Thursday, July 20, 2017

"Now, I have your precious Bear all to myself!"

If you want to blame Red, it would not be unfair. That's the way they operate.
Or the eclipse. They operate that way, too.

Official Notice from Bear HQ

For reasons that are as uninteresting as, for example, how the Bear wishes to spend his remaining time on this planet, the famous St. Corbinian's Bear's Ephemeris - "A Curious Entertainment for Discriminating Catholic Ladies and Gentlemen," will be going dormant  - hibernating, if you will - within the next couple of weeks.

The Bear feels this announcement will allow people to adjust to the severe psychological shock of a world without the Bear's visible presence and allow clerical miscreants time to plan celebratory cocaine-fueled orgies.

It will also allow the Bear to revisit some more controversial issues relating to the Church and the ephemeris itself that do not depend upon the day's news. Should future historians of the Decline and Fall of the West wander into the Woodlands and discover prophetic scrawls, they might benefit from this retrospective before they burn the Bear's cave and all it contains with fire.


But Bear, What Does This Mean?


Coincidence? Eclipse will be right over Bear's cave.
The symbolism could not be clearer.
Maximum Totality here: 2m 37s.
Viewing rental: 100 salmon.


What is meant by "hibernation," and "dormant?"

First of all, it does not mean dead. The Bear has hibernated before, and come back. He reserves the right to post whenever and how often and upon whatsoever subject he is moved to post. He could decide tomorrow the whole hibernation idea was bad. Bears are unpredictable like that.

What it means is that the Bear will not feel guilty when he does not post regularly. So, it is more of the removal of a self-imposed obligation toward his readers than walking into the sunset forever.

It does not mean that the 1300+ pieces published over the last four years will disappear. Most of the Bear's articles are not timely, anyway, so if you have not browsed among the regular misfiring of the Bear's 450 gm ursine brain, there is still plenty to enjoy in the archives. And that includes the comment box. Articles are available organized by date or or searchable by topic.

The Bear doubts non-bloggers appreciate the amount of time a blog takes. For most pieces, by the time something is researched, written, rewritten, posted, then proof-read (although it never seems to do any good) and the Bear interacts politely with visitors, a full day of writing has passed.


The Bear Makes a Difficult Choice: Ice Cream or Cake?

Waving a "red" flag?
It has become more and more apparent that St. Corbinian's Bear's ephemeris is in a competition to the death with the Bear's (award-winning) novel Judging Angels and the Rubricatae Chronicles series it unintentionally spawned. He wishes he did not have to choose between ice cream and cake.

So why choose? It is impossible for the Bear to do both. The ephemeris reaches - and therefore presumably entertains - far more people. And yet, it is the nature of ephemera to be ephemeral. Pieces flutter to the sidewalk before your feet, are perhaps picked up and read, but then they all go into the trash can of yesterday's news. It is the way the Internet works.

The creative lure of putting between two covers substantial characters in an original world and exploring timeless themes from a Catholic perspective is irresistible to the Bear. In other words, the scope of very long fiction ticks all the Bear's boxes. Nor does it mean that current events will go unnoticed, but in a way suitable to the medium.

The Bear knows he will never be able to rest until he has finished the (so far tragic) saga of the all-too-human Able family.

If you thought things were bad at the end of Judging Angels, you may have underestimated the cruel ingenuity of Bear novelists. The next book has plenty of surprises, a few insights, and, the Bear hopes, still some "he did NOT just do that!" moments. Not to mention the Bear's trademark mordant humor to remind you not to take things too seriously.

The Bear knows it will take a minimum of two more good-sized books to finish the tale. He knows that because he knows what's in the second book and the end is not nigh. But the Bear himself is living on borrowed time at 800 years (that's 60 in human years). Who knows how much time he has left to wrap things up?

Naturally, readers of this ephemeris will think the Bear is putting all of his eggs into the wrong basket. The Bear understands and does not argue. He does not want anyone to think he is distancing himself from loyal readers without many a pang. Thank you.

For now, he invites you to read a few last articles.

For now.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

VATICAN DECLARES WAR ON U.S.! TRUMP: "HOW MANY DIVISIONS DOES POPE HAVE?"



Please forgive the ultimate in lazy blogging, but for a Bear, Bear is doing the best he can to satisfy all consumers of Bearish perspectives, even those who think they are reading novels.

Here is something Bear posted elsewhere. It is so brilliant, Bear must quote it here:

Francis is a small-minded man with a resentment for Northern – especially U.S. – wealth, success and power. Economics is a zero-sum game for him. If we are rich and Venezuela is poor, we must have taken our wealth from them. He sees things in naturalistic terms from a leftist, if not Marxist, perspective. That is not an “oh, by the way,” to explain his hatred of American conservatives. That is the horrific reality of our Church today. It is not animated by anything that would seem out of place in the New America Foundation or any other Soros-tentacled think tank that have already turned the USCCB into a Democrat front group. If you ever wondered what the Catholic Church would look like without God, you have your big chance now.

Let the Bear (who is NOT a Spectacled Bear - the only miserable distant relatives the Bear has in Argentina or he would have ordered his ursine legions forth across the entire blighted continent) get this straight. Humans chose a pope from Eva Peron land, from a continent where Liberation Theology covers real Catholicism like kudzu covers telegraph lines in Mississippi, and are shocked, shocked, Bear says, when he tries to single-handedly immanentize the eschaton

Anyway, that's all the invective the Bear has time for today. Go here to American Catholic to read something sensible and well-informed about the latest flap from Caracas-on-the-Tiber.

For God's sake, screw this idea of "the world" and bury your nose in Ecclesiastes and the Gospels. This universe is 14 billion years old. It may last another 14 billion. "The world" won't. At the rate humans are going, it will end in a century with one final cry of Allahu Akbar and good riddance.

Bears will take their rightful place as masters of the earth.

A blink of the eye, friends, as is your life. Nobody in Heaven cares about the big issues or debates economic theories. Remember: YOU made headlines in Heaven today, good ones or bad? You can't help it. Don't sweat anything BUT the small stuff. God is all about the small stuff. 

Only men and devils care about the big issues.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Known and Unknown

As the Bear has this week been engaged in a brief hiatus (it is, after all, summer), here for your edification are more relics, some of which are not too often seen.

Ex pallio S. Iosef

Above is a small piece from the cloak of Saint Joseph (the Betrothed) in a modern theca. This was given to me by a Catholic priest and it was sealed by the Augustinians. Only a few parts of Joseph's cloak, belt, and staff are known to still exist on earth and his body has never been found. In 1889, Pope Leo XIII instructed in Quamquam pluries that the popular novena to the Holy Cloak of Saint Joseph be added to the recitation of the Rosary in the month of October, in memory of the 30 years Joseph had spent living in the company of Jesus Christ. Three places were Saint Joseph's relics can be found are at the National Historical Museum in Sofia, Bulgaria; at Saint Anthony's Chapel in Pittsburgh, and in the Philippines.

Ex ossibus Ss. Martyrum Machabeor

From the same priest came the above theca with intact seal containing a small piece of bone belonging to one of the Old Testament Maccabean martyrs. I have no idea which Maccabeus this is, but their relics can be found at the Basilica di San Pietro in Vincoli, Rome, Italy. The original provenance of this relic was the Vatican according to the numerical markings on the back of the theca.

Ex ossibus S. Dionysii

Above in modern theca with intact seal is a piece of bone of Saint Dionysus the Areopagite, a convert of Saint Paul. This relic came from Metropolitan Theodosius of the Orthodox Church in America. The relics of Saint Dionysus can be found at the various Athonite monasteries in Greece.

Ex ossibus Ss. Petrus, Iona, Alexis

Also from Metropolitan Theodosius came the above treasure with pieces of bone belonging to the three Metropolitan-Saints Peter, Jonah, and Alexis of Moscow, Kiev and all Rus. The relics of Saint Peter and Saint Jonah can be found at Uspensky Sobor (the oldest cathedral at the Kremlin) in Moscow, Russian Federation, whereas those of Saint Alexis can be found at Epiphany Cathedral in Yelokhovo, also in Moscow.

Ex ossibus S. Gregorii Naz.

From the first priest came also a piece of bone belonging to Saint Gregory of Nazianzus (one of the Three Holy Hierarchs). His relics can be found at the Vatican and at the Patriarchal Cathedral of Saint George in Fener, Istanbul, Turkey.

© Marcelle Bartolo-Abela, aka the Bald Eagle.


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Relics of the Apostles


Ex ossibus sanctissimorum Apostolorum

The Holy Apostles

Above, for your edification, are first class relics of the Twelve Apostles in a brass multi-reliquary put together and sealed by the Augustinians. All the relics are ex ossibus - that is, pieces of their bones. This reliquary was given to me by a Catholic priest.

Here is the list of the above relics:
  1. Peter, aka the Fisherman, son of John and brother of Andrew;
  2. Andrew, son of John and brother of Peter;
  3. James, aka the Elder, son of Zebedee and brother of John;
  4. John, aka the Beloved; son of Zebedee and brother of James. The only Apostle who did not run away for the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ and who died a peaceful death;
  5. Philip;
  6. Bartholomew, aka Nathanael;
  7. Thomas, aka Didymus, the Doubter;
  8. Matthias, the tax collector son of Alpheus (Cleophas) and cousin of Christ (through Joseph);
  9. James, aka The Younger; son of Alpheus, brother of Matthias, Jude, and Simon; cousin of Christ;
  10. Jude Thaddeus, son of Alpheus, brother of James, Simon, and Jude; cousin of Christ;
  11. Simon, aka the Zealot; son of Alpheus, brother of James, Jude, and Matthias; cousin of Christ; and
  12. Barnabas, one of the 70 disciples, the companion of Paul and cousin of Mark the Evangelist (John Mark, also one of the 70; one of the servants at Cana and the young man who ran away naked when Christ was arrested in Gethsemane). The 'replacement' for Judas Iscariot.
The main relics of the Apostles can be found in the following locations:
  1. Peter - Basilica di San Pietro, Vatican City State;
  2. Andrew - Cathedral of Saint Andrew, Patras, Greece;
  3. James the Elder - Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, Spain;
  4. John - Basilica of Saint John, Ephesus, Turkey;
  5. Philip - Basilica Minore dei Santi Apostoli, Rome, Italy; and in the Hierapolis of Phrygia, Turkey;
  6. Bartholomew - Basilica di San Bartolomeo all'Isola, Rome, and at the Basilica di San Bartolomeo, Benevento, Italy; at the Cathedral of Frankfurt, Germany, and at Canterbury Cathedral, England;
  7. Thomas - Basilica di San Tommaso, Ortona, Italy; at San Thome Minor Basilica, Chennai, India; and on the island of Chios, Greece;
  8. Matthias - Cattedrale di Salerno, Salerno, Italy; and at the Saint Matthias Benedictine Abbey, Trier, Germany;
  9. James the Younger - Cathedral of Saint James, Jerusalem (seat of the Armenian Patriarchate), and at the Basilica Minore dei Santi Apostoli, Rome, Italy;
  10. Jude - Basilica di San Pietro, Vatican City State, and at the National Shrine of Saint Jude, Chicago, Illinois;
  11. Simon - Basilica di San Pietro, Vatican City State; and
  12. Barnabas - Monastery of Saint Barnabas, Salamis, Cyprus.

 © Marcelle Bartolo-Abela, aka the Bald Eagle.

Friday, July 7, 2017

More relics of Jesus Christ


Relics, Relics, Relics!

The First Relics
A woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years came up behind him and touched the tassel on his cloak. Immediately her bleeding stopped. Jesus then asked, "Who touched me?" While all were denying it, Peter said, "Master, the crowds are pushing and pressing in upon you." But Jesus said, "Someone has touched me; for I know that power has gone out from me." When the woman realized that she had not escaped notice, she came forward trembling. Falling down before him, she explained why she had touched him and how she had been healed immediately. He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has saved you; go in peace" (Lk 8:43-48).
I loved icons, but had no particular fondness for holy relics as I was well aware of all the superstitious stories about them, despite one of my iconography teachers, a Maronite Catholic priest, being totally 'into relics.' Coming from a scientific background, with empiricism and hard data having been drilled into me, throughout my professional life, as being the god of all and above all, before reaching the ultimate god Who is God, relics seemed to me to be a bunch of hocus-pocus at par with those famous indulgences and reported multitude of sales thereof, which had provoked Martin Luther to nail his 99 theses to the church door. I was "not that kind of person" - and had no intention of ever becoming one.

In vain did the priest for years attempt, in multiple ways, to educate me about the tangible, but mystical, significance of holy relics. I refused to listen.

"Talk to me about icons," I would say, "but leave relics out of the equation."

Icons were okay, in particular the ones written in the Russian-Byzantine tradition, considered the pinnacle of the sacred art of iconography. Those were 'safe.' Our Father had given me both a love for icons and the opportunity to learn iconography with great teachers. Icons were also beautiful to look at. I could just sit or stand in front of them for hours, just staring at them. I love writing icons. But relics?

Oh, no.

No.

No, no, no, no, no, no, no.

NO!

Yet Jesus Christ, like His Father, had a different idea about the whole situation and a great sense of humor.


Ask and You Shall Receive
When people sit and tell holy stories, God comes to listen (cf. Mal 3:16).
At the time, it was my practice to complain to Christ that our Father had given me a gift - iconography - as a token of His love for having returned to Him. But Christ had not given me anything, I thought. Coming from my background as a relatively newbie revert, I did not consider that at all fair - and I wanted something from each Person of the Holy Trinity.

"What," I thus kept asking Jesus day in, day out, "are You going to give me? Won't You give me something? Give me something [tangible] of Yours too!"

The beautiful handmade and hand-carved gilt bronze, Baroque multi-reliquary shown first below arrived soon after from Northern Italy. I stared at it really hard upon its arrival in my mailbox in an unmarked brown Jiffy bag (other than my address) and stamped Milano by the post office. No one had known about my request to Christ. I had never disclosed it to anyone.

More and more relics then started to arrive or be given to me in a slow, steady stream: from the East and from the West; from the North and from the South; the vast majority of them given by priests, Catholic and Orthodox. Single relics, multiple relics. Relics with original documentation, relics without documentation, but of known provenance. Relics of saints wanted, relics of saints unwanted; relics of saints known, relics of saints relatively unknown. And relics of saints abandoned.

My iconography teacher could scarce contain his delight.

"See? I told you," he crowed.

Never in my wildest had I dreamed that I would end up becoming a custodian of holy relics. But the crowning point was the arrival of some relics you shall be seeing in this and future posts for your edification, in addition to the ones of Our Lady and of the Cross of Christ that you already saw in my first two posts on the topic.


Relics of the Passion, Death and Burial of Jesus Christ
They are the most precious evidence of the Passion of our Lord (Amalric I).
Ex Praesepio, Ex Petra Unctionis, Ex Sepulchro
Domini Nostri Jesu Christi

The relics of Jesus Christ shown in the above reliquary consist of three small stones: one from the Grotto of the Nativity (Ex Praesepio), one from the Stone of the Anointing (Ex Petra Unctionis), and one from the Holy Sepulchre (Ex Sepulchro). The reliquary bears the Jerusalem cross of the Custodian of the Holy Land, the head of the Franciscan Friars, on its intact seal inside.

The Grotto where Christ was born can be found in the crypt of the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem, West Bank. The Stone of the Anointing was installed in the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre to commemorate the spot upon which it is thought the Body of Christ had been prepared for burial by Saint Joseph of Arimathea and Saint Nicodemus. The tomb of Christ can be found in the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre - Church of the Resurrection in the city of Jerusalem.

Ex Columna Domini Nostri Jesu Christi

The above relic with intact seal is a small piece from the Column of the Flagellation to which Christ had been tied for the Scourging at the Pillar (Ex Columna). This relic also came from Italy.

The Column was taken to the Church of the Apostles on top of Mount Zion after the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. A large portion of the column can now be found at the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. A smaller portion of it was translated from Jerusalem in 1223 by Giovanni, Cardinal di Colonna, the papal legate in the Holy Land during the Sixth Crusade, and installed in his titular church, the Basilica di Santa Prassede in Rome, Italy where it can still be found.

During the Middle Ages, there reportedly existed such devotion to the Column of Flagellation that the Vatican established the Feast of the Holy Pillar. This feast used to be held on the fourth Sunday of Lent.

Ex Fune Domini Nostri Jesu Christi

This relic with intact seal consists of short, thick strands from one of the ropes with which Christ was tied to the Column of the Flagellation (Ex Fune). It too came from Italy and its original provenance was from the Patriarchs of Jerusalem.

De Purpurae Domini Nostri Jesu Christi

The above relic in modern theca is a small piece of the Purple Robe that Christ had been forced to wear on His shoulders during the Crowning with Thorns. This relic was originally part of a somewhat larger piece of the Robe in the possession of a Catholic priest, who opened up his own reliquary to give me a part of it. The theca bears the seal of the Augustinians.

Few pieces of the Robe are known to have remained to this day. One of these pieces can be found at the Catedral Primada Santa Maria de Toledo in Spain. Another piece can be found at Saint Anthony's Chapel in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 

De Sindone Domini Nostri Jesu Christi

The priest also gave me this in the same manner. It too bears the seal of the Augustinians. The relic consists of two short strands from the Holy Shroud of Jesus Christ (the Shroud of Turin; De Sindone), in which Saint Joseph of Arimathea had wrapped His Body for burial in the Holy Sepulchre.

The Shroud was originally kept by the Byzantine emperors after having received it from the Patriarchs of Jerusalem, but it disappeared during the sack of Constantinople. In 1453, the Shroud was given to the House of Savoy and translated to Torino, Italy, in 1578 after a few intermediate placements. It was donated to the Holy See by the House of Savoy in 1983. A limited number of Shroud relics used to be given to bishops when the glass case in which it was kept, was opened for examination. The Shroud can now be found in the Cappella della Sacra Sindone at the Duomo di Torino - Cattedrale di San Giovanni Battista in Turin, Italy.


© Marcelle Bartolo-Abela, aka the Bald Eagle.


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

BREAKING: POPE RELEASES CATHOLIC POPE VIDEO



ADDED THOUGHT: This is a perfect example of the "Mad Virtues of Pope Francis" (see below). He so often takes a Christian truth and just goes nuts with it, while diluting others. Christian Joy is a real thing. Bear is not arguing with that. But so is Christian tribulation, ordinary sadness, and clinical depression. Bear would say Francis can only see black and white, but Pope Francis has based his whole pontificate on shades of gray - how many, Bear does not know. Yet there are certain hobbyhorses in which he flashes blinding ignorance.

Granted, it calls upon normal, real, "happy Catholics" to invite "un-Christian sad Catholics" back to the Church so they can be happy, but hey, it's better than we've see so far. If Protestants can have their "Prosperity Gospel," Bear will give Francis a "Happiness Gospel." It's a start, if a superficial one.

But for the record, sometimes people are sad, and sometimes people are even depressed. These are not unusual or "un-Christian." The Bible is full of people who were not always overflowing with joy, and more than one prophet begged God to put him out of his misery. Being Catholic is not an exemption from normal human emotional states, or even abnormal ones, and there are many people who do not need to hear such nonsense.

But compared to this, it's like he's morphed into Pope St. Pius X overnight.




Perhaps everyone should be taking Adapt. Ask your doctor if Adapt is right for you. (Disclaimer: Bear is paid spokesanimal for Hermes Pharmaceuticals, the makers of Adapt.)


Tuesday, July 4, 2017

The Mad Virtues of Pope Francis

[This is a reprint of a post from over a year ago that has resurfaced in the readership stats. So the Bear has decided to run it again, especially since it meshes well with the previous post on Realism which has proved very popular.] 




Pope Francis: Finally, a Smiling Face to the Horror

For decades we have had to sit and watch helplessly as the Church was consumed by preventable scandal and ceaseless innovation. The enemy was hard to get a fix on. He seemed to be everywhere and nowhere, and his name was Legion. But it was clear that somehow the schwerpunkt of the Church Militant had without question drifted far from the original plan.

In Pope Francis, we have seen, for the first time, the incarnation of the Church's errors and abuses. God has driven into plain view the secret corruption, the pride posing as humility, the indifferentism posing as tolerance, the disregard for the Deposit of the Faith, and the "rebranding" of Catholicism and the papacy that Fr. Rosica is so proud of. In Pope Francis we finally have someone to speak out against, and thereby indict the whole sorry lot of meddlers, swindlers, and sappers: in short, all those who loathe the Church they are supposed to lead.

In other words, we are reacting not only to what Pope Francis personally says and does, but to Pope Francis the Avatar of a different spirit -- the "spirit" of Vatican II, the spirit of the "media council," and, fundamentally, the spirit of the Prince of this world.

One might say we are seeing the beginning of the end of a plot. To simplify, it began with throwing open to the world the windows of the Church. It is ending by tearing down the walls of the Church.

Boundary Issues

But the Church needs walls. It needs to be separate from the world. Distinct from other religions. The Church should be a fortress from which Catholics sally forth into the world, but not as part of the world, not as worldlings fighting trendy secular battles. Everybody should be able to say with confidence, "here is the Church," and "there begins the world." There are Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism, but here is Catholicism. Here is the truth, and there is something else, and we do no favors by pretending otherwise.

That sounds so harsh! Intolerant! Real! We would rather live in our fantasy world where if we're just nice enough, everyone will love us. (To be fair, this does seem to be working out for Pope Francis.) It would be easy to twist the  the Bear's meaning. He is not advocating hiding behind the walls of the Church while the world goes to Hell. We should engage the world, but with evangelism, not indifferentism; charity, not socialism; truth, not accommodation of error.

We should all be Catholic as if it mattered. Especially the Pope.

Of course, the Franciscan Church has a horror of walls or division of any kind. The supernatural must be tolerated for the sake of the masses, but for the initiates, purple, red and white, "There'll Be Pie In the Sky When You Die" remains the favorite hymn. A sarcastic number right out of the Little Red Songbook. The religion of the Franciscan Church, much like Freemasonry, is The Brotherhood of Man. It is remarkable, but true: you could strip it of every specifically Christian element, and the world would not be able to tell any difference.

This is no accident. Religious differences must be downplayed in pursuit of the 8th Sacrament of the Franciscan Church: the Holy Photo-Op. And, of course, the aforementioned Brotherhood of Man.

The funny thing is, no one in the Franciscan Church would deny that they are tearing down walls and erasing boundaries. They might deny celebrating error, but only because they don't recognize error. The Pope can travel to Sweden this Halloween to commemorate "the blessings" of Martin Luther's reformation because we're all Lutherans now. In other words, what the Bear laments, the Franciscan Church is most proud of. "Rebranding" indeed. A crass and ignorant word to cover a multitude of sins.

The Mad Virtues of Pope Francis

We would do well to remember what Chesterton wrote in Orthodoxy. It is almost as if he foresaw Pope Francis. In his day, it was Christianity in general that had been shattered. In ours it is particularly the Catholic Church, but the same warnings apply. No mad virtue is as mad as a Catholic virtue, as we have seen in history.

The modern world is not evil; in some ways the modern world is far too good. It is full of wild and wasted virtues. When a religious scheme is shattered (as Christianity was shattered at the Reformation), it is not merely the vices that are let loose. The vices are, indeed, let loose, and they wander and do damage. But the virtues are let loose also; and the virtues wander more wildly, and the virtues do more terrible damage. The modern world is full of the old Christian virtues gone mad. The virtues have gone mad because they have been isolated from each other and are wandering alone. Thus some scientists care for truth; and their truth is pitiless. Thus some humanitarians only care for pity; and their pity (I am sorry to say) is often untruthful.


Pope Francis is, as far as the Bear can see, more virtuous than the Bear. He is also more mad, if the Bear knows anything about madmen. No virtue may remain merely good with Francis. It must become a mania, a delusion, another shiny object to be incorporated into the narcissistic personality of Francis the Humble, Francis the Tolerant, Francis the Compassionate. Of course, what the Bear calls "madness" becomes "rebranding," or "transcending his own religion."

A Spontaneous Resistance

We who have retained a Catholic identity have universally resisted Jorge Bergoglio. We didn't ask for this. We didn't organize it. It just happened. We found ourselves being appalled by the same things, connecting the same dots, reaching the same conclusions. We speak with one voice from the same vision, without collaboration. The very people who would normally be the Pope's most fervent supporters have become his harshest critics.

Bergoglioism and Catholicism cannot both be right. (The Bear thinks the collection of pathologies motivating Pope Francis deserves the honor of its own name.) The Bear is not going to repeat the indictment here. It is contained in the archives of this ephemeris, and of many others. It is literally becoming difficult to keep up with Francis the Talking Pope. Perhaps the plan is to beat us through attrition, the way he buried the message of Amoris Laetitia in 247 pages that defy all but the most clever and mind-numbing analysis.

If Pope Francis is indeed all we fear he is, there's not much we can do. By and large, people travel with the herd, and try to think the thoughts the world tells them are right. That worked great when a confident Church put the stamp of the Christ on the culture. It was not so long ago that the joke ran: "Hollywood -- a place where Jews make movies selling Catholic theology to Protestants." Not anymore.

The Most Popular Man in the World

Why not just back a winner? The latest poll shows Pope Francis with a popularity rating of 54%, 85% among Catholics, and -- tellingly -- over 50% among agnostics and atheists. "Francis is a leader who transcends his own religion," said Jean Marc Leger, president of WIN/Gallup International. He's the most popular public figure in the world, and has replaced the Dalai Lama as Generic Spiritual Leader. Only Turkey, Tunisia and Algeria don't like him.

Perhaps, any day now, Pope Francis is going to cash in all that full-spectrum popularity to tell the world about Jesus. More likely not. After all, what does "transcend his own religion" mean? What does "rebranding Catholicism and the papacy" mean? Are these words not chilling to any normal Catholic? Do not the pages of old prophecies begin to rustle out of the dust? Whether you want to go there or not, it makes no difference. Prophecies warn about dangers to come. We didn't listen, and now Nebuchadnezzar is in the sanctuary.

From comments out of Catholic officialdom, we know we are heard at the highest levels. Our message is getting through. We speak out, and others take comfort. We try to preserve the truth and condemn error not because we are holy, but because nobody else will do it. Looking over the last three years, we have done a surprisingly good job, in the Bear's opinion. That's how we operate. Independent francs-tieurs. Partisans. The resistance.

This is not to glamorize anyone. Partisans don't always have pure motives, and sometimes go beyond what is reasonably necessary. Not to put too fine a point on it, but we're amateurs. Perhaps our sins will be applied to those who have made the resistance necessary in the first place. We take real risks. One blogger got himself sued by a priest -- papal PR flack Fr. Rosica. But more seriously, we also take spiritual risks.

Ephemerists need your prayers. For prudence, temperance, fortitude, and charity.

Francs-Tieurs

Pope Francis uses the entire spectrum of media to spread his errors. If there's a single problem with the man, it's that he lacks a supernatural dimension. Perhaps he suffers from a cultural resentment and envy coming from his background. He cannot think in proper categories. For example, he recently made the bizarre comment that he sees the evangelization of Europe as "colonialism," Worse, from the same interview, he cannot differentiate between Jesus sending forth his disciples to the nations and the blood conquests of ISIS. Mad virtues indeed.

Can madness from a pope really go unanswered? There is hardly a peep from the bishops. Surely all of them are not deaf or in agreement. It would take a lot of courage for a bishop to criticize a sitting pope. The Bear may not be qualified, but at least he's willing to put on his hat, take up his shovel, and start trying to put out some of the brush fires Pope Francis sets.

There is a place for dry and sober analysis. But the internet has its own idiom. The legitimate weapons we place at the service of the Church include agitprop, and sometimes a dash of snark and a dollop of satire, so people will enjoy reading what the Bear writes. (Besides, Bears have a hard time being serious for longer than ten minutes.)

Is it sinful to criticize the Pope? That is not a question the Bear is going to answer for anyone else.  It is an important one to him, because, after all, he still has to go to confession like everyone else. We should not perform an evil act so that we may obtain a good result. But the laity has a legitimate say in the Church. The Bear is performing a lawful act by informing, educating, and commenting about this man who has effortlessly twisted the Church according to his own personal hobbyhorses.

In a nutshell, together, we are staying with the "old brand" of Catholicism, before Pope Francis "rebranded" Catholicism and the papacy, and "transcended his own religion." So what if most people say they like Pope Francis? Since when was the truth found in poll numbers? The Bear has noticed that most of the people who like Pope Francis seem to be unfamiliar with his actions, unable to articulate what he has done to earn their approval, or progressive Church dissidents.

If the Pope and his public business are portrayed in an unflattering light, that is an unavoidable consequence, even as it is not the real objective.  Few are criticizing the Pope for the sake of criticizing the Pope. Even the Bear, who may take an unholy glee in what he does isn't playing.

The Sin of Silence

But there is also the sin of "adulation." Nobody ever talks about it, so here it is, right from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

Every word or attitude is forbidden which by flattery, adulation, or complaisance encourages and confirms another in malicious acts and perverse conduct. Adulation is a grave fault if it makes one an accomplice in another's vices or grave sins. Neither the desire to be of service nor friendship justifies duplicitous speech. Adulation is a venial sin when it only seeks to be agreeable, to avoid evil, to meet a need, or to obtain legitimate advantages.

CCC 2480.

Funny, the Bear has never heard Fr. Rosica say, "Patheos bloggers are a bunch of sycophantic losers with a pathological need for approval and an aversion to sound doctrine. We must pray for these disturbed, broken and angry people."

Of course, Fr. Rosica's job might be to commit the sin of adulation continuously, but the Bear does not know the man's heart, or how much culpability might be reduced by mental issues, or secret struggles. One must wonder about someone who brags about "rebranding" Catholicism, though.

Rugiemus Quasi Ursi Omnes

When they gave us a Protestantized Mass, we were silent. When they smashed the altar rails, we were silent. When the nuns started dressing in mufti, we were silent. When the bishops cared more about gun control than souls, we were silent. When the mania for interfaith and ecumenism started, we were silent. And when we were told to sing hymns by Martin Luther, we sang.

One thing is for certain. We will never be silent again. We are guardians of something. The Bear does not want to label it, because it does not belong to this faction or that. But he thinks his readers know what he's talking about. We encourage one another -- and it is just as much readers encouraging ephemerists as the other way around. Pope Francis and his minions are learning that whatever they do in public will be challenged by some very smart and talented people. (And also, the Bear.) It obviously bothers them.

And the Bear says ultramontanism is solemn nonsense.

Featured Post

Judging Angels Chapter 1 Read by Author

Quick commercial for free, no-strings-attached gift of a professionally produced audio book of Judging Angels, Chapter 1: Last Things, read...