Monday, August 14, 2017

The Simple Reason Many Catholics are Troubled Today

NOTE: As for those questioning the wisdom of this post, has it not proved that the only argument is between those who view the Pope in the Catholic sense as the one having the bona fides, and the one viewing the Pope in the novel sense of he that does not deviate from sound teaching.

The problem that Bear finds goes back to the previous articles, and has been alluded to by more than one commenter (most good, btw, thanks, but no video posting; we're are not going to do that here because people post hour-plus long ones that Bear must watch).

THE PROBLEM IS that if one follows the understanding that the Pope bust be followed because Catholics have a duty to do so and he is protected from error, then when we run into conflicts, we need a way to resolve them. The Church has always ASSUMED that we would never face this issue, because no pope would contradict any previous pope. Citing the teaching of the Church about what we must believe is unhelpful if the very concept of teaching is being challenged, don't you see?

In all the history of the Church, there has to be a clear answer. Catholics have to to know what to do. And yet, the argument goes on with intelligent people on both sides (some with some dodgy arguments, granted). Bear begins to thinks Church said, "Huh, this is Church, it is impossible so we don't need rule."

And yet Francis is a different kettle of salmon. He is, shall we say, "challenging" what we believe about the Pope and our Church.

Does Bear have to lay out encyclicals between popes side by side in a Power Point presentation?  Let's stop both "it's my opinion" and a simple "He's the Pope, we must believe"

There is a prima facie case that there are conflicts. If the only answer is, "But there can never be conflicts," then we have a big problem. If the answer is, "Of corse, there can be conflicts, but one must never think about them," that does sound a bit cultish to Bear.

Bear is pulling every trick out of his bag of tricks to justify Pope Francis and his teachings. But Bear is not equipped for that task. Evidently, those authorities who are equipped do not try, leaving a commenter to observe that "the reason they don't try is because there is no logical resolution."

The best solution would be to show either (a) there are no contradictions); or (b) there are contradictions, but they don't matter, because our understanding of human nature deepens over time, and even Our Lord spoke in terms of ideals and concessions to human weakness.

The Bear must observe in all fairness, that he reads some comments by good Catholics who are just hurt and bewildered, and have lost their trust, but will close their eyes and "white knuckle" through Francis because no one is helping them understand the big picture.

They deserve better. Why aren't they getting it? And a ridiculously long and turgid encyclical like Amorous Laetitia is not meant to be read and underststood by laymen, or, apparently, anyone. Look at the succinct and powerful statements of the Faith by 19th century popes.

The Visible Church

As Catholics, we know that the Church is visible. It is not hidden away somewhere with Pope Billy Bob in a truck stop on the outskirts of Del Rio Texas. It is a "city on a hill." It is a "lamp on a lamp stand." It occupies the historic cultural center of the world and has lots and lots of impressive real estate in Rome and everywhere.

Everybody knows who the Pope is, in the same way everyone knows who the President of the United States is. There may be a few who deny the legal, practical and cultural realities, but they are denying something that is universally agreed upon, as well as all of the bona fides. Everybody knows where the Vatican is. Everybody can look at the unbroken line of popes (granted, with the odd complication here or there) but unquestionably continuous.

So, good, bad, or indifferent, there can be no failure to recognize the Church. God has cleverly made it the most obvious and enduring institution in human history, so no one could possibly miss it. Just as one recognizes a person by who she is, not by what opinions she expresses, the Church is the Church is the Church, without passing a checklist of dogmatic bona fides. Her identity is self-evident.

(It is true that apologetics have given us succinct proofs of the identity of the Church, but that identity does not rely upon apologetics. The apologetics are meant to demonstrate that identity in a logical and persuasive way.)

Is it confusing when your Never Trump friend is suddenly a Deplorable when you see her next?

Ah, yes. Yes it is. But you don't think your friend really is a different person, just because her opinions have changed.

The Break Between Catholics

There is a real break today between Catholics who identify the Church by who she is, and those who identify the Church by what she teaches. This is an accurate and simple way of looking at it. Please do not try to complicate it by just restating a position, like so: "But who the Church is does depend on what she teaches!" That is just restating that the Church is identified by what she teaches, only using different words.

Again, the split as originally stated is clear and accurate: the Church as who she is vs. the Church as what she teaches.

The latter might say, "But the real Church would never say it was okay to get remarried after a divorce!" And the former might say, "The Church is right there, There, see? Plain as the sun in the noonday sky! The most obvious institution in human history, with divine protections. Questions of teaching can never go to her identity."

Any arguments flowing from that are exactly what the Bear is talking about.

There are those who have concluded that at some point in the 20th century, or more recently, the Church has gone into conflict with herself. They don't think the Church with all the fancy real estate in Rome and elsewhere is the real Church. The real Church is one - somewhere - that has preserved the old teachings and ways of doing thing.

The Bear is not very familiar with the different theories these people hold. He is pretty sure, however, that their position flows from a determination that what the Church teaches goes to her identity.

There are more Catholics who recognize that there does seem to be an interruption, a conflict, that things seem to be "changing with the times" now, but they just don't know what to make of it. They muddle on the best they can, maybe nail their foot to the floor in front of their favorite pew, and try not to think about that sort of thing very much because it robs them of their peace.

But they do not doubt that the "city on a hill," the "lamp on the lamp stand," the most impressive cultural institution in human history, is the Church. In Rome. With all the fancy real estate.

And the Pope.

And, of course, there are souls - probably the vast majority - who are untroubled by anything, and just sort of roll with it. It would never occur to them to wonder if the Church was the Church, or the Pope was the Pope, and if now homosexuals are practically legitimate, couples can divorce and get remarried and it's okay, and Hell was pretty much a medieval fantasy ordinary people like them don't have to worry about anymore, then so much the better!

The Indefectible Church

As Catholics, we know that the visible Church is indefectible. It cannot teach error: not through its councils nor through its Pope. The Pope is not only "infallible," but possesses his "ordinary magisterium."

Those teachings a pope continually reinforces in his public comments and writings, constitute his ordinary magisterium, to which Catholics are required to give their intellectual assent.

This is what Catholics are required to believe. If Bear has got that wrong, please advise.

Anyway, this is the answer the Church gives to Catholics who say, "We no longer recognize the Church with the fancy real estate in Rome and elsewhere as the Church, because whatever it is, it is not teaching properly. It is, in fact, flat wrong about very many things."

The Catholic answer is, "No, the Church is indefectible. One of its most important jobs is teaching the truth, and God has promised He won't let it stray from the truth. So it can't and it doesn't." How this answer reconciles apparent changes in teaching is never spelled out. But this is the rule, and this is what Catholics must believe, and that is sufficient answer for most.

That Uncertain Feeling - Cognitive Dissonance

"Cognitive dissonance" arises when what is going on before the eyes, the ears, and the noses of Catholics today do indeed seem to conflict with the teachings of yesterday.

Examples would be the apparent change on the "signature" Catholic teaching that remarriage after divorce is adultery (or if it is adultery, it's the understandable sort of adultery that is not going to be condemned).

Also, one does not have to go back very far in time to find popes condemning "indifferentism" in the strongest terms. Within living memory, Catholics were strongly discouraged from worshiping with Protestants, let alone non-Christians. Of course, today, the theological winds are blowing from the opposite direction, and Martin Luther is celebrated by the Church, and the Church publishes joint prayer services for Catholics and Lutherans.

One of the oddest things is that no one ever attempts to answer objections to such apparent changes, or explain how novelties and contradictions are really in harmony with the great march of the Faith through the centuries. This gives rise to not only cognitive dissonance, but suspicion. This is the greatest mystery to the Bear, and of all the things that he finds troubling, this is the most, because it makes a very unwelcome comment upon the changes and the people who might press them.

What do you do when
it's fifteen minutes pat
midnight and the UFOs
haven't come?
As long-time readers may remember, the term "cognitive dissonance" comes from a sociological study of a UFO cult. The UFOs were supposed to arrive at a given date and time. Cultists took elaborate measures to prepare, such as removing metal from their bras. It was documented in the fascinating book "When Prophecy Fails," and you can read more about it in the Bear's article here.

"Cognitive dissonance" is the psychologically uncomfortable feeling people get when two things they believe are in conflict, e.g. "I believe what the UFO beings told us," vs. "The UFOs never came."

The UFO cultists, paradoxically, threw themselves into their cult activity with even greater enthusiasm after the the disappointment. They even began proselytizing, which they had not done before. The theory goes, the more people they could get to believe in the UFOs, they more their confidence would be boosted.

Fideism After All?

The Catholic cognitive dissonance arises when what is going on before the eyes, the ears, and the noses of Catholics today, do indeed seem to conflict with the (presumably equally error-free and divinely protected) teachings of yesterday. 

Your argument is invalid
because Francis.
It is really that simple. That one sentence sums up the reservations about Pope Francis and the Church in general, although some would add one thing or another. If the Bear would add anything, it would be, "and nobody is even trying to explain how this is legitimate."

Yes, we know all about visibility, and indefectibility, and magisteriums. Another lecture about that will only heighten the feelings of cognitive dissonance among many until someone explains how we are mistaken in our belief that the Church is in conflict with itself.

"Who are you going to believe, baby, me or your lyin' eyes," has been tried by many a man, with no recorded success.

"Fideism" has not been the Church's way in the past. Wouldn't be ironic if now, in the 21st century, Catholics were told to check their brains at the door and just roll with it because?

The Franciscan Divide

Pope Francis has publicly spoken 100 times more words than all other popes put together (a guess). Not a day goes by that we are not blessed with a new interview, video, writing, homily, photo op, or even prog rock album. By sheer weight of verbiage and ubiquity, Pope Francis has dwarfed the entire 2000-year history of the Church, Or so it seems. No pope of living memory has placed his stamp upon the ancient institution like Francis has. Not even St. Pope John Paul II.

Indeed, it seems possible that future Church historians may mark a significant change in the Church with this pontificate. The true Church will be found in the rubble of the blessed Franciscan terramoto, when the Church finally became a modern institution among modern institutions, dealing with all people as they are in an imperfect world, finding them through new media, and, at long last, not selling pie in the sky when you die to terrified pewsitters. 

Franciscan Confusion

Pope Francis is not always clear and seems to frequently speak off the cuff, leading Catholics to wonder how he views his own statements. He ignores requests for clarification. Simply:  he talks a whole lot and is confusing, as people who talk a lot often are. I think everyone can agree on that without delving back into the Francis quote mine. 

Nonetheless, we are by now familiar with the themes and teachings to which he continually returns - the periphery, refugees, arms merchants, climate change, the poor, the lonely elderly, the unemployed youth, the brotherhood of man, and what might have been called "indifferentism" by previous popes. In other words, are not these issues the sum and substance of his "ordinary magisterium?"

The uncorrected voices of the Church routinely cast doubt upon the inerrancy of Holy Scripture, the likelihood of anyone going to Hell, or even its very existence. Even "signature" Catholic teachings such as divorce after remarriage, seem to be in doubt. Whether or not one is willing to say Pope Francis creates all this confusion himself, he sure doesn't seem to mind it. Indeed, the Franciscan spirit seems to thrive in shadow and ambiguity. Doctrines are not denied outright, but their practical effect seem to depend upon ever more flexible "pastoral considerations."

Was it always so? Maybe it was. Is there a legitimate exercise of "pastoral considerations" that is different from what looks more like Catholic three-card monte, with dogma as the Red Queen suckers are led to think they can follow in a rigged game?

The Bear is sure there is.

But today, Francis is not the only voice sowing confusion, one assumes unwittingly. The Church, making full, if not always wise use of the organs of modern communication, leaves modern Catholics feeling overwhelmed, and - there's the word again - confused. 

There is Only One Catholic Answer

The Catholic answer is that "he is the Pope, and you mustn't reject or criticize those things he teaches as Pope of the Catholic Church."

The Bear's objection to Pope Francis has only ever been that the Bear, as one of the Faithful, does not feel taught or fed by this Pope, but only confused. The Bear must assume for charity's sake that the confusion is not deliberate, because then it really would be a con: that three-card monte game where the sheep wins just enough to keep her interested while she gets fleeced. 

Were Catholics ever confident and certain? It is difficult to recall already. What does the Church really teach about divorce and remarriage, and whether one should be Catholic or Lutheran? The photo-op teaches more surely than the encyclical. Did we have a mistaken view of the Church all along? Has it always been a kindly combo of ideals in theory and compromises in practice? Do we have a naive and rosy view of the past only because we hardly ever heard a peep from popes because they were faraway potentates whose encyclicals were not read by average Catholics? Were her teachings always provisional, to address certain problems of the times, subject to change with the spirit of the age and the expectations of humans?

The Bear is sure of one thing. Trying to see history in current events is a dangerous business after all. We will never have the perspective that is required. 

The God of Surprises

We are now told that God is full of "surprises." 

He didn't used to be, not when it came to Church teachings. God was pretty much in the "no-surprise zone," and people weren't often surprised by their Church. When it comes to the norms by which one lives ones life and the faith by which one has hope of Heaven, surprises are the last thing we need.

What if the head of the FDA said, "We want our drugs to be drugs of surprises?"

What if the company that made the tires for your car shrugged and said, "Our tires are full of surprises?"

What if you caught your wife going out with another man, and she smiled and told you, "Welcome to a marriage full of surprises?"

What if your airline's motto was, "Every landing is a surprise?"

Nobody likes surprises. You don't, Bear doesn't, the two-year-old who cranks the handle until a terrifying clown bursts out at him doesn't. Surprises are not good.

The least good of all surprises are those cosmic pranks played by a Being of infinite power who holds you in his Hands and upon Whom you rely for your salvation.

That a pope would justify anything by alluding to a "God of surprises" is perhaps the most unfortunate turn of phrase of them all. The Bear must presume he meant to say, "We have a God who enjoys challenging us it new ways to make our relationship with Him and others richer."

One could probably make a living doing translations like that.

Stop Making Sense

The Bear does not doubt that Francis is Pope, or that the Church is headquartered in Rome, with impressive real estate there and all over the world. The Bear commits as best he can to some sort of notion that nothing has changed, that it is a matter of emphasis. Or if it has changed, all teachings were provisional all along, and must change with the times.

Or something. Bear does not know.

Bears are above all practical.

The Bear understands why it is difficult, though, for many Catholics, when confusion is cultivated instead of clarity. When the rule is "You must believe the Pope," not only whatever he says, but whatever it is he may be trying to say. We're just not always sure, are we? His method of communication is allusive and oblique. Others run with what they seem to assume are hints dropped for them to run with. Who really knows?

On the other hand, the God of surprises may have just given us a pope who combines poor communication skills with an enjoyment of talking.

So, in the end, the Bear does not understand any of it. He is not happy with any of it. He will suffer a "rational disconnect"  with his Faith for as long as he lives, it appears. Even his tiny 450 gm ursine brain is not welcome in the Church of today. Who needs a brain when everything is a surprise, anyway? When there are no explanations to understand? It is the Talking Heads Church in more ways than one. Including the "Stop Making Sense" way.

Bear will stand and applaud on cue for salmon.

The Bear will not believe his lying eyes, nor even his lying nose. He doesn't follow the Church much these days, because, irony of ironies, it has become for him a near occasion of sin. He must accept that is the fault of the wicked Bear. All of it. The Church is the Church. The Pope is the Pope. There is no error, no conflict. The Bear just doesn't understand. Times change.

Bear is just stupid Bear.


  1. For the record, the ordinary magisterium of the Pope requires both religious assent and the religious submission of mind and will of the Catholic faithful. Lumen Gentium.

    1. Pope Francis. Period. There is no other pope.

    2. Pope Francis is Pope. And there you have it. That is your starting point, along with the visible Church. So whatever anyone wants to make of anything, there is not getting around the fact that Francis is Pope, and the Church is in Rome. Benedict is not Pope. He has confused the issue, but is not Pope. If someone else is Pope, he is a secret Pope, i.e. no Pope at all. That would be like having a "secret President" know one knew about. You try to take away the visible Church and the recognized Pope, and the whole scheme falls apart.

      I don't know we were ever guaranteed that every Pope would be marvel of clarity and wisdom. I happen to believe Pope Francis is neither and thinking Catholics are presented with difficulties.

    3. You people are nuts! There is no such thing as pope francis. There is only one Pope and that is Benedict XVI. Bergoglio is not even Catholic, you morons!

    4. Well, there you have it. Sir, Bear finds your logic and reasoning highly persuasive. You have marshaled your evidence, laid out a compelling case, connecting all the dots, and answering all objections. You win the GOLDEN BEE award for the day.

    5. Thank you, Mr. Klump, for that beautiful title. I shall add it to my shingle.

    6. He makes perfect sense to me.

    7. A man may make perfect sense declaring nonsense.

    8. Well, whoever he is, he's a heretic.

  2. The Catholic answer is that "he is the Pope, and you mustn't reject or criticize those things he teaches as Pope of the Catholic Church."

    The fundamental problem with that approach, Ursus Magnus, is that it places excessive emphasis on one man as opposed to the body of teaching through Scripture and Tradition. It justifies Matthew 16: 18-19 as license for any and all sorts of arbitrary revisionism on teaching. It turns papal infallibility into a latter-day version of the divine right of kings.

    The Bear must assume for charity's sake that the confusion is not deliberate, because then it really would be a con: that three-card monte game where the sheep wins just enough to keep her interested while she gets fleeced.

    The confusion doesn't have to be deliberate. It can merely come from pathetic training in seminaries, and even worse religious education for the laity. Regardless, one implication from your statement is that the hierarchy not only views the sacraments as means of dispensing divine grace but also as tools to manipulate the faithful and hold them hostage to a self-contradictory system.

    Is there a legitimate exercise of "pastoral considerations" that is different from what looks more like Catholic three-card monte, with dogma as the Red Queen suckers are led to think they can follow in a rigged game?

    That hypothetical is more powerful -- and more devastating -- that you realize.

    No, Ursus Magnus, you are not stupid. Far from it. You are viewing the logical consequences of certain supposition -- and you don't like what you're seeing.

    1. If Bear were not stupid, he would be able to understand how things look so bad, and yet are not bad. He truly wishes the Church had enough respect for the Faithful to sit down and explain the Big Picture.

      "Jesus said Moses had gone easy on the Jews by allowing divorce and remarriage because they were not very faithful - even as we today are not. Jesus said there was more to marriage than people thought, and went all the way back to the story of Adam and Eve to explain the seriousness of that covenant. In other words, he offered the counsel of perfection. Yet, Jesus is always doing that. He speaks wildly and memorably. Chopping off the wicked hand. Eating his flesh and drinking his blood. Being born not once, but again. When he says that it is easier for a rich man to get into Heaven, his disciples despair and ask Him, 'Who, then Lord, can ever make it?' The key is in what he tells them next. 'With God all things are possible.'

      "It is true that there are many rules, or, rather, many sins, into which a person may fall. God knows this, and the Church has always known this. This is a generation which is weak. The culture promotes wickedness, and the sacrament of Holy Matrimony is not respected as it should be. Yes, it would be best if people stayed married their whole lives. It is beautiful, and many manage to do it, through love and forgiveness and tolerance.

      "And, yet, we know marriage as an institution of the West is sick. There is no doubt many will get divorced and remarried. We must not always assume the worst. People get married without sufficient preparation or thought. The Church must be ready to take their hands when they part ways. It is not good for man to be alone, or woman. Much good - even children - can come from a second marriage. We can hold to the ideal of marriage even as we meet those who have been wounded by its misuses. It is monstrous to treat two people who are in a different marriage as somehow a "not real couple," their children bastards. So we forgive and accept, because this is the their reality. We hold up the sanctity of Holy Matrimony as an ideal, even as we do what the Church has always done, accept people as wounded and imperfect. It does no one any good to pretend they are not truly in a marriage, and it is ridiculous to suggest they live together 'as brother and sister.' Let us face reality, friends. The Church knows right from wrong, and wishes the Faithful to know the same. But the Church must never be so strict that we drive people away from her Holy Sacraments."

      There. How's that? Do we we even get something like that?

    2. No, because Francis doesn't want to be pinned down, even with the turgid example you just gave. Just look at his reaction to the episcopal Dubia. His silence signals not only his contempt but also his belief that he is accountable to nobody -- not to his fellow bishops, not to the faithful, not even to God. It's an executive arrogance venturing close to the line of narcissistic tyranny.

  3. Pope Francis is not sowing confusion wherever he goes. He sows division. I don't live in bear country. I live in the land of the beaver up north. Here's a beaver tale.

    In the first beaver pond up here the beavers use the traditional tried and true method of building beaver dams. It is a proven way to maintain healthy water levels in the pond and the other pond critters are thriving and splashing about having fun.

    In the next pond over a new fangled method is being used by the second beaver that results in leaky dams that lose a lot water. Apparently though, the construction of the new type dam is easier, faster and cheaper.

    Why does this matter? Just ask the critters in the second pond, who see the level of their life giving water dropping. They are afraid and very angry at the second beaver, who they say is shirking his God given responsibility for maintaining the water level of the second pond. The second beaver has the easier life, but the other critters are leaving, if they can, or are dying of hunger and thirst.

    1. Bear enjoys the clever tale of Beaver. He does not understand why the other Beavers do not join together and bring the bad Beaver's building up to code. The humans have a legal principle of "common enemy." Water is a common enemy Pretty much anything someone does to protect his property from water run-off is legal, and if it hurts his neighbor, too bad. Perhaps Beaver could devise a bamboo pipe system to redirect the excess water back to the bad Beaver's pond?

      Of course, the Beavers could always just tear the jawbone off the bad beaver, or slap him into a coma with their tales, or whatever it is Beavers do.

      Or maybe it is the will of the God of Beavers that the beaver's below the "bad" beaver must be chastised for living far too comfortable lives or something. If the God of Beavers did not want the new construction, he could certainly smite it. And yet he does not. The only possible conclusion, then, is that the God of Beavers approves of the novel construction techniques and the downstream beavers simply lack faith. Perhaps if they turned from their traditional ways of building, the water would be free to run further, to the beavers on the periphery.

  4. Most depressing thing I've read in a long time.

    I'm not sure who is Pope. Nor do countless others. But since he's on the Throne, toad that he is, he's the figurehead. Even the SSPX says he is pope, but I think they think he promotes heresy. What he preaches is bunk. I will not listen to him. I will listen to Jesus and Scripture and Catholc Tradition. I will stay close to the Virgin, her spouse and all the Saints who preached luminously in line with what has always been taught. I will detest Islam and Protestantism and Mormonism and Buddhism and Hinduism and any belief system that promotes heresy or worship to a false god. I will thumb my nose at error.

    I will attend the SSPX /FSSPwhenever I am able and "offer it up" when I must go to the Novus Ordo to fulfill my Sunday obligation to God.

    I will beg God's mercy because I am a poor sinner. I will hope for a good death with the Sacraments.

    1. Most depressing thing Bear has written in a long time.

      There are stark divisions between what the indefectible Church has taught at one time, and what the same indefectible Church, with the same divine protections and holy popes have taught a other times. We are like children, with our blogs and comments, picking at scab on our knee so that it never heals, so that we never see beyond the scab and get back to playing. Aren't we like that sometimes? But Bear is not finished.

      The real problem is not that there are changes. The real problem is that Churchmen simply ignore the changes and leave it up to the Faithful to "deal with it," or "put some ice on it," or whatever. The Bear would LOVE LOVE LOVE to worship with Lutherans, some of whom are very sensible, and have nicer things than many Catholic parishes. They're theology is not completely crazy, even if it is wrong. The Bear would LOVE for people who have been divorced and remarried to be happy. Bears are like that. They enjoy a good time, and don't begrudge others the same. The Bear likes Jews. He thinks it would be great if they all went to Heaven without Jesus, like the Church now says. Nope. They don't need him. As the JDL news release said, "Church Admits It Needs Jews, Jews Do Not Need It." It's true. That's what the Church says now.

      Bear wishes everyone got into Heaven, and God were not very particular about the means. Bear, being Bear, does not exactly have the strongest case for himself, you know, either.

      So, if they want to allow Fr. Barron to practically deny Hell, the new Jesuit to deny Christ's words in the Gospels, the Bear can only be happy, because he has eaten very much ponies and not a few children (before he knew better, though) and is very very wicked.

      So, with all this wonderful news everywhere, why can't anyone be bothered to find a smart cleric like Fr. Barron, or even the Pope, and explain in simple language why all the changes are right, now? Bear knows as trial Bear, he had to explain EVERY LITTLE THING to the jury. A trial is important. The jury has a vital decision to make. It is the duty of the defense and prosecution to present the very best cases for each side and help the jury to do their important job. A man's life might depend upon such a careful explanation.

      So, Bear looks around, shrugs and says (in Sicilian) "boo'." There is not explanation. If there were, Bear promises there would be a lot less wondering about the motivations and even the identity of the Pope.

      Bear is as sure as he is about anything that Francis is Pope. Does he think he is doing a very good job? Obviously, not. The GOOD NEWS is that you can be as Catholic as you want to be. Nobody is stopping you. Maybe the "Novus Ordo" Mass is not as symbolically rich, or beautiful to the senses, but do we imagine God cannot make up for its deficiencies? Did you know that there were centuries (Bear lived through them) where illiterate priests babbled through Mass with hardly a clue what they were saying or doing? It's true.

      Ultimately, God is always there, with is, if we will be with Him. We don't have to understand the exact way he is working through his Church, or his purpose. We are like Job, who had a pretty good challenge to God. Did he get any answers? No, he did not. God is God and Pope is Pope and Church is Church and Bear is wicked and stupid. Maybe one day, Bear will be made of light.

      But not likely.

    2. "put some ice on it." That's a nice reference to BJC. I infer that you believe we're getting the same treatment that BJC gave before saying that?

  5. "Who needs a brain when everything is a surprise anyway?"
    Hahahaha. Francis is doing a fine job as custodian of the Vatican 2 church. Relax, Bear.

    A little explanation from the book of the Maccabees:

    Seattle kim

    1. Kim, Bear loves you, but whenever someone posts a link to some long video, Bear has to watch it all, because he feels he has some responsibility for anything that goes on his ephemeris. He wishes people would take the trouble to simply summarize the points themselves.

      He has (ahem) mentioned this before, but perhaps you missed it ;-)

      From now on, the rule of the Woodlands is: no long video links! (Bear barely has time to sometimes tend this ephemeris and write to supplement his meager veteran's disability check.)

      This is pretty weird, and in Bear's humble opinion, does not advance the discussion. No offense. Bear is just suspicious of long, strange, videos by people he has never heard of who try to force modern history into the Books of Maccabees. Nonetheless, this time, it can stay up, and people can make out of what they will. It is NOT endorsed by the Bear. The Bear is NOT a sedevacantist, and the quickest way to get moderated it so to go down that road.

      HUG. Now, recover from Bear hug.

  6. Bear--So many words, so little clarity. Was that your point? Personally, I believe the management of the Catholic Church has corrupted it's teaching. That Pope Francis may not be legitimate. That since Vatican II the Church teaching has become more and more Protestant. That we may very well be coming to the point where Christ wondered whether He would find any faith on earth when He came again. And finally, that the practical plan of action for me is to keep going to my Novus Ordo Mass, pray a lot, and muddle through as best I can.

    1. Bear thinks it is pretty clear. The real division is between people who identify the Church because it is the Church, and those who look for a Church somewhere that will be known by its correct teachings.

      We are all in different places, Mike. Some deny Francis is Pope. Some deny the Church is the Church. How to boil this down as simply as possible?

      The real problem is that the Faithful are no longer respected. Changes are made without any explanation. This makes Bear suspicious.

      But, like you, he has decided the best he can do is recognize his difficulties and muddle through the best he can, but he's never going to be happy about it.

    2. Michael...I was having much the same problem finding a cogent point in this post, and reminded me of something, but I couldn't put my finger on it...couldn't put my finger on it, and then, BAM!...I remembered. Hope this helps.....

    3. It is not the Bear's fault if he sometimes forgets to dial down superior Bear reasoning to levels humans can easily understand :-)


    5. "Changes are made without any explanation." How can there be? So they don't even try.

  7. If the reasons given above prove that Jorge Bergoglio is the pope--namely, that he lives in (approximately) the right place, wears (approximately) the white things, and says (not even close) what the head of the Catholic Church might be remotely expected to say--then there could be no such thing as an antipope throughout all of ecclesial history. But we know that there is such a thing. There have been times when more than one man appeared to hold the office of the Successor of St. Peter, but nobody (until Ganswein) ever that they simply split the difference and get on with it. One person had to be the pope, which meant that the other contenders simply were not, any appearance to the contrary notwithstanding. And determining which was which, even though the process confused and divided even saints, was never brushed off as optional or inconsequential on the grounds that "the guy we've got is pretty widely recognized, so that ought to be good enough."

    What makes a man the pope? Election according to Canon Law, and only election according to Canon law. If Jorge Bergoglio wasn't canonically elected then he doesn't hold the office legitimately, full stop. Now I, as but a lowly creature of the woodlands, do not consider myself qualified to contend that this is the case. But I do find it awfully fishy (if you will pardon the Corbinian pun) that none of us is allowed to so much as ASK.

    1. But the example does not follow, Justina, with all due respect. When there is more than one pope, then, it is obvious that either only one of them, or possibly none of them, are the real pope. We do not face such a challenge today, because we do not know in advance that we are dealing with a bad pope. We are starting from the reality that we do have one pope who meets all the qualifications and is (virtually) undisputed. When things have the appearance of orderliness (and the election of Pope Francis does) then the Faithful are entitled to rely on the bona fides.

      It would be like the difference between a hospital gather three couples together and saying, "We're very sorry. This sort of thing hardly ever happens, but we've mixed up three newborns. We can't be sure which one belongs to what couple." OR A mother with one baby, with an official birth certificate, and everything, who starts wondering about that baby. "He doesn't act like his brothers and sisters did. He seems strange to me. I don't think he's my baby."

      The mother could possibly be right. Perhaps DNA tests might later prove her to be right. However, she is not starting from the same point of uncertainty as if the hospital had three newborns, one of which was hers, but no way of telling her which one.

    2. To Justina: Catholics are indeed allowed to ask. What they are NOT allowed to do is attempt to question in the way most questions are being posed these days (rebelliously) and not accept the requirements stipulated in Lumen Gentium and expected of ALL the Catholic faithful.

    3. "starting from the same point of uncertainty." My uncertainty and dread began the moment he stepped out onto the balcony and glared at the Faithful.

  8. Big picture here is that we are seeing the effects from the errors of Modernism being the dominant theology in the Church. Think of the Modernist heresy as a quiet, soft, sincere divorce, of Orthodoxy from Orthopraxy.

    The only antidote to Modernism is confront it with the simple statement: "the Faith and Morals of the Church cannot change, because the nature of God does not change, and the nature of Man does not change." Period.

    This antidote will keep you away from theological three-card monte games, or having any interest in 'the God of surprises'. Bang, done.

  9. Here is a list of things that have nothing to do with whether or not antipope Bergoglio aka Francis is pope: 1. Is he confusing? 2. Is he divisive? 3. Is he orthodox? 4. Is he widely accepted? 5. Does he almost sort of live where the pope lives?

    The question of who is pope comes down to the weight of the evidence leading to Moral Certainty that Benedict's attempted partial abdication failed, rendered invalid by reason of Substantial Error as anticipated by Canon 188.

    1. Only if you have decided ahead of time that Benedict's abdication is the only reasonable explanation for Francis not being Pope. I find it intriguing, and unusual, and probably a really bad idea, but whatever Benedict's motives may have been, he has not acted as if they included Francis not being the Pope. If that was his intention, he has had a long time to make it clear, and has not. Is Benedict so dumb he thought he could make up a new form of the papacy on the fly? I don't think so. I agree it is probably the best argument against Francis being Pope. It is also a horrible one.

      The only thing that matters is if Pope Francis possesses the papal bona fides, which he appears possess. If he does, then he can be divisive, confusing, alarming, rude, speak off the cuff so much no one knows when he's speaking "as pope" and when he's just a garrulous old fellow from Buenos Aires, write too-long, unclear encyclicals, live in Moscow, if wants, and he is still Pope. And having no one question whether he is pope outside of blogs and comment boxes and youtube videos is some evidence that he is pope.

    2. "Benedict...has not acted as if Francis not the pope." Well, that's because he thinks Francis is pope, as part of an expanded Petrine ministry. As for his motives in attempting to split the papacy, the evidence would suggest his being forced out, and the bifurcation was his attempt at ruing their plans? I don't like to focus on the WHY, because that involves speculation. But the WHAT and the HOW are knowns, as revealed by Benedict's own words and echoed three years later by Ganswein.

    3. To Mark: Please present your theological credentials to support your conclusion.

    4. Wow, how did Benedict XVI become the world's dumbest Pope? And the laziest, if he cannot be bothered to write a letter explaining it all to everyone.

  10. Your example is poorly chosen: "A mother with one baby, with an official birth certificate, and everything, who starts wondering about that baby. "He doesn't act like his brothers and sisters did. He seems strange to me. I don't think he's my baby."

    A better comparison would be the validity of a marriage. Once celebrated, it is presumed to be valid. However in some cases, not so rare apparently, the spouse can question it's validity to the point of asking a court of canon law to determine if in fact a marriage occurred.

    The exact same question should be asked about Francis. 2 popes? St. Gallen mafia? Amoris Laetitia? Would one of those deficiencies make his papacy invalid?

    1. No, my example is better than yours. I was specifically addressing the example of three popes, where it is beyond question that at least two are antipopes.

      The woman faced with three babies, such as Catholics faced with three popes, KNOW with 100% certainty they have a problem, and somehow the three must be reduced to one. As far as the problem of having three popes, nobody is arguing that it is not a problem. The question is not whether we have a problem, but how to solve the problem we have.

      A marriage between one man and woman is not like a marriage of one man to three women. That would be a similar problem to the situation where you have three competing popes. However, a man married to one woman is not ipso facto a problem.

      A man married to one one woman who has reason to suspect his marriage might not be valid is not certain that there is any problem. He may suspect there is a problem, but further inquiry is required. In any event, he does not conduct the investigation himself and reach his own conclusion in the matter.

      You raise quite another point. Bear supposes the proper ecclesiastical authorities can examine Pope Francis and make a determination whether he is the Pope or not. The Bear is not one of them, so he has no idea how that would work. He guesses that it is not going to happen after all this time, and is probably not a fruitful avenue for discussion.

    2. "The exact same question should be asked about Francis. 2 popes? St. Gallen mafia? Amoris Laetitia? Would one of those deficiencies make his papacy invalid?"

      No. There is only one Pope and that is Francis. Even Benedict XVI openly and publicly declared his obedience to Francis. St Gallen mafia? Pfffft. Amoris Laetitia? Let me throw the 'bomb.' There is nothing in it contrary to Catholic doctrine when read in context. None. Are there many, including clerics, who are twisting it? Sure. But there is nothing in the original text. Nothing. None. Nada. *Let the beatings begin*

    3. "marriage of one man to three women" which is now, apparently, in certain conditions, after a time of discernment and dialog, acceptable and not without graces after all no one can be condemned forever.

      Give me a break.

      I think you've written about levels of evidence before. I don't think all of the evidence lining up, adds up to your conclusion. I think you are trying to put these things in the best of light and with the best of intentions. Since the moment he appeared on the balcony I was concerned. Nothing I'd read of his past actions and professed beliefs dispelled my concerns and my fears of the future. Since those fateful first weeks, it has only gotten worse.

      This problem is more important than any murder trial. Countless immortal souls are in danger and we, the ones who actually know what the Church teaches will be held responsible, for how we defend Christ and these attacks on his Body.

      People used to ask if, based on the evidence, could he be convicted of being a Christian? How about the Pope? Is it Christian to contradict the words of Christ on marriage? That most marriages are null? To deny hell? To say that there is a conflict between the a couple of the 10 commandments? We could both go on and on listing all of the crazy things he says and things he does and approve with a wink and nod.

      He may or may not be Pope but I don't think the evidence is on his side.

      John F. Kennedy

    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    5. I have reservations. They did not begin the minute he appeared on the balcony. With all due respect, I'm not sure how that reflects on your judgment. I observed him over time - the record is in this ephemeris - and gave him his chance before I developed reservations based on specific observations.

  11. Dear Bear,
    Hope remains a Catholic virtue for as long as we live. Maybe the following true story of an embattled priest will bring you cheer.
    The Day it Rained at Cowley
    as told by Paul Fournier
    used with permission
    On July 18, 1946, Father Gino C. Violini stood before a small wooden church in a little town nestled in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies in Southern Alberta. St. Joseph's was a forlorn, nearly abandoned little mission church. His heart sank. He'd come from Schuler, a place where he had learned German to great effect, as by the time he had left, there was not a lapsed Catholic left within the parish boundaries.
    A small group of people gathered about this man dressed in mourning. They said they didn't need a priest; Cowley didn't need a priest, and if it ever came to pass that they needed one, they would inform bishop Carroll of the fact. Furthermore, they didn't want to see him reading his breviary and he could get rid of that cassock.
    He celebrated his first Mass at St. Joseph's the following Sunday. "Introibo ad altare Dei." He began. There were nine people in the pews. Well, he had to start somewhere, and he delivered the best sermon ever, in his opinion, to those nine people. The following Sunday, there were only four who had come to adore their God..
    The next two years were not crowned with success. The collection was laughable. He could afford a loaf of bread which he'd cut into seven parts, one part for each day of the week, and feasted on dandelion salad. Winter is an especially cruel season in Cowley, and he'd find snow covered his blankets when he awoke in the morning, as the rectory walls were split open from the many seasons that had dried and shrunk the logs apart.
    His first Christmas collection was a dollar and thirteen cents. The church was no warmer than the rectory, so the water would freeze in the cruets, even though he placed them on a little coal stove.
    His plight eventually came to the attention of a few Catholics in the area, and they came to help, else he would have starved to death. Those good families include the Lamires, the Blais, the Diamonds, and later many others.
    Father had had it. Enough of poverty in all its manifestations ! One day he sat down and wrote a sixteen page letter, addressed to Bishop Francis P. Carroll, the gist of which was - this town is a write-off, and I want to stamp the dust of it off my feet. The Bishop rejected each and all his requests for a transfer and told him to stay put. He had full confidence in Father Violini, and he expected him to bring about a full Catholic revival in this parish, which had been so long neglected. After the latest of these rebuffs, Father was ready to pray for a noble death. But he was in for a great revelation.
    On the feast of Corpus Christi, he awoke early and headed for the church for morning prayers. As he walked to the church, he noticed the front door hanging off its hinges. He hurried then and gazed at scene of great destruction. The walls were in shambles, statues destroyed and then he noticed the tabernacle had been split open and the consecrated Hosts were scattered down the main aisle. One by one, he gathered them up, counting each one. They were all there except the large Benediction Host which he could find nowhere.
    It was raining, The gray sky reflected his anguish. He notified Father Michael Harrington of the Crowsnest deanery who quickly organized a search party of some two thousand people. They searched Bellevue and Hillcrest, Blairemore and Coleman; some came from as far as Michel and Natal in British Columbia, yet none of the people of Cowley would help. Still it rained. The search party combed miles of highway 3.

  12. ... continued
    The Royal Canadian Mounted Police picked up two suspects at Cowley and questioned them at Blairemore. They had stolen a pickup truck and abandoned it down the highway when the police had discovered them.
    Father Gino recognized them as transients from Lethbridge who had been seated next to him at a baseball game a couple days before, and who were looking to find work in the coal mines at Crowsnest Pass. He listened to the questioning by Sergeant Parsons: " Remember, it may not mean much to you or to me, but you fellows stole his Jesus." Father explained the meaning of the Blessed Sacrament to them, and how precious it is to Catholics. He then offered to drop all the charges if they would tell him where they had discarded the Host.
    Touched by his explanation, they began to show remorse and offered to help find It. One admitted to having discarded it through the truck window just before the police took them into custody. He didn't know what it was, but he knew it was incriminating evidence.
    The rain had hardly stopped when they all piled into the police cruiser, the two suspects still handcuffed. Father calculated that if the Host had been dropped as these two men had said, the search parties would surely have found it if the rain had not dissolved It. It was about six o'clock that evening when they arrived at the spot. The sky was clearing; there was a bit of blue in the West.
    As they rounded a corner East of Bellevue they all saw the Host suspended in midair beside the highway. Beautiful rays of coloured light shone from it. Even before the car had stopped, Father leaped from the car and ran towards this astonishing sight. Sergeant Parsons was right behind him. Father fell to his knees in adoration, overcome with joy and wonder. Sergeant Parsons did likewise, and landed in a pool of mud.
    Father stood up and reached for the Host. It looked as white and fresh as the day he had consecrated it. As he touched it, they heard: "Father Gino, please take me back to Cowley."
    Here was Christ on the road, asking to be returned to a desecrated church; to a parish that Father had long wanted to leave. As they returned to Cowley, Sergeant Parson's eyes constantly left the road to gaze at the wonder Father held there, beside him. The bishop arrived the next day. He told Father Gino that he would be the one to rededicate the church. The bishop prayed with him in the devastated sanctuary. As he finished, he turned to Father Gino to say: " Great changes will soon take place in this parish."
    Sergeant Parsons came to ask for instruction a few days later. His wife and children soon joined him and later two of his constables from Pincher Creek. As time went on, more and more Catholics began to return to their church. The parish mission was so popular that the beer hall shut down when it was in progress. The patrons, many of whom were not Catholic, would carry the bar stools to the church to listen to Father's sermons. They even had to take out the pot bellied stove to make room for everyone.
    The little church, so long abandoned, was now full to overflowing every Sunday.
    Father was told he was to be transferred to the Blackfoot Indian Reserve on February 3rd, 1951. The whole town, plus five hundred members of the Russian Doukhobor sect came to wish him farewell. They were especially grateful to him for having taught the town to be tolerant of them.
    Very early in the morning of February 3rd, Father quietly slipped away.
    An old man watched him leave. Forlorn, he exclaimed: "Oh my poor soul! What am I going to do now, that Father is gone?"
    Note: The following was told by Mr. Patrick Owens, who cared for Father Violini in his last illness. I've condensed and modified it slightly. It is Mr. Owens' story. He was there.

  13. Susan--I get it now. The Bear was pulling our leg. My bottom line is that if a Pope speaks heresy he ceases to be Pope. For me, Bergoglio is long gone.

    1. I'm with ya Michael...there are 3 very solid paths of evidence that point to that reality (2 very clear canon laws shredded, invalidating his 'election', and the heresy thing (a nonCatholic cannot be the pope) supported by St. (Church Doctor) Bellermine inter alia). He says and teaches things that Peter quite simply CANNOT. Ergo, he is not Peter.

    2. If I may, by what criteria do you establish that a Pope "speaks heresy?"

    3. yes, it became all too obvious when the pope approved the Argentine bishops' memo allowing Communion for the divorced and remarried, that he is a heretic.

  14. When dead Popes have as Popes taught "A" and the Pope, the
    Living one,teaches contrary to their magisterium, which are we to be bound. When the principle of non-contradictions is abandoned are we not the Greeks seeking the Oracle of Delphi from Pope to Pope?

    1. Catholics are to be bound by religious assent AND religious submission of mind and will to the reigning Pope. Lumen Gentium and 1983 Code of Canon Law. Hence, Pope Francis.

    2. "Catholics are to be bound by religious assent AND religious submission of mind and will to the reigning Pope"

      ....when it contradicts Christ's OWN words????...and 2,000 years of consistent Church teaching????

      DOCTOR of the Church, SAINT Rbt. Bellermine:
      "Just as it is lawful to resist the pope that attacks the body, it is also lawful to resist the one who attacks souls or who disturbs civil order, or, above all, who attempts to destroy the Church. I say that it is lawful to resist him by not doing what he orders and preventing his will from being executed."

      Marcelle....I think it would benefit you greatly to reacquaint yourself with the first chapter of Galatians. What you're spouting is pope-worship idolatry.

    3. So, let me get this straight..., you think Catholics are to assent to the "teachings" and utterances, his off-hand comments in front of any camera and his personal example of PF? Even though many of these things are against what Christ stated in the Bible, against what all previous Popes have written and taught and what the current Church teaches in the Catechism? Since when has a Pope become a direct conduit to God?

      Surprise! We're in a post Christian Cult!

    4. Susan, I would strongly suggest you acquaint yourself with the Dogmatic Constitution of the Church, which IS binding on all the Catholic faithful, plus the 1983 Code of Canon Law. I didn't write the thing; they did. Attempting to quote Scripture out of context is Protestant, not Catholic. Further, resisting and attacking the truth is one of the seven sins against the Holy Spirit.

    5. John, it is not what I think or don't think, but what the Church stipulates. As I said to Susan, take it up with Lumen Gentium and the 1983 Code of Canon Law.

    6. tell me "marcelle" you think there was a Church before 1965?

    7. Certainly, Susan. However, as you well know, the tenets laid down in Lumen Gentium are binding. Now, if you don't even accept Lumen Gentium, then that's a different kettle of fish that results in not being in communion with the Church.

  15. Here, ladies and gentlemen, is the relevant section of Lumen Gentium, the Dogmatic Constitution of the Church, for those who may be unaware of this section. It IS binding on all the Catholic faithful:

    "This religious submission of mind and will must be shown in a special way to the authentic magisterium of the Roman Pontiff, even when he is not speaking ex cathedra. That is, it must be shown in such a way that his supreme magisterium is acknowledged with reverence, the judgments made by him are sincerely adhered to, according to his manifest mind and will. His mind and will in the matter may be known either from the character of the documents, from his frequent repetition of the same doctrine, or from his manner of speaking."

    1. ....ahhhhh, there's your problem; you think the usurper on the Throne is Peter. He's not. Here are a just a few other of the problematic things you must believe if you stand by your post:

      *Souls that are not saved are annihilated.
      *The Blessed Mother wanted to yell at God the Father at the base of the cross, "Lies! Lies! I was lied to!"
      *The koran is a source of truth and strength.
      *That islam is a religion of peace.
      *That atheists can get to Heaven by doing good.
      *That evangelizing is a sin against 'ecumenism'.
      *That the Jews don't need Jesus to be saved and we shouldn't try to convert them.
      *That divorced/remarrieds without annulments can receive Holy Communion (as he told the Argentine bishops, "there is no other interpretation.")
      *That people can change their sex (referring to the 'transgender' he invited for a private audience with 'spouse' in tow, "he, who was a she, but is now a he...")
      *That, "Man is the king of the universe!"
      *That youth unemployment is the greatest problem facing modern man.
      *That not recycling is a mortal sin.
      *That Jesus needed to plead forgiveness of Mary and Joseph.
      *That the real miracle of the loaves and fishes was sharing "rather than a multiplication".
      *That a notorious and unrepentant woman personally guilty of murdering over 10,000 babies in the womb is a "forgotten GREAT!"
      *That Christ on the hammer and sickle of marxism is an acceptable thing for a pope to smilingly accept and to wear on his person.
      *That not genuflecting or kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament in the Holy Mass or public Exposition is okey-dokey....even when he's shown he can repeatedly kneel before women, trannies, and muslims at the Mandatum.
      *That a tango in the sanctuary, inches from the altar, is okey-dokey.
      *That Jesus "made Himself the devil!"
      *That Jesus "likes it" when we say to Him in the confessional, "This is your sin, and I will sin again!"
      *That martin luther wasn't wrong.
      *That if everyone did what they thought was good ("as they conceive it"), the world would be much better....(bet ISIS thinks they're doing 'good', ah? eh? no?)
      *That Catholics shouldn't "obsess" on 'gay marriage', contraception, and abortion....(as if!)
      *That the persecution, torment, and annihilation of the FFI was justified.
      *That Jesus Did Not Tell the Pharisees that Divorce is Forbidden.
      *That Jesus only "pretends to be angry" with the disciples when Scripture clearly says he was angry with them.
      *That "no one can be condemned forever"...(i.e., there is no hell; see point #1 above).
      *That "engaging in dialogue does not mean renouncing our own ideas and traditions, but the claim that they alone are valid or absolute."....(guess that pretty much negates the Catholic Church, Her origins, and the promises of Her Founder.)
      *That the cause of social evil is "inequality".

      Now, good creatures of the woodland; I'm sure I've forgotten one or 800...maybe you could remind good old 'marcelle' of some that I've left out.

    2. "You think the usurper on the Throne is Peter."

      There you have it in a nutshell, ladies and gentlemen. If you do not accept Francis and Peter, then you are not in communion with the Church. Bottom line. No ifs, ands, or buts.

    3. Susan, would you really like me to answer every single one of the alleged points you have raised? Because if yes, I shall. However, I will also point out that I have never placed your name in quotes, hence your doing that speaks volumes about your underlying intent.

  16. Further, Donum Veritatis (the Roman Instruction on the Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian) does allow for the withholding of assent in the case of “a theologian who might have serious difficulties, for reasons which appear to him well-founded, in accepting a non-irreformable magisterial teaching," but differentiates clearly between such a case versus dissent as in public opposition to the Magisterium. It states “the theologian will not present his own opinions or divergent hypotheses as though they were non-arguable conclusions . . . [and will] refrain from giving untimely public expression to them [and] avoid turning to the mass media.”

    No one ever said that the Church was a democracy.

  17. Susan has it right. Listen to Susan who speaks the truth. The Catholic Church has been in a death spiral since Vatican II. Pope Francis is the highest manifestation of the infestation of Modernism in history. No one should listen to this Pope. He does not speak for Christ. He does not speak the truth.

  18. So, each new Pope may entirely reinvent the Catholic Faith without reguard of the magisterium of his predecessors, Sacred Tradition, or Sacred Scripture. Still sounds more like Greeks approaching the new occupant of the Oracle of Delphi.

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    1. It has nothing to do with which pope you prefer Michael; it has everything to do with the reality of the matter.

      1) Bergoglio has nothing of the charism promised to Peter by Christ...he speaks against Christ's own words, the 2,000 year Tradition of the Church, and the Deposit of Faith.
      2) His 'election' was heavily canvassed for by the St. Ga(y)llen Group (as per Canon law, this invalidates an election)...look it up; it's easy to research.
      3) Benedict made a YUGE substantial error in his 'resignation' in that he intended to bifurcate the munus of the papacy into a contemplative ministry (him) and an active ministry (bergoglio). As per Canon law, this invalidates a resignation. Go to Nonvenipacem blog...he's done GREAT work in several posts to explain this in detail, as has Ann Barnhardt.
      4) There is MASSIVE evidence that Benedict was pressured out. This, again, according to canon law invalidates a resignation.

      So again, it has nothing to do with 'preferences'. The reality is pretty clear to anyone with eyes to see and ears to hear that Benedict is the reigning (albeit horrible and negligent) pope. You're free to follow the misguided idolatry of marcelle, but do understand; we are each going to be accountable before Christ for how we've used our reason, Christ's words, Scripture and 2,000 years of Church teaching to recognize the Truth....but then, only His sheep know His voice. I don't think it could be any more obvious.

      Let me ask this...bergoglio's vatican (just after the sin-nod) has said that there were "positive" aspects" to couples living together without being married and in relationships of same-sex couples. This has been doubled down on by bergoglio himself who said many of the cohabitating (nonmarried) couples he knows are in "real marriage" because of their fidelity, "yes, they have the grace of real marriage". He denies the sin of fornication, and the grace transmitted by the Sacrament of Matrimony, ex opere operato, in one, fell, heretical swoop. Does this sound like the voice of the Divine Shepherd speaking thru His vicar to you? Who will you follow when francischurch sanctifies sodomy?...(and that is their crown jewel, make no mistake). I know Whom I'll follow; and I'm pretty sure I know whom marcelle will follow.....and they ain't the same shepherd.

    2. Thank you, Susan, for that eloquent witness of my fidelity to God. I thank you.

  20. Susan,
    I admire your spunk, but you are wasting your breath with the likes of Mr. Bartolo-Abela. They are too deep in denial, and yes it is a form of papal idolatry. If you go to his website, you will find this little gem (he is referring here to the outrageously ignorant article attacking Catholics in the U.S. by Bergoglio's henchmen, Spadaro and Figueroa):

    "THE ECUMENISM OF HATE -- Read this article just penned by Spadaro and Figueroa, and which has been released by La Civilta Cattolica. It is an excellent analysis of what is happening and spot on. I can personally attest to what the authors of this article describe." -- Marcelle Bartolo-Abela

    1. Please. I'm sure she'll appreciate the traffic. So someone has a different opinion. Keep your comments on the ideas, and leave the person alone, Armadillo.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  21. Susan--
    Do you have a blog Susan. If not, you should? You sound a little like Hilary White or Ann Barnhardt--two great speakers of the truth. Keep up your good work.

    1. no blog Michael...I just read a lot of good ones. And as to the comparison; my friend, you give me one of the greatest (though woefully undeserved compliments I've every received in my life. Bless you.

      Keep up the good fight, good soldier of Christ...and never let them tell you it's raining outside when they're pissing in your eye (my beloved uncle's peasant wisdom....the very best and most insightful :)

  22. So... when was it decided that a Pope was no longer Pope when he said something stupid? Or even a lot of stupid things? Or even made a theological error? Bear is of the "Pope can say weird stuff and still be Pope" camp. And much of what he says simply goes along with what the leading theologians in the Church say. If we have a Pope problem, we have a much bigger problem than that. Which I know some of you will agree with!

    1. (to be read in a subltle, soft whisper, with lots of elongated sibilance at the s's...)

      you're right Bear...what was I thinking? It's just a little theological error....or two.....or, well, why quibble over numbers? That whole Sacramental system....way overrated. And such a legalistic clinging to the law. Why would we ever look to the past for the pathway ahead?...seems like clinging to 'modes of fashion' to me, and to someone eludes me who at the moment. Ah, but never mind....too much promethian pelagianism goin' around....perhaps the world had it right all along after all...let go of that old battered Book, and those old tattered men in white silk, now long turned to dust...what did they know anyway. Today after all is today, and it's so very different from yesterday....we're finally merciful. We're nearly at the omega point, and the cosmic christ (that the old fabled one was simply a dim type of) looms near on the horizon. The bishop in white polyester leads the way, with his lieutenants in rainbow sunglasses, to the new world...(er, sorry, CHURCH) order of recycling, and fornication, and sodomy for all, with everyone, in meeeerrrrcy welcome at the 'table', cause afterall, "a little bread and wine never hurt anyone", (jeeze, I wish I could remember who said that). No repentance or metanoia necessary...(too legalistic)...afterall; this is the real message of the long last and finally spoken.

      ....certainly Bear, follow that one; and call him "The Sweet Christ on Earth"....cause, gee, all the big kids in red are following him too.

      Hope you'll understand if I stay behind, and kneel at the graves of those old tattered men in white silk, long turned to dust. I think they have way more of worth to yet speak to me than anything I hear today.

    2. "Weird stuff..." Does that include heresy too? I thought it was taught that he who was Pope ceases to be such when he teaches heresy. When is that point reached?

    3. We know historically a pope taught heresy (about the timing of the beatific vision) and remained pope. And yes, take away the cloud of weird stuff that follows Francis around like Pig Pen's cloud in Peanuts, and start your heresy hunt there. Francis is his own worst enemy because for whatever reason, he says confusing, weird stuff. The why is not important. In a grave matter it would seem we should be able to point to specific heresies. If he says, "Gee, I feel sorry for all those Catholics living in adultery in second marriages. People don't know what they're getting into. I do believe a second marriage is adultery, but, whaddya gonna do? Why don't we respect Holy Communion but also respect the reality that two people seem to be making a go of it? Is it a realistic pastoral solution to treat them the same way as a man and a woman slipping off to the No Tell Motel?"

      Are you ABSOLUTELY SURE that is "heresy?" Or is it a pastoral maneuver that denies no dogma, but accommodates two people in a real situation? Maybe it's a bad South American Jesuit solution, but heresy?

      Every child deserves a star. Yes, the Church has certain teachings on obedience. Yes, it is difficult to look at the encyclical of Pope Gregory XVI and Pope Francis side-by-side and imagine they are even in the same religion.

      I propose that it is impossible to resolve the conflict intellectually. Everybody is scrambling to get through this with their faith intact. Some do not try to resolve the conflict, but quote black letter law and leave it at that. Others try to resolve the conflict and cannot. Is Mirari Vos from the same Church as the joint Lund Catholic-Lutheran love fest? Is Amorous Laetitia from the same Church as Mirari Vos? Only in the most technical way.

      Francis can be as weird as he wants. "Who am I to judge?" Was the first example. It is not heresy. Can it foreseeably be used to promote sin? Yes. It was an unfortunate statement of the type that passes for wisdom in the West nowadays. Lazy, virtue signaling and all about "look how tolerant I am!" As those statements and grand worldly gestures pile up, it is hard to argue with charity and rationally.

      Who will stand up and proclaim EENS today? It was taught infallibly once. Now, it is as dead as Fr. Feeney. It isn't ever coming back. Francis didn't do that. Perhaps we have confused "indefectable" with "unchanging." Mirari Vos? It's a dead letter, along with some large percentage other solemn teachings. Francis is just the temperature pop-up on the turkey announcing to one and all that the bird is done.

      I see two parties of good people arguing over true things who are all Catholics. I also see that neither side can carry the Church into the future alone. Francis is just the test case. What will the "believe the Pope" party do when Holy Communion is opened to Lutherans? When "gay union" is somehow "blessed" and recognized by the Church? When contraception is permitted to save the Planet from death due to overpopulation. Do you still see yourself saying, "That's the teaching?"

      Don't try to say, "well, that's just a hypothetical," because it is a thought experiment.

      And if we start rejecting teachings from popes and councils, what is our canon? Who makes it? Do we start looking for a pope without bona fides who is one of several with a tiny following, but who has made a Church that stops in 1964, or 1911, or 1863?

      The real problem is that modern media power overtook the Church in ways that should have been foreseen and should have been resisted and used sensibly, but has not been. Francis is Pope, I have no doubt, but I suggest with as much charity as possible, that he has used the power of modern media in a very unwise way. With all due respect, he is not Juan, he is Eva - the media star, the hope of the demiscados. That is the script he has written for himself. He is, in his own way, a revolutionary, yet a reactionary when it suits him.

    4. You cite "EENS" - extra ecclesia nulla salus - by Fr. Leonard Feeney, when he was excommunicated for error? With all due respect, is that the best you can come up with for a defense citation?

    5. Curiously, he was reinstated without requirement for recantation. But I am not talking about Feeneyism. You will, of course be aware of the very long history of the dogma in the Church. If, however, you wish to say, "No, it was never taught in the past by competent authority that one must belong to the Catholic Church to be saved," then I'll accept your answer.

      We could make it even easier by saying it was commonplace and unquestioned that there were very important advantages to belonging to the Catholic Church when it came to salvation, and the Church insisted that worship with non-Catholics was forbidden and it did not consider the chances of Protestants to be very good. Indeed, when Pope Gregory XVI condemned "indifferentism," he was condemning the very idea that, say, Lutheranism was any sort of salvation at all, and Catholics did no favors by pretending otherwise.

      Pope Francis does seem to be in conflict with his unconditional acceptance of non-Catholic and even non-Christian religions, his encouragement with worship with same, and horror of "proselytizing."

      Or is it your position that the Church has never changed her mind on a matter formally taught, and let's specify its relation to Protestants, if you like, since the conflict seems to be clearest.

      But don't feel obligated. I thought it was beyond argument that the Church now teaches substantively different (opposite) things than it has in the past. Is this really not a settled question?

    6. From Lumen Gentium, Chapter II:

      15. The Church recognizes that in many ways she is linked with those who, being baptized, are honored with the name of Christian, though they do not profess the faith in its entirety or do not preserve unity of communion with the successor of Peter. (14*) For there are many who honor Sacred Scripture, taking it as a norm of belief and a pattern of life, and who show a sincere zeal. They lovingly believe in God the Father Almighty and in Christ, the Son of God and Saviour. (15*) They are consecrated by baptism, in which they are united with Christ. They also recognize and accept other sacraments within their own Churches or ecclesiastical communities. Many of them rejoice in the episcopate, celebrate the Holy Eucharist and cultivate devotion toward the Virgin Mother of God.(16*) They also share with us in prayer and other spiritual benefits. Likewise we can say that in some real way they are joined with us in the Holy Spirit, for to them too He gives His gifts and graces whereby He is operative among them with His sanctifying power. Some indeed He has strengthened to the extent of the shedding of their blood. In all of Christ's disciples the Spirit arouses the desire to be peacefully united, in the manner determined by Christ, as one flock under one shepherd, and He prompts them to pursue this end. (17*) Mother Church never ceases to pray, hope and work that this may come about. She exhorts her children to purification and renewal so that the sign of Christ may shine more brightly over the face of the earth.

      16. Finally, those who have not yet received the Gospel are related in various ways to the people of God.(18*) In the first place we must recall the people to whom the testament and the promises were given and from whom Christ was born according to the flesh.(125) On account of their fathers this people remains most dear to God, for God does not repent of the gifts He makes nor of the calls He issues.(126) But the plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator. In the first place amongst these there are the Muslims, who, professing to hold the faith of Abraham, along with us adore the one and merciful God, who on the last day will judge mankind. Nor is God far distant from those who in shadows and images seek the unknown God, for it is He who gives to all men life and breath and all things,(127) and as Saviour wills that all men be saved.(128) Those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds to do His will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience.(19*) Nor does Divine Providence deny the helps necessary for salvation to those who, without blame on their part, have not yet arrived at an explicit knowledge of God and with His grace strive to live a good life. Whatever good or truth is found amongst them is looked upon by the Church as a preparation for the Gospel.(20*) She knows that it is given by Him who enlightens all men so that they may finally have life.

    7. But often men, deceived by the Evil One, have become vain in their reasonings and have exchanged the truth of God for a lie, serving the creature rather than the Creator.(129) Or some there are who, living and dying in this world without God, are exposed to final despair. Wherefore to promote the glory of God and procure the salvation of all of these, and mindful of the command of the Lord, "Preach the Gospel to every creature",(130) the Church fosters the missions with care and attention.

      There is a reason LG did not condemn "proselytizing" as a horror. The Church is the normal way of salvation, subject to a few recognized exceptions. It always has been. It offers real advantages, although one would hardly know it from what one sees and hears today.

      EENS has been a routine part of the ordinary magisterium of popes, and asserted under extraordinary magisterium three times. There is no mystery here.

      I find EENS distressing, even offensive. Therefore I will happily ignore the old teachings (see even condemnation of "indifferentism") and go with the free-for-all of modern Church beliefs rather than depressing, old teachings. I won't pretend they never existed though.

    8. BTW, that is the not-so-jolly part of LG that seldom gets remembered nowadays. So, are we fostering missions with care and attention? Do we want to see people in the Church, or outside of it, where they are prey to error? Is there today any advantage to being Catholic over Lutheran, and if so, how does the Church show this to the world?

  23. I believe Pope Francis is flawed worldly Pope, who teaches worldly things, for worldly causes. Pope Francis doesn't have time to worry about Heaven. I don't have time to worry about anything that I will lead me away from Heaven. Unfortunately I waste a lot of time. We don't have to waste our time following Papal teachings that we know lead us away from God. Pope Francis didn't concern himself with Papal teachings that he didn't think corresponded with his worldly interpretation of the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ. He ignored and attacked Papal teachings that he disagreed with. We've just got to weather the storm, speak what we believe, and remain Catholic. Let them try to excommunicate us. If the Pope loves us then that is the last thing he would want for us. If the leaders of our Church tried to then they would have some explaining to do, and we would have the choice that God allows.

  24. This is one time where every child wins a present.

  25. From: The Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma

    Membership of the Church is necessary for all men for salvation {de fide.}

    ... the Fourth Lateran Council {1215} declared: 'The universal Churchof the faithful is one outside of which none is saved' {extra quam nullus omnino salvatur}
    The highest degree of certainty appertainsto the immediately revealed truths. The belief due to them is based on the authority of God Revealing {fides divina} [...] If Truths are defined by a solemn judgment of faith {definition} of the Pope or of a General Council, they are "de fide definita".
    The above is slavishly copied from the source above.
    I prefer to ignore Father Carl Rahner's attempt to muddy the waters when he was editor of Denzigers Enchiridon. This is succint enough for a proper reflection.



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