Hibernation Cancelled (but Still Need 25 Reviews)
You got Bear. Response to request for Judging Angels reviews touched heart of Bear. He will somehow manage to spend time with Woodland friends while writing 40,000 words in next eight weeks. That's (assembles acorns and seashells) um... only 666 words a day, appropriately enough.
So, rejoice and root for Bear to meet his deadline for Feast of Grass release (as some characters call it... any idea why?)
But please, if you've been putting off that review, help keep morale high at Bear Cave. He's rubbing his paws with evil glee with what he has in store for readers of the second book of the Rubricatae Chronicles. Won't you help us meet our goal of 25 reviews? (This is sounding like the Jerry Lewis Telethon.) Hey, at least it's free. Do it for the cubs.
|Here, two lechers combine to blackmail|
the virtuous young Susana.
The Two Kinds of Witnesses a Lawyer Must Know How to Cross Examine
The marks of a good trial lawyer are knowing how to make an effective opening argument [sic], and closing argument, and direct examination. But, none of that matters if he can't make an effective cross examination. It is known as the most powerful engine for the discovery of truth ever invented. Its distinguishing feature is that the lawyer gets to ask "leading questions:" those whose answers he already knows, in order to tighten the noose of truth around a lying throat. (Lawyer tip: no one need fear cross examination if he is willing to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.)
In the story of Susana, the young Daniel uses the modern techniques of Rule on Witnesses and cross examination to spare the life of a virtuous maiden.
There are two broad classes of witnesses, and if a lawyer confuses them, or uses the wrong technique, the jury will hate him. At best he'll be ineffective.
There are witnesses who are honestly mistaken in fact. It happens. Eye-witness testimony is not very good, for example, despite people thinking it is the gold standard. Memory is uncertain and attention not the good servant we imagine.
Watch this short video.
About half the people get it wrong.
Perhaps a little old lady testifies that she remembers seeing the defendant at the victim's house at 7 p.m. because Trailer Park Jeopardy was just beginning. The defense would kindly point out that the murder happened on Tuesday, and Trailer Park Jeopardy airs on Friday.
Perhaps she wears coke-bottle glasses, but you have a friend available to testify she had forgotten them at her house the night of the murder. You would commit her to her testimony about the glasses, then impeach her.
With these kinds of cases, the approach is sympathetic. The jury already identifies with witnesses, not the lawyer, and there is no need to antagonize anyone. We understand. It's easy to make a mistake like that.
Less than Honest
Then there is the other class of witness, the dishonest kind. They need not be actually evil. But something makes them willing to swear to tell the truth but then instead offer testimony that is not truthful, but designed to secure a particular result.
Such a witness may be interested. Perhaps he is the detective, and is positive he solved the crime, but fears a sleazy defense lawyer might subvert justice with his silver tongue. You would be amazed at the lengths police will go to avoid answering a simple question. They always thought the Bear was playing some sort of ursine head game with them. But all the Bear had to do was ask simple questions requiring simple answers.
He supposes they did turn that into a head game, but only against themselves.
So many times investigators would self-destruct on the stand. The Bear once had an exasperated detective turn to the judge and say, "I don't know how to get around that question, your Honor." Those were his very words. The judge had some choice ones of his own for that witness.
A witness may be interested because he knew the murder victim, and is emotionally invested in a conviction. Or he might even be bribed. There are many ways a witness may have a personal interest in the outcome of a trial. That does not disqualify them. It must be taken into account by a lawyer, though.
The important difference is that a dishonest witness is cross examined more aggressively and the lawyer may communicate his disdain for the witness to the jury - as long as he can get the jury to see that the witness is not telling the truth. Indeed, while one may not treat a witness with outright disrespect in court, you don't have to treat him with kid gloves and smiles, either.
In fact, it is essential with the dishonest witness that the lawyer not communicate to the jury that he respects him. This is not a mistake on some particular. This is a whole witness who is bad. It is his very credibility that must be undermined. In this case, you must go after the witness himself, as a person.
What About a Mistaken Pope?
Imagine, for the sake of argument, you have a pope who sincerely believes something that contradicts previous Church teaching. Let's say, for example, he believes the Virgin Mary is a Fourth Person to be added to the Holy Trinity. His love for the Blessed Mother is unquestioned. His belief that this would benefit Catholics is sincere.
It would be proper to criticize this view, would it not? But if this was the only mistake he made, you would still want to treat him with respect. For one thing, a pope normally deserves respect. For another, he is a kind and sincere man who has gone astray on one matter, albeit a very serious one.
The Bear would say that whenever it is possible to limit the errors of a pope and refute them one by one, this is the preferred approach. There is no reason to be disrespectful with someone who is merely mistaken.
|Tar Baby Alert: a confusing message not meant to be understood,|
but to "provide cover" for others to run with novelties.
Bear gets his fur stuck to it and learns nothing.
What About a Hypothetical Pope Who Was Willing to Shade the Truth?
However, what if the pope communicated all sorts of other errors. And, by errors, the Bear means clear conflicts with the previous settled teachings of the Church. Not just differences in emphasis. What if it began to look as though a pope did not respect the teachings of the Church very much and seemed to hold his own eccentric opinions in higher regard than Dogmas of the Church?
What if, furthermore, he was not content to merely announce errors, but did not let a day go by without taking to the airwaves and the internet and piling error upon error, constantly repeating a handful of novelties until true Christianity was distorted? What if the Church as she was known before him could scarce be recognized beneath his "new vision" for humanity?
What if, furthermore, this "new vision" happened to be easily identified with a particular theological fad, or political program. What if his view of Catholicism was really Communism, or Nazism, or New Ageism, or Peronism, or Feminism, or some other easily-identified "ism" dressed up in Catholic clothes and language?
And to add to the problem, what if he resorted to bullying, and behind-the-scenes plotting to rig debates, and was insulting to a large class of Catholics whom he believed did not share his vision for a new kind of Catholicism? What if, supposing he were respectfully asked to clarify apparently dubious teachings, he simply ignored the request?
Summary of the Two Previous "Question of Respect" Articles
The Bear, after identifying his perspective as that of a lawyer and admitting he was using only naturalistic reasoning, has written two articles already.
In the first one, the Bear explained how "respect" could be either earned or conferred. Both were worthy of a certain approach, because even conferred respect is important to running institutions that need offices people are willing to treat as special. The judiciary, the military, and the Church, are all good examples.
However, the Bear also observed that "respect" could be used to cover misconduct and gag legitimate criticism. Worst of all, that kind of "respect" could also used as the very means to commit misconduct. The judge who takes a bribe to fix a case is different from the judge who uses cocaine. He can take a bribe only because he is a judge, holding an office of "respect." If a bishop helps conceal homosexual abuse of adolescent boys, both the crime and the cover-up are possible in large part because of the very "respect" owed to clerical offices.
So, the Bear concluded that, where the seriousness of the misdeed warranted, one should not be deterred from criticism by "respect." Indeed, "respect" may be nothing more than an obstacle to uncovering, punishing and preventing misconduct. The Bear argued this has, in fact, been the case during the homosexual abuse scandal.
So, "respect" must, in principle, have its limits.
In the second article, the Bear answered a hypothetical objection by asserting that a pope's teachings may be measured by the two witnesses of the Deposit of Faith and Holy Scripture. There is a distinction between "reformers" who have their own better ideas than the Church, and the faithful, who want nothing more than the Church not to go into conflict with herself.
The Bear argued, in principle, that it was not impossible for a pope to go so badly astray that he was no longer teaching the Catholic Faith, but something else. A novelty. A political program disguised as religion.
He also argued, in principle, that if that were ever to happen, and a "spirit of error" became so pervasive as to defy proposition-by-proposition refutation, then it would be legitimate, even praiseworthy, for Catholics to resist the temptation to superstition, and own up to what they saw and heard and smelled, and resist such a hypothetical renegade pope.
The Bear argued that it would then be essential to pierce the "force field" of "respect" because it would then be a false, superstitious and lazy sort of "respect" that merely got in the way of dealing with the emergency.
Back to the Witness Illustration
The Bear hopes the reader now understands his discussion of the two classes of witnesses in a trial. The honest, but mistaken, witness is like a pope who is basically good, and respects the truth, but is mistaken in one or a few particulars.
On the other hand, a hypothetical pope who was mistaken in more than one or a few particulars; but seemed to represent a different spirit that did not feel bound by the Deposit of Faith; who constantly confused the faithful; who refused to answer questions on dubious matters even when they were respectfully and officially submitted; who bullied and punished those who did not agree; insulted ordinary Catholics who were confused by his novelties; and did not always operate "above board" when it came to advancing an agenda that looked suspiciously like a particular religious fad, or political movement, or the spirit of the age; and who relied upon the "respect" demanded by him and his supporters, or a certain wing of Catholic laypersons, in order to cover his misconduct, gag his critics, and commit the very misconduct others noted with alarm - why, such a pope would be more like the dishonest witness than the honest, but mistaken, witness, wouldn't he?
In the courtroom, a witness who suffers from a fundamental credibility problem (for example, interest ("I want my agenda to win") or bias ("I don't like rich people in the north because I think they stole their wealth from the South") would be cross examined aggressively by the opposing counsel, and that lawyer would not go out of his way to show respect or kindness or sympathy to the witness.
Not because he "didn't like" the witness, or "hated him," or took unholy glee in making him look small, or was going out of his way to be "unchristian," but because the approach must match the claims.
He would want to communicate the opposite, in fact. He would want the jury to make no mistake that he - the lawyer - did not "respect" the witness. He would not wish to confuse the jury by asking questions in one direction, yet signalling in another. He would want to make sure the jury knew that he held the witness in contempt for sullying the sacred process of truth-finding and trying to pull the wool over their eyes.
Of course, the Bear is not writing a bill of particulars against anyone in particular. He is offering a kind of hypothetical "worst case scenario" in these three articles in order to starkly expose and discuss the principles behind "The Question of Respect."
So what do you think? Is it ever legitimate to not show a pope "respect?" (And not this particular Pope, or any actual pope, but in principle, remember.) Can "respect" be used to cover misconduct, gag legitimate criticism, and even as the very means of misconduct?
If one may criticize a pope (and Bear believes it is pretty easy to imagine hypothetical cases where one might), and if "respect" interferes with legitimate criticism (which the Bear is pretty sure it might, under certain circumstances) the demand that "respect" nonetheless be shown, however "nice," and however "Catholic," and however "holy," and "pious," and "loyal" it may seem, the Bear believes that it is really putting yourself on the wrong side and in the service of error and - let's not be too fastidious - evil, in such a hypothetical case.
Back to Susana and Daniel and the Respected Jewish Elders
The Bear can imagine the horror when a boy - Daniel - stood up to challenge the very integrity of two Jewish elders. Age was respected in that culture. There were two witness, after all. How dare Daniel - a mere kid - throw off the respect due these white-haired, well-respected men!
Daniel knew he was not dealing with honest men who were merely mistaken. He was dealing with a couple of pretty horrible men who blackmailed a young virgin to give in to their sexual demands or be put to death. He knew he was going head-to-head against everything his culture "respected."
"Daniel, show some respect!" How many times did he hear that? And yet he did not let "respect" deter him from challenging the lecherous elders to save the one, finite lifetime of one woman. If a pope were to ever seek power over the virtuous virgin Church, to bend it to his desires, counting on "respect" as cover, do you think Daniel would shrug and show him that sort of "respect?" If "respect" was put aside to get at the truth to save Susana, how much more might it be put aside if souls, not lives, were at stake, if a different religion were ever to be taught in the place of the Catholic Faith.