The Bear is old enough to remember the days when the pope's intention was some innocent sentiment that you added to your family rosary to get the plenary indulgence, e.g. "that we may crush the Turk at Lepanto." Now, someone has persuaded Pope Francis that he is not in the public eye enough, so we have these Pope Videos, as they are called.
The first one was for indifferentism, if not syncretism, and we all got pretty worked up about that one. Then they quickly blurred into the bland, formulaic fare we see in this one.
In his review of the last one, the Bear observed, "Like previous Pope videos, it predictably relies on montages of people's faces, looking directly into the camera lens. It has a synthesized score that makes you expect Enya to start singing the intention."
It's true. Positive images accompanied by a soaring synthesized score give way to negative images with a sad score, then the happy music returns for a positive resolution. It is entirely done as a montage, mainly of diverse people looking directly into the camera, with a voiceover by the Pope. He is also briefly shown speaking directly into the camera.
Same with the latest video. And the Bear sees they listened to the Hound at Mahound's Paradise and stuck a woman of African descent in as "X-ray Woman." [NOTE: The consensus among woodland creatures is that X-Ray Woman is Indian. Sorry. But all humans look alike to the Bear.]
Whoever is making these videos has technical expertise, but an utter lack of creativity. Granted, a brief institutional video is not the place for avant garde film-making (although the Bear would pay good money for a Lars von Trier Pope Video.) Catholic ephemerists are way more entertaining and thoughtful.
These videos are, frankly, a waste of time and money for his Holiness. Worse, they seem to lack a spiritual dimension. They could be PAC ads. There is Pope Francis, who has out-Dalai Lama-ed the Dalai Lama as Generic Spiritual Leader of the World. The catch is, you have to part with a lot of Catholic capital to attain that celebrity position.
Women Are Smart
The good news is that women are smart. They can make flow charts or something. And read x-rays. When the Pope is talking about motherhood (which the Church rates slightly above prostitution these days) what they actually show is a schoolteacher with a single child in an empty schoolroom. Apparently, motherhood doesn't figure much into legitimate roles for women. In fact, the one stay-at-home mom fixing lunch for her two kids is -- unbelievably -- included in the Roll of Oppressed Women.
Bad News Ludes
The video also illustrates that women who are in unfulfilling jobs (like floor-scrubbing slaves and stay-at-home moms) might get better ones if they laid off the Quaaludes. Seriously. Poor Scrubbing Woman, Sandwich Mom, and The Gap Sweatshop Seamstress are eerily moving at half the speed of a normal person. "Iiiim juuust aaaas caaaapabuuuhl aaaas aaaa maaan," says Sandwich Mom as she tries to focus her sad eyes on the camera lens while slowly spreading something on a slice of bread. They even blink slowly, like sloths or something. The only time the Bear moves that slowly is when he's been shot in the butt with three tranquilizer darts. (One will do it for a normal Bear, but the Bear has been shot so many times he has built up a tolerance.)
The message the Bear takes away is that unless you want to wait two hours for your Vegemite sandwich, don't go to anyplace that employs women, although you'll probably be okay at the hospital or wherever it is they draw flow charts.
This is nonsense, of course. Being married and having employed women, the Bear has found them brisk and efficient workers. The actual intention isn't bad, it's just that these snarkworthy videos drag the focus off target and onto Pope Francis. Weird how that keeps happening, isn't it?
The Bear has an idea. Although he has a lot of fun with these Pope Videos, simply putting text up online is better. After all, they are prayer intentions for the faithful, not Public Service Announcements from the Vatican. The Pope Videos really have nothing to do with prayer, but are modern three act morality plays highlighting current issues and, of course, starring the Pope.
This underscores the problem with Pope Francis. For a man who was introduced as Señor Humble, it's amazing how much Pope Francis we are subjected to. As with so much in this pontificate, there seems to be a disconnect between the Franciscan Church and genuine Catholic practice.