Friday, March 9, 2018

Lentblogging Day 24- WAR!!!

Once upon a time, in a country far, far away, when talking Bears were far more numerous and enjoyed cordial relations with humans, the Bear wished to spend a Lenten Friday with his fellow Catholics, perhaps meditating on how Our Savior suffered to win his Bride, the Church.

One village he passed seemed particularly animated, and the Bear thought: Here are truly men of good will who are gathered together in Christian brotherhood to observe Lent.

Indeed, there were two equal groups of people, each group holding aloft statues from the Stations of the Cross.

The Bear tried to remain unobtrusive, but was soon noticed.

"Over here, Bear," hissed a woman. "We could use us a stout fellow like you."

"Don't listen to her, Bear," called another woman, from the other side. "You don't want to associate with their kind."

The Bear did not know what to say, but at that moment, a wave of sound moved across the two groups. The Bear listened closely, for he thought perhaps they were going to begin a prayer, or perhaps sing a hymn. He loved to sing, although he sang loud, not well.

A man with sly eyes and a large grin joined him. He was rubbing his hands together in delight.

"Hold on," lifted a voice from one side. "Jesus Condemned to Death belongs to our side."

"And, so it begins," the sly-eyed man whispered to the Bear with a gentle nudge to the ribs.

"Not this year," came the answer from the other side ."You homos are lucky we let you have the Third Fall."

"But we always have Jesus Condemned to Death."

"Is that what that fake pope of yours said? So, this year it's different. Enjoy the novelty and shut your damned mouth."

"He's a wonderful, merciful man, and wise, not that you Nazi  bastards would know it. Rot in Hell."

"What's a Nazi?" the Bear asked.

"Relevant to the first half of the 20th century, that's all. Isn't this marvelous? You can't even tell it's Lent!"

"Well, they do have the Stations of the Cross," said the Bear, but just then a man struck down someone on the other side with Jesus Falls the Third Time, killing him.

"You can kiss my ass, 'cause you're not gettin' him this year," he said. "If you don't like it, go sing Kumbaya with your Piskie priestess friends."

A priest interposed himself between the two factions. "Please, my dear people. It's Lent. It's the season we should all come together in prayer and fasting because the Chair of Peter has been vacant during the last six anti-popes."

Another priest confronted him. "My dear brother, why do wish to promote error and cause conflict during this holy season of preparation for Easter? Your position is extreme. It has only been this last one who is an anti-pope," he said, and struck him in the head with a smoking thurible, sending him fleeing the town screaming, trailing fire and smoke from his head like a meteor.

"Everyone knows we got two popes!" cried a large man, who broke a jar of wine over the priest's head, knocking him to the ground. The burning incense from his thurible kindled his clothing and he burned where he lie to oohs and aahs from both sides.

Over one side, a rainbow banner that said Tolerance was unfurled. Over the other, an ornate flag embroidered with many saints and Traditio was raised. A hush fell over the two crowds as they looked at the dead men in the small space between the two factions, then, their heads turned as one as they watched a tiny trail of smoke disappear over a distant hill.

The two mobs dispersed and the Bear saw they were heading toward the church in the square. For a moment, the Bear hoped they were coming together inside, but they started prying out bricks. In no time at all, the church was a ruin. Some carried out pews to make a barricade, but several stout fellows prepared to smash through it with a marble statue of the Blessed Mother.

"Brick for brick!" shouted a youth, then threw one, striking an old woman in the head. A cheer went up from his side as she dropped dead. As if that were the signal, bricks started flying thick in both directions. The men with the statue breached the barricade, but were repelled by a volley of old missals.

"They're Latin, you inbred freaks, so you shouldn't mind getting hit in the teeth with them."

"Hope you like getting your ass kicked in Latin." A number of men around him advanced, chanting,  amo, amas amat.

"This is terrible," the Bear cried as he watched one woman strangling another with a rosary while yelling, count that, bitch! "It's Lent! I can't stay here."

"You won't do better elsewhere, my friend. This war has been going on for years, and there is never a ceasefire. You're in the People's Democratic Catholic Republic of Blog."

"Where can I go to find true believers?"

"Oh, these are the true believers, Just ask them."

"No, I mean ordinary Catholics."

"Not too many of those left, fortunately. Most of them were more... let's say unserious than ordinary. Anyway, they've all been squeezed out. Some have left the country, but a lot of them just got fed up and go to the nondenominational meeting place up the road. It's much less dangerous."

"The one with the free coffee and all-you-can-eat doughnuts and great music by Fleetwood Mac?"

"Er, why yes! Here, my friend. I'll be happy to take you there. Or, better, pick a side. You never know. A Bear might just tip the scales. They obviously need some good counsel, and you're a wise old Bear, if I ever saw one. All you have to do is pick a side."

"I can't sort of hang out in the middle?"

"Oh, sure! By all means!"

"You're only saying that because, look- there is no middle. I think I'll leave this People's Democratic Catholic Republic of Blog. I don't think the Pope is all that great, and there are a lot of problems in the Church, but Lent is Lent," the Bear stated firmly.

"So, long, my friend. Of course. You can leave whenever you want! But, you'll be back. It's bland and boring out there. All the excitement is here! You'll miss those ear-tickling sound bytes and there are some sexual peccadilloes of a Patagonian priest coming up that are just too rich. Besides. You're forgetting Holy Thursday. You can't be thinking of missing the Foot Follies this year, can you, Bear?"

"Well, maybe I'll just watch a bit. I'm not taking sides, though."

"Of course, not, my friend. You just wait there. I'll be back with hot coffee and a bag of doughnuts and we can watch together. Just watch."


  1. Isn't "not taking sides" also a means of taking a side?

    Owl finds that being Catholic is just wonderful, so long as one is only surrounded by books of individuals long dead. It is exasperating and soul crushing when surrounded by the living.

    Most long dead Catholic authors eventually pull back the curtain a bit and indicate how they also found being surrounded by the living to be exasperating and soul crushing. St. Paul, in his Epistles, is often at his wits' end. We don't get St. Paul's Letter to the Ercávicans or "I thought I'd drop you a linen to tell you how wonderful that I hear that everything is just peachy in your Church and that you are not up to some shenanigans that are making me loose my hair".

    The Barque of Peter -- it isn't a luxury liner but rather that net of a jumble of stinky squirmy sea life that St. Peter had a vision of.

  2. It would be unfair for someone who offers pungent cultural comment to exempt his own guild, wouldn't it? But, it's just a funny story. I wouldn't read much into it. Satire takes a seed of truth, then cultivates it into an extravagant flower so unsubtle it becomes comic.

    Not choosing is a choice, it's true. The Bear asked if he could just sort of hang out in the middle, but realized there wasn't enough of a middle to find a place to stand. We leave the Bear in the care of the Devil, with little doubt that watching the fracas will prove any different that watching the pony - the delicious pony that died while he was watching it. This town, its constant bitter fighting, each side firmly convinced they are the true believers is a near occasion of sin to the Bear.

    As for other people, Satre said Hell is other people. Bears are misanthropes, and there have been time the Bear would have agreed with old J.P. Frenchie. And, yet, Jesus is always talking about other people. The Bear is not sure he wished was talking about amateur canon law and theology debating societies.

    Especially during Lent.


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