Thursday, June 18, 2015

Ecocyclical: The Bear's Impressions

The Bear is not finding the volition to apply himself to any hard work on the Pope's latest encyclical. But it is, after all, as if Nelson Mandela piloted a wind-powered spaceship to the moon. There's just no way you're going to escape writing about the thing. So let's get this over with.

The Encyclical -- It's getting a lot of news coverage, as expected, but the early release stole some momentum and the tragic shooting pushed it off the number one spot. Simply: it's not dominating, and it's not electrifying. That said, everybody is saying what you would expect them to say. They'll soon stop, because it will cease to be new. That's why they call it news.

Sicily -- A short flight on an Alitalia Airbus from Roma to Sicilia might be educational for our Pope. If you want to see piles of "filth"-- but here the Bear must pause to fully describe the unimaginable crap people in this first-rate third-world country live with.

Take your Fiat Panda or whatever unsafe-at-any-speed humblemobile you care to squeeze into and drive from Belpasso (on the slopes of Mt. Etna, itself natural menace) to Piano Tavola.

Much of the route is a trash dump that makes Gehenna look like a park. Running out of room? Just claim another mile of roadside, or pile the crap higher. Set it on fire to add a greasy, rotten smoke to the experience. The Bear is not sure how the garbage accumulates, given the irregular schedule of Sicilian trash collection. Perhaps it's a volunteer effort.

You could go to the eastern coast to escape the sheer awfulness, but the prospect is spoiled by ugly pipes and processing plants of some sort stomping out into the Mediterranean.

By contrast, the terrible horrible United States is clean and beautiful. Despite what the Pope may think, we're not buried under piles of filth. (Maybe he believes we're sending it all to Sicily.)

Sicilians are willing to tolerate living in a dump that we didn't create. If they would but come and observe our methods, they could go back to Sicily and clean it up. The Bear gets tired of the constant shifting of responsibility from the feckless and the foolish to the U.S. The Bear says if you live in a dump, and have the means to process trash like every other European country, it's your problem.

What this is really about is people everywhere need to form governments that do basic tasks like take out the trash.

Michael Voris -- The Bear is sorry to say that he was laughing during the Vortex on the encyclical. Poor, simple Pope Francis has been duped by bad advisers. Don't know what else to say. Except even the usually reliable Father Z was saying, "but wait, it's not all bad." The Bear remembered Jack Nicholson's President Dale in "Mars Attacks" saying, "We still got two out of three branches of government and that ain't bad!"

Pope Francis -- this is his. There are no surprises to the man. We can all sit back and stop obsessing over everything he says and does. There's nothing to figure out any more. He's a Latin American bishop with naive, confused and passionate politics and a constricted view of the world. He idealizes the poor, not because they are needy, but because they are The Poor. The Catholic Church is being repurposed into something strange, vague. The tone of this Papacy is anger.

And that, friends, are the Bear's thoughts on the encyclical.


  1. Great point about garbage. It's not about globalism or capitalism, etc. Rather, it's about Mafia-controlled unions. Or cultures that don't care as much about roadside views. Or, "I promise I'll clean it up as soon as I eat another slice of delicious homemade pizza." Or whatever (not that I'm judging). Every left-wing economic and ecological trope is methodically covered in that encyclical. And I mean EVERY one. I challenge you to find one that isn't. And of course, since Catholic social teaching involves elements of both "right" and "left" (obviously), there are indeed some things in the encyclical that are consistent with it. That's simply a statistical consequence, not a cause for rejoicing.

  2. I live in the beautiful state of Colorado. We have certain laws in place--not nearly as burdensome as California of course--but also our citizens like living in a beautiful place and want to keep it that way. Sadly, hundreds of thousands of new folks are pouring in and that is a challenge but they also want to live in a clean and beautiful environment. My city is in the top 20 for good air among medium sized cities. We do not have filth and trash all over. Golly, we do not even have 'slums'. We actually take pride in a lovely town and are not forced to do this but want to do this.

  3. "The Bear remembered Jack Nicholson's President Dale in "Mars Attacks" saying, "We still got two out of three branches of government and that ain't bad!""

    ...nearly swallowed my tongue laughing at that one!

    And this... a really brilliant take. I've long seen flashes of de Chardin lighting up francis' thought and speech...Mundabor puts flesh to that impression.

  4. Have to say I'm patting myself on the back today. This encyclical confirms for me that I was right when I said the Pope would like to see a world resembling an updated version of the Jesuit Reductions or Little House on the Prairie. As R.R. Reno wrote in First Things today, this is the most anti-modernist encyclical since Pius IX' Syllabus of Errors.

    And if you really want to see filth, visit the hyper-capitalist state of El Salvador which has taxation and government spending so low that it would make even Sam Brownback blush.

    1. Perhaps you can share what that is.

    2. The Jesuit reductions? They were the flourishing Catholic communities of the previously heathen natives of South America led by European Jesuits. They brought the best of Medieval civilization including art, music, literature but above all the duties due to God and neighbor. They developed their own agriculture and some of the men were taught trades like carpentry, blacksmithing, stone masonry, etc. The Catholic Encyclopedia describes the "wonderful quality of the products of the workshops in the Reductions is shown by the beautiful cut-stone work of the churches." There was no unemployment but also no welfare handouts. Men were required to work and women were required to tend to the home. Ample time was accorded for leisure, family life and above all worship at Holy Mass.

      You can still see some of the amazing ruins today. Check

      Also the best movie about the Reductions is "The Mission" with Jeremy Irons and Robert DeNiro.

      I think they were the closest to a civilization based on Catholic principles that we have seen or are likely to see unless the world starts listening to the Catholic Church.

    3. That's, that's interesting, Willard. I've had that movie on my to-see list for a long time. Corporations are probably here to stay. I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing, but clearly things are out-of-balance. Their cozy relationship with the government is is troubling, too. It's a fallen world. Our economies are probably going to continue to reflect that, along with every other aspect of life.

  5. RE: Filth. We were in Moscow, Russia, in 2004. We could NOT breathe in the car on the freeways. We put napkins to our mouths to attempt to breathe. I had never experienced anything like it.

  6. Belonging to a "third world" country in the Diocese of Cardinal Tagle, I take no offence in your post. I agree that we should own up to our responsibilities in addressing the garbage/ pollution problems.
    This is exactly what is worrisome with the encyclical. Although, it has clauses against abortion, population control etc, its seeming goal is a man-made (physical) paradise. Surely, I love beauty, nature, clean air, and the like but so many want it so much to the point that moral pollutants are being shoved down into our legislation.

    1. I suspect there is no single cause of "filth." Sicilians are not, how shall we say, the most efficient race. Evasion of legal duties such as taxes is a game and corruption is rife. Nobody care enough about "dump road" to actually do anything about it. Fortunately, after a few months, you really do tend to overlook the trash, which is certainly the natives' head set. As for the man-made paradise, this papacy has always been disturbingly focused on the world, almost to the exclusion of the spiritual realities.

    2. Oh, and welcome to the Bear's Woodlands! We hope to see you again.

    3. Thanks Bear, I have been a regular reader nailed to the pew and your blog.

  7. The Counter-Encyclical.


  8. Mr. Bear, I think you have captured the essence of it Here's my two cents worth on this sorry subject.

    The proper response to Pope Francis for telling us how to care for earthly concerns is "physician heal thyself" which Jesus said to those who didn't believe in Him. And I would say from the way Pope Francis has behaved he doesn't believe in Him either. Let us pray that Pope Francis has a revelation on what his proper focus should be and to begin to fix the "ecclesial environmental degradation of the last fifty years."

  9. I hate to be a pessimist about it Michael, but my first thought to the Pope having a revelation was: 'Don't hold your breath'. My second though was, however: 'Our God is a God of miracles'. So yep, let's pray for that miracle!

  10. You aren't the only one who laughed at that Vortex... laughed and felt extremely embarrassed for him.


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