|Bear fantasy. Mmm, yes, more honey-basted salmon, please.|
The Bear wishes many things were so.
That he could live a healthy existence eating only Gummi Bears.
That honey was produced by sunlight shining on any flat surface.
That the St. Louis Cardinals would forever be the '83 team with Whitey Herzog managing.
That the Bear had the nuclear launch codes. (He probably wouldn't use them, of course. But, then, he wouldn't have to, would he?)
That snake-handling cults in Appalachia did not preserve more of the Christian Faith than modern Catholic churchmen.
That Pope Francis thought Lamentibili Sane had some good ideas but did not go far enough.
That what he is going to say won't make a lot of people mad.
However, as a wild creature living in woodlands red in tooth and claw, the Bear knows wishing does not make things so - only the wisher someone's supper. All beasts are realists. We laugh at human beings for getting things as basic as mating wrong. Worrying that their campfires will boil the seas and pretending other humans will not happily kill them and take their stuff if they're not pretty damned smart about it.
Nothing is realer than a .270 Winchester round zinging past your furry ear. Welcome to Bear's world.
As a realist, the Bear knows none of his wishes will come true. He knows there are many problems without solutions. As for the West and all its institutions - including the Church - it is circling, circling the great black drain of history and there is nothing even a Bear can do about it. It truly is a New Age, whether we like it or not. "Optimism is cowardice," as old Oswald Spengler said.
Most of all, the Bear has begun to laugh at humans who believe if only Cardinal Bumfrecker of Brandenburg would stand up to the Pope we would all be magically transported to a state of Tridentine bliss. If only this... if only that... The only problem is it is never going to happen.
None of your brilliant human solutions are going to happen.
Let the Bear be the first to welcome you to reality. Keep your head down, listen to your nose and maybe you'll survive. If you try to turn the woodlands into the Harmony Kumbaya Theme Park, the Bear won't stop you. He will pop some popcorn, settle down and watch your grisly demise at the hands of the reality you decided to ignore. The universe does not tolerate fantasy for long. The West has yet to realize this. But got your popcorn ready to pop?
That part of the West known as the Catholic Church is not exempt from reality's teeth.
Signs and Symptoms of the Fatal Disease
If the Bear may apply O'Sullivan's Law to the Church, since the Church is not explicitly an institution of the Right, it will eventually become an institution of the Left. One may safely say "has become" based on a reading of all the pages on the USCCB website. It did not start with Francis. He is what doctors call a "sign," while what we are experiencing are the "symptoms." A sign is what the doctor observes; a symptom is what the patient feels.
Francis is the sign of an advanced case of the horrible disease cursus ad sinistram. There is no cure. Only a miracle can save the patient. Feeling angry, lost, frustrated, and compulsively reading fringe Catholic blogs like this one are all symptoms.
The Bear does not offer a cure, and is not going to tell you happy (or angry) little lies to make you feel better. He does not have the answer. He suspects there is no answer. The Bear has always been the forensic pathologist reporting his autopsy findings, not the doctor with the prescription pad.
Now, like St. Paul, everyone must find their own plank to hang onto after this colossal shipwreck. Who is the Bear to say your piece of flotsam is worse than his? Catholics have not been prepared for this. The Bear suspects God may be tolerant of the ways his faithful try to please Him in the current crisis, but he can't make any promises.
And once you get to land you'll probably get bitten by a viper anyway. The Bear does not think we can think or wish ourselves to a solution.
The Answer- But it Doesn't Matter
First, understand that it is not "despair" to accept reality. The Bear is feeling quite chipper these days. He has no influence in the Church, and, contrary to the claim of some Catholics, he bears no responsibility for the disaster. Good news: neither do you. He does not believe for a minute that God, who can neither deceive nor be deceived, has chosen to have the Church lie to us in order to punish us for our sins.
That is not God's style. Personally, the Bear is waiting for an asteroid to hit Rome, or everyone in the Vatican to be dragged off to Babylon. (Good luck getting your interfaith Pope Videos aired if that happens.)
Pope Francis affects the Bear only to the extent the Bear takes him seriously. The Pope has worked very hard to earn the Bear's low opinion of him and it would be rude not to notice. Accepting that he is powerless has been liberating to the Bear.
The Bear said there is no answer, but, now that he thinks about it, that's not right. There is a very simple answer.
There is nothing stopping churchmen from fixing everything tomorrow if only they would stop conforming themselves to the world, live holy lives (yeah, that), reject modernism and learn some real humility.
The Church is failing in the same way and at the same time as every other Western institution. It has not been singled out for chastisement. One should not look for supernatural causes when it is obvious that fallen human nature has succumbed to the spirit of our age, one that is the worst the Bear has seen in 800 years.
We know that churchman will not do any of those things. We know that the slide to the wordly Left now defines the institution and has too much momentum to stop.
God Has Probably Noticed the Problems in the Church
But, so what? Is God no longer in control? If we are witnessing the destruction of the Catholic Church as we have known it - and we are - do we imagine God has not noticed and might have something in mind? Unlike many, the Bear professes no clue what that is, but, then, the Bear is not sure what tomorrow will bring in his own little life, either.
He expects things will get very exciting and the Church will get a whole lot smaller.
The Bear does think that there might be some pride in all the electrons spilled across the internet telling us what the Church needs. Perhaps we have reached the point where we should find the humility to accept God's will and worship him the best we can in peace and real love for those within the tiny circle of our responsibility. Worrying about things over which we have no control is not healthy.
It's not so much about fixing anything anymore. It's about choosing your side and being ready for whatever God has planned. If you are reading this, you are probably on the right side, if the Bear may say that without sounding more full of himself than usual. But the same might be said about any number of Catholic blogs. It doesn't take much to realize these things. 'Staying put' is neither brilliant nor heroic. (It would be heroic for someone with a career to lose, like a cardinal; Bear guesses heroism is in short supply these days.)
Bear Holds These Truths to be Self-Evident
If we love as the world loves - issuing press releases about groups of people - we have missed everything there is to learn about love. The Bear cannot love the climate, cannot love "migrants," or "other faiths," or "all people."
As a practical matter, the Bear can be well-disposed toward those around him, kind, helpful, and ready to be the Good Samaritan if he comes across a victim by the side of the road.
It is not about passing the victim by and calling a news conference to preen the feathers of our virtue by addressing the issue of robbery victims, especially the poor, migrants and LGBT. And to condemn the sword-manufacturing industry.
Lucky for us, God has not made it hard to see Francis - and by extension, his Church - for what it has become. We instinctively recoil at an alien spirit. We hear a voice we do not recognize. We plant our feet, paws, and hooves and stay put among the familiar truths.
Traddie Town is TinyThe Bear knows a lot of people hate this kind of "defeatist" talk that does not offer The Correct Solution. We should fight! But fight who? How? What is our realistic path to victory, and how do we define that? The Bear fears some who limit their reading to traditionalist blogs may have an inflated sense of how large a part tradition plays in the life of the Church and its future.
The Bear does not read Ann Barnhardt (he doesn't read any other blogs regularly - he wants to keep his Bearish perspective pure). But he read somewhere that she recently said something to the effect that "traddie town is tiny." The Bear will not make any friends by agreeing, but he does, because it's true. The Bear is lucky. He has nothing to lose by telling the truth.
The Bear does not label himself, but if people want to call him a traddie, that's as fair as any label. He is really just someone who resents churchman who think he is too stupid to notice they are selling a completely new religion under the "Catholic" brand. Traddies, or whatever they feel comfortable being called, will always be a zealous, valuable (and, yes, sometimes angry-sounding) part of Catholicism. And thank God.
But they are not the face of the future.
Some Advice From the Bear - Signs of the Time & Trusting God
Pope Francis is of the world, and the world loves him, and as the world goes, so goes the Church. Holy Matrimony's goose is cooked. The inerrancy of scripture and even the truthfulness of Our Lord are therefore negotiable under the new ad hoc theology of adultery. Our practices and beliefs surrounding Holy Communion must change. Some sort of official acceptance of homosexual unions is inevitable. Churchmen are already hard-pressed to say why anyone should want to be Catholic rather than Lutheran, were they inclined to make the pitch.
Can you read the signs of the time? The Bear has seen the future and it is the scary-looking man with the blobifix advancing a New Gnosticism as the banner of Universalism snaps in a foul wind.
If God wanted the Bear to be the one to fix everything, He would have made him Pope. All poor old Bear can do is ride his bicycle around the ring and at least provide some entertainment as the theater burns down and, by the way, there are no exits. Maybe we'll all become salamanders and the fire will light our way to the City of God in a very unexpected way. Bear doesn't know. God does. He will surprise us. See the Bear juggle flaming bowling balls now?
In the meanwhile, here's something everyone knows, but now makes more sense than ever.
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.
And the wisdom to know the difference between the truth and whatever Pope Francis and his merry band are peddling. The Bear last saw him heading into the desert with a bunch of goats following him. Weird, huh? But the sacred woodlands are just the same, the salmon stream is just as pure (although the salmon swimmeth no more therein) and the grass just as sweet. (Or so Bear has been told about the grass.)
He can certainly vouch for the Gummi Bears. Life is good. Keep the Faith. Worship your God. Read your Bible. Forget "causes" except for the cause of Christ. Love those close enough to reach out and help to their feet with your own hands. There is a big wonderful real world beyond this screen.