Sunday, July 5, 2015

Francis Learns From ISIS

Move over Dalai Lama. There's a new top holy man in town with a new generic religion.

Pope Francis is harping on Christian unity again. Of all the weird stuff that issues from The Oracle of Santa Marta, the Bear finds this the most disturbing. This is what Pope Francis said Friday.

"When those who hate Jesus Christ kill a Christian, before killing him, they don't ask, 'Are you Lutheran, or Orthodox, or Evangelical or Baptist or Methodist?'" the pope said. Francis added that these killers say "'You are Christian' and they cut off their heads." 
"If the enemy unites us in death, who are we to divide ourselves in life?" Francis asked rhetorically.

First off, while he cannot bring himself to identify the cutters off of heads, at least he's acknowledging the problem, and calling them "the enemy."  The Bear has to give him some credit. But then, being Francis, he casts all logic aside and attempts to use it as a teachable moment on Christian unity.

It is no doubt true that Muslims fail to appreciate the differences between Catholics and Methodists. (In this they are similar to many Catholics.)  For that matter, they cheerfully chop the heads off of Hindus, too, and animists, and even other Muslims.

Because Catholics and Hindus are united in death by a common enemy, should we be united in life, too? Because some backward, homicidal goon fails to distinguish between Catholics and Lutherans, should the Pope of Rome make (and teach) the same error?

Worse, if ISIS is proving that all Christians are really the same, or, to be more precise, have no differences worth bothering about, where does that leave the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church under the Bergoglio Papacy?

It seems to the Bear that the Pope's logic makes the Church just one of many flavors of Christianity. In all humility, we can't even say it's the best flavor. (Since popes have been compulsively apologizing to anyone who will listen, it may, in fact, be the worst.) At most, we can say it is a particular expression of Christianity that may have its own value, just like the Methodists, Lutherans, and Evangelicals. If it were to disappear, no doubt it would be a loss, but former Catholics would just be absorbed by another expression of the Unity that is Christianity.

And so we are harvesting the bitter grapes of ecumenism. The very nature of the Church is being confused and deranged by the guy in charge himself. He is accountable to no one and apparently immune to good advice.

For the Most Humble Guy In the World, Francis seems to take a lot upon himself. He slyly nudges homosexuality into the orbit of polite discussion. He takes it upon himself to speak for the whole planet -- excuse the Bear --Sister Earth. 

Now he's some sort of pan-Christian bodhisattva.

Pope Francis never follows through on the logic of his own statements. So, just what does his united Christian front mean for the Church's historical understanding of itself? Are there distinctions that make a difference, or is the word "heresy" merely a relic of a sad past? Are evangelism and apologetics no longer part of the Church's mission? Are Jews tacitly included beneath Francis' benign gaze, and the other "great Abrahamic religion," Islam?

Why stop there? What about those headless Hindus and animists? Clearly the mere Catholic Church is too small a stage for a man of Pope Francis' capabilities, or at least ambitions.

The Bear started off liking Pope Francis. Then came reservations. Now the Bear is frankly alarmed and discouraged. Pope Francis doesn't seem to be a thinker, but he sure is a talker. 

One thing is for certain. One or the other of Pope Francis and the Bear is desperately wrong.

The Bear is beginning to think that if he wants to belong to a group that actually believes things, and believes that they matter, he ought to be in the local Evangelical "faith community." They don't worship squirrels and you might actually hear a sermon about Jesus once in awhile instead of gun control or global warming. 

But for better or worse, that's why the Bear nailed his paw to the floor in front of his favorite pew and is grimly resolved to die there.


  1. Bingo. You almost get the feeling that for Francis the most important thing is not that Christians are getting killed but that they're all getting killed together. Tellingly, ISIS has explicitly set its ultimate target as Rome, not Canterbury or Liberty University.

  2. A black-flagged army on the outskirts of Rome might help focus the Pope's attention. Perhaps he could convince them there was nothing particularly special about the Vatican. But you're right. From Jack Chick to ISIS, everyone knows all road lead to Rome, no matter if the Pope has lost the thread.

  3. It was too hard to ignore those words, eh?

    "Cutters off of heads" That's funny in an awkward grammatical way....Franics may wish to borrow that one.

  4. Seems pretty obvious. Pope Francis is looking to become 'capo di tutti capi'--the boss of all religious leaders. And come to think about it he could just pull this off with his autocratic and slightly menacing persona along with his Italian heritage. Just wait till he gets to the U.N. Popefather anybody?

    1. This has also been my suspicion. " First among equals." As long as the Church toes the line on the environment and a one-world government, why shouldn't he have a place at the table as a sort of moral spokesman?

    2. The problem is that he doesn't realize that if he were just satisfied with being the Pope, he has that authority and more by virtue of his office.

    3. I dunno, getting to stand up in Congress and say, "I am the Lorax! I speak for the trees?" is an opportunity your ordinary pope doesn't get.

  5. We cannot look to Rome these days, sadly. We must look to Christ and to the age old teachings of the Magisterium which can never change. I do not expect anything good to come from the next sin-nod. Lots of bickering, stuff being stolen, secrets leaked and garbage like that and more with heresy bandied about. BUT in the final analysis the pope must toe the line or his life will be requested from him by his Creator. He will uphold the truth in the end or he will die. But the continued fallout is immeasurable. Who is caring for souls more than the temperature of the air? Where are holy shepherds? And there are some but they are not supported.

    1. I also have this thought. The Pope, even in the best of times, is not the sum and substance of the Catholic religion. He does not, if I understand things properly, have the authority to change one established doctrine our introduce the last novelty of belief. To put it another way, he is like the captain of a ship. He cannot change the destination, or stray from established sea lanes. Or, again, he is a monarch, but not a despot. We must remind ourselves daily that we have the Church in all its perennial wisdom and peace as our patrimony. If Francis talks nonsense, as he frequently does, well, that's when we have to keep perspective. It can be a challenge, though, when your Pope is constantly undermining your faith!

  6. Just think, Jimmy Akin and Tim Staples wasted their time converting.

  7. Replies
    1. I suspect that Maudie's point is that if -- per Francis' (and the late Tony Palmer's) concept -- the differences between Protestantism and Catholicism are ultimately bogus, Akin and Staples need not have bothered.

      Hey, it's a big tent :-). We shouldn't spoil the schmoozy ambience by quibbling over minor matters like the Real Presence, or what constitutes mortal sin...

    2. There are times when the disconnect between this Papacy and the actual Church are so great, I'm terrified. Then I wonder how so many Catholics act as if everything is normal when it looks to me like we have a mad man in charge who cannot allow the sun to set unless he has committed a new outrage. (Then, that makes me wonder if I'm the one who's crazy.)

    3. Oops. My comment below was meant to go here. Clearly a novice at this. Sorry.

  8. Woh! You took the words right out of my mouth. So many "conservative" Catholics became stalwart spin-doctors for Francis that it dawned on me: ultramontanism has been a trojan horse for modernism at least since John XXIII, possibly earlier.


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