The take-away message for us is (a) to sort out things thoroughly, unless we just want to run an agitprop blog (which the Bear emphatically does not); (b) to examine ourselves to see if we are not hypervigilant when it comes to Pope Francis; and (c) to put our money where are mouths are by WEARING OUR CRUCIFIXES IN PUBLIC. It is harder for most guys. It is really hard when you wear a suit and tie most days. Nonetheless, the Bear pledges to wear his crucifix exposed when he is not formally attired.
|Res ipsa loquitur|
|"Francis! Put that thing away!"|
"But he that shall deny me before men, I will also deny him before my Father who is in heaven." Mt 10:33
"And Jesus saith to him: Amen I say to thee, to-day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice." Mk 14:30
"But Peter seeing, made answer to the people: Ye men of Israel, why wonder you at this? Or why look you upon us, as if by our strength or power we had made this man to walk? The God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus, whom you indeed delivered up and denied before the face of Pilate, when he judged he should be released. But you denied the Holy One and the Just: and desired a murderer to be granted unto you. But the author of life you killed." Ac 3:12–15
"If we deny him, he will also deny us." 2 Ti 2:12
"Having an appearance indeed of godliness but denying the power thereof." 2 Ti 3:5
This makes the Bear very, very angry. He's the Pope. If Israel receives the Pope into their country, they must bear with the insignia and symbols of the Vicar of Christ. It is unconscionable for a Pope to hide his cross. Pope Francis should be ashamed, no matter what the diplomatic niceties or all-important courtesies suggested.
Once again, Francis the man tries to send one message, and the voice of Peter rings out, just as it did in the the book of Acts. Francis hides the crucified Christ out of politeness, which is the shibboleth of the Lord of the World. However, Peter once again reminds the world that the ancestors of the Jews demanded that Pilate crucify their Messiah, and even today they cannot bear to see the Crucified One, even in representation, because it pricks their conscience.
The Bear would never say that, and it is quite a surprise for Pope Francis to send that message, even inadvertently, but one cannot read anything else into it. One hides what gives offense. What is it about a crucifix that might give offense to Jews?
This is a very bad message to send: very non-interfaith, very insensitive, and very impolite to his hosts. The Bear would never suggest such a thing, because he doesn't want his blog to be blacklisted by the Southern Poverty Law Center. But we have a Pope who cannot help but prophesy truly, just as Caiaphas did, because he was high priest when Jesus was condemned by the Jews, Caiaphas saying that it was better for one man to die for the people. Francis peeps one message, the raucous voice of the fisherman shouts another.
Update: St. Louis Catholic wonders if it is a "wardrobe malfunction." Answer: no.
In January, Pope Francis met with rabbis at the Vatican, and he similarly hid Christ's image. This seems to be a thing of his.
But the Bear wishes to reiterate how offensive and hurtful the well-meaning gesture is. He should give his guests or hosts credit for knowing that he is, after all, the head of the Catholic Church, whose symbol par excellance is the cross, even the crucifix. Is he saying that they are so fanatical that they, like vampires, cannot bear the sight of a cross? Or that they would feel guilty or something, so that he has to spare them?
How very wrong of the Pope. Sometimes you bend over backward trying not to call attention to something, but in doing so, you might as well put up a sign. Jews are a tough and noble people, certainly big enough to permit the Pope to wear a cross in their presence.
Anyway, the wardrobe malfunction theory is implausible, since the cross would have to be lifted and tucked into a tight cummberbund. This is not something that happens by accident.
Update II: Some are failing to find pictures of Pope Francis hiding his cross before. Here is a picture from the Vatican meeting mentioned in the previous update:
There are also pictures of the cross exposed at the same meeting. Perhaps here, Pope Francis has tucked his cross into his sash so it doesn't bang against the table or get dragged through his entree. Image found at the blog "Call me Jorge," which also has an additional picture (below) from the recent meeting (emphasis in original). Look at the pictures and decide for yourself if they look like the very same deliberate act, or an accident.
Here is a picture from the same blog of from his days in Argentina, where it seems to be the style. Perhaps both clerics were involved in a roll-over accident on the way and did not put themselves quite back together before this meeting?
Under the best-case excuse, is there not also a danger of scandalizing the faithful, who may conclude that Pope Francis is hiding his pectoral cross so as not to offend the sensibilities of those who he thinks might be offended? After all, it is kind of a big deal to hid one's crucifix. The Bear feels guilty when he doesn't wear his outside of his clothing. What if the president visited a foreign power with whom relations were historically strained, and did not have the national anthem played, or the flag displayed. Wouldn't that seem weird, and even offensive?
Anyway, perhaps some other blogger with far greater knowledge and readership than a dumb old Bear will come along and prove that, why, ALL clerics tuck their pectoral crosses into their sashes because one time Pope Pius XII made a sudden move and a small child's eye was put out.
It's a SAFETY HAZARD.
Update III: This is an easy article to play that "Trads going nuts!!!" card on. (They have extra-large sleeves to keep all of them in, but surely they are running out by now, no?) "HOW could they POSSIBLY believe that Pope Francis, a model of decorum and adherence to tradition, could hide his cross as as gesture of good-will or apology to anyone?"
First off, the Bear is not a Trad. He's just a regular old Novus Ordo type who has been to one Latin Mass in his entire life.
And, to be fair to Pope Francis, there are times on the visit where the cross is worn exposed, and times when it is tucked out of sight into his sash.
But here's the nearest secular analogy the Bear can come up with. You go to a bar, and your wife happens to walk in as you're chatting up a woman. She notices your wedding ring is missing. You say, "Honey, it slipped off my finger! Here it is, right in my pocket!" And let's further say it wasn't the first time.
Now your wife might believe you. Or she might not. I'll leave the answer to the ladies. I'm just a dumb old Bear.
Update IV: Moslem holy place, Dome of the Rock. Now you see it, now you don't. Accident? (There are other photos where it is visible.) Why is this pectoral jiggery-pokery relevant? Because we fear we have a pope who is capable of putting interfaith relations above respect for Jesus.