|"Left" and "Right" or|
"Principles" vs. "Evidence?"
"Left" and "Right" Still Useful
but Denying or Accepting Evidence is Baked In
Everybody knows what is meant by the political terms "Left" and "Right." They are sturdy terms that
have carried recognizable meanings for many decades. They may not be very descriptive, but since our country is polarized and the spectrum of opinion runs from black to white they do not need to be.
However, the Bear has noticed something baked into the old terms that gives a vivid new meaning to them today. It will sound pretty darned convenient when the Bear explains it, but maybe you will think about it. The distinction includes those who react on the basis of evidence, and those who react on the basis of principles.
Or, to put it another way, how we deal with facts, versus how we deal with what we think about the facts. It is almost like the Left views the world from one step back, and through a lens of buzzwords, pop science and big ideas.
Someone who cannot explain his local TV station's weather map, is passionate about global warming. Bear doesn't mean he just believes it, but he believes it with an almost religious fervor. It's part of his side's set of beliefs, but mostly it allows him to blame the usual suspects. (Not so long ago it was the new Ice Age. The particulars don't matter.)
Men and women can no longer be the reality of two simple, separate groups, because the big idea says there is a continuum of gender, and it all comes down to choice, anyway. At stake is separate restrooms, of all the crazy things!
Having gotten even mating wrong, humans have put nearly everything at risk, because marriage is still woven into our culture and laws, and constitutional protections meant for ex-slaves in the South are now extended to the richest demographic in the country - homosexual couples.
Reality is negotiable. The harsh light of the big idea generated by the human mind is supreme.
The Bear believes this same fundamental conflict is playing out in the de facto schism in the Church. If one side points to evidence, it is ignored by the other in favor of the principle.
Let's start with an everyday example of this way of thinking in general.
Terrorists acting in the name of their religion, Islam, killed an elderly priest in France.
Flying back to Rome from Poland, microphone in hand, as is his wont, Pope Francis found himself unable to unequivocally condemn the Islamic terrorism. Instead he said the sort of thing that those in power always say about Islamic terrorist attacks.
"I think that in nearly all religions there is a always a small fundamentalist group," he said, adding, "We have them," referring to Catholicism. "I don't like to talk about Islamic violence because every day when I look at the papers I see violence here in Italy – someone killing his girlfriend, someone killing his mother-in-law. These are baptized Catholics," he said. "If I speak of Islamic violence, I have to speak of Catholic violence. Not all Muslims are violent," he said.
He went on to blame the terrorist attacks on lack of economic opportunity for the young, who turn to drugs, alcohol or ISIS.
So, "Eh, terrorists. You got 'em, we got 'em, what are you gonna do? It's a problem with all religions, don't you see?"
Islamic terrorism is seldom, if ever, unequivocally condemned by those in power. Pope Francis' statement on the plane back to Rome is incoherent because he cannot confront the evidence and maintain the position that there is no such thing as Islamic terrorism per se. Not every Muslim is a terrorist, you see, therefore, Islam has no greater problem with terrorism as any other religion, including Catholicism.
Even assuming he has his reasons for dissembling, the fact remains that truth is so easily sacrificed, even ridiculous statements cannot pass the straight face test. This style seems to have become a habit of addressing the world in general.
The Fan Dance Without the Fan: "What are you staring at?
It is against the law for me to be naked, therefore, I'm not naked."
|Sally Rand, who adopted and improved|
the fan dance of Ayn Rand.
It is a problem worthy of serious discussion by the grownups. Not what Pope Francis (or substitute any other world leader) has to say about it.
It is fascinating to watch Leftists talk about terrorism, or just about anything. It's like watching Sally Rand do a fan dance without a fan, and just as entertaining, in its own, strange way. Or, if you want a less salacious image (which you should) it is the old story of the Emperor's New Clothes.
The Bear is pretty sure we see the same technique applied in the Church today.
The Church says it Cannot Err
Therefore, Only the Wicked Claim to Find Error
There is no evidence sufficient to induce Catholics whose religion is divorced from evidence to admit to the growing pile of at least apparent conflicts between Pope Francis and the Faith. Any time a problem with the Pope is pointed out, it is (1) flat-out denied; and (2) we get a lecture on the principle that the Pope cannot be wrong.
Examples could be multiplied to book length. It would not matter. Those who look at the evidence and who have studied the way Francis operates know what the Bear means. Going to Lund, Sweden, and worshiping with female "bishop" Jakelen in celebration of the Reformation, is the act of a pope whose religion Pope Gregory XVI (who condemned "indifferentism" in the 1832 encyclical Mirari Vos) would not recognize as Catholicism.
Personally, the Bear doesn't much care about what we think of Lutherans. If indifferentism isn't a problem anymore, then great. What the Bear does care about is what that implies about a religion that can supposedly not teach error - ever - nor change one "truth" for a "better truth" down the line.
Oddly enough, Bear seems to be the only creature in the Woodlands who understands the danger of this.
Most critics of Pope Francis are against the statements and actions in which they find error. They can make a catalog of them, and some have. But, the Bear is more concerned about the implications of the very existence of that catalog, rather than the individual charges and specifications. If Mirari Vos was right to worry that indifferentism detracted from the truth that the Catholic Church is the institution set up by God to help souls get saved, then the indifferentism of today, run amok under the label of "ecumenism," demands an explanation, doesn't it?
Does the Church still adhere to the encyclical of Pope Gregory XVI, Mirari Vos, in the particulars of indifferentism (now positively spun as the good of "ecumenism" and even "interfaith") and its hard line on marriage? Was it part of the ordinary magisterium of Pope Gregory that "proselytizing" was just about he most horrible thing ever, as it is, without question, part of the ordinary magisterium of Pope Franics? The answer is clearly "no," so how about explaining why that doesn't matter now? If Pope Gregory had his "ordinary magisterium," does Pope Francis have his "super-ordinary magisterium?" Is there an expiration date on encyclicals?
These are not "disrespectful" or unreasonable questions. They go to the heart of what we are to believe as Catholics. If we cannot even ask of the Church clarification on that, what teaching mission does she retain, anyway?
And, of course it is not just that one encyclical. To browse through 19th and early 20th century encyclicals is to find a Church as submerged from current view as Atlantis.
"Yes, we understand your hotel is five-star,
but what about the dead raccoon in the tub?"
Rejecting evidence in favor of principles may seem like the right thing for a Catholic to do. After all, they're right. The Church is full of teachings about it how it is indefectible, how the ordinary magisterium of a pope demands Catholic assent, etc. If it weren't we could all just blow off current problems.
The problem is, the Church has set very high standards for itself. So high, in fact, that some seem to view them as pretty gnostic balloons unconnected with gross matter and unanswerable to mere evidence.
So, those who argue from principles are right, but the rest of us digest what they say then hazard a "Yes, but...?"
It is as if you checked into a swanky hotel and found a dead raccoon in the tub. Every time you pointed it out, the manager answered by saying, "This is a five-star hotel. Five-star hotels do not have dead raccoons in their tubs."
Those who are not in the (dangerous) habit of ignoring evidence (facts) in the other areas of their life will at best merely become more distressed and confused by this disconnect. At worst, they may conclude that the scheme is so riddled with self-contradictions and impossibilities they will be tempted to chuck the whole thing.
The Bear believes the Church has nothing to fear from the truth. Those who defend Pope Francis and condemn his critics should not be afraid to face facts, either.
The Bear worries that setting any criticism of the Pope beyond the limits of what is permissible and failing to respectfully address the reasonable belief that the Church is - somehow, despite all the teaching on teachings - showing conflicts, will have the opposite effect from what those who argue principles rather than evidence intend.
Where is the compassion toward those who are frightened and confused?
The Bear has gotten to where he hates Catholic arguments, because the side which argues principles and ignores evidence is simply arguing past the real, agonizing difficulties held by many sincere ordinary Catholics. Those with evidence-based difficulties are learning only not to trust those good Catholics who argue from principles.
Those with difficulties have not, after all, spent years gleefully inventing lies to put Francis in a bad light just so they can have something to complain about. They would love to get back to a Church that did not detonate some bomb beneath them every week or two.
The ones arguing from principles believe they are being the very best Catholics they can be. They are defending the Church against all evidence in the language of the Church itself. (Sometimes the Bear wonders if the Church will survive all the Catholics out there being the very best Catholics they can be. Bears are pretty slack, normally.)
And, yet, although not deliberate, Bear is sure, there is such lack of compassion! Such a failure to respect those frightened by the evidence they see! Please, save the lectures on the Pope's magisterium. We're not stupid. Instead, explain to us why the evidence that troubles us so is not what it seems. Demonstrate how what appear to be conflicts in Church teaching on matters like divorce and remarriage and indifferentism and the existence and/or population of Hell, are not real. How they are just mistaken impressions on our part.
Maybe we've got him all wrong. Maybe some things appear worse than they are. Maybe we are in the echo chamber of Catholic blogdom and just repeat what we hear. (Not Bear, who seldom looks at human writings.)
Admittedly, a lot of what is usually included in his indictment are more properly "oddities." Let's face it, the man is quirky. We should be willing to limit the evidence of our criticism to things that really matter. There is a lot thrown at him that does not really touch on whether he is in conflict with earlier authority or not. There are many reasons to be fair to the man - including protecting our own credibility.
If the Church truly is indefectible, it should be easy to defend him on the facts. If the Pope cannot err in his ordinary magisterium, then the job is already almost done!
The Bear would nominate the person who set aside principles and satisfactorily addressed the apparent factual contradictions as a Doctor of the Church! Is there no one who will leave off condemning the critics of Pope Francis to actually defend that poor man?
Unfortunately, attacking his critics is infinitely easier than defending his actions and statements.
A Scorpion for a Fish
|Hmm, I don't want to talk about evidence. But here,|
have this nourishing scorpion!
Many who are frightened and confused and have heard "gates of Hell" for the one-thousandth time will, the Bear fears, conclude that no one takes this task upon themselves because they know they cannot honestly and adequately explain the conflicts.
Bear means, if they could, they would, right? It is the most natural thing in the world when falsely accused to address the evidence, not to airily cite principles, such as, "It is impossible for a Bear to outrun a pony, as Pliny clearly states, therefore Bear did not eat pony."
So are all the criticisms of Francis false? What would be the motives of his critics? They are not all "trads." The Bear's own record in this ephemeris begins quite favorably toward Francis, even defending him over his choice of footwear and other early complaints. Why would the Bear eventually decide to go against Francis when it requires him to admit he was wrong about him all along and look like a gullible boob?
To Hell with Dialogue - at Least This Dialogue
And so we will continue to have two broad groups of Catholics talking past one another, never reaching the "dialogue" that is so valued when it comes to non-Catholics. If the principled Catholics spent one 100th of their time sensitively addressing the concerns of their own brothers and sisters as they do in "interfaith outreach" or ecumenical photo-ops. they might help heal the de facto schism in the Church.
And criticizing people who are convinced by evidence (even if they are wrong) is guaranteed to fail. How in the world is this supposed to help the Church?
The Bear sees no solution to this impasse, unless someone is willing to start addressing those with evidence-based concerns with respect.