|Bears have been at this for a very long time.|
Some may wonder how the Bear, of all bloggers, scored an interview with Jorge Bergoglio. Argentina has Bears, although they are a rather miserable species. So here it is. An interview with Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina.
Bear - You may be familiar with normal journalistic practices, where the journalist records nothing, takes no notes, and makes up a lot of stuff. Bears do things differently. By the way, welcome to the Interview Cavern.
Jorge - Thank you. Who are you? Why am I strapped to this chair? Why do you care about me?
Bear - Just a Bear, as you see. The Bear's right paw is resting on lever connected to a mechanism beneath the trap door upon which sits your chair. We call it the... Bear Chair. Yeah, I know. We're working on that.
Jorge - I agree. I do not feel as frightened as I probably should.
Bear - The point is, every time you lie to the Bear, he will pull this lever, and a random number of cogs will slip. When the cog wheel makes one complete revolution, the trap door will open and the chair - with you in it- will drop.
Jorge - This all seems exceedingly complicated for Bears, if I may say so.
Bear - We had help from the Raccoons, who are surprisingly clever at complicated dramatic schemes.
Jorge - But how will you know if I am lying? How will I know when the chair is about to drop? Where does it drop to?
Bear - [Pulls handle.]
Jorge - Wait! I didn't even answer a question!
Bear - An honest man would never have asked. You never know when the trap door will be triggered. But if you tell the truth, then you you have no worries. Bears have the best noses in the animal kingdom. They can smell a female in heat 100 miles away and make a beeline. That's true. And Bears can smell lies. That is also true.
Jorge - Too much information, mi amigo. Listen. Let me out of this chair and I'll tell you - no - give you - anything you want.
Bear - [Pulls handle.] Bribing the Bear. Not getting off to a good start, Jorge. Who knows how many pulls you got left. First question. You're in a desert walking along in the sand when - Oh. Hang on a sec. Wrong questions. Okay. A man gets tired of his wife -
Jorge - Is this the test now?
Bear - Yes. A man gets tired of his wife, who is mature, yet faithful, and divorces her. He marries a younger, more attractive woman and they form a breeding pair. Are they committing adultery?
Jorge - [Looks at Bear's paw on handle] - Si.
Bear - Should they be admitted to Holy Communion as long as they maintain their marital breeding relationship?
Jorge - A very complicated question. While yes, they are committing adultery, this is not the only consideration. Rules are always lubricated with Mercy, much as I am sure your complicated raccoon-devised Bear Chair is lubricated. Therefore, we meet people on the moral periphery of life with arms outstretched, not like museum mummies afraid to dance, afraid to cry afraid of everything. Therefore they may receive a little bread and wine. It does not harm, eh?
Bear - Strangely put, but I do not smell untruthfulness. Is that "little bread and wine" really and truly the Precious Body and Blood of Christ?
Jorge - "Really and truly?" What is the connection between "reality" and "truth?" As you say, a tree falls in the forest but there is no, why, no bear to hear it? Does it make a sound? "Reality" is the fundamental ontological category of which we can say so very much, yet so very little. It presupposes a unified nature of all that is, but that is unproven. "Truth," on one hand, is the multivalent appreciation of the validity for all times and places of certain propositions. It presumes a moral intellect to perceive the truth. But on the other hand, truth is contingent upon experiences and felt needs of each person as we - meaning the Church - accompany them on their journey. When one travels - have you traveled much, Bear?
Bear - You might say Bear has gotten around.
Jorge - One travels, and the landscape remains the same. Yet, one returns over the very same road, always journeying, and we are always accompanying them in mercy. And while the landscape has remained the same, can you say you are on the very same road? Truth is dialogue between the pilgrim and that which is. Whatever it is.
Bear - I'll be damned. I got nothing here. [Moves left paw to previously unseen pull handle by Bear's left ankle.]
Jorge - What is this? You did not explain that handle.
Bear - It's special. Do you believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the only means of our redemption through his sacrifice?
Jorge - To be fair, that is two questions.
Bear - Bear will concede the objection. Jesus Christ, his only - come on, you know all this. So what do you say?
Jorge - We are all children, even when we stumble. Jesus himself said children may be caused to stumble, did he not? Is God the Father, or is he only partly the Father? Father to Catholics, but nothing to Lutherans? Maybe even an enemy? If God is not the Father to Muslims, then he must be divided in his nature. Father to a billion and a half Catholics, and yet what is he to the majority that is not Catholic? Father to some humans, yet not Father to the very same humans because they are named Mohammed (peace be upon him) instead of John? Are we not all made in the image of God?
Bear - [Paw on lever twitches.]
Jorge - I believe everything you say and that we all and each participate in that child-ship with our loving Father. Jesus is undeniably our brother. How then can we not have the same Father?
Bear - You're a tough one. Holy Trinity?
Jorge - A coruscating ballet of light and love that is beyond our understanding, but who may accurately be described in terms that are appropriate to the faith traditions dominate in various geographical regions and racial-societal identities.
Bear - What is today's mission of the Church?
Jorge - To accompany those on the periphery such as migrants. To bring chairs to the table when others, who already have their places, say "no!" The gospel - God himself - is understood in different ways in different times. There have been very scholarly periods in Church history, when the intellect has dominated mercy. But we live in different times, when we are called to act! The French have a word for it. Propagande par le fait. The mission of the Church is not to preach at people. Does that fill an empty stomach? Fill the ache of two people trapped in a marriage that has long since died? No!
Bear - Bear thinks that will do it for today. He would like to thank you for participating and being so honest. He did not detect a single lie.
Jorge - So, you will now release me?
-- Ten minutes later --
Bear - [Smoking cigarette outside entrance of Interview Cavern. Another Bear approaches and asks how the interview went.] Jorge's a very honest fellow. Bear was quite impressed. Turn him loose? No. [Sigh.] Bear had to pull the Jesuit Handle. Go? I don't know what's underneath the Interview- Hey, can we get some better names for our stuff? I mean, "Interview Cavern?" "Bear Chair?" It's embarrassing. Anyway, in that instant the trap door was open, Bear would swear he heard laughter. Bear thinks it was - Badgers.
Other Bear - Badgers? That's... [Other Bear shudders.] Hey, can you tell me something? Where do they go if they lie enough and you pull the lever?
Bear - [Laughs.] There's no cogwheel of random doom. The lever isn't connected to anything. We don't care about liars. We give them a nice meal and a plane ticket home. It's the true believers in all that crap he was blathering about that are killing us. Still...
Other Bear - Yeah. Bear knows. Badgers.
Bear - [Heaves deep sigh.] They got it comin' to 'em. That's what Bear keeps telling himself. Besides. He's not absolutely sure they were Badgers.
Other Bear - Yeah. Probably not. Not Badgers. You probably heard... Bear doesn't know. But not... you know. How's it going on getting that other Jorge, you know, the Pope, in your chair? Not the click bait one.
Bear - Oh, Bear crossed him off the list months ago. Do we really need to buy a one-way ticket to prove what he is? Besides. The last place we want him is on a plane with a freaking microphone in his hand.