Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Someone Else Tries to Explain Pope Francis

Reader Marcel Ghost drew this excellent article by James V. Schall, S.J. in Catholic World Report to the Bear's attention. It isn't short, but is well worth the time. The Bear wishes he were up to such analysis, but God made Bears as his humble polemicists.

Juan and Evita Peron

Pope Francis speaks of an invisible force that steals from the poor and gives to the rich while despoiling our planet. Notably, Francis is mainly silent on the supernatural mission of the Church and the destination of each of us in eternity.

Teddy Roosevelt's Great White Fleet

It's true. Pope Francis' world is essentially conspiratorial. His fever dreams are full of rich plantation owners, power-hungry generalissimos and noble descamisados. The Great White Fleet is steaming up the Tiber! Santos Juan y Evita protect us, he murmurs in his sleep upon the Santa Marta rollaway, only to find himself in a room, a hot room, the thermometer rising, breaking the glass!

The Bear is still waiting for someone to examine Pope Francis from the perspective of Spanish American magical realism. There is indeed something magical -- as opposed to Catholic or logical -- in his thinking. He seizes fact A, folds space, and suddenly -- although nothing has moved -- Fact A is connected to Fact Z. Pope Francis is ever the rhetorical bateleur, never letting us see the movement of the ball on the table-top, until he is ready to remove the cup, and voila! Solidarity! The Planet! Arms Merchants!

Perhaps this is why he is not particularly troubled by the dubious scientific bona fides of global warming. It is impenetrable to the masses and only a means to an end, anyway. In short: it is magic. Things don't have to connect neatly up with lo real maravilloso americano.

The rhetoric is troubling. Pope Francis talks a lot about the world and its problems -- a strange amount for a Pope if you think about it -- but he does not lift so much as a corner of his Portrait of Evil. Some lesser devils -- those arms merchants, for example -- are conjured for our shock and awe, but if there is a grand unified conspiracy theory, he has not revealed it. Even to speculate would be unfair and inflammatory, or at least inflammatory. There is such a thing as invited comment. There are historical precedents. But shrug those aside. We can probably cross off the list of suspects Communism and Masonry.

Creep onstage at midnight, while Pope Francis tosses and turns, muttering in his dreams, and tip-toe up to the shrouded portrait. In a surge of bravado, you reveal El Supremo behind all the world's evils, and who do you see... in the mirror?


  1. Bear I think you are on to something with Pope Francis being a magical realist. Here's my take.
    The term magical realist in inherently contradictory--so is Pope Francis. Magical realist literature is essential political and subversive pitting the rich against the poor--sound like our Pope? Pope Francis takes about changing conditions over which he has no power, like the climate and the economy, as if he were exorcising a demon from the possessed. Pope Francis turns Christ into a revolutionary to solve the worlds problems while ignoring Christ comment to teach all nations about eternal. He wishes to create a heaven on earth rather than help folks get into heaven. Pope Francis has special magic. One can only wonder where it comes from.

  2. "But Carpentier's intention was to differentiate lo real maravilloso americano from the European surrealist movement. In his mind, the fantastic in Latin America was not achieved by transcending reality, but was inherent in the Latin American experience of reality." -- Ginny Weidhardt, ... So Latin Americans perceive reality differently than everyone else? That would explain the Falklands War. And, we agree, Pope Francis. England is unimaginably distant; intervention is impossible. If we all make tiny gestures, we can save the planet, solve the problem of poverty.

  3. There is a scene in Evita where a choir of children sing about their love for santa Evita while the sarcastic narrator whispers, "Get 'em while they're young" . Every kid of that era was deeply affected. The stuff that happens to you in your youth stays with you. There's no way for little Jorge Begoglio to have grown up in Argentina and not be nuts when it comes to economics. I'm just amazed that the article came from the Post.


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