a recommendation about the Liturgy of the Hours, or Opus Dei, as it is called in the Benedictine tradition. The official LOTH you will find entitled "Christian Prayer" (one volume) or the complete multi-volume set, or the "Shorter Christian Prayer" (four-week psalter) have all been bowdlerized by removing the most Bearish parts, such as shattering heads, and piling up bodies.


The advantage of Christian Prayer or the LOTH is that it follows the calendar. You've got saints, and propers, and seasons, oh my! Poor old Bear does not remember what all. It is quite complicated, and the instructions for chanting aren't very clear. But, by investing only slightly more time than it takes to learn to fly a 737, you can master all of it. The Bear did.

But, again, pfft.

Liturgy of the Hours for Benedictine Oblates

Incomplete example of tones. It is very handy. If we go on a day trip, the Bear brings it along. It has 415 pages, and is an inch thick. It is nowhere near as big as Christian Prayer or LOTH. You can see how well broken in this copy is. (You can't see the coffee spills.)

Here's a psalm (old numbering) that throws a six-line stanza at you, then continues with ordinary four-line stanzas. Oh, it has three ribbons, too, which is plenty for a four-week psalter.

Let the Bear make a pitch for this little gem from St. Meinrad Archabbey. It is a four-week psalter using the Grail translation, and those nice, hospitable Benedictines don't shy away from the tasty bits. It is made especially for their oblates, is very clear, and provides a beautiful prayerful experience. It is absolutely meant to be sung. There are eight tones you have to learn. And eight more variants for the occasional five or six stanza psalms.

You don't have to be an oblate!

Yes, it is a bit of an investment of time. You'll have to practice. The Bear ran off a copy of the tones and would practice them in the car,  at the dentist (very difficult) or at the racetrack. Red Death and he would play "name that tone" (no joke). The Bear found an app called iChant which was very helpful.

The tones occupy two pages at the back, and sometimes the Bear must still flip back for a reminder while praying. It's okay. There are also the beautiful Latin Salve Regina, Ave Maria Caelorum (Lent), Regina Caeli Laetare (Easter) and Alma Redemptoris Mater (Advent and Christmas) that are sung after Compline. (And after Compline, oblates don't speak, which can produce some fun games of charades.)

If a Bear can do it, you can! Lauds in the morning, Midday, Vespers toward evening and Compline. Talk about sanctifying your whole day!

It is a beautiful experience, the best way to pray (according to the Benedictines, anyway) and, according to Old Famous Catholic Guy Bear Can't Remember, singing psalms is good treatment for melancholy. The Bear posted  a recording of him singing Lauds in its entirety a while back. (An exercise in humility, since Bears are not very good singers.)

The Bear begs you to chant the hours! And your best bet is the four-week psalter from St. Meinrad Archabbey. St. Benedict would put up with a lot from his monks, but skipping the Opus Dei was not tolerated. There is a story of a good enough monk that would nonetheless always find a reason to be someplace else when the community gathered for Opus Dei. St. Benedict immediately saw what the problem was. A demon in the form of a small, black boy had him by the sleeve and was leading him away!

By the way, if you should ever have the experience of visiting St. Meinrad (in southern Indiana) you will be able to sing right along with the monks. At home, you are singing just like the real monks.

And the Bear will let you in on a little secret. Even with an organ, they're not pitch perfect, either.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Same God as Islam, Again

Today, assembled Catholics were informed by their priest in the Bear's parish that we worship the same God as Islam.

This is stupefyingly ill-informed. In fact, one could not reach this conclusion in good will. It could only be preached by someone who has abandoned Christ and the Church and the Holy Trinity and replaced it with the idol of interfaith.

How does a Catholic priest get to this point? In this particular case, the priest is a big shot in ecumenism and interfaith. He travels the world for one conference after another. At some point, his identity, whether by pride, or ignorance, or wickedness, or - giving him the benefit of the doubt - error, creeped over the line that separates Catholics from everybody else.

Oh, by the way, there is such a line, and don't let anybody tell you any different. If you find yourself the last Catholic in the world, then be that.

There is a line between Catholics and everybody else. It is a line, not a wall. It is easy to cross, apparently. Priests cross it. Cardinals cross it. Even Popes cross it.

The Bear believes it is more important than ever for Catholics to live in their bubble.

And, if anyone needs to be reminded, Catholics do not worship the same God as Islam. You could not have the vaguest grasp of both religions and think otherwise. Whenever the Bear hears the phrase "three great Abrahamic religions" he reaches for his revolver.

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