Sunday, September 20, 2015

SCHISM! Special Essay

The Bear is sorry to report that there is a schism in Catholic blogdom.

The Bear is aware that this is a sensitive subject and people feel strongly, so he apologizes in advance if he offends anyone. This isn't aimed at anyone in particular, but is the result of a culmination of statements the Bear has read from a number of sources. Almost a worrisome, trending consensus among traditionalists as the Synod draws near, although the Bear hopes he is wrong.

Not Just the Facts, Ma'am

To save frustration, please bear with the, er, Bear, as he takes a trip down familiar territory.

The Bear is aware of the problems with the Church, from before Pope St. John XXIII's diplomatic days, before there was white smoke, but no pope at the 1958 conclave. He knows about KGB infiltration into the clergy, and Freemason and Protestant involvement with the new liturgy, and all the issues with it. He has read the more important documents of Vatican II, the Ottaviani intervention, and The Rhine Flows Into the Tiber. He knows about Assisi, and Pope St. John Paul II kissing the Quran. He knows all about ecumenism and inter-faith, the "Three Great Abrahamic Religions" and the loss of our mission to the Jews.

He knows about Fatima, and Akita, and a dozen or two other, lesser known visions that predict disaster. He knows about St. Athanasius, too (but unless he voluntarily left the Church, isn't quite sure of his relevance).

He knows more than most about homosexual priests molesting pubescent boys and the coverup of their crimes by other Catholic clergy.

The Bear has assisted at 1962 Latin liturgies (and even has his own missal). He has also assisted at the newer liturgy of the Church with bongos and a floating Fabio androgynous resurrectifix. He's been to an Opus Dei evening of recollection and a Catholic charismatic prayer meeting. As regular readers know, he left the Church outright for Orthodoxy, and he had many very good reasons. And he came back for one feeble reason: to be with Peter in the one and only true Church.

The Bear has witnessed the autodemolition of the Church, and half his cubs have left the it.

He remembers when Pope Francis wandered out onto the balcony and waved, "hi there, I'm the new Bishop of Rome." He remembers "Who am I to judge?" and "a little bread and wine do no harm." He remembers the Synod on the Family.

The Bear is up-to-date on the machination of the Germans bishops, and the deficiencies of the American bishops. The Bear is on top of Pope Francis (don't get your hopes up -- figuratively).

Furthermore, he has done more than some with regard to all these problems. He has written 659 articles in the past year and a half, garnering 282,492 page views during that time. Nearly all of them deal with the problems cited above and much, much more. He has even written about the psychological implications of the current state of the Church. His motto is the rather grim, "Nail your foot to the floor in front of your favorite pew and die there." That's a hint that not all is well.

The Bear is hardly a cub in the woods. None of this is to boast, but to prove that saying "but Pope Francis might do this, or Vatican II did that!" is not a logical response to this plea. We all agree on the facts. The question is: what actions do we take on the basis of those facts? To put the question in the simplest way is to ask, "So, in or out?"

So if you're thinking, if only the Bear knew this, or understood that, the Bear uses his softest growl to respectfully tell you, thank you, but that's not it. Recite your parade of horribles -- actual and imagined -- and the Bear remains unmoved, and not just because his foot is nailed to the floor in front of his favorite pew, and he hopes to die there.

The Church is Indefectible

We never get to decide, "yea, today is the day the cup of iniquity of the Church of Rome riseth to the very lip, indeed runneth over the sides, and the Whore of Babylon hath fallen." We never get to uphold Our Lord's pronouncement on divorce on the one hand, while saying His promise that the gates of Hell shall not prevail against His Church just didn't pan out. We never get to say, "indeed, in our span of years upon earth, the fate of a 2000 year-old institution shall be decided, and moreover decided by us."

While the Bear toyed with his audience by saying in a previous article indefectibility was "bunk," in order to make a point, that's not the truth. The Church is indefectible. Here's what the Catholic Encyclopedia of 1917 says about indefectibility.
"By this term is signified, not merely that the Church will persist to the end of time, but further, that it will be preserved unimpaired in its essential characteristics. The Church can never undergo any constitutional change, which will make it, as a social organism, something different from what it was originally. It can never become corrupt in faith or in morals; nor can it ever lose the Apostolic hierarchy, or the Sacraments through which Christ communicates grace to men." 
Vatican One said the Church is "built on a rock, and will continue to stand until the end of time." Pope Leo XIII said in his 1896 encyclical Satis Cognitum, "The Church of Christ is one and everlasting" ("unica et perpetua"). If you're interested, this belief is, technically, sententia certa. (Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma).

Denzinger, Sources of Catholic Doctrine, has this to say (at 1955) about the one Church.
Now, if we look at what was done, Jesus Christ did not arrange and organize such a Church as would embrace several communities similar in kind, but distinct, and not bound together by those bonds that make the Church indivisible and unique after that manner clearly in which we profess in the symbol of faith, “I believe in one Church.
For centuries, popes and councils have said there is no salvation outside of the Church. Even wishy-washy Vatican II says you will lose your salvation if you leave the Church"Whosoever, therefore, knowing that the Catholic Church was made necessary by Christ, would refuse to enter or to remain in it, could not be saved." Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, 14.

These are all traditional sources, except Lumen Gentium. You don't want to be more liberal than Vatican II, do you?

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do -- But Not Impossible

So if the Catholic Church really can't disappear because Reinhard Marx defiles St. Peter's with his goat's foot, are you really sure you want to leave? (And picking "x" and calling it "The Church" is psychological self-jiu-jitsu, if we're honest. As Abraham Lincoln asked, "If you call a dog's tail a leg, how many legs does a dog have?" The answer is four. Just because you call a thing something doesn't make it so.) 

If Catholics can leave the Church any time they're really, really sure the Church is wrong, then you should be able to cite clear and relevant statements from numerous saints, popes and councils directly in support of that proposition.

But there is no authority for that proposition, at least none that the Bear is aware of. Why, then, friend -- and the Bear means that most sincerely -- would you take such a horrible risk against the entire weight of tradition?

On the other hand, what harm can come from exercising the virtues praised by all saints: humility and obedience? You can be a scandalized Roman Catholic, while being a humble and obedient son or daughter of the Church. Do you really think God will punish you for remaining in His visible, institutional Church that traces continuity back to Peter? (The Bear could go on in this vein, but it is Catholic Apologetics 101, and most of his readers can probably do it better than he can.)

If your answer is the SSPX, the Bear sympathizes. Of course things are a mess in our little slice of time. But more to the point, isn't there a paradox inherent in the SSPX option? Forget the fact their priests have no faculties for hearing confessions except what Francis the Merciful feels like giving them -- temporarily.

No, the real paradox is that people want to flee to the SSPX because the Church is corrupt and washed up, and the SSPX is traditional. Yet the first thing they say is that SSPX isn't in schism, and remains part of the Church in good standing! They decide to leave the Church, and at the same time insist they're inside the Church. And good for them! The Bear thinks that shows a healthy instinct, however illogical.

"Bad But Stay"

We're finally at the important part!
The Bear is holding a fish to get your attention. This is the important part.

The better answer is to de-couple "bad therefore leave" altogether. Such a link is by no means logical or inevitable. We aren't programmed "bad therefore leave" with our children. We aren't programmed "bad therefore leave" with our spouses, or our countries. (Remember all the Hollywood liberals who were always threatening to move out of the country if Bush got elected? Even they didn't follow through.) Why should we have programmed our brains to "bad therefore leave" when it comes to the Church?

Please, reprogram your brain to "bad but stay." "Yes, this is bad. I recognize that, But all that means is that a bad thing is happening in the Roman Catholic Church, for reasons beyond my understanding. I am still a faithful Catholic and this is still the Church (you know, the place with the fancy buildings filled with untrustworthy schemers, but also Jesus). Therefore, of course I shall stay."

The Bear shall stay no matter what, yea, even if Francis the Merciful and Beneficent marries two Catholic priests in front of Bernini's baldachin in St. Peter's. And he will be no less scandalized than any of his readers. But Bears are stubborn that way. This too shall pass. And were the Church that God Himself built one day to fall down and crush a humble Bear, do you believe God could justly punish poor Bear for doing what He told him to do in the first place? Maybe the inscrutable sovereign being worshiped by the Mohammedans could, but not the Catholic God. (And, yes, the Bear does believe in a Catholic God.)

"Sit, Bear. Good Bear."

God said "Sit!" and the Bear sits. He didn't say "Bear, use your own judgment on whether My Church turned out to be indefectible after all, and if not, where best to wander off to." If you have a dog, you know how fundamental and important the command "Sit!" is. Everything else follows because the dog is doing the correct thing and focussed on you. It doesn't understand why you're telling it to sit, or trotting off into another room to sit where it thinks is a better place to sit. If it's a good dog, it just sits and doesn't worry about it. With all due respect to Pope Francis, who is always talking about "walking," God's fundamental command  is "Sit! -- right there, in Rome, in front of Peter -- in My Church!"

We can suspect Noah is a drunken reprobate and the Ark is leaking at the seams, and threaten to jump overboard. We may even rechristen a piece of driftwood floating on the horizon "The Ark." But others shall wonder, and remind us that there's only one Ark, and we're already on it. If they are our friends, they will do nearly anything to keep us in the safety of the Ark. That is the spirit this plea was written in, so please forgive an old Bear if he cares about his readers and may have hugged them too tightly, or growled a little too growly.

The Bear's visitors, friends and woodland creatures have cited homosexual marriage or divorce as a reason to leave. The Bear gets it. You're spooked by the Synod on the Family. The Bear urges calm. The forces of right are better prepared than the last time because the've seen the horns and tail. "Be not therefore solicitous for to morrow; for the morrow will be solicitous for itself. Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof." Matthew 6:34. (Jesus said that.) In any event, "bad but stay." Or just "Sit!"

And whatever storm may blow, be it as frightening as Dorothy's tornado, the windswept house is built on the Rock of Peter, and we have the Builder's guarantee that even the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.


  1. Like this very much. Agree with it all. Thanks

  2. Yes. Good piece and I agree. But I'm not sure I know who it's written for. I know a thousand people who now despise Francis and fear what he has and will do to the Church (and the world) in the near term. Many But I know of not one Catholic who is thinking of "leaving" the Church because of him. My sedevacantist friends deny all the post-Vatican II popes, so Francis didn't change anything for them either.

    As for myself, I can imagine having my faith shaken to the point where I would cease to be a believing Christian, but I can see no scenario where I would jump ship for another Christian flavor. I will say that the fact that Francis was elected Pope and hasn't yet been struck down by lightening has convinced me that I didn't previously understand how indefectibility worked. But in my defense I suspect many others are also in that boat.

    1. Stiffening the tempted, whoever he or she may be, in advance of the possible coming come-apart from the Synod on the family. And becoming an atheist or whatever would be leaving the Church. If it's not written for anyone, then wonderful!

    2. Well, my point is that abandoning Christianity would be logical--given certain empirical hypotheticals--you find Jesus' body and conclude that the whole thing was a hoax, for example--but IF, as initially a Catholic, you choose to remain a believer, I cannot envision an empirical alternative where it would be reasonable to abandon the Church. As you perhaps argued, I'm not sure all Catholics fully understand the logic of their position. The flip side of this is that it follows that all non-Catholic Christians are thus somewhat irrational. I think this is true and annoying.

    3. There is a lot of emotion, which is not always best for rational thought. If the Church is so corrupt you have to leave, then why believe anything? If there is no indefectibility, there is no (and never has been) infallibility. The "tradition" so dear to some is a house built on sand. The only two logical positions are that (a) the Church is indefectible and whatever is going on now either doesn't touch that, or we just don't understand everything; or (b) the Church was never indefectible, all dogmas and traditions are people's best guesses over the centuries.

      If (b) is the case, the answer isn't fleeing to an SSPX churchlette to live in a slightly less-erroneous Catholic time warp. The answer is to become Lutheran, or Orthodox, or Hindu. If you decide the Church is not indefectible, then it never was! Everything she ever said, from the canon of scripture and the nature of Christ to the Assumption of our Lady is up for grabs.

      And yes, the implication, Oakes, is that non-Catholic Christians are illogical, the same brand of illogic advanced by non-plain-ol'-Roman-Catholic "special Catholics" of one sort or another who adhere to everything the Church ever said, save for whatever "the great pope, Self" is not convinced of.

      I definitely sympathized with those who are angry, frightened and confused. And I'll do what I can, but first we all need to learn "Sit!" :-)

  3. A powerful closing argument! Thanks, Bear.

  4. I always said to my husband that no dissident priest should ever cause us to leave the Church. Now the dissident priest is the Pope. Still, it's Christ's Church, not the Pope's, so we will stay because there is no place else to go. We will not turn our backs on our Lord, but stay at the foot of the cross with Our Lady and St. John. Your essay reinforces that, thanks Bear. I'm bookmarking this!

  5. Thanks, I needed that. Best post ever!

  6. Thank you for this blessed encouragement. I so need it right now. Bear - you apologized if you appeared a little too growly. Yesterday I was reading my favorite OT prophet and in Isaiah 59 - RSV - I came across this little gem. He is describing the confusion and wickedness surrounding the Israelites.

    Here is a short excerpt -
    'We look for light and behold, darkness, and for brightness, but we walk in gloom. We grope for the wall like the blind, we grope like those who have no eyes; we stumble at noon as in the twilight, among those in full vigor we are like dead men. WE ALL GROWL LIKE BEARS, we moan and moan like doves:

    So there is another ursine biblical reference for you if you don't already have it! You are certainly not alone in your growliness.

  7. "SCHISM!"

    “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.”

    ― Adolf Hitler


    The "excommunications" decreed in 88 have been lifted (I don't accept that they were valid, but that is a completely moot point at the moment), which means the source of the alleged schism would also be removed likewise. Schism is a canonical penalty which resulted from the imposition of a canonical punishment (the so-called excommunications), and with those being lifted, the effects are also lifted. So assuming the excommunications were valid, they were lifted which means as a consequence the Society could not today be in schism, if at some time they were. If you don't agree with the society, the correct description would be they "disobey" the Pope, not that they are in schism.
    You also have to look at instances where the Vatican and some local bishops have allowed clergy and religious to transfer into the SSPX or an order affiliated with the Society. How could the Vatican support a nun entering a "schismatic" society?


    The Pope
    Is the Pope
    In cope
    Ya dope

    But never
    Was there
    Such a Pope
    To cope

    I hope
    This Pope
    Won't have
    To grope

    When he
    Finally comes
    To his

    The Pope
    Has a head
    Of argentine

    But never
    Was there
    Such a Pope
    Oh nope

    No trope
    Of hope
    He makes
    Me mope

    But he's
    And not

    The Pope
    Is the Pope
    Not soap

    But never
    Was there
    Such a Pope
    To lope

    His passive
    Pride will
    Make you

    But he's
    I must

    The Pope
    Throws a rope

    Oh nope
    The Pope

    With Christ
    From this Pope’s

    And pray
    For this
    My friend!

    1. Never said the SSPX was in schism. That doesn't mean that's the best place for Catholics. The "Novus Ordo Church" has permitted the confusion created by the SSPX to go on. The Bear is happy to add that to the indictment. But that's for another article.

  8. Don't forget your novena to St. Michael.

  9. Most soap-on-a-rope, which can still be purchased at the Vermont Country Store, makes you smell like Faberge Brut or Tigress. Yum! The Francis Pope-soap-on-a-rope imparts the odor of sheep. Phew!

  10. While I'm in my fleshy bits, I shall always back the Pope. The Queen of Heaven didn't save me from being Lutheran to be disobedient.

  11. Thanks Mr. Bear. I agree in principle: the institution is the thing, not the inmates or the overseers. But I don't think Christ would have a problem if the Church became totally corrupt and you had to leave to save your faith. On that basis we had to pull our kids out of Catholic schools in the 1960's as the corruption of it all was scandalizing the children. Christ didn't cotton much to scandalizing children.

    1. We homeschooled our children and didn't even consider sending them to Catholic school. But while that may be a good analogy, it is far short of an argument. The Reformers thought the Church had become "totally corrupt" and felt justified, no compelled, to do what they did. See discussions of "indefectibility" and "why you will go to Hell if you leave the Church" in the essay.

      The trick is to develop the humility and obedience to reprogram your brain to "bad but stay," and learn to live -- oh, so sad that this must be said -- with scandal. (Not to say you don't have far more humility and obedience than the Bear!)

      With all charity and respect, I must disagree that Christ wouldn't have a problem if you left the Church to save your faith. That reminds the Bear of the famous "we had to destroy the village to save it" :-) The subtle premise running through nearly all the justifications I see for considering leaving the Church in one fashion or another is that "doctrine," or "the liturgy" or "orders" or "faith" can somehow be separated from the Church. It is, no offense, a "schism mind-set" that people don't even realize they have, but gets them to the point of actually considering leaving the plain ol' Catholic Church. Where does that come from? What saints, popes or councils have ever advanced that? It that the tradition of the Church? Without the Church, you can't have doctrine, or liturgy, or orders, or faith, And you can't make a case that the visible, hierarchical Church existing in society can be cleanly split from the truth should it become corrupt. It is an organic whole.

      I have faith, Michael, that end the end you will prove yourself a loyal son of mother Church. I will be praying that your sensitive appreciation for what is right will not cause you too much distress in these confusing times.

    2. Thanks Bear for the prayer and sympathy. Being in the Church today is sort of like being in a Communist re-education camp with mind altering techniques employed continuously to wash away any vestige of our Catholic morality, understanding of doctrine and appreciation of the liturgy. And to top it all off we have a Pope who would rather be a leftist politician than a religious leader and beaming clownishly at all the ridiculous adulation he receives. Rather paradoxical that the Church itself has become the Cross we carry, don't you think?

    3. We are in the ark in a storm. The deck is pitching and heaving, the First Officer is shouting nonsensical orders, and it's easy to forget that there was ever smooth sailing. In truth, things were never that peaceful. But before the storm, things weren't too bad, it seemed, and after the storm is over, things will be better. If the people who have jumped off are still treading water when the sun breaks through the clouds eventually, they'll feel pretty foolish, if they haven't perished.

  12. I've been wondering, in light of Pope Francis and the other chaos you mention, what precisely the gates not prevailing means. I think that perhaps an aspect of that promise is that Hell will not prevail upon one who does remain Catholic. Another way of saying in leaving the Church we lose our salvation.

    1. It's usually best to start with the plain meaning of a text. Here, the Church understands "gates of Hell shall not prevail" in the same sense as my discussion of "indefectibility" in the essay. It certainly means Catholics will never have to leave it to preserve their faith.

  13. Thanks, Bear.
    In fact you caught me on the doorsteps, leaving. I will stay a bit more and think about this.

  14. Bear,

    As the Troll here, I will snipe from the lower parts of the approaches to my bridge and intrude upon your public discussion. Like you, I have been faced over the last 3 years with the same desperately troubling developments in the Church, up to and including the occupant of the Chair of Peter, which you have clearly apprehended. I have had to parse the words "religious submission of the intellect and will" in ways I had hoped I never would be forced to parse them. I have had to scour the recesses of my puny logic and the crevices of my weakened nature to an extent that I have not had to do so previously. Am I a bad person? Am I a bad Catholic? Is it me? Like Chesterton, do I merely reply "I am" to the query of what's wrong with the world today?

    Or, rather, is it them (and, God help me, is it him)? Are they the wolves about whom Pope Benedict XVI spoke? Whilst it is most certainly true that I am not yet the person who I have been called by Christ to be, it isn't me--it's them. The wolves run rampant among the persons who have the confidence of our Pope. What does that say about him? Nothing good, in truth, nothing good.

    Laudato Si is a mess and a mishmash of shallow humanism, contingent science, and poor theology. It is a policy piece. It is a polemic. How can I possibly give my religious submission of intellect and will to that encyclical letter? Never, and I mean never, have I had difficulty aligning my beliefs with any other encyclical. In an earlier comment, I tried to rectify the cognitive dissonance caused by that piece.

    Now we have open heresy being spoken loudly by entire episcopal conferences and shadow synods. Adulterers being given the Most Holy Eucharist? Homosexuals being celebrated in their grave sin? What does the Pope say? At best nothing and at worst statements that appear designed to be ambiguous. And what of the appointments to the Synod and those excluded? The appointments alone are scandalous.

    1. There's a Latin superscript on the Bear's page that sums it up. The Bear is a dumb beast and cannot even begin to answer your questions, questions he shares. So he'll sit in what is universally and easily recognized as the Roman Catholic Church, and not leave for a "more Catholic" parasitic secticle on the Bride of Christ. The Bear may have more to say about the SSPX. Heck, he doesn't need a readership, anyway!

  15. So, Bear, now what? We look to history and see the case of St. Athanasius. Yes, he persevered in the face of exile and excommunication. However, his situation was markedly different from today and a poor comparison for a plea to go to the SSPX. Indeed, the history of the Church at this time supports the Bear here. According to the eminent church historian Warren Carroll (requiscat in pace), St. Athanasius refused to accept the excommunication of Pope Liberius because the excommunication was secured by torture and under duress--which was, in fact, the case. That would, of course, make it invalid in itself. Moreover, his predecessor, Pope St. Julius I, restored St. Athanasius to his See and scolded the Arian sympathizers who had deposed St. Athanasius, telling them that they should have come to the Pope first rather than depose St. Athanasius on their own authority. All of the other exiles of St. Athanasius were done without the authority of the Pope and, again, were therefore invalid.

    As a further bright spot to this dark chapter in Church history, the successor of Pope Liberius--Liberius being the first Pope not proclaimed a saint--was the great Pope St. Damasus I. It was Pope Damasus who excommunicated the Arian bishop of Milan which resulted in St. Ambrose's installation as bishop and in whose cathedral in Milan St. Augustine was baptized in 387. It was also Pope Damasus who convinced St. Jerome to revise and complete the Vulgate scripture--Pope Damasus being the first Pope to give the present canonical list of the books of the Bible. Hopefully, this bodes well for our future as well.

    So, what did Catholics do during the strange period of the comings and goings of St. Athanasius? They went to Mass. They went to Confession. They taught their children the Faith. Like all of history, the reign of this Pope, too, shall pass. But the Church shall not pass away. You cannot leave full communion with Peter, who is the very sign of the unity of the Church and the promise of Christ. And I won't.

    1. Well said! Thank you for putting the oft-cited case of St. Athanasius in proper perspective.

    2. Just curious I really don't know--- did Athanasius continue to dispense the sacraments after Liberius excommunicated him?

    3. So I looked it up and Athanasius kept ordaining priests after his excommunication. I suppose the priests he ordained had no jurisdiction. Sort of like Le Febvre. We might all be lingering under the Arian heresy now if he Athanasius hadn't persevered.

    4. Please do not imagine the history of St. Athanasius is clear as a bell. In any event, as described, the excommunication was invalid as obtained through torture. If it had been valid, and Athanasius knew it (which was not the case) he should not have ordained priests, correct? Are saints sinless and infallible now? I know St. Athanasius is something of a mascot for trads, but, as I have said, unless he concluded the Church was wrong and left it to start his own, his experience is irrelevant, except as an illustration that we can be frustrated by our Church (which still remains our Church). Please provide your authority, Unknown, for the proposition that if a Catholic is really, really sure the Church is wrong, it is okay for him to leave. Such an important exception would surely be a common subject for saints, popes and councils, if it exists.

  16. Thanks for the encouragement!

    Now I shouldn't be so worried that my children are learning that all faiths lead to the one true God,' that Tielhard de Chardin was the greatest priest ever, and that women should, in fact, be priests. Oh, and lets not forget that everyone goes to heaven. (I've been to a lot of Novus Ordo masses recently and, yup, everyone goes to heaven. One lady was even met at the Pearly Gates by Mary herself. The priest told us.) Nope. No reason for schism here.

    Hmmm. So in the meantime since we are CANNOT reject our heretical novus ordo masses, we should just continue to obediently absorb (and allow our children to absorb) the heresy. Sounds like a great way to destroy the one true Faith.

    1. Haven't you read Nostra Aetate? All paths lead to God? And Protestants subsist within the Church according to Lumen Gentium. Your Novus Ordo is doing a good job of transmitting the teachings of Vat 2.
      It's most definitely a new church!

      Seattle Kim

    2. "My Novus Ordo" is the Church, in historical and spiritual continuity with Peter, pope by pope, through Trent, right up through Francis, whom we don't seem to like very much. It is otherwise easily and universally known as "the Church," Kim. "Subsistit" was confusing language from a pastoral council that was subsequently clarified by the CDF at least once to my certain knowledge. So that, with all due respect is a canard, and you are understandably mistaken as to Lumen Gentium. I haven't read Nostra Aetate in awhile, although I know the general theme. If I asked you to tell me what propositions are taught by the Council of Trent, you would have an easy time of it. The same question to me about V2, and my answer is, "I am a loyal son of the Church, and give my assent to whatever I have to assent to, that is clearly stated as a positive proposition or an anathema." That's all anyone can do, Kim. You can't read V2 like Trent, because they are long-winded compromise documents full of gaseous, supposedly uplifting language. It was a pastoral council and its documents reflect that purpose, to give the sense of the council fathers.

      And are you saying the Roman Catholic Church is somewhere other than, well, Rome? No disrespect intended to an esteemed woodland creature, or at least welcome visitor, but has God hidden the Church from poor old Bear? Why would He, who spoke of the city on the hill, do that to us poor woodland creatures?

      So where is it?

    3. Kim, I have $2500 invested in an electronic Catholic library so I study these things. Can you quote from Nostra Aetate the language that says all paths lead to God? I think you may have been misled on this. Nostra Aetate (as I have just re-read it; thankfully it is short) had as its main purpose the removal of the traditional condemnation of Jews for the crime of deicide. Moslems were thrown in, I believe at the insistence of some of the Eastern Catholics who caused so much mischief at the council. So Nostra Aetate reads like a big love-fest for Jews and Moslems. What are the must-believe propositions? The Bear would say there aren't any in the sense of Trent's anathemas. The sense of the council fathers was that we should be well-disposed toward Jews and Moslems. It is unfortunate in that this is an early manifestation of the creeping fear of Jewish complaints that first paralyzed, then eliminated the Church's mission to the Jews as a practical matter. But I couldn't find anything that made me think Pope Paul VI had proclaimed "Christ is merely one way to God, and all other religions are equally as sure."

  17. Do we not trust the true Head of Holy Mother Church, Christ Our Lord? Let all these men and heretics go about all their machinations because truth does not change. Sin does not become a good and good and virtue will not become evil no matter who says things have changed. Perhaps God is allowing this Sin-Nod with its stacked deck of liberal/heretics to maneuver all they want but in the end, the Truth will win out. The pope--loved by communists, masons, dictators, atheists, heretics, liberals, etc....and while he is doing damage to the Barque of Peter, in the end he will not be able to promulgate heresy or his life will be required of. It is a sad thing when faithful Catholics who have lived through decades of garbage cannot trust even their pope. But there it is. I do not trust him to do the right thing but I trust in Jesus Christ Who will only allow this circus to go on for so long and then ....fasten your seatbelt.

  18. Thanks for this post, Bear. I agree with you and I never really entertained the thought of leaving because I trust in Jesus' words that the gates of hell will not prevail against it.
    My reservation, though, is that many Catholics are also being misled by staying. My cousin invited me to attend the Eucharistic Congress so I checked it first before registering. So, I found out that the speakers are Fr. T. Rosica, Fr. T Flanagan OP, Fr. Piero Marini. No, thanks... I am not joining.
    The point is, we stay in the Church but there is a a certain distance(?) we maintain. I really don't know. Sorry, it's all so confusing now. I just rely on prayers, prayers, and prayers for all of us.


    1. I agree, and it is sad. If we're going to be engaged and educated, then, yes, the brief and shining age of having trustworthy clergy top-to-bottom is over. We forget that this has been the exception in Church history, perhaps. Many priests throughout the centuries have been shockingly ill-prepared. We're savvy enough to be wary, but I feel sorry for those who are naive enough to offer blind trust. Hopefully many are just innocent, go to mass, pray their rosary, and don't pay much attention to all that's going on at the top.

  19. Thank you for your beautiful piece. I just underwent my 4th (unsuccessful) surgery by the quackiest of quack surgeons and my brilliant, lovely husband was diagnosed about 6 months ago with early onset dementia but the real horror facing me right now is that I live in suburban Philly and you know what that means?

    He Who Shall Not Be Named will be here in just a few days. It is literal Pope Mania every way you turn. Gas Stations, 7-11s, drug stores - pope dolls, mugs, bobble heads, pens - and that's the positive side of the event. The media talks incessantly how Pope Francis is Big. Really Big. Bigger than Jesus even. And how he's changing the stuffy old RC Church. Plus he's so humble, and unlike any Pope ever, he sides with The People and even wants to help the Poor, imagine that! Plus he's cool with divorce, sorta, and forgives abortions too!

    All this AND the city and burbs are on a virtual lockdown for 5 whole days. I was trying to see a specialist at Jefferson University Hospital this week - but nope, they're CLOSED. Even the main streets in my neighborhood are being shut down because they're only a few miles from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, where he's staying. Our public & parochial schools are closed Friday & Monday which makes no sense since he's only visiting Saturday & Sunday. Business, both in the city & the suburbs are closed as well. Oh well, less devil’s dung, so the Pope should be pleased. All the major roads are shut down for 3-4 days - I95, i76, 476, 202, as well as all bridges to NJ, etc. Completely shut down! I've never seen anything like it in my life.

    Sorry for the rant. I'm hoping I don't stroke out while he's here. Can you tell I'm a little tense? Anyway, Bear, as usual, you help me put things into perspective and I think I'll spend the time taking some online Catholic theology courses I've been thinking about for ages. These would be the perfect antidote to this Celebrity World Concert (by the way, there IS a concert before the Mass - Aretha Franklin & a host of other celebrities are performing FOR the Pope before Mass - that's a regular part of Mass, right?). Anyway the courses would help ground me in the tenets of the faith and, as you have so beautifully put, remind me of the core that we need to hold onto.

    Bear, wish I could give you a great big hug, but then I remember that you're not a teddy bear! Heck with it, you'll always be a great big teddy bear to me. God bless you.

  20. Thanks for a great post. I have been struggling with this mightily lately. I'm getting the nails this weekend and will pick the most offensive Mass just so I can offer more up! :) With that said, I'm also struggling with HOW to go forward trying to evangelize. Just yesterday I got a smug look of satisfaction when the topic of the Pope's recent motu proprio on annulments was raised. This person got one of those '70's annulments and thinks this all just so wonderful. How the heck am I supposed to evangelize when I get the rug ripped out from under by priests, bishops, cardinals and worst of all the Pope? Now our Faith has been reduced to "opinion" as to what is right and what is wrong and who am I to contradict the Pope? Hurl!!! I think I need to brush up on the doctrine of invincible ignorance and pray like there is tomorrow that these people are truly ignorant and thus not culpable. This pains me to no end. I know this is part of God's lesson to me that I can do nothing and He can do everything, even with this mess! With that said, I feel like the only thing to do is dive into the cave and praybernate until spring comes. What else can I do?

  21. This post is just what I needed. A big thanks to Ever Mindful (from another blog) who linked to this. I will be a regular reader.

  22. Yes, do remain in the Church. Soon, however, you will be forced to decide if the local parish is following the Church or not, and will have to find virtual catacomb Church's for your sacraments. It will be like this until the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart. It will be then, when Francis' church approves of sin, that the ultimate state of necessity described by SSPX will be in place.


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