Saturday, October 21, 2017

"Everything" is Clear: a Papal Catastrophe in a Nutshell

The weird and secretive pas de deux between
Pope Francis and Eugenio Scalfari continues.


In his October 11th General Audience message, Pope Francis said this:

If we remain united with Jesus, the cold of difficult moments does not paralyze us; and even if the whole world preached against hope, if it said that the future would bring only dark clouds, a Christian knows that in that same future there will be Christ's return. No one knows when this will take place, but the thought that at the end of our history there will be Merciful Jesus suffices in order to have faith and not curse life. [Emphasis added.]

The message was one of the Christian's vigilant labor with hope for the future. In its entirety, it is not particularly remarkable.

The excitement has been on account of the next two sentences: "Everything will be saved. Everything."

Scalfari: Pope Says "Last Things" is Bunk

The table had been set two days earlier by self-appointed spokesman for Pope Francis, la Repubblica's Eugenio Scalfari. Scalfari's dubious journalistic practices include not recording or taking notes during his chats with the Pope. 

You may recall Pope Francis initiated a public dialogue with the atheistic journalist in his "Letter to an Unbeliever" of September 4, 2013. Since then, Scalfari has scandalized Catholics with reports of the Pope's purported shocking departures from Catholic teachings. It's uncertain whether Scalfari is accurately reporting the views of Pope Francis. The Bear finds reasons to question his credibility.

However, the Pope has never called him out for making things up and has continued his private dialogue. That does not necessarily mean he endorses them, however. It is just as likely Francis would weirdly see a public challenge as some sort of breach of trust and "proselytizing."

"Everything will be saved. Everything."

That followed on the heels of Scalfari's October 9th bombshell.

According to Scalfari, the Pope confided to him that the universal Last Judgment, Purgatory and Hell were bunk. Bad souls were simply annihilated and good souls enjoyed the presence of God.

So, some quarters are up in arms about all this. The Bear thinks it is more the perfect example of the Pope's exasperating lack of good judgment coupled with conditioned mistrust on the part of the faithful.

The Bear seriously doubts the Pope would choose Scalfari to change Church teachings on the Last Things. (He also realizes that most of his readers have long since given up on Francis and will believe the opposite.) However, the Bear has no doubts at all about the Pope's unfortunate combination of compulsive talking and difficulty making sense in the broader context of the faith whose guardian and teacher he is supposed to be.

It is easy to imagine Pope Francis framing a discussion in terms Scalfari could understand as he reported. Perhaps Francis was too busy "accompanying" his pet atheist to risk offending him with actual Church teachings. We shall never know the truth, because, maddeningly, Francis does not do the necessary thing of confirming or denying anything.

Context, Context, and Yet More Context

The Bear thinks Catholics do not help the current crisis by taking the "everything" one-liner out of context. The entire message is an unremarkable address to persons united with Christ. "Everything" must be understood in this context, although even in context it is not the clearest statement. But it should not seized upon as teaching universal salvation. That is just not sound interpretation and the Bear is a bit surprised to find himself sort of on the other side of Sandro Magister on this, although the latter agrees Pope Francis probably isn't really getting rid of the Last Things.

(It's not just Pope Francis who engages in creative proof-texting, however. 1 Timothy 2:4 has not been quoted in full by the Church since 1967. (God) "who would have all men to be saved" full stop. The rest of the verse is the rather unfashionable "and come to the knowledge of the truth." After all, what is truth?)

So, the Bear invites your attention to the context of that one address. And, he acknowledges the much bigger context of the post-Vatican II world.

Since Vatican II, the Church has never been clear on salvation. Unless the Bear has never interpreted a document in his life, Lumen Gentium is "confused," and that is charitable. Everybody has a good chance of going to Heaven, you see. But, here, at the end of paragraph 16, we'll make Cardinal Ottaviani's crazies happy by saying, "but, you never know, and that's why it's so important that the Church keep sending out all those missionaries."

And lo, never was another missionary seen thereafter. In classic doublespeak, "New Evangelization" means "No Evangelization" and the Church holds "proselytization" in greater horror than the sins of Sodom. The Bear has said in two short paragraphs what it took Dr. Ralph Martin a very good book, "Will Many Be Saved?" to say.

But, as with so much else, it is usually less that the Church has changed teachings as having just thrown them into the air. So "Christ the Judge" of Scripture and Church dogma has been replaced by "Merciful Jesus"of Pope Francis' address. Can a Pope choose to emphasis one truth if he feels it has been overshadowed by another one? Sure. The Bear is pretty sure popes get to do that. In light of everything else is there a clear danger of scandal and confusion if done clumsily?

You betcha.

The third context is the weakness of this particular Pope in that  hardly a month goes by that he doesn't say something weird and confusing.

So, yes, when you see "everything" in an out-of-context quote somewhere, it is easy to believe the worst. (That is why the  Bear quoted it in context and linked to the text so you can judge for yourself.)

This Pontificate in a Nutshell

So, here we have this pontificate in a nutshell. Pope Francis, whatever his intentions and beliefs, has scandalized the faithful and the faithful are so conditioned to scandal they will find it even where it does not exist. Without reaching the question of his orthodoxy, the Bear declares this pontificate a catastrophe due to a lack of judgment on the part of Francis so profound the Bear sometimes questions his fitness.

That is the least uncomfortable explanation for his weirdly obsessive and secretive pas de deux with Scalfari. We won't see the Last Tango in Rome between these two until one of them discovers first-hand the truth about the Last Things.


  1. Who, we ask, in the history of the Church is doing more damage than Pope Francis. It is as if the devil himself were put in command of the Church. Let us say lots of prayers for the Pope, the Church and ourselves.

  2. Bear - you hit it out of the park (woodland?) with this posting! There's so much sad wisdom here that I don't know which bit to quote as an example or a thank-you. "All of it" is too general for that purpose, as well. OK - thank you for all of it. What a blessing you are!

    1. Thanks! In the future, please pick some sort of name (an animal will do nicely) though, so your post remains "anonymous" but we still know who's talking.

  3. Tim, thanks for another great reflection. However, I believe you're missing the full coherence of Bergoglio's thought. He's essentially a follower of Teilhard de Chardin (he of the Piltdown Hoax). There's nothing original in that. Teilhard was rehabilitated by the post V2 popes, beginning with JP2 and continuing with B16. For example, in a famous statement that B16 made during a July 24 vespers service in the Cathedral of Aosta in 2009, B16 said:

    "It's the great vision that later Teilhard de Chardin also had: At the end we will have a true cosmic liturgy, where the cosmos becomes a living host."

    Elsewhere, B16 has spoken of "cosmic transubstantiation."

    This is all of a piece with Bergoglio's ideas re "the last things," and his notion that "everything will be saved." We can see this clearly in Bergoglio's remark to Scalfari (quoted by Sandro Magister in his post of 7/13/2017):

    “In a millennium or so our human species will be extinguished and souls will merge with God.”

    Don't remember that from the Baltimore Catechism? From the current Catechism of the Catholic Church? I don't either, but it's perfectly in accord with Teilhard's Neo-Gnostic system of cosmic convergence and it shows that his other statements re "the last things" are part of a larger vision.

    Indeed, Bergoglio has taken Teilhard's post-V2 rehab to new heights by actually citing Teilhard by name as an authority in an encyclical (Laudato si, footnote 53). In the paragraph that contains that footnote (83) we find Bergoglio expressing in more convoluted terms the same idea that he stated so clearly, if more informally, to Scalfari about the human species merging with God "in a millennium or so" (give or take a few centuries, I suppose):

    "The ultimate destiny of the universe is in the fullness of God, which has already been attained by the risen Christ, the measure of the maturity of all things.[53] Here we can add yet another argument for rejecting every tyrannical and irresponsible domination of human beings over other creatures. The ultimate purpose of other creatures is not to be found in us. Rather, all creatures are moving forward with us and through us towards a common point of arrival, which is God, in that transcendent fullness where the risen Christ embraces and illumines all things. Human beings, endowed with intelligence and love, and drawn by the fullness of Christ, are called to lead all creatures back to their Creator."

    [53] Against this horizon we can set the contribution of Fr Teilhard de Chardin; cf. PAUL VI, Address in a Chemical and Pharmaceutical Plant (24 February 1966): Insegnamenti 4 (1966), 992-993; JOHN PAUL II, Letter to the Reverend George Coyne (1 June 1988): Insegnamenti 11/2 (1988), 1715; BENEDICT XVI, Homily for the Celebration of Vespers in Aosta (24 July 2009): Insegnamenti 5/2 (2009), 60.

    Please note that in the footnote Bergoglio includes citations to every single post-V2 pope (except for the barely remembered JP1). This is an obvious way of asserting that not only has Teilhard been rehabilitated but his thought has been fully embraced by the post-V2 Church. In this Bergoglio is no innovator.

    So, my overall point is that, while Bergoglio undoubtedly engages in deception to jolly the masses along in the direction that the Spirit--through Bergoglio himself as His mouthpiece--is leading us, never doubt the inner coherence of his Neo-Gnostic vision.

    1. That may very well be true. Bear's purpose was not to reach the actual beliefs of Francis, but to highlight the dynamic he has created. Bear has seen people quoting "everything" without any context and going directly to universalism. At the same time, they're upset that Scalfari says he believes bad souls are annihilated.

      Whatever else one decides, the point is he has created a situation (his foolishness with Scalfari is just one example) where he is not trusted by many Catholics and this led to pouncing on a one-liner that is most certainly in the context of faithful Christians. The Bear does believe there is a conditioned mistrust that has resulted in many Catholics (and no doubt most readers of this ephemeris) interpreting everything he says in the worst possible light and, for example, not even really considering that Scalfari's credibility is zero and there might be more than one reason Francis does not correct the record. (But, of course, his continued contact with the man is inexcusable by any measure, which points at least to unsound judgment.)

      Pope Francis is not a cuckoo in the Catholic nest. He is a fuller development of trends that we've been seeing for a long time. The problem is not - the Bear would suggest - that he (and the Church in general) have not necessarily changed teachings, but that Francis has done what the Bear considered his duty in every criminal case: to inject uncertainty.

      A pope does not have to be a heretic to do every bit as much damage. Indeed, a heretic can be pinned down and combatted. Eliminating the certainty of teaching is even more dangerous, and that is the real problem we have.

      The Bear recognizes this is why everyone disagrees with him on the death penalty. Certainty is worth a great deal, and he does respect that argument. (The Bear's conclusions on that topic have always been his own, but we're not opening that can of worms now.)

    2. Owl studied Teilhard under Jesuits and, while Pope Francis most likely is acquainted with Teilhard, he is hardly a follower. Some contributors / ghost writers to the various encyclicals of Pope Francis are followers of Teilhard, that is for sure. Teilhard's project was a grand unification of everything via a vis the incarnation. Pope Francis' project is The Mercy^tm which is very anthropocentric as opposed to Teilhard's universalism.

      Also, Teilhard is sort of important in academic circles and not bringing up his thought indicates not being aware of what is being discussed. Pope Benedict is an academic and will bring him up where necessary. If you read Pope Benedict's work ESCHATOLOGY, you will see that he is no disciple of Teilhard.

    3. Pope Benedict is, in Bear's opinion, right in the middle of the stream that runs far afield of traditional Catholic teachings on salvation. From memory, which is always dangerous, in Spes Salvi (?), Benedict has a shockingly pedestrian, common-sense and even loosey-goosey idea of Hell where, "Well, a few are so saintly they go directly to Heaven, and a few are so wicked they go directly to Hell, but the vast majority of ordinary folk wind up in Purgatory." That might indeed by the case, and the "Bell Curve Theory" has appeal, but I'm not sure how we get there through real theology.

    4. Two quick points re the references to Teilhard in post V2 papal statements and, now, in the encyclical Laudato Si.

      1. Reference to Teilhard as to an authority in an encyclical is remarkable (even despite the ongoing rehab operation) because the Holy Office under John23 issued a warning with regard to Teilhard on the very eve of V2 (6/30/1962):

      "Several works of Fr. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, some of which were posthumously published, are being edited and are gaining a good deal of success.

      "Prescinding from a judgement about those points that concern the positive sciences, it is sufficiently clear that the above-mentioned works abound in such ambiguities and indeed even serious errors, as to offend Catholic doctrine."

      Anyone familiar with the post-Conciliar writings of Henri de Lubac, Joseph Ratzinger and others of the Nouvelle Theologie school will recognize that the post-V2 rehab of Teilhard involved a true sea-change in Catholic theology. Jacques Maritain was one among many who raised warnings against this trend.

      2. As for ghost writers surreptitiously inserting Teilhardian references into Bergoglio's encyclical ...

      As is well known,the ghostwriter in question was "Tucho" ("Heal me with your kiss") Fernandez--a long time close friend, collaborator and theological adviser to Bergoglio going back to Buenos Aires days. I think it's permissible to presume that Fernandez and Bergoglio share a common understanding in these matters. Encyclical letters are not sprung upon the world without extensive vetting. In particular, they are submitted to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for doctrinal input. The recently dismissed prefect for that Congregation, Cardinal Mueller, has stated that he submitted extensive corrections and comments regarding writings emanating from Bergoglio, but that all such comments and corrections were simply ignored. Of course I can't say that the comments and corrections involved the references to Teilhard, but the process itself militates strongly against the haphazard insertion of dubious authorities.

      By the standards of Apostolic Tradition Teilhard is a VERY dubious authority. We are left with two alternatives: 1) either Mueller warned against such use of Teilhard as an authority but was ignored, which raises alarming questions about Bergoglio's orthodoxy, or 2) the references to Teilhard were approved by Mueller, which raises alarming questions about the the orthodoxy of the entire doctrinal officialdom in the Vatican.

    5. Great Bear, bear in mind that magisterial documents are not necessarily the best place to understand a Pope's theology. Ghost writers and all.

      The best place to get Pope Benedict? Card Ratzinger's thought on the subject will be his book ESCHATOLOGY.

      There is also a point that theology coming from the Magisterium tends to be less defined than what theologians will produce. A fantastic example is transubstantiation. It is a dogma of the highest order, but if you look at what is presented in the Magisterium, the term is intentionally not defined and is a bit "loosey-goosey".

      This is in part because you need to have room for Eastern Theology, which is not Aristotelian metaphysics transubstantiation, as well as there being differences in Western thought on the subject.

      There is a bit of a "fog at the top". It took Owl a long time to feel comfortable coming down on Pope Francis as Owl kept wondering if he was just coming from a different school of thought. Yup, but not Catholic.

    6. mark~

      1. Issues / warnings by the Holy Office come and can rescinded. things change. Just because there was a warning, doesn't always make there be a warning. This is not a sure peg to hang an argument on. As example st faustina and the devotion to the divine mercy was like wise condemned on the eve of VII.

      Nouvelle Theologie is a bit more complex than the picture that you are painting. It can be broken down into the resourcement and aggiornamento wings, show cased by the opposing journals communio and concilium, respectively.

      2. You prove Owl's point. Pope "ask schonborn" Francis didn't vet his own encyclical because he didn't write it and of course would ignore anything from Card. Mueller because Pope Francis wasn't interested in what the encyclical said, but rather what it did.

      Also, being a footnote doesn't make one an authority -- it is just citing one's sources. Foot notes are not granted authority just because they are in a document, nor is their exclusion indicative that they have no authority.

      But again, if one talks about certain issues, Teilhard's name comes up and you have to address that, especially if one is a Jesuit or talking to Jesuits. You are stuck with having to talk about Teilhard.

  4. Well I consider him unfit, totally unfit, and I think his soul is being used: used not only by those cardinals who manipulated the conclave: but he is also being used diabolically. Things will continue in this way for a long, long time I am afraid.
    "Preppers" prepare for a physical chastisement, or disaster: A, to me, literal reading of the disaster we are in: a spiritual read of these times would indicate that we really need to "put on the full armour of God" and prepare for more disorientation to come.
    I am beginning to see that my life as a bit of a recluse is a great gift: I have been misusing it: my isolation/life of quietude should be appreciated and applied for prayer: but what do I do ? I work more hours/go on internet/worry & ruminate. *sigh*.

    1. An appreciation of wise use of time is one of those things we gain as we get older. Appreciation and doing something about it are two different things, though, and I think you're not alone in that recognition.

  5. Owl is of the strong belief that interpreting an erring authority's words in charity does mean interpreting so as to allow the erring authority the ability to save face, it does not mean to interpret the words in such a way that forces them to mean something other than they mean. Owl believes that this is actual uncharitable for using an alien hermaneutic does violence to the thought of the authority.

    A person's words and thoughts should be their words and thoughts not mangled an repackaged through an "interpreter". This is Owl's science training as well as being a Convert where in Protestantism such violence against scripture is conducted on such a frequent basis that the Lord's Name is blasphemed amongst the Gentiles.

    Pope Francis is not systematic in his though. which is Owl allowing face to be saved, but that doesn't mean that his thought cannot be known. There is a coherence to it and on basic points, we can sketch out where Pope Francis would land without the need to have him comment.

    This is where scandal comes in, for many people wish for Pope Francis to confirm the brethren in the Faith. When he does something else, they are shocked. But that is what Pope Francis does. He is not who the faithful wish or need him to be. The Faithful need to accept that he is where he is at (not accept him where he is at for accompaniment of a sinner in the sinner's sin is not Christian). Then we can act accordingly with prayers, reparations, and not feeling as if we are going to loose our Faith.

    Owl was reading scripture a few weeks ago and had an insight that might possibly explain Pope Francis' motives in a charitible way. It is though incredibly incredibly scandalous. Owl will share with Great Bear if Bear can bear.

    Owl is glad that the Lord, though He be most merciful, is not mercy. Mercy is the giving of a good in repayment of an evil act rather than the evil debit that would be warranted. If the Lord was mercy, then in Heaven we would not be freed from sin. Sin would always need to exist in order for the Lord to be mercy. Thus a good lord who is mercy implies the existence of an evil lord who would likely be understood to be justice by those who serve the lord who is mercy.

    In closing, Owl wants to stress that Pope Francis doesn't believe in universal salvation. He is just engaging in hyperbole. That said, Owl has grave concerns about Pope Francis' views on the subject.

    1. When reading the whole address, the one-liner, "Everything will be saved. Everything," has the smell of something added on the inspiration of the moment, but that's a guess. It is included in the official record, and that's that. I really couldn't say what he even means by that in context, except that all the things a Christian recognizes as screwed up will be, when Christ returns, gone as all of creation including our own problems and weaknesses - IF we are united with Christ - are perfected. This is a sensible and unobjectionable interpretation, Bear thinks.

    2. Protestant theology has a problem where in either only the perfect see heaven (strict Calvinism) or somehow between here and there everything gets fixed without purgatory. Or you still have sinners in heaven just that they cannot sin anymore and everything is overlooked.

      I don't see Pope Francis as subscribing to the clause "IF we are are united with Christ and are perfect." You have to be into contemplation, theosis, and the trifold path of purgation illumination and union for that clause to hold. That isn't Pope Francis.

      As for Owl, owl is stuck on what Pope Francis thinks salvation is, what we need to be saved from, and how that works. Owl hasn't made it to 'everything" yet.

      But that is what you get when you decide not to confirm the brethren in the Faith.

    3. Well, I was just quoting directly from the address under discussion. Have you read it entirely? It is clearly addressing Christians and only Christians, and, furthermore, does use the conditional "if."

      I could be wrong, but I think Protestant theology teaches Salvation, in which the atoning blood of Christ makes things right with God, accessed by a conscious acceptance and public confession which is the "moment you're saved," whether one has an emotional experience or not. While most practice baptism, they don't see that as essential, citing (wrongly) Paul's comment to the fractious Corinthians that he was glad he didn't baptize more than two or three of them. That comes from a lack of real sacramental theology.

      After the moment of salvation, there is a separate on-going process of Regeneration, which is the working of the Holy Spirit, whose fruits are the proof, or at least powerful clues, as to one's Salvation. In other words, it is expected that one can show a changed life, or the legitimacy of one's salvation could be questioned. But, if you're really saved, you cannot be unsaved (Security).

      Protestants have a juridical model in which one is declared "not guilty," not based on "the merits of the case," so to speak, but the fact that Someone Else - Christ - has stepped forward to be condemned in your place. Sin is an unfortunate reality, and we try to do our best with Grace, but it's all covered, like "snow covering a dunghill."

      It makes a certain amount of sense that if God doesn't see something, it doesn't exist.

      I can't say I know exactly what they think happens to one's sinful nature once they are saved and even after significant regeneration. That does not mean they don't have a theology of that. My impression is that the sinful nature is ultimately overwhelmed by the presence of God, and it is just not an issue in a sort of general "all things made new" sense.

      For the sake of argument, just how much suffering or purification can one say a Catholic needs before he is "pure enough" for Heaven? A Protestant might argue that there is no amount of purifying flames of Purgatory that make someone actually "perfect" and ready to meet God without the slightest inclination toward sin. Therefore, the doctrine is fundamentally flawed (as they might say). So, the argument might go, even with Purgatory, it still comes down to a cleansing which is entirely independent of anything we do or undergo, so in what way can we logically argue with their disbelief in Purgatory?

      We are dealing with ways of trying to understand spiritual realities. The Church has always spoken of "time" in Purgatory, not in the indulgence sense, which is misunderstood to be about "time off from Purgatory" in so many days or whatever. But the gist is there is a certain amount owed by those in the Church Suffering, which can be reduced/shortened by the Church Militant.

      Bears do not pretend to know such things. In Bear theology, which is only for Bears, it is all Grace, because a Bear will never be other than a Bear no matter what happens to him, and he could be burned in flames for 10 billions years, and in the end he would just be a crispy Bear, although there is no denying suffering can be sweet and instructive, as Bear has recently learned himself.

      If Bear gets into Heaven, it will be because God lets at least some Bears in, and beyond that his 500 gm. brain cannot understand.

    4. Great Bear ~ Owl suspects that Pope Francis means "If we remain united with Jesus" to mean 'If we are/allow ourselves to be accompanied by Jesus' rather than the Catholic 'If we conform our lives through grace to Christ'.

      Owl, being a convert from Protestantism immediately agrees and immediately disagrees with anyone who says Protestantism teaches X. Some do, some oppose, many make purse out of sow's ear.

      One can tell where another are in the US by whether or not the other thinks "most Protestant's think baptism is not necessary". Owl comes out of the no baptism no heaven wing of things.

      What you are speaking of sounds Evangelical-Lutheran by Owls ears. Owl's best friend is a 5 point Calvinist and would treat the topic of salvation differently.

      Card Ratzinger treats the issue of the weirdness of what Protestants think happens between here and heaven for the non-perfect very nicely in his book ESCHATOLOGY. Yes Owl is drumming this book. Card. Ratzinger isn't easy to read but he is wonderful for giving a detailed lay of the theological landscape. If we understand what is out there beyond Catholicland, we can get ahead of the rocks that the barque is being sailed into.

      For the sake of pure argument, Owl replies "completely" as to how pure one must be for heaven. In terms of Catholics v. Protestants, there is often a different anthropology going on. A Catholic would say that a person in heaven cannot sin, while some Protestants would say that a person in heaven can still sin, but just chooses not to.

      It might seem pedantic, but there is a very different understanding of sin and what exactly we are being saved from at play. It creates a very different way of living one's life, if one is playing by the "rules".

      But again back to Pope Francis. Owl doesn't know what Pope Francis means on the subject.

      Owl is an Augustinian / Neo Platonist so for Owl too it is all grace (that worketh in love).

  6. The Apocalypse of Peter didn't make the final cut for the Bible canon, but was quoted from by Pope Clement 1 and in wide circulation for a long time. Some believe it greatly influenced Dantes Inferno with its specific descriptions of hell. It speaks to the ultimate salvation of even the people who have suffered horrifically in hell for a long time. I admit I find it comforting and pray every day that it's true. But it is not what the Church teaches. Some believe it was discarded because a 'forever hell' is not a great way to control the people.

    BTW Bear, I've been visiting a Byzantine Rite Catholic Church. I've discovered that Eastern rite Catholic Churches are secret havens for sedevacantists because their sacraments were untouched by Vat 2 and therefore there is little question of the validity of their priests and bishops (except when a Novus Ordo 'priest' decides to become Eastern rite bi-ritual.). I think you would find some peace there. The Liturgy of St John Chrysostom was written in the 4th century--can't get much closer to the ancient church than that. It is a most beautiful Liturgy.

    Seattle kim

  7. The Bear was Orthodox for many years, and, in fact, a tonsured reader. He continues to miss it, and the liturgy is incomparable. (I realize you're talking about the Eastern Rite, which is different, although not much in liturgy.)

    Bear will probably get shot with a tranquilizer dart for saying this, but there is a strain of universalism in Eastern thought one does not find in the West, along with other distinctive theological differences. He learned that Orthodoxy has its own problems, such as nationalism, the heresy of more than one bishop per jurisdiction and the three-strikes rule on marriage. Further affiant sayeth not.

  8. You were Orthodox? For how long?

    Seattle kim

    1. 5 or 6 years. I had gotten fed up and there was a lovely little Othodox chuch in a nearby coal mining town, the last of several dotted around sothern Illinois from when mining was an industry that attracted large numbers of eastern types, known generically as "hunkies" to my coal miner grandfather. (Never knew my other one, since he was killed in a mining accident leaving my dad an orphan at 14.)

      There was a clear split between the native Russian descendants and a significant number of converts. One of the problems was it was as much an ethnic club as a religion. Orthodox is first Greek or Russian (or Russian, or Russian...) then a religion. So there was some Russian role-playing expected.

      The OCA was scandal ridden, our priest was removed withiut notice for sexual misconduct right before Christmas. We had a hard time keeping priests because the board was stingy and some wanted big families.

      Without a priest or deacon, it was my duty as a reader (a bigger deal in Orthodoxy than lector - I actually wore a high-collared black cassock) to do "reader services.

      The woman choir director was a priestess wannabe pretty much though, and insisted on doing them. No doubt she did better than I would have until I came up to speed, but the old guard wanted me to insist, since, after all, that was my duty. I was caught in the middle. Believe this if you want or not, but it was not an ego thing on my part. It was the fact that here in Orthodoxy, a strong-willed woman could do as she pleased and create an irregular situation that could only have been resolved by open conflict. The board and other Russians would have supported me, but I did not have the appetite for it and we DID need a choir director. She would have walked.

      When I moved away in my own to my state death penalty job, it was to "the Rome of the West," Belleville, IL. I was about a mile from Our Lady of the Snows Shrine and another church. Masses were like bus schedules: there were Catholic churches everywhere.

      I could have driven to an Orthoxdox church in another town, but I was disillusioned by scandal, petty power plays, the "ethnic club" vibe, the disunity, and substantive things like the lax view on divorce troubled me.

      It seemed Providential to find myself alone in Catholic Town, U.SA. Most of all, I knew I was a Bear of the West and God had caused ne to be born here.

      I was running from the junk that I already saw, long before Francis, While I loved the liturgy and much else (and am always tempted to go back) there does not seem to truly be greener grass anywhere.

      Thus my continuing ambivalence toward the Church. I loved Orthodoxy but half the time we didn't even have a priest and I was always going to be stuck in the middle of some damn Russian Civil War I didn't understand.

  9. Sloth is reminded of Al Capone.

    Everyone in the country knew he was a mass murderer, but for years we all gave our consent to this abstract construct of American law, circa 1920's, and watched as he destroyed souls.

    Sloth is somewhat attracted to drug fighting methods of the new tyrant in the Philipines.

  10. The abolishment of Church teaching as found in Humanae Vitae is one of Bergoglio's end games folks. That's exactly why he's been calling for the abolishment of the Death Penality, based on these same false premises of "changing times" and more "complex" issues. This is exactly why Church teaching can not change or "evolve".


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