"Feeling spiritually comfortable is a state of sin," the Pope said. (Did you catch that "being married in the Church" seems to be downgraded here to not that big of a deal, not to mention the Mass?)
The Bear agrees that we should feel the "spurs" of the Spirit, and that even when we "kick against them," as did St. Paul, it is a sign of life.
And yet, is it not a contradiction to say one is in a state of grace, and also dead? In a state of grace, and also living in sin? Isn't the definition of being out of a state of grace spiritual death?
The message contains some good, but it is also confusing, as with nearly everything Pope Francis says. Moreover, it does not seem particularly Catholic. The Bear hasn't listened to enough of Pope Francis' discussions of the sacraments to form a definite opinion, but based on this, what would one make of his opinion of the Mass?
Keeping up appearances isn't enough, but it's not a bad start. Add to that making use of the sacraments, having a prayer life and avoiding sin, and you're well on your way, or so it seems to the Bear.
As for the Holy Spirit, how many Catholics in a thousand are being taught how to listen for the Holy Spirit's promptings, let alone live the kind of Spirit-filled life the Pope is demanding? What does the Pope even mean? Translated into the language of Bears, then back into English, it goes something like this:
The external practices like going to Mass; the marks of respectability, such as being married in the Church; and even an interior disposition to please God and remain in a state of grace do not mean very much. They make you pleased with yourself, keep others from gossiping about you, and, perhaps, point you in the right direction. But you cannot then stand still. You must walk forward, and you must have a personal relationship with Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit, or you are just dead.
We're not used to be challenged like this. One wonders if the Pope would be happier if we waved our arms about more. (Can demonstrations of emotional fervor be another way of "keeping up appearances?") To be fair to the Pope, Catholicism has been viewed as a sort of "check off" religion, where one does certain things, and (sometimes more importantly) doesn't do others, then calls it a day. The Bear believes that is what the Pope is speaking against here. Is that fair?
No doubt, he would put traditionalists into the "Dead Christian" pile.
But is that a fair assessment of what we would call "good" Catholics, and what the Pope would call "dead" Catholics? Or is he making unclear demands, perhaps based upon cultural differences? Can you be obedient to the promptings of the Holy Spirit without external displays of emotion? The Bear prays "Come Holy Spirit..." every time he picks up a Bible to read. Is it less sincere for being a traditional prayer, less effective for the lack of arm waving?
Unfortunately, without clarity and a positive message, this comes across more of a carping damnation of how 99% of Catholics live out their religion in simplicity and faith than an inspiring exhortation.