Thursday, June 12, 2014

Realism, Coherence and Fraternity!

Today, the Pope addressed his troops from the bridge of his flagship Santa Marta in low earth orbit.

His message was about getting along with your brother. Insults come from the same place as murder, the Pope said, because the root of both is hatred. "There are [also] those, who, in their hatred, express their hate through insults with great flourish – and that hurts."

In familiar three-point style, the Pope urged realism, coherence and fraternity.

Realism requires compromise, the Pope said, even though many find compromise "too vulgar." The Pope compared those reluctant to compromise with the Pharisees, who, with their "holier-than-thou attitude" "kill" people with whom they disagree with gossip, calumny and defamation.

The Pope said the Pharisees used "smoke and mirrors" to cover their lack of coherence, because they were ideologues, unwilling to compromise.

Fraternity demands that we be willing to compromise, because we have the same Father.

The Pope's favorite trope is pitting the rigid, holier-than-thou ideologue against the loving freedom of the Spirit. Is there a reason for this? Some fear that he is both tipping his hand and isolating those who wish to remain true to the Catholic faith in advance of change.

It is a bad prophet who inveighs against the right sin at the wrong time. (And the Bear believes Pope Francis sees himself in the prophetic, not pastoral, role.) Is the Church today endangered by fusty old traditionalists clinging to their incense and Latin? Is rigidity the danger, or should the Pope, rather, be addressing laxity?

Compromise is a good thing in many situations. Without compromise, the criminal justice system would grind to a halt, because only a fraction of the cases brought could ever be tried. The defendant is willing to accept some punishment, and the state is willing to give up some justice in order to get the job done. Compromise in religion is an entirely different matter. Certainly, there are things that might be compromised on, but there can be no compromise in matters of faith and morals. (The Bear is happy to be corrected on this opinion.)

Also, compromise depends on two persons sincerely willing to make it. It is difficult to know what the Pope is trying to say, since he always keeps us guessing with vague statements.

The Bear does not understand the point being made about coherence. Perhaps something was lost in translation. It would be so much easier if he would simply state what he means, identify his targets, because surely he has someone in mind when he repeatedly utters the same criticisms.

In Other News...

In Hell
Surrounded by guards armed with sub-machine guns, the Pope equated arms-manufacturers with human traffickers and consigned them to Hell.

Father Z dutifully beat his guns into bird-feeders.

Okay, that was the cheap shot. Is there something more to this?

Maybe the Pope is talking about people who build nuclear submarines, not Colt Manufacturing, LLC. Or tanks, or stealth bombers. Rosie the Riveter is an icon of freedom. Did the board of directors of Boeing go to Hell because it made the B-17 during WWII? If national defense is legitimate, why is it illegitimate to manufacture the means of that defense? Or is the Pope just condemning trendy munitions such as land mines?

This is the sort of fuzzy, absolutist thinking one expects from the Pontifical  Council on Justice and Peace or the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Granted, it makes not one whit of difference, but it demonstrates the intellectual capacity and priorities of the Pope.

"Realism" is indeed a valuable quality, and prudence is a virtue.


  1. “His message was about getting along with your brother. Insults come from the same place as murder, the Pope said, because the root of both is hatred. "There are [also] those, who, in their hatred, express their hate through insults with great flourish – and that hurts."

    SHEESE! kettle....

    "Old maid!"

    "Fomenter of coprophagia!"

    "Specialist of the Logos!"

    "Rosary counter!"


    "Self-absorbed, Promethean neo-Pelagian!"


    "Ideological Christians!"


    "Mr and Mrs Whiner!"


    "Rigid Christians!"

    "Modern gnostics!"

    "Liquid Christian!"

    "Superficial Christians!"

    "Slaves of superficiality!"

    "Museum mummy!"

    "Renaissance prince!"

    "Airport Bishop!"

    "Leprous courtier!"


    "Long-faced, mournful funeral Christian!"


    "Careerist Bishop!"


  2. breeeeeeeeeeeeeeeethe.........



    "Querulous and disillusioned pessimist!"




    "Sad Christian!"

    "Pickled pepper-faced Christian!"

    "Children! Afraid to dance! To cry! Afraid of everything!"

    "Asker for certainty in all things!"

    "Christians allergic to preaching!"

    "Closed, sad, trapped Christian who is not a free Christian!"

    "Pagan Christian!"

    "Little monster!"

    "Defeated Christian!"

    "Creed-reciting, parrot Christian!"

    "Watered-down faith, weak-hoped Christian!"

    "Inquisitorial beater!"

    "Seminarians who grit their teeth and wait to finish,
    follow rules and smile [who] reveal the hypocrisy of clericalism - one of the worst evils!"

    "Abstract ideologue!"


    "Smarmy, idolator priest!"

    "Worshiper of the god Narcissus!"

    "Vain, butterfly-priest!"

    "Priest-wheeler dealer!"


    "Religious who have a heart as sour as vinegar!"

  3. breeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeethe.......

    "Promoter of the poison of immanence!"

    “Those closed in the formality of a prayer that is cold, stingy [who]
    might end up as Michal, in the sterility of her formality.”

    "Older people nostalgic for structures and customs which are no longer life-giving in today’s world!"

    "Young people addicted to fashion!"

    "Pastry-Shop Christians!"

    "Luscious cakes, sweet dainties. Delectable, but not real Christians!"

    "Existential tourist!"

    Anesthetised Christian!

    "Christian hypocrites only interested in their formalities!"

    “They disguise themselves, they disguise themselves as good people: they make themselves up like little holy cards, looking up at heaven as they pray, making sure they are seen—they believe they are more righteous than others, they despise others!"

    ‘Mah,’ they say, “I’m very Catholic, because my uncle was a great benefactor, my family is this, I’m that… I’ve learned... I know this bishop, this Cardinal, this priest... I am this or that...’ They think they are better than others. This is hypocrisy!"

    "Sloth-diseased, acedic Christians!"

    “I think of many Christians, of many Catholics: yes, they are Catholics, but without enthusiasm, even embittered!"

    "They are people without light – real downers!"

    "And how many Christians are like this?” he asked, “selfish, out for themselves.”

    “Christians who do not leave space for the grace of God – and the Christian life, the life of these people, consists in having all the paperwork, all the certificates, in order!”

    "The theologian satisfied that his thought is complete and conclusive is mediocre.”

    “The theologian who does not pray and does not adore God ends up drowning in
    the most disgusting narcissism.”

    “This is an ecclesiastical sickness.
    The narcissism of theologians and thinkers does such harm; it’s disgusting.”

    “Your institutions are not machines for producing theologians and philosophers.”

    "There are Christian bats who prefer the shadows to the light of the presence of the Lord!”

    "Starched Christians, too polite, who speak of theology calmly over tea!"

    (courtesy of )

  4. Replies
    1. No. Fancis did. Again. And again. And again. And again....

  5. I am at a loss on what sin I am committing by failure to compromise on matters of faith. Matthew 16:19, I presume, permits the Church to bind certain things or loose others. But I am a layman absent authority to compromise. So I guess I don't understand the Holy Father's condemnation. Meanwhile I'll bitterly cling to orthodoxy.

  6. In the immortal words of Tammy Wynette, D-I-V-O-R-C-E ?

  7. I'm a huge supporter of the Pope but even to me the homily seemed a little ridiculous for precisely the reasons Susan gave.

  8. I'll keep reading the book of Insults


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