Friday, August 18, 2017

Is it Time for the Post-Rational Catholic Church?

The Rational Catholic Church

Is the intellectual rigor
of St. Thomas Aquinas
a relic that should be
quietly retired in our age?
Is the Catholic Faith rational? It has always been considered to be rational, with one or two exceptions by theologians who only prove the rule. It is one of the things that sets it apart from other religions. "Fideism" (or "faith alone" as the foundation for religion) has been a dirty word in the Catholic Church. She has gloried in the rigorous logic of St. Thomas Aquinas and other Doctors of the Church and leading thinkers.

The Church may (and does) contain "mysteries." These transcend the limits of rational thought, however, they do not defeat it. One may only go so far with the mystery of the Holy Trinity, but it is far enough to bring one's intellect into an appreciation of it, if not a comprehension of it.

The Church has always invited Faithful to enter into the riches of her teaching with their baptized intellects. The "check your brain at the door" sign was not often seen on Church churches.

Another long article. The Bear seems to see things with clarity now. Those who think only of Pope Francis have picked out one plank in the tornado. As the West changes, so change the institutions of the West, and the Church has not been immune. And, to paraphrase Steely Dan, "I cried when I wrote this piece - shoot me if I do not cease."

Are We in the Post-Rational Church?

The Bear hopes no one has beat him to that phrase, "Post-Rational Church." It could catch on, don't you think? It has a quasi-scholarly ring to it, doesn't it? Those are words one can easily imagine as the title of some influential book: "Being Catholic in the Post-Rational Church."

Let the Bear state up front that his use of the term is ambivalent. It is supposed to be accurate and descriptive, not polemical. And, as you shall see, the Bear is not certain it can be avoided without the Church remaining ossified in the past. At least, he can see how men of good will might reach that conclusion.

What would be the characteristics of the Post-Rational Church? First of all, it would thrive in a Western culture that no longer put put very much importance on thinking. It would appeal to people who reduced complex issues to agitprop fit for Facebook, and defined themselves with a handful of simple and well-known labels.


Shameful agitprop by Bear, who identifies himself as
"Bear." "Apex Predator." "Lepanto Catholic."

The Post-Rational Church would explain nothing, or at least nothing clearly. The direct and short encyclicals of the past would be replaced by ghost-written novel-length tomes no would would want to read.

Changes would be imposed without comment, on the basis of naked authority, possibly with a fig leaf from some modern writing. Perhaps Teilhard de Chardin or Valentin Tomberg (Meditations on the Tarot was big in Catholic circles at one time - Bear has read it more than once and it is a fascinating presentation of the French stream of Western Occultism. Oh, and heretical, if one is into rational categories like that.)

Who knows what strange flowers may bloom as the creepers of Post-Rationalism overgrow the Church?

The Curious Case of the Catholic Church's Love Affair with Occultist
Valentin Tomberg.


Back in the Rational Church: Mirari Vos in 1832

See. for example Mirari Vos, written by Pope Gregory XVI in 1832. It is easy to read the whole thing in a sitting, since it is quite brief and clear as a bell. (Feel free to skip the quotes, if you are already convinced popes taught the opposite of what the Church now teaches.) Note this from Paragraph 7 about changing doctrines:

Indeed you will accomplish this perfectly if, as the duty of your office demands, you attend to yourselves and to doctrine and meditate on these words: “the universal Church is affected by any and every novelty”[5] and the admonition of Pope Agatho: “nothing of the things appointed ought to be diminished; nothing changed; nothing added; but they must be preserved both as regards expression and meaning.”[6] Therefore may the unity which is built upon the See of Peter as on a sure foundation stand firm. May it be for all a wall and a security, a safe port, and a treasury of countless blessings.

There is also this, about marriage, in Paragraph 12:

Now the honorable marriage of Christians, which Paul calls “a great sacrament in Christ and the Church,”[15] demands our shared concern lest anything contrary to its sanctity and indissolubility is proposed... However, troublesome efforts against this sacrament still continue to be made. The people therefore must be zealously taught that a marriage rightly entered upon cannot be dissolved; for those joined in matrimony God has ordained a perpetual companionship for life and a knot of necessity which cannot be loosed except by death. Recalling that matrimony is a sacrament and therefore subject to the Church, let them consider and observe the laws of the Church concerning it. Let them take care lest for any reason they permit that which is an obstruction to the teachings of the canons and the decrees of the councils.

Finally, in Paragraph 13 indifferentism is harshly condemed; it is the old word for today's much-beloved ecumenism. (It just doesn't seem proper to use the word "ecumenism" without decorating it with flowers. It brings out the schoolgirl in the old Bear. Not in Pope Gregory, though.)

Bear's mandatory bouquet
to Ecumenism.
Now We consider another abundant source of the evils with which the Church is afflicted at present: indifferentism. This perverse opinion is spread on all sides by the fraud of the wicked who claim that it is possible to obtain the eternal salvation of the soul by the profession of any kind of religion, as long as morality is maintained. Surely, in so clear a matter, you will drive this deadly error far from the people committed to your care. With the admonition of the apostle that “there is one God, one faith, one baptism”[16] may those fear who contrive the notion that the safe harbor of salvation is open to persons of any religion whatever. They should consider the testimony of Christ Himself that “those who are not with Christ are against Him,”[17] and that they disperse unhappily who do not gather with Him. Therefore “without a doubt, they will perish forever, unless they hold the Catholic faith whole and inviolate.”[18] Let them hear Jerome who, while the Church was torn into three parts by schism, tells us that whenever someone tried to persuade him to join his group he always exclaimed: “He who is for the See of Peter is for me.”[19] A schismatic flatters himself falsely if he asserts that he, too, has been washed in the waters of regeneration. Indeed Augustine would reply to such a man: “The branch has the same form when it has been cut off from the vine; but of what profit for it is the form, if it does not live from the root?”

Note the continual appeal to previous authority, and the continuity Pope Gregory assumes. Note also
that his is a papal encyclical that specifically condemns novelty, any changes to the teaching of the Church on marriage, and "indifferentism." Now, was he a pope? Was he protected by the Holy Spirit from teaching error? Is what he says part of an identifiable continuous legacy of truth possessed by the Catholic Church?


Pope Francis and Bishop Jackelen in common worship
to celebrate Reformation in Lund, Sweden.


And, the most important question for us, does the Church today teach the very same? If it has changed, has it offered a rational explanation, good, bad, or indifferent?

People who ask questions like this are troublemakers. Only troublemakers would dredge up some 150-year-old encyclical to try to embarrass Pope Francis. Evidence and intellect have no place in the Post-Rational Church. The only answer fit for grumblers is silence.

The Methods of the Post-Rational Church

A Post-Rational Church could hardly abrogate the teachings of the past, for they are, after all, just as divinely-protected as the latest novelties. It could, however, allow disfavored relics to fall into disuetude. They would not be invoked or mentioned. If anyone brought them up, clerics would scratch their chins and look blank, then launch into the new view on that topic in the spirit of, "We have always been at war with Eastasia."

Eventually, such disfavored relics would become embarrassments. Their mention would produce smirks and eye-rolls. And yet, they would exist just as infallibly as any other dogma.

There is a wonderful quote by Chesterton about belonging to a Church 2000 years behind the times and gloriously unconcerned, versus belonging to a Church that is always puffing up ten minutes late, but the Bear could not easily find the quote with his slipshod research, so you'll just have to trust the Bear. There is something ridiculous about the image, and even filtered through a Bear's faulty memory, it retains its Chestertonian truth and power. (Probably from Everlasting Man, or Heretics.)

The Post-Rational Church would be easily captured by the zeitgeist and cultural fads, and would lend its credibility to the popular politically-left scientific theories of the day. It would be attracted to Leftism in a Post-Rational age because of the superficial resemblances between stated Leftist goals and the Gospel. That, and O'Sullivan's law: any institution that is not deliberately of the Right, will eventually become Leftist. For what it is worth, the Bear believes the institutional Church has turned to the Left, and will not change direction. He offers only one comment on that, because human politics are boring to Bears.

Questions of religion are growing more irrelevant among Westerners every year. The Church may try to maintain ties and relevance by increasing its interest in popularly worldly controversies.

But Bear does wonder why the Post-Rational Church should be more concerned about our temporary climate than the extremes of climate some souls are likely to experience when they die. "Saints preserve us!" the Post-Rational Church might cry, lest it be caught on the wrong side of any popular issue.

And if malcontents point to apparent conflicts, they would be met with the maddening certainty of phrases like, "One must never criticize the Pope; one must believe the Pope. The Church says so. If Vatican II documents are too hard for you to make sense of, you must trust the Church in her interpretation. There is no conflict. To question, is to put yourself outside of the charmed circle of the Church."

These are the sort of answers to sincere questions that surprise the Bear coming from the Church. The bland insistence on blind obedience just sounds odd coming from the mouth of the Church who declared St. Thomas Aquinas its Doctor. The Church would, once upon a time, have said, "I am so glad you are interested in this. Come, let us walk together, and I will happily answer your questions. You may not understand all of them right now, because reality can be frustrating at times, but you will profit from the time, I promise."

Since You Asked, Vatican II - One More Look

And yet, here we have long, gaseous compromise documents (see e.g. The Rhine Flows Into the Tiber and the documents themselves) that simply defy certain understanding. ("Subsistit in," anybody?) Yes, Lumen Gentium is one of them. So, do people go to Heaven through the Catholic Church, or does everybody get a free ride, and not even in a Christian way? And, if the rule has changed, now, since the old Tridentine days, why the "stinger" at the end, that some people might be deceived and go to Hell after all?

What the Hell does that mean? One may or may not be saved outside of belonging to the identifiable Church as constituted in society, but who's to say it's not bigger and more mysterious than it appears to be? So, sure, anybody can be saved, even atheists, but, then again, some might be deceived and go to Hell. ("Reasonable hope nobody will, though, just sayin'" pipes up Bishop Barron.)

That is the problem with compromise documents. They send inconsistent messages from which one may tendentiously draw this quote or that to support one's position. As a practical guide, however, after all the folderol, a soul remains in ignorance about his chances of salvation. The only people who seem Hellbound for certain are lapsed Catholics!

The gushing language of indifferentism, or the deadly Tridentine viper, after all. There was a reason the Council of Trent repeated brief anathema after anathema, and didn't send gooey love letters marked SWAK to the world. It may not be pretty, but at least an anathema is pretty clear. "Do X, and you are cursed, and going to Hell. Next!"

This is not to say anyone might not confidently make an explanation of Lumen Gentium. Or that another might just as confidently make a different explanation. The Bear does have some experience arguing fine points of complex legal reasoning, after all.

The Post-Rational Church in Action: The New Jew View

As the 50th anniversary of Vatican II document Nostrae Aetatae drew nigh, the Vatican panicked. They hadn't done anything new for Jews in five decades! So, they put together a photo-op with a very official-looking document and (pretending to speak as the Church) somebody said that Jews are good to go to Heaven by means of a special way that doesn't involve Jesus. Or, if it does, is in some mysterious way such as He might as well not be needed.

You can read about the New Jew View, just in time for the fiftieth anniversary. This was hailed as a significant accomplishment, as if, as non-magisterial, it resolved anything concerning Jews. The ADL praised it by saying, "Church admits it needs Jews, Jews do not need Church." And all concerned slapped each other on their backs, and felt warm, and were relieved that the fiftieth anniversary of Nostrae Aetatae was met with the historic admission that Jews do not need Jesus after all. Not editorials starting: "It has been 50 years since the Catholic Church promised to turn its back on a long and bloody history of antisemitism and recognize Judaism as a legitimate religion, but..."

It worked so well that it is a model for all sorts of "outreach" and ecumenical and interfaith works. Don't kill the buzz of the The Luther Festival. (Still time to catch the October wind-up!)

Bear gets confused by things like this. If the New Jew View is not the teaching of the Church, why make a big whoop-de-doo about something, then later say, "Um, no, while we wanted it to look as official as possible, it's really a load of bush-wah. Come on, Bear, you of all Bears pretend not to recognize public relations when you see it?"

One must also question the very concept of "magisterium" in a Post-Rational Church. Does it really play a role once the nitpicking intellect is banished? Who cares what you call it? It was a great day, and everybody can now think about Catholic-Jewish relations more positively, and twenty years from now, it will be quoted in an encyclical anyway.

Yes, Bear recognizes PR. He is just surprised when the Church uses it to mislead people. He supposes, though, he is over-thinking the whole matter in the Post-Rational Church. A warm "feeling" has been generated. "Ancient injuries" have been acknowledged. Not everything has to be "rational," Bear. Not everything has to be written down in ink in some Big Book of Truth. Just roll with it, Bear. It's the way we do things now.

A Post-Rational Pope?

Note that Bear has never said Pope is not Pope or Church is not Church. He has not denied Vatican II, which managed to do some very clear and helpful things when it did not let itself become embroiled in politics. The Bear thinks of the revision of the Liturgy of the Hours as a welcome change. And, whether you want to call it "the media council," as poor, confused, old Pope Benedict did (as a peritus, perhaps he felt he bore some responsibility) or "the spirit of Vatican II," it is a plain fact that the sledgehammers were put to the altar rails before the ink dried, and everything changed, practically overnight, as many still living can remember.

So many changes shrugged off now, as "excesses of the spirit of Vatican II," as if that somehow explained something. But it is all the explanation you're likely to get from the Post-Vatican-II-Post-Rational-Church.

Pope Francis is a wonderful example of the Post-Rational Church. 

While the science is controversial, and the politics decidedly Leftist, the Pope seems pretty firmly convinced on Global Warming, and wants Catholics to be, too. Is this an example of the Ordinary Magisterium at work in the Post-Rational Church? If not, why not? Does that question not even arise, and we are to pay attention in any case because Francis, the Pope, said it? The Bear thinks the difference between magisterial and non-magisterial was pretty important in the Rational Church, but can see why it doesn't matter in the Post-Rational Church.

Turn the foot-washing ceremony on Holy Thursday into a series of "messages" without explanation? Of course! 

Pope Francis speaks much, and uses every means the modern world makes available to him. We come away with an impression, and a buzzword or two. Periphery. Arms dealers. Polyhedron. You know them all. 

And yet, has he ever connected the dots on an issue so important to his ordinary magisterium as "arms dealing?" The answer is, "no." But in a Post-Rational Church, the intellect must starve so faith can feast and we must agree without the need for understanding. Yes, arms dealing is bad. It does hurt people. Bear is against it. Whatever it means. Small arms smuggled to fuel African civil wars? The latest U.S. aircraft carrier? Those bastards who build the British nuclear sub that sank the General Belgrano during the war over the Malvinas (Falkland Islands to the rest of the world)? Bear is not sure.

On more substantive matters of the faith, the dubia is forgotten somewhere, day 335 since its submission, a relic of the Rational Church that once welcomed and gladly provided answers. Bear must laugh. They don't understand why the dubia has no more relevance to the Post-Rational Church than this ephemeris. "You ask for a clarification of Amorous Laetitia? I'm not quite sure I understand, but how quaint."

Where are the Voices Who Respect the Truth and the Laity?

Where, then is the voice saying, "Shh, lambs, this may look confusing, but allow me to explain it and I'm sure your hearts will be at ease once you understand what Pope Francis said and how it is being accomplished in different parts of the world."

Or, where is the voice saying, "The Church used to teach a lot of things according to the circumstances of her day. Circumstances change. Problems change. Our understanding of human nature improves. Pope Francis is merely leading his sheep to new pastures because that is where they will best thrive as sheep of today."

Instead, the Pope is merely one voice, and the voices of Rome roar through the media like the sound of mighty waters. The only speakers who are checked are those who try to drag the Rational Church back onto the stage.

The Bear predicts if only clear and logical explanations would be provided for changes, troublemakers like the Bear would clap their hands, and Catholic blogdom would practically vanish. Blogs are no more than the last stand of reason in a Post-Rational Church. This ephemeris, and all those like it, are the past, stuck in the Rational Church of Pope Gregory. They will not survive their writers. A new West demands a New Church.

A Post-Rational Church for a Post-Rational Age?

Post-Rational Bear
Performance Art.
The Bear does have to admit that this does not seem to be an age of reason. Everybody can limit their reading to congenial sources. There is a lot of outrage and anger and hurt. Perhaps we have entered a Post-Rational Age in the West. The Bear would not be surprised. We have all seen how arguments get nowhere online. Everybody has already made up his or her mind. Bear suspects we have collectively ruined our organs of intellect. It makes a certain sense that an age such as ours demands the bold gesture, the simple repetition of a dozen buzzwords. The confidence that only the Post-Rational can know.

What the Bear is saying is, that, maybe rationalism has had its day. Trying to apply it to any Western institution, not just the Church, may be vanity and chasing after the wind. What does rationalism have to do with the photo-op? Nothing at all.

The Pope is the Pope, the Church is the Church. The Bear humbly suggests those institutions may have changed to remain relevant in our time. Are not most of us long past explanations? Aren't we challenged by a different approach to so many things? Shocked, even? Yet there is a reason the Bear did not take the vaudeville stage to lecture people on economics. He pedaled a bicycle and people would throw salmon to him. The Bear submits the 21st Century public is better suited to throw salmon at Bears on bicycles than worry their pretty little heads about what's in or out of some "magisterium."

Oh, and cats on Facebook.

Everybody can enjoy a Bear on a bicycle. And so, our Pope acts with bold gestures and almost magical incantations of evocative phrases - "arms dealers" - charged with evil or pathos: "Loneliness of the elderly." One does not explain these things, or need to. One explains nothing. One challenges.

Now, honestly, does the Church of Pope Gregory have any relevance to today? And, even if it did, would anybody listen to Pope Gregory's absolutes on marriage, on salvation, on ecumenism? Haven't those barques sailed long since? Answer truthfully.

17 comments:

  1. We don't really have to accept the nonsense that Pope Francis spews to remain Catholic. We are allowed to be the Catholics we believe God wants us to be. The raging leftist clerics didn't pretend to accept the more traditional teachings of Pope Benedict and even Saint John Paul. Pope Francis didn't accept their teachings and he was still Catholic. Being rebellious to the teachings of the Pope Benedict led Pope Francis to becoming Pope. He was very rational in his decision to rebel against his Pope, and he wasn't considered a lapsed Catholic. Maybe we should do the same.

    Our time to know, love, and serve God is now and, God willing, forever. When I hear Pope Francis and our Church say something that leads me to our Savior I will listen. In the meantime, I will be Catholic, in our new existential, timeless Church. As you can tell, I'm not that smart, but I'm awake, and this life is short.

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  2. Haven't those barques sailed long since?

    Yes, and yet... death, judgment, heaven, hell.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Yes those barques have long since sailed, that is why we have a de facto schism in the Church today. What to do about it? Make sure you are on the right side of 1,965 years of Church teaching. It ain't that hard to figure out.

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  4. The Church of Pope Gregory has relavance to few people in this world. Maybe to those people who know that God is Love, and His Love never ends. The Church is the Pillar of Truth. The Truth is not something that evolves with us, it is a Gift, that has been freely given to all who accept. The Truth doesn't change with time, the Truth is immutable. People who abide in Gods Love have peace.
    The devil is a liar, and the world is full of sin and death. There is no peace in this world, and we will find no peace separated from God. Pope Francis doesn't seem to care about leading people to God, but to the things of this world.

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  5. "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also". If your treasure is the Scripture and Sacred Tradition, and its immutable unchanging teaching, we must strive to drive out the demonic termites who are attempting to destroy Holy Mother Church from the inside from their positions of authority. If our Popes taught truth, which is unchangeable, their successors who teach contrary are either sincerely deluded
    or liers. I think we know who the father of the liers is. To paraphrase St John Fisher: Those who were to defend the fort have betrayed Itfrom within. I fear we unschool converts must have read to much, you certainly don' get it in ( you it In RCI. Tat old can' teach what you don't know, regardless of good intentions . Saints Jon Fisher and Thomas, Ora Pray Fos Us.

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  6. Since I don't understand what Bear is talking about here is what I believe about the current Catholic Church.

    ---Post rational Church = Irrational Church.
    ---The Church of Pope Gregory is the only Church for today.
    ---Vatican II was a planned catastrophe by Communist/Modernist elements in the Church. Everything pertaining to it should be dismissed.
    ---SSPX is a good thing.
    ---Pope Francis is a fraudulent Pope.
    ---For moral direction listen to the Sedevacantists.
    ---Maintain membership in the irrational Church awaiting divine intervention.
    ---Hope for divine intervention.
    ---Pray for the Bear.

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    Replies
    1. I hate doing this, but I need to be very clear on it, so here goes. If you, sir, refuse to accept the decisions of Vatican Council II, then you are in schism. Further, "a common sin one encounters these days is to decry the pronouncements of Vatican Council II. All councils of the Church, without exception, are legitimate because they are supervised by the Holy Spirit Himself. To pick and choose which of the Church's pronouncements one wishes to follow is prideful and presumptuous, because it puts the individual in a position to judge God and those in legitimate authority." What you are saying and doing is one of the seven sins against the Holy Spirit.

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    2. For heaven sakes Marcelle Vatican II was corrupted by Modernist heretical Cardinals and theologians, not doctrinal, full of intentional confusion and double talk. In my opinion, SSPX and the sedevancantists have it right. God gave us a brain to discern these matters and a Church history of doctrine to compare them to. Let us not be so judgemental Marcelle. Praying for me would be better.

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    3. Thank you for proving the Bear's point. If a person who "doesn't accept" all the teachings of Vatican II is "in schism," then where does that leave a person who "accepts" Vatican II ALONG WITH any logically incompatible previous Magisterial assertions? Insanity?

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    4. Michael, I shall certainly keep you in my prayers. Be assured of that.

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    5. Is it possible to "accept" the teachings of VII in the same way as it is to "accept" Trent? Different goals, different idioms, different levels of agreement... from Lumen Gentium. Do you have to be Catholic to go to Heaven? No. Is it a rare event for a non-Catholic to go to Heaven? Doesn't say, but the impression (and later interpretation, certainly) is "no." But can you still "be deceived" and go to Hell? "Yes." Well, this is a very important matter! Just how might you go to Hell? Well, LG leaves it at that. We're not sure, but it remains a theoretical possibility.

      A council can be valid, but can also have particular goals, and not be interested in laying down black letter law. The sausage making (to use Bismark's phrase) was pretty unappetizing.

      I belive everything VII intended to teach in clear and unambiguous language and be binding upon me. I do not think God can ask more of me. Unfortunately, VII was poisoned by the "spirit" that wrecked the historic Church in the cruelest and most us-Christian manner. It is difficult to separate the "media council" from the actual Council now. The documents already seem very much of their time, but I suppose so does Trent. I wonder how Amorous Laetitia will age.

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    6. Justina--Only God knows. We may be right, we may be wrong but we must call 'em as we see them in the light of the Catholic Church's historic magisterium which is the repository of the Truth. This is what having our God given rationality, free will and conscience is all about. I know the medicine doesn't taste good but that's the truth as I see it.

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    7. Even Card. Kasper admitted a few years ago the documents of Vatican II were written to be intentionally ambiguous in order to appease the liberal bishops present at the time. It's not just the "Spirit" of Vat II that had a corrupting influence, it was the documents themselves that were writtem under the influence of Modernist heretics and the Judeo-Masons that had infiltrated the Church. Now I ask you, does that sound like something the Holy Spirit supervised? Thankfully it was only a pastoral council, and not dogmatic. It will be corrected someday.

      Marcelle -- do you also believe the Holy Spirit chooses the pope?

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  7. I'm sure our Lord and Savior didn't seem very relavant to the world when He was suffering for our sins on the cross. I'm sure the Church didn't seem very relevant to the world after our Lord ascended to Heaven. It was still the Church. The Church didn't seem very successful, but it was still the Church of the Almighty, True, and Everlasting God. People don't follow what they can't see.

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  8. "Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.
    Surely some revelation is at hand;
    Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
    The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
    When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
    Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
    A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
    A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
    Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
    Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.
    The darkness drops again but now I know
    That twenty centuries of stony sleep
    Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
    And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
    Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?"

    Yeats was more prophetic than even he know, no doubt.
    And something else from Someone Else Who no doubt knew How utterly Prophetic He was (being God n'all)....

    "From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see all these things, you know that He is near, at the very gates."

    Be ready......every minute. It sure looks like the table is fully set.

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  9. The Bear reserves the right to use whatever rhetorical tools are effective to spread any give truth to the masses. If you have thought, if you have laid down your cards, Bear has succeeded.

    You're right. It is no fun trying to argue principles versus evidence. The Bear maintains more than ever that exactly THAT is what we are always doing, and there can be no resolution. We cannot do away with either principles or evidence. Apparently, we cannot learn to live with both, either. Hence the split in the Church today. Congratulate the Bear on demonstrating at least that.

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