Saturday, May 7, 2016

Bear Says What He Thinks About Pope Francis

A Time When the Bear Was Among Pope Francis' Chief Defenders

The Bear has written about Pope Francis a lot. So have many Catholic ephemerists.

At first, the Bear defended the Pope against all complaints. The Pope was "teaching," or had "a personality." The Bear was critical of the Pope's critics. This went on for a long time. The Bear doesn't regret that. At least he gave him a chance, studied him, before he was forced down another path.

Gradually, it became apparent that Pope Francis was more interested in stamping his own idiosyncratic beliefs and practices on the ancient faith, rather than upholding it. Furthermore, his behavior sometimes crossed the line from eccentric to bizarre.

Pope Francis' True Colors

His methods seemed very much at odds with his image as "Francis the Humble." His handling of the entire Synod on the Family and followthrough appeared to be underhanded. His "pastoral" approach does not help Catholics conform themselves to the Church, but, rather, the Church to conform itself to Catholics, and not at their best. It is a transparent scam to split practice from dogma to avoid the bother (actually, impossibility) of changing the dogma. Dogma is simply to wither away into desuetude.

The Bear is alarmed at his constant interfaith and ecumenical gestures. On his watch, a document was released that stated Jews do not need Jesus at all, and that the Church has no mission to the Jews. He is flying to Sweden this Halloween to celebrate Martin Luther's sins and rebellion with a Lutheran lady bishop. Apparently, if Pope Francis had his way, Lutherans, at the very least, would be receiving the Blessed Body and Blood of Our Lord if they felt in their "conscience" it was the right thing to do.

He apparently sees no reason at all for anyone to covert to the Catholic faith.

Pope Francis even spoiled the practice of praying for the Pope's intentions. Now they are an excuse for cheesy, manipulative videos mostly promoting one left-wing cause or another, but never anything recognizably Catholic. The editorial board for these videos consists of the predictable interfaith salad: Jew, Moslem, Evangelical. And a Jesuit.

Pope Francis has climbed atop the bones of St. Peter in order to displace the Dalai Lama as the Generic Spiritual Leader of the World. Is this a humble man? Is this a Catholic Pope?

The YouTube Pontificate. How small. The Sound Byte Pontificate. How sad. The Conscience Pontificate. How dangerous.

Is The Pope Catholic?

The Bear is not going to recite the entire indictment. At this point, the Bear cannot say with certainty what, if any, dogmas of the Church our Pope actually believes.

That's right. The Bear does not believe the Pope is Catholic. Unless replacing the ancient faith with your personal hobbyhorses counts as Catholic.

The Bear believes people vastly underestimate the destructiveness of Pope Francis. He has to shake his head a bit when he hears people say, "Well, there have been a lot of bad popes in history." This may be true. However, the Bear has a sense that only Pope Francis has his knife to the Church's very throat. He is not wrong in one, or a few particulars, he is wrong period. Wrong about everything. Wrong in his foundation. Wrong for the job.

The Bear also realizes that he has come along at a very troubling time in Church history. A Church crisis in the 21st century is not a crisis in the 8th century. In our day, the walls of Jerusalem are down and the enemy is in the sanctuary. The defenders have nearly all fled. We are but shadows of the old Catholics who fought heresy and Turks. In other words, history ain't what it used to be.

So, He Must Not Be Pope, Right?

The Bear understands the sentiment, sympathizes with the cognitive dissonance that resolves for people. The Bear wishes he could believe Jorge Bergoglio were not the Pope. That Vatican II was a robber council. That we just need to hit the reset button to 1958.

But he can't. The Bear cannot take it upon himself to declare Jorge Bergoglio to be an anti-pope. So, Francis is Pope. And he is a very bad Pope. The Bear said Pope Francis held a knife to the Church's throat, but it is more like a poisoned chalice to her lips. The damage is subtle and systemic, but no less deadly.

How does a Bear resolve believing a man is not even Catholic, and believing the same man is also Pope?

He doesn't. He can't. He's not sure he has to. But since conscience is all the rage these days, the Bear must do what he is absolutely certain is the right thing. Pope, Jorge Bergoglio may be, but the Bear cannot remain silent. And since it is not a matter of this error or that, but a fundamental character problem with the man, the whole man must receive the attention of the Bear. 

Bears -- at least talking Bears -- fight with biting wit and vicious swipes, and don't count the blows. Where satire will work, then it will be satire. Where sober analysis is better, then sober analysis it shall be. But it would all probably hurt Pope Francis' feelings if he read it. That's the way God made a Bear. Bears do not worship any man. If Francis wants the Bear to bend the knee, let him wear the crown.

"Nail Your Foot to the Floor in Front of Your Favorite Pew and Die There."

But let the Bear always remember to beg his reader: stay. None of this makes sense. It doesn't have to. You can do a lot worse than to put your head down and exercise the virtue of Holy Stubbornness. Indeed, agree with the Bear or not, but that is the only choice. It has its own benefits.

The watch-phrase is still, "Nail your foot the floor in front of your favorite pew and die there." If things were fine, you wouldn't have to nail your foot to the floor. This is the Catholic Church of our time, bad Pope and all. It may not look like much, but it's our home


  1. Thanks bear,I needed that. Yes, I fear the Lord has left his Temple, yet as an orthodox convert there is nowhere to go. Nevertheless, I feel the nail is starting to pull.

    1. Find a Latin Rite Mass if you don't already attend, Unknown.

  2. You know, one of the things that got drilled a couple times when I was in RCIA was that "there are no ex-Catholics, only lapsed Catholics." Mix that a bit with your own talk about belonging being more important than being correct, let it stew for a while, and well . . .

    The Pope is a bad Pope, no question about it. He may not even really believe in God, for all I know. But in a very real sense, he's still Catholic. "A priest in Heaven, a priest in Hell, a priest forever." Not sure where that quote's from, but I suspect that something similar is true of Catholicism. Baptism and Confirmation both leave "indelible marks." In a very real sense, even lapsed Catholics and "former" (more accurately "laicized") priests are still Catholics and priests, even if they wind up in Hell. It may also be worth noting that while Christ does say about an unrepentant brother "let him be to thee as a heathen and a publican," he doesn't say he isn't still a brother.

    The Church is a family. And your brother, or father, or even Holy Father, is still that even if one of you ends up in Hell and the other in Heaven.

    So I expect that the Pope can accurately be called Catholic, even as a laicized priest can still accurately be called a priest. He's still family, and he's still our father, even if he's a drunk, abusive, and adulterous father who should probably be in jail.

    At least, that's how I figure it, and it more or less took care of my own cognitive dissonance on the question.

    1. Whatever works for you. This works for me. Oh, I suppose technically, sure, he's Catholic. But in the context of whether he believes or acts as such when he is Pope, I conclude that he is not. I think people probably understand that I'm not making some technical argument based on canon law. I mean that he can be counted on to act according to beliefs that are not informed by the Catholic faith, and that he is doing serious damage to the Church, far more than most are willing to admit.

      I resolve my cognitive dissonance by deliberately not trying to reconcile the fact that Francis is in fact something entirely other than a Catholic in his beliefs, and yet he is the Pope.

      And granted your abusive father is still your father and will be until one of you dies, but that doesn't mean you unconditionally treat him the same way as you otherwise would.

      We get back to the old claim that everyone who criticizes the Pope will go to Hell or whatever. I take Hell seriously. But I am more loyal to the Church and the Catholic Faith than I am to a man who has proven himself to be unfit to be Pope. I think the ultramontane position is ridiculous.

      It is very sad that we are put in the position of internal conflict. A lot has happened to bring us to this pass, and it is difficult to see any solution once the Church is fractured into various national conferences, and morphs into a universal partner to other faiths. I am afraid this is the clear path before us.

    2. Perhaps I should have written a shorter post. Canon law doesn't really enter into it. And I'm not suggesting we should treat him the same as we otherwise would. I was responding specifically to "How does a Bear resolve believing a man is not even Catholic, and believing the same man is also Pope?" and my proposed answer is that he is Catholic, even if he's a lapsed Catholic.

      Of course, a lapsed Catholic is not a great person to be Pope either, and whether he's lapsed or not I really wish the guy would resign. About the only times I've quoted this Pope are for a couple of examples to my youth group boys of how limited the Vat 1 declaration of Papal infallibility actually is, with a side of "maybe we really shouldn't attach that much importance to what this guy says when we don't have to." No sense pretending this crap isn't happening, after all.

    3. Also, the bit about Hell was not saying "criticizing the Pope is a mortal sin." I was trying to say that even if the Pope is headed for hellfire, doesn't necessarily mean he's not Catholic, much in the same manner that even a priest who goes to Hell is still a priest.

    4. No, I get what you say. I suppose I could have been more careful framing my comments as "This is how I am personally dealing with this," as opposed to "This is the way it is." I felt that people deserved to know exactly what was going on in my head that justified (in my mind) the often biting commentary on him. Am I a sede? Am I SSPX? A traditionalist? Or something else? Nope. I hold two positions that are difficult to reconcile, so I don't. I treat each one as equally true, even while admitting I don't know how all of it is supposed to work.

      I'm just a regular old Catholic, of the much-despised "Novus Ordo" variety. Nothing special. I know I'm in the Church. And Francis, sadly, is Pope. No faithful Catholic can trust their Pope.

      Sometimes I get frustrated because even among people that do not like Pope Francis, there is a lack of appreciation of the true danger. "Existential crisis" is not putting too much pepper on the egg.

    5. I get what you are saying Bear. That seems a perfectly valid option. We have to survive this somehow, and it seems obvious PF is pope, and he was surely baptized Catholic, but somewhere along the way he left it behind. I don't know what he is and am not sure it matters. We've seen enough to know he's like a wrecking ball and is causing so much damage, enabled by heretical minions. What more do we need.

  3. Historically there have been worse Popes, but none have had the internet. I have watched Pope Francis' message seep into local parishes. Yes, even a normally nominally sound parish had a priest decide to preach that the real bad actor in the Parable of the Prodigal Son was the father. As a trained theologian, my first instinct is not to treat Pope Francis as Pope, but to just treat his writings as writings and worry about the authority question at a later date.

    I am very much of the opinion that the various projects of "reading Francis through X" are violence to both X and Pope Francis. Let him speak for himself and not judge him but let the Church do so. I don't read a lot of Pope Francis, it is too much of a danger to my peace of mind. I went to a Jesuit university for my undergrad back before I became Catholic. My first exposure to Catholic theology was an old Jesuit priest that spent much time saying that the Resurrection was only a metaphor. I have some stories, but now now. Pope Francis in many ways reminds me of my time in undergrad, though magnified. I know several good Jesuits. They have suffered a lot for their orthodoxy. Pope Benedict XVI was a good time for them. Now the purgation has returned.

    The Problem of Pope Francis is perhaps akin the problem that the sons of Noah had when Noah was drunk and prancing around naked. Or perhaps being a northerner during the reign of King Jeroboam. Or a Levitt during the time of Ananias. Or a peasant in Germany during the 1500's. In hindsight it is very easy to see where and what one should do. But in the middle of things, you have the people in charge moving the floor to which one's foot is nailed.

    Being an owl up here in the night with all the dead and dying trees, my suggestion is to worry less about Pope Francis and worry more about the specific tree that one makes one's home in. In other words, the nonsense from your local priest and HIS moving of the floor needs to be addressed in priority to the addressing of Pope Francis. He himself is the greatest tar-baby. The more you wrestle with him, the more you get stuck, the more you don't see the floor of your parish being moved under your feet. That is the plan, the phantom menace, the great tar-baby.

    1. Indeed, Pope Francis himself is the tar baby of all tar babies. That's why the Bear throws rocks from a safe distance.

      But the Bear has another agenda that will not permit him to ignore Pope Francis entirely. He will always think in terms of the circus.

  4. Excellent Bear. Well said. I have nothing to add except that you keep up your courageous work always with a touch of comedy when you can. Of course, when speaking of Pope Francis tragedy more often and appropriately comes to mind.

    1. Well, I don't know how courageous it is for a Bear to criticize someone, but thanks. If Francis succeeds in opening communion to everyone whose conscience permits them to take it, in a very real sense the Catholic Church as an institution constituted in society will cease to exist, in the same way those who object to countries having meaningful borders would effectively destroy nations. Perhaps, worst of all, Francis never explains, never justifies, never fits his stupid and wicked ideas into the larger framework of Catholic theology. He sneaks everything in through the back door and relies on his cult of personality, aided and abetted by the "never criticize" brigade. The Bear does not understand humans. Never will.

    2. Bear, you are courageous. All of us who do what you do in plain sight are subject to criticism and rejection and become a persona non grata in some quarters. Some folks even begin to despise you. This happens to me and I am sure happens to you a fortiori.

    3. Ah, Bear here you have put your finger, or paw, on it. Open communion=absolute primacy of individual conscience=end of the Catholic church. The day this idea is officially adopted is the day the Catholic church becomes no more than another denomination.

    4. The Bear is already eyeing the megachurch down the road. Do you know they bring coffee to you in your car before church? If we must all become Protestants, the Bear is not going to be in a Protestant church that sucks.

  5. Thank you for your heartfelt reflections...

    In essence:
    1) Stay in the Church
    2) Focus on Our Blessed Lord
    3) Take every soundbite captive

  6. Let's be real, is he even Christian?

    1. Depends on what you mean. What, if anything, he actually believes is beyond me. On the other hand, the only reason we can accurately call Protestants and other heretics Christian is by virtue of Baptism (CCC 818), and presumably our Pope had a valid Baptism.

    2. When you consider that Adolph Hitler was validly baptized as a Catholic, I think it is fair to say that the issue should be understood in context as "does he hold Catholic (or Christian) beliefs?" What does Pope Francis believe on any given Church teaching? We don't know because Jorge Bergoglio apparently came to the throne with a ready-made religion of his own. No doubt it includes some elements of Catholicism. But ecumenism and interfaith seem to have metastasized into full-blown indifferentism with a dash of Peronism, and a tendency to make the world's concerns and fads part of the Catholic faith.

    3. Fair enough. But how many (or which) Christian, by which of course I mean Catholic, beliefs must one hold in order to qualify as a Christian in the relevant sense?

      Believing Christ is the Messiah? Because then Mormons, whose baptism is invalid, would apparently qualify.

      Is it the Creed? But then the bulk of the Orthodox wouldn't qualify, since they teach that the Holy Spirit does not proceed from the Son, and I think we can all agree that's absurd.

      If belief matters little enough that we can call Luther a Christian, who I have been reliably informed in one letter (I could look up the reference, but I don't own the book and it's in German anyway) claimed Christ committed adultery three times, then I expect the Pope qualifies. Most people would probably call Luther a Christian.

    4. I'm told this is where Luther made that claim. Like I said, don't speak German and don't have the book anyway, but no reason to doubt person who tole me:

      D. Martin Luthers Werke, kritische Gesamtausgabe [Hermann Bohlau Verlag, 1893], vol. 2, no. 1472, April 7 - May 1, 1532, p. 33

    5. How about this: For a pope? All of them.

      Or, rather than splitting rhetorical hairs, we could just each decide for himself how many Catholic dogmas we feel feel a pope should hold, and which ones are optional.

      If you feel like Pope Francis is legitimately upholding and promoting the deposit of Faith, then, respectfully, you might say so. If not, I am not certain what point you are trying to make. Is it that Pope Francis is technically Christian and Catholic? If so, what problems does that resolve for you? Or do you have no problems with Pope Francis?

      Stipulating that Hitler was a Catholic is entirely beside any point at all when discussing his policies. And it is a common expression, more so in the past, that a someone is "not a good Christian man," or an act was "un-Christian." If you substitute some other philosophy for Catholicism, and are not informed by its letter and spirit, then it is a meaningful statement to say they are not Catholic, although it may not be correct in a technical sense that is rather beside the point in context.

    6. I was both mad and trying to be amusing at the same time. On its face, I meant to not only agree with The Bear's conclusion that Bergoglio is not Catholic, but to also take it a step further and state that to me, is he even any form of a Christian? (And while I will never understand how someone can get past the first hurdle--God incarnate--and thus Christian but not be drawn to Catholicism, I could never call them heretics.)

      Anyhow, I'm mad that this man Bergoglio has caused me to question not just Catholicism, but whether there is a God, never mind that he came back as a human, only to rise again. All my 30 years of when I was a "live and let live" friendly atheist (I was never the anti-religion, ugly, hateful type that many atheists are today) has come bubbling up and is currently winning--I cannot bring myself to go to Mass lately. Part of it is my fear of hearing a homily on global warming, or some other lame explanation of what the pope really meant to say or some such thing and storming out, but a larger part is due to deep betrayals by: family; someone that was a hero to me; a Priest (nothing remotely sexual, just want to make that clear!); and most devastating by one of my children. And that's not including literally losing most of my possessions, my home, every last dime gone, and, just as (within hours) all I had left was my dog, he was killed before my eyes just as I screamed out "please God, not my dog."

      Seeing Bergoglio so obviously not in love with Christ, his Church, his Mother (she's the thread I'm holding onto at this point), nor God or the Holy Spirit has caused me to think if he (the 'pope') thinks it's all bogus, then what the ell was I thinking that it is all true? Add in why would a loving God want the amount of tragedies that have genuinlely happened to me and my children to occur? (I've only listed recents above. And I need to add that of course I take some responsibility for the events that have occurred!)

      Yikes, I carried on. Very poorly written, but I'm not going to go back and rewrite it, not only too painful, but I'll chicken out and not post it, thus losing the opportunity for some insight someone may have.

    7. I don't have an answer. Concluding it's all bunk does have explanatory power. No one will convince me otherwise. However, it is not the only explanation that has explanatory power, therefore it cannot be proof. Since it cannot be proof, we must look at other scenarios that have explanatory power.

      The possibility of one, or a series of outlier popes who temporarily obscure the Catholic faith has equal explanatory power. If this is the case -- as I firmly believe it to be -- then there is a choice of responses. Blind loyalty. Sedevacantism. Or -- the Bear's personal choice -- Holy Stubbornness. Go to confession, go to Mass, even if it's going through the motions. Sure, half the time the Bear is there "in ass only," as in that's what's in the pew. He's nearly overwhelmed by crappy music and idiotic homilies, and reading the announcements before Mass so he can't pray, and young girls dressed more for the beach than a the Mass. But the Bear goes.

      Somewhere, behind the screen of screaming modernity, a timeless Mystery is happening. It has nothing to do with our Pope, or who else might be taking communion improperly, or the priest's "last week i celebrated an interfaith... whatever" homily.

      This is how we stay Catholic. We acknowledge the serious problems. That's an important part of what the Bear does. He's authentic. And we say, "Yes, but I am a Catholic." And we act like it, even if we don't feel it. The Bear has always said "nail your foot to the floor in front of your favorite pew and die there," for a reason. Because most of the time, that's what we do, and it's hard. But as long as we're going to Mass, to confession, praying, and, yes, trying to do what we can for our brothers and sisters, we are doing Catholic.

    8. Thank you and God Bless you and yours Bear.

  7. One of the most basic duties of a Catholic is a duty of loyalty to the Pope. As Vicar of Christ the Pope is head of the Church, Christ’s representative here on earth and the holder of the power to loose and bind on earth and in heaven. You can’t get a much more traditional view than that. Strange indeed then that the most vociferous criticisms of Pope Francis come from the more traditional elements of the Church.

    Time was when academic dissent on matters of doctrine was tolerated on the basis that it was carried by on theologians in learned places where such speculations would not likely interfere with the devotions of the laity. Now it seems that every lay person is an amateur theologian volubly and often vindictively holding forth on the Pope and his teachings. Everywhere you turn there is another mini-Martin Luther nailing his theses to the door. These caterwauling critics seem to me to be incipient protestants. Realistically that must be where this will end for those who insist that the Pope is a heretic/apostate/demon/evil clown etc.

    The old approach of the lay faithful accepting the teachings of the church both in the observance and sometimes in the breach resulted in the continued authority of the Pope as head of the Church. The new approach is that the ever-burgeoning ranks of social-media amateur theologians criticise and condemn the Pope on an hourly basis. The logic of this position of selective non-acceptance of Papal teaching is that every Catholic now has the responsibility for deciding which particular teachings are correct and which are to be discarded as heretical. This new position is untenable. In fact it is not even new. It is the very basis of Protestantism. And it is why there are so many Protestant sects – splintering is inevitable when each person must decide which bits of Church teaching they agree with.

    So what to do as the great edifice of the eternal truth crumbles around us?

    1. The trad positon is, for the reasons mentioned above, untenable.
    2. The sedevacantists do not fall into the same trap. Their view requires a one-time judgment about the whether the Pope is a true pope rather than continuing judgments of each papal teaching. The problem is that there are numerous sedevacantist sects, many of which are obvious nutjobs. It is difficult for a confused soul to choose any one of them. Just when someone is starting to sound reasonable you are invited to read their research on geocentric theory or the true history the Masons and the Jews and their conspiracy to destroy the Church.
    3. The Opus Dei/Michael Voris approach has much to recommend it. But many people, myself included, cannot stomach it. There are only so many contradictory positions I can hold in my head at one time without it exploding.
    4. The Bearish position of nailing paw to floor and waiting for the storm to pass sounds extremely uncomfortable yet it may be the best I can do. The criticisms of the Pope, while unseemly, may be excused as the wounded cries of poor creatures pushed beyond endurance.

    Actually, on sober reflection, I know that 3 above is probably the most correct position. I have no ability to decide theological matters. I should accept church teachings and leave the rest up to the Holy Spirit and the promise of indefectibility. I just find it really, really hard to like this Pope even a little, much less agree with his many aberrant teachings. And I find it absolutely impossible not to recoil in horror at the Pope’s almost daily outrages.

  8. If you choose to be loyal to Francis, you are swallowing his new religion. No one is playing amateur theologian. No one is proposing new dogmas or nailing theses to the door like Luther. Your rhetoric is getting away with you a bit. Do you believe Jews have a magical way of salvation without Jesus that no one ever thought of before until Francis became Pope? Do you notice that by everything Francis says and does he demonstrates that there is absolutely no reason for anyone to leave where they are now and come into the Catholic Church? What if Lutherans were admitted to the communion line, has has been bruited about? Adulterers?

    Loyalty is good. But at some point you have to decide where your loyalty lies. Unconditionally with the Pope in a tiny slice of time? Or with the Church and 2000 years of authority behind Her? My loyalty is not unconditional, and if you really thought about it, you would admit that neither is yours. You know there are lines that you would not see crossed without your Catholic voice being torn from your throat in outrage. Or, can you truly not think of anything Pope Francis could do that would shake your loyalty? If you can, then you are just as much a "Protestant" as I am, only with more tolerance for evil.

    And, by the way, "Protestant" is no insult these days. Pope Francis told his buddy "Bishop" Tony Palmer not to convert to Catholicism, but stay Protestant, because he needed him on that side of the hill. So if you are truly an unconditionally loyal subject of Pope Francis, you should be happy for us if we have indeed become Protestants here in the woodlands. Haven't you heard? Mercy covers everyone.

    The Bear is still waiting for professional theologians to explain Pope Francis' innovations. Crickets.

  9. Oh, and if the Bear were summoned to a private audience with the Pope, he would observe the niceties and be respectful.

    And if it were a matter of one or two issues, the Bear would limit himself to discussion of those.

    As it is, sadly, it's the way the man is wired. All of these separate things we have alternately laughed at and been horrified at come from his character, his foundation, which is by now very well defined. Sadly, it is a question of fitness, which is quite a different matter from picking a theological bone or two with him. They are part of him, and he means to impose them on the Church.

    But thank you for you post. The Bear is glad to see someone not agree with him.

  10. Bear why are you even awake? Surely you should be hibernating at this hour! :-) It is 5.30pm in Sydney so it must be early ours of the morning in the US. I'm sorry if my rhetoric was a bit too colourful.

    I am not sure I disagree with you in practice. If you look at my point 4, that is about where I am now. Writing stuff down helps focus the mind. (Maybe I'm doctrinally 3 and pastorally 4 to use the new parlance - :-) )

    I just put up the issues as I see them. Number three probably makes more logical sense to me but I can't bring myself to do it.

    There doesn't appear to be much precedent for the lay faithful deciding for themselves which bits of what the Pope says is "true" teaching. Don't you see that interpretations of what "2000 years of authority" means on any particular issue may vary?

    Also, if the Pope is truly as bad as represented I would not expect the entire episcopate to go AWAL on this issue. Surely there would be a goodly number of Bishops calling out the Pope for his heresies?

    1. The Bear apologizes if he growled. Much of what you say is correct, and you are very gracious in your response. The Bear will sleep when Pope Francis retires.

      These are the options. You must pick one. All of them have great explanatory power. The only option not listed, because it is not viable, is to recognize the fundamental defect in Jorge Bergoglio and the damage he is doing to the Church at a critical time, and yet remain loyal and in support of him as a Pope just like any other.

      Francis is right. The Church needed a fundamental course correction to assume its new place as one religion among many as it recognizes the unity of all faiths in the brotherhood of man. And all the rest of Francis' prophetic utterances -- all true, and the man deserving or our loyalty. Great explanatory power.

      Francis is wrong. He is attempting to distort the faith according to the ideological hobbyhorses of himself and his favorite theologians. The Church must be refitted as a social justice organization and seek the approval of the world. He is doing real damage to the Church at a particularly dangerous time in history. Loyalty would be misplaced, and his errors exposed and fought. Great explanatory power, too.

      Francis is not Pope. Sedevacantists are right, doesn't matter what Francis does, because he's not the Pope anyway, and probably no one since Pius X has been. Great explanatory power.

      it doesn't matter because the Church is not supernatural, but, rather merely a human institution that has been around and taught a lot of things at various times, all of which were provisional. So what if Francis changes this or that? None of it matters anyway. Great explanatory power.

  11. "Bears do not worship any man. If Francis wants the Bear to bend the knee, let him wear the crown." The irony of your comment made me 'laugh out loud'. The Pope sure does want us to bend the knee to him & his personal 'God of surprises'. However, this same Pope will not bend the knee to Jesus Christ in the Mass.

    1. The Bear wonders what "the Bear of surprises" would look like? Pretty much this. "The God of Surprises" is Cthulhu. Cthulhu doesn't care about consistency. Come to think of it, that explains everything.

  12. Here is the explanation of it all. No mystery at all as Alice von Hildebrand has explained. The Catholic Church long ago was infiltrated by Communists and is now its front organization. The new news is that Pope Francis is now the first true Communist Pope. Everything that has happened recently follows from that observation.

  13. I have a bunch of notes from the above comments so let me try to roll everything into one.

    Proposed Option #6.

    Nail your local priest's foot to the floor.

    Having read what I have read, Pope Francis is a large amount of "been there done that". Orthodoxy, even when it is radical, is interesting. 200 pages of AL is very boring. The Pope is playing the game of "I'm only modifying praxis not doctrine". Well fine. Does your modified praxis have support of any doctrine? No. Does the authority of your office compel me to follow along with your praxis? No. Are these praxis modifications, at best, optional then? Yes.


    Option 5: If a particular practice is optional, exercise the option to not jump off the cliff.

    Option 6: Nail your local priest's foot to the floor. If a modification in the way your local priest conducts things is optional, stress that you will support him in not taking that option, both physically, spiritually, and financially. Remember, that your good local priest will be under a lot of pressure to move the floor by perhaps his presbytery council, the chancery, the bishop, a gaggle of pant-suited ladies, Adam and Steve, etc. etc. You don't want his white martyrdom that he must face. Help him face it with his foot nailed to the floor instead of having him capitulate.

    A lot of people are going to be in your priest's face to move the floor, get in his face too, don't just sit there in the pew quietly hoping that things will blow over. They won't. That is how a great deal of those convert Woodland Creatures's forefathers became Protestant. That is how any heresy got out of control and moved beyond being talk to impacting the very heart of what was considered to be Christian worship.

    Call your local priest up and invite him over for dinner so you can discuss BRIEFLY (he is very busy) your troubles with Pope Francis and ask his advice on how you can help him to keep his parish on course so that souls might be saved.

    1. Very good and thoughtful advice, even if you have Kobyashi Maru'ed the test. It looks to me that you are really deciding Francis is wrong, but adding a useful additional measure besides nailing your foot to the floor. But many (most?) priests will enjoy the pastoral empowerment message and could care less about your paleocatholic reservations. And, more to the point, you and I may agree that the Pope is exceeding his authority in a slippery "pastoral" way, but does that make any real difference to the shape of the Catholic Church to come? I hate to keep using the example, but it is so perfect -- the Interfaith storm troopers of the curia had a photo op and issued a news release that Jews did not need Jesus at all, but had their own way of salvation that was separate from Christianity. Further, the Church has no mission to the Jews.

      Now, we may say this is non-magisterial, flies in the face of Church teaching literally from New Testament times on, and has untold ramifications for Christology and Ecclesiology, but none of that matters. "The Church said," and so it shall be.

      The Church's teachings are only as good as they are preserved and taught in their purity. The Church's relations with the Jews, has, in fact, been changed, by a photo op between a Cardinal and a Rabbi. No one cares for your considered objections or mine.

      This is why I do not treat Pope Francis' hubris so carelessly. Shall we play a game? Did the Church ever infallibly teach extra ecclesiam nulla salus? If so, was that dogma ever (somehow) rescinded? And yet, how would you describe the status of that dogma today? Complete desuetude. Dead. No effect. It does not fit in with the modern world, therefore, it gets thrown overboard from the Barque of Peter. Well, so much for indefectibility, no?

      Pope Francis' main problem is that simply does not believe the Catholic Church to hold the truth, and to be the ordinary means of salvation. He's completely sold on the heresy of indifferentism, and probably universalism, and certainly the concept of expanding communion beyond any historic understanding.

      Whether the Church can survive working out the effects of Francis' eccentric personal beliefs, is debatable. I do not think we disagree, really. Perhaps I am more pessimistic. At any rate, I am convinced that it is a legitimate mission of alert and knowledgable Catholic laymen to deconstruct Francis for the common good. Things are far worse than anyone suspects, in the Bear's opinion. The Bear does not know what would happen if Francis were succeeded by a like-minded Pope. He hopes, however, that the Cardinals have learned their lesson.

    2. Your thoughts in this comment are mine as well Bear. What has always horrified me is that he was elected by a group, not one individual. Now we see the cabal that surrounds him and it all makes sense.
      Almost nobody in my family is a practicing Catholic any more. Oh the kids get the early sacraments, but there are zero discussions of this FrancisChurch and how the church is indeed tottering on the brink. People are hysterical today and can't take the truth. Even online you can read people who seem about to go nuts because of this situation. I know it's bad, of course it is, but we can't go crazy. God is in control, and for all we know the clouds are going to part and the horn will blow any minute now. Super! I get annoyed that the Cardinals and Bishops don't call this pope out on his words, actions, and heresies, nor do they call out the heretics in Germany. That we have predominantly weak or indifferent Cardinals is worse news than a really bad pope, because as you said they are going to vote again at some point, and if they elected him, and if they agree with him, the church is in real peril.
      It becomes a scandal of faith when it goes on too long, when Cardinals don't address it and confront him, when there is no correction, but if I understand church history, this has happened before. God has his time frame, we have ours.
      My answer is the Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form, which I would attend even if I could only get there once a month. It is a haven, and I mean, a HAVEN, in this insane world that is shuddering under our feet. Hang in there, fellow Catholics. God does not leave us orphaned. We have His Word, the Eucharist, the bible, early church fathers. We'll hang on.

    3. This has moved beyond page one now, so I shall be shorter than what I should and even then, I write too long.

      Perhaps Kobyashi Maru'ed, but then I tend to do that sort of thing. It runs in the family going way back. I think I can out pessimist you, because I think the Church will be lucky if we get someone in the vein of Pope Francis but who would prefer to sit there and not do much. Pope Francis will be around just long enough to neuter the Papacy and devolve enough of his power to local episcopate conferences. The Cardinals will elect someone who will be a placeholder Pope. The orthodox don't want someone who is going to be proactive and the heterodox want someone who will allow them to continue on their path. With how authoritarian Pope Francis is, nobody wants that again. The compromise is a placeholder Pope that leaves the episcopate conferences to do what they want to do and generally just keeps to himself. That makes everyone happy.

      extra ecclesiam nulla salus is something that I studied in depth back during my graduate work, specifically the morphing of the language and thought. Major rabbit hole for me. Part of what is at stake is that "what is the church"? is a rather large question that theologians were dealing with during the 20th century. It is part of why Vatican II is the way that it is. As much as I want to talk about this, I want to move on and circle back to an earlier point.

      There is a soteriology problem in Pope Francis. I would also argue that he is undoing the "universal call to holiness" that was defined at Vatican II. He doesn't believe it as evidenced by his statements about not being concerned with ideals and something that sounds to be descended of Luther when he speaks of mercy.

      I do though disagree...Pope Francis does see the Church as the ordinary means of salvation, not in the sense of the Church being the sanctified community gathered together in worship of The Father, through the Son, with the Holy Spirit via the episcopate that offers the valid eucharistic sacrifice . The Church is the prophetic tool by which God's hand is twisted via the person of Pope Francis so that all might receive mercy instead of having to follow the moral law. What then is the Eucharst for Pope Francis? Is it the banquet of mercy to which all are invited and none shall be refused? Is he misunderstanding Babbatte's Feast that much?

      The work that you do is important, but reason and humor is only good for shining a light. The only way to actual stop the madness is to not participate. No, I will keep offering bouquets of rosaries for you. No, I will keep having more children. No, I will not start having marital relations with my divorced and remarried spouse. No, I will keep trying to live the moral law and I will confess kind and number for each refraction. No, I will not stand during the Consecration. No, I will keep telling my Jewish friends that Jesus is their messiah that they have along awaited. No, I will keep praying for my Protestant friends and inviting them to become Catholic. ETC. ETC. ETC.

      And while I am at it, we should nail our priest's foot to the floor, whether he likes it or not.

      Keep up your needed work, Great Bear.

    4. Your comments are always welcome. If you write too much, Blogger will rudely interrupt you. Other than that you needn't worry. Bears tend to go on, too, but I much prefer a substantive conversation.

      Since Vatican II, the Church has been squirrelly to some degree on exactly what the Church is. The necessity of being "in" the Church, is becoming the guarantee of being "saved by" the Church in some vague manner. Or is the Church a holy aura that circles the whole world, radiating peace and salvation to one and all? At least the Evangelicals have kept salvation tightly linked to Christ. I don't think Catholics can currently say the same thing.

  14. To the reluctant Francis-haters:


    This borderline heretic is being used by the Devil to subvert the Catholic faith. Let's show him we mean business: If he won't take our faith seriously, we won't take him seriously..about anything!

    Stop mentioning the "good things" he says. Stop praising his "good" qualities. Stop re-tweeting him. Stop citing him in homilies, classes, and church bulletins. Stop pretending we should care about his opinions on immigration and climate change.

    If you can't criticize him, at least ignore him! This guy loves attention. Take it away. It might work.



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