Sunday, April 27, 2014

Bear Makes a Mess

The New Saints

Roma locuta est, causa finita est. 

Rome has spoken, the issue is decided. It is St. Pope John Paul II and St. Pope John XXIII.

Vatican II and its sequelae remain whatever they always were, no more and no less. Any (literal) halo effect from the canonizations are probably not going to matter to 99% of the people, so the Bear can't get too worked up about it all. But it has been made impossible to talk about one without talking about the other.

St. Pope John Paul II was in many ways the right man at the right time geopolitically speaking. Many will forever remember him for kissing the Quran and the Assisi fiasco. The Bear, in a rare exercise of charity, supposes he was surprised by the first, and should have perhaps been a bit more hands-on during the second. Both are lamentable examples of how the damnable impulse to be polite conflicts with the duty to proclaim the truth. The Bear knows that sounds cold, but that's just the way it is.

Politeness is a useful worldly means of getting through the day without killing each other. When politeness becomes entrenched as the taboos of political correctness, it is more deadly than the most virulent heresy. You can argue against a heresy. You cannot argue if you cannot argue, and the devil uses political correctness to cut the tongues off the faithful sons and daughters of the Church.

St. John XXIII was the most bearlike modern pope and smoked like Father Guido Sarducci. He called for Vatican II, and fairly reasonable first drafts of the documents were prepared. Before he died, he was dismayed at how long it was dragging on, and he never lived to see it finished. He probably did not envision the German-led bloc hijacking the Council. He was popular with the simple, yet known for his bon mots. When asked how many people worked at the Vatican, he replied, "About half." He repeatedly offered an apple to a woman showing too much decolletage at a dinner. When she finally asked him why, he said, "Because it was only after Eve ate the apple that she realized she was naked."

The Vatican II Era

We have the privilege of living through the Church's quo vadis moment.

  • Is she a bride looking up toward her Groom, or a community organizer?
  • Is she truthful or kind?
  • Is she eternal or temporal?
  • Is she listening to the Lord of Heaven, or the Lord of the World?
  • Is she about saving immortal souls or filling temporary bellies?
  • Is she offering absolution for sins or a platform for grievances?
  • Is God at the center or is Man at the center?

One cannot take the easy way and say, "both, because we are a both/and Church, not an either/or Church." Other things may be done along the way, but the compass can only point in one direction.

The Bear Makes a Mess

Today at Mass, we were, of course, treated to a panegyric of Vatican II during the homily. And thereby hangs a (bear) tale. Pope Francis wants us to make a mess, after all, no?

After some comments about Ghandi, the priest said: "Vatican II let us participate in the Mass, instead of just watching it as spectators. Now it was in the vernacular so, for the very first time, we could understand it. The priest turned around and faced the people, instead of facing--"

At this moment, the Bear muttered the completion of the sentence, "God."

Unfortunately, the priest, at the very same moment, unexpectedly paused, no doubt searching for a suitable word to explain just what or Whom he was facing in those dark days when the audience sat like stupefied lumps as the priest gibbered some arcane ritual with his back to them.

Into the sudden silence, the Bear's commentary -- God -- boomed like the drop of a kneeler. Two of the Bear's sons, one on either side, clutched his legs, lest he transform then and there and leap out of the pew with a roar.

After the echoes had died, the priest finished his thought -- "the wall."

The wall? Priests faced the altar then, right? They were beautiful, if you've never seen one, and quite eye-catching.

The "wall" at St. Francis de Sales Oratory, St. Louis


The Church Militant is an army, either an army of God, or an army of Satan. There are no neutrals in this war. If the Church is not striking and striking hard for Christ, it is surrendering and becoming a Vichy Church of miserable little quislings.

Winston Churchill used the delicious word "quisling" in a 1941 speech. Vidkun Quisling was the infamous leader of Norway who collaborated with the German invaders.
A vile race of Quislings -- to use a new word which will carry the scorn of mankind down the centuries -- is hired to fawn upon the conqueror, to collaborate in his designs and to enforce his rule upon their fellow countrymen while groveling low themselves. 
Of course Saints John Paul II and John XXIII were not quislings. They are saints, and that has been put beyond dispute. Quislings there be, though, and they will use these latest saints for their own ends. Today's homily by Pope Francis disturbingly linked the upcoming Synod on the Family with Vatican II, something the Bear has been doing ever since it was announced. (The Bear is not suggesting that Pope Francis is a quisling, either.) October will be the Church's Battle of Midway. 

In other words, it will be a decisive battle that shows which way the war is going. 

After the bishops have their say, we will retain the traditional, Christ-assured concept of marriage and family, or they will have deranged it into another man-made novelty. Of course, the Church ultimately prevails, but how that works out for us Bat Christians in Torpedo Squadron 8 at Midway is unknown.

As Pope Francis is fond of saying, "the Church is a field hospital." Increasingly, however, it is filled with the victims of friendly fire.


  1. brilliantly, and beautifully written. Thank you.

    at one point I actually guffawed out loud! ...and a part of me wished that you had said "God" very very loudly :) What horrific nonsense you have to put up with in sermons...are by any chance in the midwest? The inside of my cheeks would be bitten raw.

  2. Zoar is not where the Bear lives, where the Bear lives is Zoar. After 1300 years across three continents, the Bear's grasp of space-time coordinates is tenous at best. Even the Bear would not deliberately disrupt a homily, no matter how unedifying. He does mutter, however, and at times it takes two brawny sons to remind him to behave. It's a type of Catholic Tourettes Syndrome over which he has little control.

    1. Oh, me oh my oh, look at Miss Ohio,
      Runnin' around with her rag top down.

      It is a secure undisclosed location to protect the innocent. There are several layers of security involving nesting false identies. Some have thought they have figured out who the Bear is, but have only found one of his "decoys." I'm sure you can understand after Bruno's fate why the Bear is protective of his personal information. Agelessness, rapid reconfiguration of a large complex organism on a molecular level... Many would like to get their hands on the Bear.

    2. ahhh,, yes, yes, yes ....all good points indeed.

  3. The 30 miles in distance separating our two parishes may as well be 30 years in time. The sermons are of the more conservative bent ...and I thank God for that. Your greatly anticipated and appreciated reports remind me to be ever vigilant. It is still December 6 in my hamlet, but the day is running out.

  4. I have to keep reminding myself that this university town has never been a bastion of orthodoxy in the diocese. I love Father, and to his credit he takes the Mass seriously, so we do not have to put up with anything more than liturgical dance at Pentecost. (Pretty mild -- red cloth waving from poles.) He is heavily invested in ecumenism, unfortunately, even holding high position in national organizations. That's his thing. Of course, he went to seminary in Collegeville, so... Everyone is influenced by their time and place. But you're a fat, jolly hobbit in your Shire, Mr. Baggins. The Shadow will reach even you, one day.

  5. Your one-word observation, uttered during a pause in the action that, while not foreseeable by you, was engineerable by God -- may have had a profoundly beneficial impact on any number of your fellow parishioners who were within earshot. And even on Father (really, how could it not, as he is humble and intelligent?). It's marvelous to think that one's 'gaffe' might have been God's gift :-), the stuff of those "lovers' games" spoken of by St. Teresa of Avila!


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