Thursday, July 9, 2015

So, Who Really is Pope, Then?

This following is just the Bear thinking out loud. It is not, if you will, an "official" article. If you quote him, he will deny authorship and blame Eugenio Scalfari.

Francis isn't all bad, the Bear supposes. He has said some things that have inspired the Bear. Some of his pantomime is a bit much, but the Bear knows not every circus trick turns out to be a crowd-pleaser. (One time in Budapest, someone got the bright idea of a Bear-and-Ponies act. What were they thinking?)

The Bear has to say, though, that Francis doesn't seem very Catholic. Let alone Catholic enough to be the Pope. The more he careens through the barrio in his red bannered, solar-powered Mad Max vehicle screaming "I am the Lorax! I speak for the trees!" the harder it is to imagine that he really is the Pope.  

Let's put it this way. If Francis is the Pope, the Catholic Church has never had a Pope before, has taught the wrong things for 2000 years, and is history's most evil institution.

Then along came Francis. Like Michelle Obama said of America, for the first time we could be proud of the Catholic Church.

But this can't be right. Francis is clearly the outlier here even if his apologists are Legion.

The Bear gets the conclave. Sure, it's cool to "make history," and pick some guy from Argentina. Especially if there really was a "Team Bergoglio" lobbying for him. But if our Francis as we now know him is what the cardinals really intended, it's time to do whatever we need to do to get our Church back.

I know. It is a frightening thing to see how a Bear's mind works.

Now, the Bear knows we Catholics are supposed to be a bunch of doofusses who can't genuflect and chew gum at the same time. We're not qualified to criticize our betters and it's a sin besides. It's their Church, after all. How lovely that they let us come in sometimes as long as we are very quiet clap loudly on cue.

But that's not the way it is. The shepherd is for the sheep, not the sheep for the shepherd. Unless he's fleecing them.

Here's something else. Don't you find it a little coincidental that at the very moment we've got Francis channeling The Big Giant Head, there's something else nearly as unprecedented? Of what does the Bear speak?

We just happen to have an extra pope.

That's right. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

Come on, what are the odds?

So, if someone were unable to conceive of Jorge Bergoglio being and acting as Pope, who -- protestations to the contrary notwithstanding -- would probably be the real Pope? As we have seen, running around saying stuff all the time, isn't necessarily a good quality in a Pope. Silent Pope Benedict -- if he were Pope -- is doing a fantastic job, thinks the Bear.

Now, the Bear has no idea how it could work out so Pope Benedict's resignation was not effective. Maybe it wasn't accepted. All the Bear is saying is that if Bergoglio isn't pope, then Ratzinger may be.

After all, who else?

In the Bear's fantasy, we all just ignore Jorge Bergoglio and pay attention to to Pope Benedict. (Except when he says he's not Pope. Then we smile and shake our heads indulgently, and say "We know it's hard and confusing, Papa, but it will be alright.")

And this blog will have day after day of stories saying, "Today, Pope Benedict didn't say anything or do much."

And that will be wonderful news.


  1. This isn't an official comment. If you quote it I will deny it or blame it on Scalfari:

    This is of course a possibility, and I have thought so since before the day he walked out on that balcony, filling me with a feeling of dread I have not been able to shake.

    I have long thought that, intellectually- (not practically-) speaking, it would be best if Benedict still were pope. All that um, Francis has said, done and legislated, doesn't count. All back to normal; Bobby in the shower for the Dallas dream sequence. Practically, all heck will continue to break loose. But I can imagine dying for the cause if I have certainty of the cause itself.

    Here, though, my thinking is that we can't know (unless Mary or her Son acts) if he is or isn't. So we're stuck, factually and morally, with the Oracle.

    And that seems like the far more unpleasant and inglorious martyrdom to which Our Lord would likely call us.

    Love the Big Giant Head reference.

    1. Bobby in the shower LOL.

      I hope God cuts us some slack in the disrespect-to-the-pope area under the circumstances. There is, actually, a method to the Bear's madness.

    2. We could also have Bob Newhart waking up next to Emily after that dream of owning a B&B in New England.

  2. I'm sure more and more are thinking this but not saying it (unless they have the cover of being animals). And Benedict also wears a white cassock, which he chose (according to him) because there was nothing else in the closet on resignation day.

  3. Well, now you've done it.

    Not being a bear or a lawyer, I hesitate to wade into the details of the canonical questions regarding vote-canvassing at the 2013 Conclave. But I will say that I have been struck by the fact that so few qualified people can even be bothered to go beyond a superficial dismissal of the question.

    Perhaps they're right, and there's just no there there. But i) canon law does appear to excommunicate those who engage in canvassing, and ii) there does seem to be a prima facie case that there was an organized canvassing drive to elect Cardinal Bergoglio. And if (IF) i) and ii) are correct, then it would seem the election was at least potentially invalid, several of the cardinal-electors being invalid due to being latae sententiae excommunicate. Ergo ...?

    But we find laws so burdensome these days, don't we? Our tax officers persecute the government's opponents, and we yawn. The Secretary of State blatantly violates both commonsense and the rules on e-mail correspondence, and we change the channel. The Supreme Court wishes to allow homosexuals to marry, so they make something up. Much of the Church cannot abide her doctrines based on the plain meaning of Scripture, so they look for loopholes and figfleafs.

    So it wouldn't surprise me if many modern canonists found the plain meaning of Canon Law to be too fussy and inconvenient: Yes, of course they canvassed, and yes, that's technically an excommunicable offense, but really, can't we just all agree he's the pope and move on?

    1. Even secular law traditionally values certainty even more than getting it right. I don't know what the Catholic equivalent of "birthers" is in this case, but there is a point where evidence just doesn't matter. Too messy, too weird, too unlikely to matter. (Not to suggest similar credibility.) Putting up with Francis is just easier than hopping into Doc's Delorean and setting everything right. But just because there are no formal proceedings, IF indeed it was an irregular conclave, then Jorge Bergoglio might FACTUALLY not be Pope. Which is why I wondered out loud if the unusual situation of having two "popes" might not be The God of Surprises way of saying, "I got your back."

    2. BTW, the Bear's mission is to say the things his human friends can't.

    3. Right, but even in secular law, we usually conduct an actual formal investigation before we get to determining levels of certainty. We don't just say of (e.g.) Bernie Madoff, Well, heck. There sure seems to be some interesting evidence that this guy defrauded his clients of billions of dollars. But then we'd have to investigate, and maybe charge him, then sit through a lengthy trial, and then all the lawsuits... Ah, who needs the hassle? Let's hit the bar. It's the complete lack of interest that gets to me. It seems to me this weariness of the law is a peculiarly modern phenomenon.

      We are all antinomians now, I guess. But as I said, IANABNAL.

    4. There always is canvassing in conclaves. If that delegitimised Francis, then equally the elections of Benedict XVI, John Paul II, John Paul I, Paul VI, John XXIII, Pius XII, Pius IX, Benedict XV, Pius X and all the rest would be invalid. In fact there wouldn't have been a valid pope elected in 1000 years.

    5. Right, but that just makes matters worse: in Universi Dominici Gregis 81, John Paul II imposes an automatic latae sententiae excommunication on those who enter into any form of pact, agreement, promise or other commitment of any kind which could oblige them to give or deny their vote to a person or persons, and Canon 171, §1, n. 3 nullifies the vote of the excommunicated cardinal-elector(s).

      But we're dealing with objective reality here, not opinion. If even a few cardinals engaged in canvassing (whether for Bergoglio or someone else), then those cardinals were excommunicated in reality, and their votes were invalid in reality. It doesn't help to give a world-weary shrug and point out that everyone does it; in effect, that tacitly concedes that excommunications are meaningless, and thus that the Church does not actually have the power to bind and loose. (Given the events of the past two-plus years, I suspect that's exactly what was running through the minds of several cardinal-electors.)

      On the bright side, since the rule was brought in by John Paul II, it seems like only two conclaves might be affected, which would be bad enough. And to be clear, I'm not arguing that this is the case, but that on the strength of the evidence presented, I'm surprised at how breezily people blow this off.

  4. Francis is pope. He's a bad pope but he is the pope.

    1. This is certainly the official position of this blog. And I love St. Dymphna.

    2. At this point in time who in the H knows exactly who this guy really is!? I'm CLUELESS.

    3. @TLM, By their fruits you shall know them. Francis is the second beast of Rev 13, the false prophet. The two horns are the mitre. The voice is of the dragon to those who are awake.

  5. Dymphna was fourteen when her mother died. Damon is said to have been afflicted with a mental illness, brought on by his grief. He sent messengers throughout his town and other lands to find some woman of noble birth, resembling his wife, who would be willing to marry him. When none could be found, his evil advisers told him to marry his own daughter. Dymphna fled from her castle together with St. Gerebran, her confessor and two other friends. Damon found them in Belgium. He gave orders that the priest's head be cut off. Then Damon tried to persuade his daughter to return to Ireland with him. When she refused, he drew his sword and struck off her head. She was then only fifteen years of age. Dymphna received the crown of martyrdom in defense of her purity about the year 620. She is the patron of those suffering from nervous and mental afflictions. Many miracles have taken place at her shrine, built on the spot where she was buried in Gheel, Belgium.

    Prayer: Hear us, O God, Our Saviour, as we honor St. Dymphna, patron of those afflicted with mental and emotional illness. Help us to be inspired by her example and comforted by her merciful help. Amen.

  6. Send them to my site for unabashed disclosure of the False Prophet Francis.

    There has never been such a thing as "Pope Emeritus" in the history of the Church. That novelty alone should be enough to wake up Catholics, but alas they are mostly sleeping, as the Gospel says. It will take "The Warning" to wake people, the 6th Seal in the Bible.

  7. Jesus, being perfect, knew appointment was the best choice for succession planning, and that is why He appointed St. Peter. I will share with you one of postings on a different blog: At first, I couldn't understand why Pope Benedict would abdicate, but truly he has not. He has not ceased to be the Successor of St. Peter. He still is the Successor of St. Peter. Nothing can change that. Using the spiritual power (and what a power that is) bestowed on every Successor, Pope Benedict XVI is climbing the mountain every day and praying for the Church and the Mystical Body. He just gave up the Pontifex Maximus role that requires kissing babies, doing interviews, telling farmers how to farm, overseeing a financial institution known as the IOR, meeting with Presidents and Prime Ministers to discuss UN efforts, helping Cuba and the US establish relations, and all the other responsibilities that go along with a Head of State. I am not sure the Lord had those responsibilities in mind anyway when He appointed Peter. While the Conclave is the process for electing a Pope, I think I quite like the way the Lord did it. He appointed His Vicar. Right before Jesus appointed St. Peter, his apostles were arguing about who be FIRST in the Kingdom. Luke 9:47 "An argument started among them as to which of them might be the greatest." From many accounts, St. Peter appointed Pope St. Linus. There was not a conclave with hundreds deciding. Consider that Christ Himself had only 12 Bishops and they immediately started arguing about who was the greatest. They had the privilege of knowing Christ personally and they fought right in front of Him re who should be the FIRST. Fast forward to 2013, 100 plus fallible men gathering to pick a leader, who would gain the Papal prestige, the Papal planes, the four-course meals, the power to appoint and the power to demote, and the time to meet with worldly leaders to discuss worldly issues. Reason and facts reveal that there were factions involved in the election of Francis. But nevertheless God permitted it. Jesus did say in St. John's Gospel: 6:71 71 "Jesus answered them: Have not I chosen you twelve; and one of you is a devil?" Jesus knew Judas would betray Him, but he was chosen so that Scriptures would be fulfilled. John 17:12 "Those whom thou gavest me have I kept; and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition, that the scripture may be fulfilled." While St. Peter denied Christ, was immediately sorry and begged for forgiveness. He loved Christ to His death. Instead of obeying the Roman (State) rule, St. Peter willingly accepted his cross and died for His love of Christ. May God give all of us the Grace to see and the Grace to be willing to die for Christ.

    1. Cath Cost, how did you know St. Linus was not elected pope in a conclave? St. Mathias certainly was elected bishop in a conclave, and that was before Linus.

  8. So is there any chance that Pope Francis did not mean to recommend the novel "The Lord of the World", but rather "The Vicar of Christ"?


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