Bear Growls: Predictions

Thursday, April 20, AD 2017

 

 

Our bruin friend at Saint Corbinian’s Bear gazes into his ursine crystal ball:

 

The Vatican may be a rhumba of rattlesnakes, but too few of them are motivated by aberrant ideology to risk a repeat of Sampson’s after-dinner show for the Philistines.

Bear predicts there will be the usual polite language when Bergoglio go-goes, but inside, most prelates are going to be saying, “Boy, did we elect the wrong guy. How could we have been so stupid? Let’s get back to normal ASAP before the Bear hops a tramp salmon freighter and cleans house, but good.”

The Bear does not think the institutional Church enjoys turmoil. Nor does it wish to court schism, however small the risk. And, who knows? Perhaps there are 10 righteous men in Sodom-on-the-Tiber.

The next pope will be a reliable Italian. This whole darts-at-a-map thing has not worked out very well. His job will be to settle the hens down after that fox Bergoglio is gone. The era of the magisterium of the sound byte will be over. Everybody has seen what a disaster it has been.

Nobody likes to be made fun of incessantly.

There will be the usual suspects agitating, but the Bear repeats, institutions do not enjoy chaos. The mainstream plus the faithful will out-vote the cardinals of questionable orthodoxy.

The Bear does not think Bergoglio was voted in over a desire to extend Holy Communion to divorced and remarried persons. The Bear thinks he was elected to be the outsider that would fix things. Perhaps he even ran for pope on that platform. “I’m from Argentina. And if there’s one thing that Argentina is known for it is fixing problems with institutions.”

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3 Responses to Bear Growls: Predictions

  • “The next pope will be a reliable Italian. This whole darts-at-a-map thing has not worked out very well.”

    Well Cardinal Raymond Burke of the United States, or Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Kazakhstan, or Cardinal Robert Sarah of Guinea would each make a great Pope. But my vote doesn’t count.

  • “Argentina is known for fixing it’s problems. ” Oh, that is funny!
    Argentine churrasco is proof God loves man and wants him to be happy.
    There is the tango, too. After that, Argentina is chaos.

  • Agreed Lucius – all those would be great popes, but I don’t have a vote either, and I fear perhaps another liberal – Schoenborn perhaps?

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Bear Growls: More of the Same

Tuesday, April 11, AD 2017

 

 

Our bruin friend at Saint Corbinian’s Bear points out that the Pope never misses an opportunity to disappoint:

 

The whole idea of blogging is that somebody does something and the blogger offers insightful commentary. But Pope Francis is so mind-numbingly stupid there’s just nothing to add.

Muslims mass-murder Christians in Egypt and the Pope says this:

We pray for the victims of the attack carried out unfortunately today, this morning, in Cairo, in a Coptic church. I am close to my dear Brother, His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, and to the Coptic Church and to all the dear Egyptian nation I express my profound condolence; I pray for the deceased and the wounded, I am close to the families and to the whole community. May the Lord convert the heart of all those persons that sow terror, violence and death, and also the heart of those that produce and traffic arms.

Sorry, Bear got nothing.

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9 Responses to Bear Growls: More of the Same

  • I S L A M
    (WWMD: What Would Mohammad Do?)

  • Wonder what he could say about the mass political starvations of history… no shots fired- just keeping people from food and millions of deaths of the most innocent and helpless.

  • The less I pay attention to what that Argentinian Marxist Peronist heretic says, the better off I am.

  • Mads starvations would be blamed on capitalism. Or global warming. Or the nations who refuse to take in Muslims. Anything but the source with this guy.
    The next edition of Mario Vargas Llosa’s book The Guide to the Perfect Latin American Idiot should have the Pope on the cover.

  • It’s a weird obsession of the Holy Father’s, but still…I’ll give him this much, if you’re a gun manufacturer and you’re shipping a crate to the Muslim Brotherhood, that ain’t right.

  • “… and also the heart of those that produce and traffic arms.”

    Just wondering, what arms manufacturer produces suicide vests?

  • “shipping a crate to the Muslim Brotherhood, that ain’t right.”.
    I agree that is why I wish ISIS had not all that access to oil and why I am glad at least some of the chemical weapons were destroyed.

  • I agree wholeheartedly with LQ Cincinnatus above– the less attention I
    pay to this Pope’s bloviations, the better off I am. It pains me that it’s
    come to that. There is a certain symmetry, however, for this Pope has
    made it clear that he has nothing but contempt for Catholics of the
    “Promethian neo-Pelagian” variety like myself.

  • This Pope has made it clear he has nothing but contempt for reality.

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Bear Growls: That’s the Way It Is?

Saturday, March 25, AD 2017

 

 

Our bruin friend at Saint Corbinian’s Bear gives us a Bear’s view of current events as gleaned from the mainstream press:

 

Here is a recap of world news based on the Bear’s cursory reading of stories the past few days. The Bear has been busy and may have gotten a few details wrong, but he’s pretty sure the gist is accurate.

  • WASHINGTON D.C. (March 24, 2017) — Trump the Usurper hosted a hunting trip for Soviet strongman Vladimir Putin. The pair were seen on the banks of the Potomac River clubbing adorable baby river seals to death with babies. Witnesses also report Trump the Usurper backed a dump truck full of $100,000,000 bills and buried a laughing Putin. The two men spent the rest of the afternoon playing in the pile of money like children in autumn leaves.
  • WASHINGTON D.C. (March 24, 2017) — Legitimate President Dear Leader Hillary Clinton staged a lightning raid on Richmond, Virginia yesterday, freeing thousands of slaves. Trump the Usurper had last Thursday declared the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments to the constitution null and void, opening the way for the return of slavery for the first time since 1957. A Gallup poll shows 100% of Americans support the campaign of Dear Leader to restore America to the golden years when Legitimate First Partner Bill Clinton was president.
  • PARIS (March 23, 2017) —  The religious harmony of France was broken by a White male using a loudspeaker to cry “Jesus is Lord” from the top of the Eiffel Tower. Witnesses say he had a distinct American southern accent and raised an enormous Confederate flag on the tip of the landmark. He mowed down thousands of curious Parisians gathered below with an automatic machine assault rifle firing bullets of depleted uranium. With a final cry of “Soldiers of the Cross do thou likewise” he detonate a 20 megaton nuclear bomb strapped to his back, destroying France.
  • VATICAN (March 24, 2017) — Today Generic Spiritual Leader of the World Pope Francis condemned frequent terrorist attacks by Christians. “Out of all religions, why do we only see Christians committing all these terrorist acts? The exclusivist nature of a religion that offers only one means of salvation can only breed hatred. Their beliefs taste like excrement in my mouth.” The pontiff announced that a new bible was being prepared that eliminates all references to violence and incorporates wisdom from other faiths.

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Bear Growls: Cross Examination

Monday, August 15, AD 2016

 

Our bruin friend at Saint Corbinian’s Bear has worked in the law mines.  Here are his remarks on cross examination:

 

Cross examination is the greatest legal engine ever invented for the discovery of the truth,” said John Henry Wigmore.  And he was right.

You may know that the chief difference between direct examination and cross-examination is that the lawyer may lead on the latter.  In other words, questions may (should always) be phrased as statements.  It is the most adversarial part of a trial that is itself the capstone of the adversary system of law. Continental countries prefer to use the inquisitorial system, in which a tribunal of neutral judges examine the evidence and reach a verdict.

Well, la di da.  

The genius of the Anglo-American system is that it allows both sides to fight it out, thus ensuring nothing will be left out, nothing left unchallenged. Assuming equal resources and skill of attorneys, and (most importantly) a judge who will allow real trial lawyers to do their jobs, the adversary system is fair, often dramatic, and always sporting.

Within this dramatic, adversary system, cross-examination is the crown jewel. Truly, the only way one may defeat an effective cross is to simply tell the truth.  How many times has the Bear seen a witness, say a police officer, implode on the stand, because he suspected every question was some sort of trick, and would deny the sky was blue before agreeing with the Bear on cross?

The Bear found that the best way to deal with an evasive witness is to patiently ask the exact same question, word-for-word, with the same inflection.  Yes, it seems weird, but everyone assumes the lawyer knows what he’s doing. The witness will not understand, will become disoriented, then frightened, and will look like a liar.  Too many lawyers get into arguments with the witness on cross, which is throwing away your superior position.  Just pray you have a judge who appreciates the trial lawyer’s role in an adversary system and doesn’t just become impatient and tell you to move on.

You have a right to an answer to a fair question.  And when the opposing counsel objects, “Asked and answered,” say, “Your Honor, that objection belongs only to the opposing side during direct, and in any case the witness has for reasons best known to himself, refused to answer my question.” (Commenting on the witness’ credibility like that might get you some pushback from the judge, but the Bear might not be able to resist, depending on a lot of things.)

Two State Police Detectives: Epic Fails on Cross

One time, an evasive state police detective turned to the judge in obvious distress, and pleaded, “But I don’t know how to get around that question!”  No kidding.  Luckily, the Bear had a good judge who bit the witness’ head off.

In another trial – this one for murder / death penalty –  the Bear’s question was, “why did you interrogate Mr. Pontious on videotape?”  The detective kept doggedly answering, “to get to the truth,” probably a stock answer they teach detectives at seminars on “Avoiding Wily Defense Lawyer Traps.”

However, the police had clearly decided the Bear’s client was guilty long before that, and, in fact, they already had the answers to all the questions they asked him on tape.  They had already interrogated him off camera, and this was just the production of the supreme piece of evidence against him: a videotaped interrogation.

Everyone – especially the jury – knew darn good and well the purpose was to secure a videotaped confession to use as evidence against the suspect at trial. Jurors are not stupid. If the witness had simply told the truth, the Bear couldn’t have touched him.  But the state police detective assumed that since the Bear was asking, there must be some trick behind the question.  He was desperate to portray himself to the jury as a disinterested philosopher, who would never get his hands dirty by producing evidence for trial. Which is, of course, ridiculous.

For thirty minutes, the Bear kept pleasantly asking the same question, in exactly the same way, like a tape recorder, and the detective kept giving different evasive answers.  Talk about looking like Captain Queeg! One question. Now, it is true this was a sneaky Bear trick. The Bear had decided the detective was not very bright, and would fall for the most obvious trick: asking for a truthful answer to an inconsequential question.

The Bear had a very good judge.  If time was being wasted, it was the witness who was wasting it, not the Bear.  Obviously, that is what the judge thought. The jury was less than impressed with the detective’s performance and ultimately he was blamed for losing a murder case. But that was a bit unfair. The jury just got that one right. With kind assistance from the Bear.

Adversary Does Not Mean Mean

Many people who have been taught by television shows – which must get the lawyer and the witness in one, tight shot – imagine the lawyer is in the witness’ face, yelling, until the witness breaks down and admits to the murder.  Jose Ferrer’s cross-examination of Humphrey Bogart in the Cain Mutiny is more accurate. Trial defense counsel is not friendly, but zeros in on the witnesses weak points relentlessly. There, the man on the stand himself revealed himself to to be unfit, which was the real issue at trial.

The Bear has no compunction about revealing the character defects that impact credibility in today’s great issues, through argument, satire or agitprop. Mark this well, visitors, friends and Woodland Creatures. Controversy is not just about the rightness or wrongness of this issue or that one. Let others argue about each apple. The Bear would lay his axe at the base of the tree, provided it were a rotten tree, bearing bad fruit, and expect nothing but praise from men of good will. Now that he mentions it, he has a vague recollection of the same imagery employed by someone.

Only one time did the Bear actually elicit an in-court confession while cross-examining a defendant. It involved a homosexual groping, and the details are not edifying. The Bear lined up all the hopes and effort this young man had placed in his budding Navy career, and, after a sympathetic pause, simply asked why on earth would he throw it all away? The kid had been worn down by that time, and said he just couldn’t help himself.

That was one of the Bear’s very first trials, and the feat was never repeated.

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26 Responses to Bear Growls: Cross Examination

  • Off topic. Money quote from the Joe Pesci character, which is the proper answer to everything that Hillary/Democrats say and all you read/see from the media: “Everything that guy just said is bu!!$h!+.” President Truman liked to use the phrase, “one-hundred percent bu!! Sh!+.”

  • Of course the scene above is followed by the classic “magic grits” cross examination:

  • Yes. I have always wanted to bring the “laws of physics” into one of my cross-examinations!

  • As i begin closing out my litigation practice, this post left me with a rush of memories, of sometimes righteous victories where morality, truth and evidence formed a rare confluence, and some not so righteous victories where justification was found in the rules of ethics. And then too there were defeats but about those i can only speculate having long departed my memory bank. Carry on gentlemen 🙂

  • “And then too there were defeats but about those i can only speculate having long departed my memory bank.”

    Comment of the week Cthemfly! Take ‘er away Sam!

  • I once heard the following exchange between counsel and an expert witness.
    “I believe you testified in the case of X?”
    “Yes.”
    What happened to the dog?”
    “What dog?”
    The dog Lord Wheatley said he wouldn’t hang on your evidence.”

  • Donald R McClarey wrote, “I will usually do the cross standing and close to the witness.”
    Most Scottish courtrooms would make this impossible. The witness box is on one side of the well of the court, facing the jury-box and counsel are grouped around a table in the well of the court between them
    This illustration shows a witness being sworn by the judge.
    http://tinyurl.com/zsdxo9f
    It shows the rather curious sounding-board behind the witness-box. It can still be seen in the old High Court in Edinburgh
    The best place to stand when examining a witness is at the corner of the table furthest from the witness-box, which makes him face the jury.

  • Yes, standing between the witness and the prosecutor is good, except the judge usually won’t allow it for long. I saw a federal prosecutor coaching a witness on the stand. Actually, I didn’t, but my assistant did. The Bear would dramatically pace around the well of the court sometimes facing the jury for a particularly important question, for both question and answer. On cross, you want that tennis match effect from the jurors. You-witness, you -witness. He would also break the really important questions into a series of very short questions, and take a small step toward the witness with each one, until he was right in front for the killing stroke. Very effective in building tension and unnerving the witness. Using physical evidence is also good. If People’s Exhibit A is a crowbar, pick it up and threaten the witness with it. Would probably even work for a human. Every lawyer has his own style. I was dramatic. If I could have brought my unicycle in and juggled evidence, I would have. But I was also more of a primrose path type: get them committed to their lies so subtly by the time they realized they were in trouble it was too late. But I have one question. What’s a bench trial?

  • P.S. funny you should mention “law mines.” That’s what my wife and I always called the practice. Now I am blessedly retired, reincarnated as a novelist, where my criminal defense practice provides much material.

  • “But I have one question. What’s a bench trial?”

    I see my bruin friend that you did not waste your time with civil cases.

  • It is not honest to make someone look like they are lying if they are not.

  • This is one of the funniest true things I have read recently about court room drama.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/421774/you-know-you-live-conservative-state-when-david-french

    By the way, “the government” definitely has a negative connotation to me should I ever be on a jury.

  • It is not just for allegations made in a court of law not to be challenged by the advocate for the Defendant, and the State forced to meet its burden of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. When I am in court on behalf of a client I am not there as a potted plant or a mere ornament and I rejoice at my role in protecting the rights of individuals to a meaningful trial.

    I might note that it is rare that I am certain as to who is lying and who is telling the truth.

  • “He demanded his client no longer be referred to as “the Defendant,” but instead be called “Mister,” “the Citizen Accused” or “that innocent man” — since all defendants are presumed innocent until a judge or jury finds them guilty. As for himself, clearly “lawyer” or “defense attorney” wouldn’t do him, well, justice. “Rather, counsel for the Citizen Accused should be referred to primarily as the ‘Defender of the Innocent.’ … Alternatively, counsel would also accept the designation ‘Guardian of the Realm,’ ” Justice wrote. And since prosecutors are often referred to formally as “General” in court, Justice, in an effort to be flexible, offered up a military title of his own. “Whenever addressed by name, the name ‘Captain Justice’ will be appropriate.” Gathering steam, he went on to say that even “the defense” wasn’t adequate and that “the Resistance” would be far more appropriate.”

    That tickled me too when I first read it. I have had some fun in closing arguments with the contention of the State that they represent THE PEOPLE!

  • “It is not just for allegations made in a court of law not to be challenged by the advocate for the Defendant, and the State forced to meet its burden of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. When I am in court on behalf of a client I am not there as a potted plant or a mere ornament and I rejoice at my role in protecting the rights of individuals to a meaningful trial.

    I have witnessed many injustices accomplished in such manners & have zero respect for our current legal system and judges in particular–especially many of those those who are justices on “supreme” courts. At one point in the late 1990s, the Arkansas Supreme Court put their collective intelligence together to decide in an official manner that just because you are a proven liar does not mean you are dishonest. (No. I am not kidding.) It seems the only “Justice” to be had is that which can be paid for by the very rich & well connected. And even that is often thwarted by the judges and prosecutors in a huge number of cases. However, it would take a thousand page book to go through all of that at one time. Seriously. However, it is still true that the only rights that we truly have are those asserted by an attorney–in court.

  • “me too when I first read it. I have had some fun in closing arguments with the contention of the State that they represent THE PEOPLE!”

    They most definitely do NOT represent the people most of the time. In fact, one of my county’s prosecutors went to promising because of drug, prostitution, abuse of office, theft, etc., etc., etc.

    Now we have a current county prosecutor who has just given to our state police an investigation of an apparent written murder confession, involving the before mentioned prosecutor, of three young teenage men who stole some of his drugs. I wish I were kidding! There is never a dull moment in my neck of the woods.

  • Woods! I apologize. The prosecutor involved in all the crimes went to prison.

  • If you had read my article, you would have learned that you cannot make someone look like a liar unless they are a liar. If they are telling the truth, they are immunized. But cross-examination is not used only to expose lies. Maybe the witness had difficulty observing what he is testifying to. Maybe he has a connection to the victim that would call into question the reliability of his testimony. Maybe the state is reducing his own charges in return for his testimony. But anyway, I learned long ago not to argue with people who do not get the adversary system. I am confident I am fairly knowledgable about how criminal trials work.

  • The Bear wrote, “If People’s Exhibit A is a crowbar, pick it up and threaten the witness with it. Would probably even work for a human…”
    I recall a case in which the panel’s wife was used as a production (She could not testify against him).
    She was duly libelled as a production in the indictment: “the articles contained in an inventory hereunto annexed, being to be used in evidence against you, the said JB, at your trial, at which also MP or B, your wife, now or lately residing in or near ….. Street, Glasgow in the shire of Lanark, is to be shewn or exhibited in evidence for identification, will, for that purpose, be in due time lodged in the hands of the Clerk of the High Court of Justiciary, before which you are to be tried that you may have an opportunity of seeing the same…”
    An objection that she should have been labelled and lodged in the clerk’s hands was repelled.

  • Anyone who practices law, hell, anyone who casually observes it (OJ, anyone?) knows that truth is not the usual object of a criminal trial, much less of a cross examination. In many if not most cases, the defense object is to obfuscate, change the subject, or throw sand in the fact-finder’s eyes, to divert attention from the facts which damage his client’s chance of acquittal. If this can be accomplished by bullying a witness, making a truthful but nervous witness appear uncertain, or implying or stating that a witness is lying, then that tactic will be used, regardless of the truth. A defense lawyer’s ethical obligation is zealously to represent his client, not to seek justice. A prosecutor’s ethical duty is to seek justice, not simply to gain a conviction. These competing ethical duties result in very different trial tactics.

    And while occasionally a witness may be outright lying, and a good cross can expose that, very often a cross is used simply to attempt to tar a witness who’s damaged one’s case. It’s sad that an accomplished attorney can take truthful testimony and by clever use of verbiage and sowing confusion, throw doubt on that testimony. I understand that’s how “the system” works, and I plead guilty to doing it on occasion, but I don’t self-aggrandize myself or my “profession” by throwing a romantic veneer of “defender of the Truth” on top of the cheap use of intimidation tactics and verbal gymnastics that a “good” cross-examiner has as his stock in trade.

    I’ve seen many blustering, self-glorifying lawyers sit down smugly satisfied at humiliating some witness, only to have a jury or judge hammer their client, and I’m left wondering whether the lawyer was effectively representing the client or just burnishing his credentials as a “fighter” while not giving a damn that his tactics turn off the average Joe sitting in the box. More than once I’ve seen defendants hammered more for the obnoxious behavior of their lawyer than for the offense. I struggle at the sentencing of such defendants to recall that my duty is to Justice, not to penalize the defendant for having a slash and burn lawyer. In some cases where I’ve perceived the jury recommending harsher sentences than the case calls for because they’re disgusted with the defense lawyer, I’ve recommended the judge impose a lesser, appropriate sentence (in Virginia, the jury recommends the sentence following a separate sentencing phase of trial, and the judge can reduce but not increase that sentence).

    Again, anyone who claims that we have a system dedicated to finding the truth is selling you something. The very fact that the system is “adversarial” coupled with judge-made rules such as the “exclusionary rule” and other rules of evidence that keep relevant evidence from the fact finder guarantees that much truthful information will never see the light of day. You may think that is good or bad, but it’s simply the reality. A “good” defense attorney is in most cases, trying to reduce the flow of truthful information to the fact-finder. Again, you may think that system good or bad, but either way, it’s hardly the grist for romanticism about Truth, Justice, and the American Way.

  • All that said, the Cousin Vinny clip where Vinny crosses the eyewitnesses is great stuff, and I use those clips teaching trial advocacy to baby prosecutors, precisely because it demonstrates some great principles: breaking down points (the dirty window, the screen, the trees, the leaves…), using visual aids (the pics of the dirty window, the scree, the trees, the leaves…), etc. But what makes Vinny’s crosses particularly effective is that he assesses the witnesses and treats them accordingly. He’s only really sarcastic and hostile to the “grit” guy, and only because it’s obvious the grit guy is unwilling to admit the obvious. But to the old lady who needs new glasses and the neighbor looking through the dirty window, he’s actually polite and respectful.

  • Tom wrote, “… just burnishing his credentials as a “fighter” while not giving a damn that his tactics turn off the average Joe sitting in the box”
    Unfortunately, the person many advocates wish most to impress is their opponent’s instructing solicitor, in the hope of future business.

  • We of course do not separate the bar MPS into solicitors and barristers. It is interesting how often I have received referrals from some of my worthy adversaries in court, and I have often returned the favor. When it comes to attorney competence in the cockpit, his or her adversary, after a few rounds, is often an excellent judge.

  • Donald R McClarey wrote, “When it comes to attorney competence in the cockpit, his or her adversary, after a few rounds, is often an excellent judge.”
    Junior counsel, who is brought in at an early stage, to settle the pleadings and advise on evidence, is invariably consulted on the choice of a leader (QC). As often as not, I have recommended someone who has appeared against me.

  • I’ve referred many a worthy opponent, but rarely the blustering “I will fight for you” types who charge exorbitant and conscience-shocking fees (usually paid for by the grieving Aunt or Grandma who tried her best to raise the accused) and get paltry results. The most effective defense counsel in my experience are the ones who can evaluate a case and reason with me to find an equitable resolution. And if a case must be tried, these defenders accomplish much more by quiet competence and respect for counsel, the court, and the witnesses, than by the showmanship and egotistical preening utilized by the “I will fight for you” defense bar.

Bear Growls: The Caine Mutiny

Friday, June 10, AD 2016

 

 

Our bruin friend at Saint Corbinian’s Bear takes a look at one of my favorite movies:

 

Surely one of the greatest movies of all time is the 1954 naval drama The Caine Mutiny, based on Herman Wouk’s novel. It stars Humphrey Bogart, Van Johnson, Fred MacMurray, E.G. Marshall and Jose Ferrer. Bogart’s Captain Queeg is the skipper of an old minesweeper, USS Cain. One can hardly imagine a less glamorous ship. Queeg is quirky, rigid, and insecure. When he gets nervous, he rolls two steel balls in his hand.

His wardroom, instigated by Fred McMurray’s character — a writer — lose respect for Captain Queeg after a number of lapses of judgment. When Queeg reaches out to his officers to try to repair mutual respect, he meets a stony rebuff.

When a typhoon threatens to capsize the ship, Queeg does not seem up to the crisis. His executive officer, played by Van Johnson, relieves Captain Queeg of duty and takes command of the ship.

During the ensuing court-martial (the Navy does not take mutiny well) Captain Queeg takes the stand. What follows may be Bogart’s best performance, and is a film classic. We see in Queeg an ordinary man who was simply not up to the extraordinary responsibilities he had been given. Under the effective cross-examination of trial defense counsel, played by Jose Ferrer, Captain Queeg slowly strips himself of his dignity as his psychological unfitness for command is revealed.

Realizing what he has done, Captain Queeg, who has largely been allowed to testify in a narrative, offers to answer specific questions. There follows a series of tight shots of trial counsel, played by E.G. Marshall, and the other officers present, looking at Captain Queeg’s train wreck with a mixture of horror and sympathy as we hear only the clack of Queeg’s ball bearings.

It is hard for us to see a man who should command respect be revealed as incompetent. The captain of a U.S. warship is a father, a leader, and an exemplar. His commands are unquestioned. (The XO does all of his dirty work.) To see someone fall from such an exalted position is sad. What’s even worse is serving under such a captain.

We’re not sure if Van Johnson’s “mutiny” saved Cain or not. A few ships were lost, but the vast majority survived. What was clear was that the circumstances were extremely dangerous, and the captain’s actions were questionable. The trust between leader and led had already been eroded. It was a position no officer should have been put in. Van Johnson had to do what he thought best, and would never be certain he was right in substituting his judgment for his captain’s.

After the trial, a drunken trial defense counsel, played by Jose Ferrer, is hardly in a celebratory mood, despite his win.  He points out that while he was going to law school and the other officers were following their own civilian pursuits, Captain Queeg had the low-paying, unglamorous job, of maintaining a peacetime navy. He reminds them that when he reached out to them, they were cold. But it’s Fred MacMurray’s writer character, LT Keefer who is singled out for the worst treatment.

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3 Responses to Bear Growls: The Caine Mutiny

  • Well there’s one detail the movie got wrong. And that is JAG officers in the Navy don’t have the star of a line officer above their rank insignia on their dress uniforms. They have the mill rinde surrounded by two oak leaves.

  • Oops. I was wrong. Prior to 1967, lawyers were in fact line officers.

  • In World War II, they might not have even been lawyers if they used the same procedures as the Army. My brother has never seen the inside of a law school, but he served as a prosecutor, while in the Army back in the eighties, on several courts-martial for serious crimes, including rape.

Bear Growls: Mortality

Friday, February 12, AD 2016

Christ Defeating Death

He had been to touch the great death, and found that, after all, it was but the great death.

Stephen Crane, The Red Badge of Courage

 

 

Our bruin friend at Saint Corbinian’s Bear had a recent reminder that bears do not live forever:

 

 

The evening before last, the Bear was lounging in front of his computer screen, when suddenly moderately severe chest pains struck. He waited for two minutes (having read somewhere that you should act on any chest pains that last longer than two minutes). Then he got up on his hind legs and announced to his driver, bodyguard and factotum, Red Death that we were going to the Veteran’s Administration Hospital ER right now.

 
After what might have been a sketch from the Three Stooges, with a special appearance by Buster, the Yorkie, who insisted on accompanying his master, Red Death and the Bear’s son managed to get the stricken Bear into the car.
 
During the thirty minute drive from the goat pastures of Zoar to the VA hospital, the Bear had to face the possibility it might be a one-way trip.
 
He pulled out his rosary and prayed it.
 
He contemplated his sins.
 
He was sorry.
 
He didn’t feel confident about judgment.
 
He regretted the drama of it all, as he imagined a medical team swarming all over his furry body, his family disrupted and grieving.
 
He told Red Death that he was open to massive employment of morphine if it came to it, short of hastening his death. (The Bear is a chicken, and Bears never turn down opiates.)
 
At the ER, they did an ECG. They drew blood. They put a line in. They hooked him up to a monitor. They gave him four baby aspirin to chew. The Bear asked for some diazepam. (Due to being frequently tranquilized by humans, the Bear has developed an appreciation for benzos.) His request was granted.
 
The Bear amused himself by making his blood pressure go up by picturing the Pope, and then making it go down by not. Seriously. He considered that the Pope might be hazardous to his health. He was, in fact, writing an ephemeris article about the Pope when he was afflicted.
 
He was ignored for an hour and a half, then they came in and took some more blood. The Bear was encouraged that otherwise they seemed have have forgotten about him.
 
Finally, a nurse came in and said everything was perfectly normal, and the Bear had not had a heart attack, and could leave. It was anticlimactic. Follow-up appointments were made with Cardiology.
 
This was a good way to start off Lent. Dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return. Who really plans for their death? It seems to the Bear that making it up as he went along was not the best way of preparing himself. Perhaps the Bear will develop this issue.

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One Response to Bear Growls: Mortality

  • Wishing the Bear the best of health as well as the more important stuff.

    I recently read the first half of St. Robert Bellarmine’s “The Art of Dying Well”. Well worth it. The first half is for general life, the second half for when death is more iimminent. One thing he talked about that I found very interesting: in discussing our relationships with God, others, and ourselves, he emphasized prayer (God), charitable giving (others), and fasting (ourselves). There were some powerful meditations on those three, which I’d never run across before. Two days’ ago’s fasting was easier with that book in mind.

Bear Growls: God, Cthulhu and the New Atheists

Thursday, January 7, AD 2016

As faithful readers of this blog know, I am an admirer of the work of our bruin friend at Saint Corbinian’s Bear.  In 2014 he wrote an absolutely brilliant post bringing together God, Cthulhu and the New Atheists:

 

H.P. Lovecraft was a horror writer who invented a world much like ours, except undermined by unspeakable conspiracies aimed at the destruction of everything sane and good. Okay, exactly like ours. At the heart of his writings are ancient gods who shall soon return, bringing madness and mayhem for humanity.

The most well-known is Cthulhu, who lies in troubled sleep deep beneath the ocean. The interesting thing about Lovecraft’s gods is that they are not exactly evil as utterly alien. There are no points of reference to allow us to guess at their motives or judge their actions. At least one is literally insane.

We’re pretty sure the luckiest humans will be the ones who get eaten first.

Say what you want about Cthulhu, but Richard Dawkins would not pretend to know his designs and methods better than Cthulhu himself. (Dawkins would be existing as a brain floating in a Mi-go jar on Pluto in the Cthulhu mythos. Cthulhu does not suffer fools gladly.)

Dawkins advised God that if He really wanted people to believe in Him, He should appear at everyone’s bedside for a chat. Obviously, what Dawkins fails to consider is that perhaps God’s desire is not merely that people acknowledge Him as a fact. His methods may suggest other motives. Plenty of people seem to have no problem believing in and even having a relationship with God through faith.

How often it is the Herods and Dawkinses of the world who, sneering, demand a miracle.

Nobody wants to wake up to find Cthulhu squeezed into their bedroom, pulling down the bed sheets with his mouth-tentacles. (Nor Dawkins, for that matter.) Dawkins would not dare to play at knowing someone as utterly alien as Cthulhu. How inscrutable are his judgments and how unsearchable his ways.

Actually, that last sentence wasn’t about Cthulhu. (NABRE, Romans 11:33.) It takes a whole book of the Bible — Job — to say just one thing:  God doesn’t ask for our advice or approval, or tell us more than we need to know. He is Other.

It seems like 95% of the New Atheist arguments come down to some guy, perhaps with a string of failed marriages that testify to his own purely earthly incapacities, imaging himself as God, then snorting that he would do a better job. (The other arguments are the equally inept Orbiting Teapot, Flying Spaghetti Monster and Darwin. And believers are supposed to be the dumb ones?)

Sometimes the Bear wishes we all had a deeper appreciation for the mystery and otherness of God Almighty, and for our own limitations — especially those of the intellect and imagination. A little humility, if you will. When well-meaning clerics try to humanize God, to make him “safe,” they are robbing us of the reality they should be defending.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Psalm 111:10.

We do not have to imagine God as Cthulhu (in fact the Bear discourages that) but we should have a healthy fear of the Lord. For one thing, there is a judgment that each of us will face, and the possibility that it may not end well for us. But more to the point, we must have the humility not to make our own assumptions about the infinite, eternal, and all-powerful Holy Trinity. “Fear” is more like “awe,” or, more completely, according to Rudolph Otto, the experience of the numinous. Otto was a Lutheran theologian of the early 20th century who influenced, among others, C.S. Lewis in his The Problem of Pain. Otto wrote of the “non-rational factor” in religious experience. (This is not to say irrational.) He called the experience the mysterium tremendum. It is a holy dread, a desire to cover oneself, yet also a fascination.

The Bear knew a very small boy who found himself alone in his father’s still and dimly lit office with an American flag affixed to the wall. This profound experience bore all of Otto’s freight of fear and fascination, and of being in the presence of a mystery. This is of course a shadow of the encounter with the Living God! Here is what Isaiah, the greatest prophet of Israel, wrote:

1 In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and his train filled the temple. 2 Above him stood the seraphim; each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.” 4 And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. 5 And I said:”Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts. (Isaiah 6:1-5 RSV)

We also know that while God may be more alien than anything we can imagine, He is goodness itself. He wants us not only to believe in Him — even the demons do that, and tremble (James 2:9) — but to love Him. He sent his Son to a shameful death as a rescue and a ransom. How reckless and wonderful! The Book of Revelation depicts Jesus as hardly imaginable, even frightening. How often does our reception of Our Lord in the Eucharist do justice to the holy dread and fascination with which we should receive the very Son of God?
“Who Is This Who Darkens Counsel With Words of Ignorance?”
         For my thoughts are not your thoughts, 
         nor are your ways my ways—oracle of the LORD. 
         For as the heavens are higher than the earth, 
         so are my ways higher than your ways, 
         my thoughts higher than your thoughts. 
(Isaiah 55:8–9). 

“Then the LORD answered Job out of the storm and said: Who is this who darkens counsel with words of ignorance?” (Job 38:1–2). You can read the rest here, on the USCCB web site, or in your favorite Bible. It is a wonderful read, and speaks to the mystery that is God, a mystery that Catholics are privileged to participate in through His grace.

We began with H.P. Lovecraft, but, happily, will end with C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. Mr. Beaver attempts to communicate something Rudolph Otto might recognize. “‘Safe?’ said Mr. Beaver; ‘Don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the king, I tell you.'”

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7 Responses to Bear Growls: God, Cthulhu and the New Atheists

  • It’s probably not for no reason that God’s true name almost looks like a confusion of letters like the name, C’thulhu.

    And it’s not for no reason we are told to have the faith of a child. The child fears the approaching needles and cries at the pain in his arm, but the parent knows that medicine must be delivered into the child’s body to make him well. The child cannot know the realities of germ and health, but must have faith that his parents do understand such things and permit such suffering happen to him because it is far better for his health in the long run.

    It is also why the God we worship must be All-knowing. If we were to worship Ra, he might intend our good, but he knows not what the plans of Sobek or Anubis might be and therefore direct us to act in what may be a hopeless cause or surprising suffering because the other gods lay a trap for him. No, our God is one who sees all. He commands us and we can have that childlike faith that He is commanding what’s best because nothing is hidden from Him. He cannot be trapped, He cannot be tricked.

    It certainly won’t always be easy, or safe, but we know it will be good.

  • Why would God leave us to seek Him through faith rather than through certainty? Well, we know that faith is akin to hope and love, all of which require the soul’s effort. We know through both experience and sacramental theology that faith, hope, and love are connected. You might say that faith is crawling, hope is walking, and love is running. They all involve movement toward the object. Knowledge of God doesn’t help us to build our muscles. As creatures stuck in time and space (unlike the angels) we have to grow to become what God intends us to be. Faith is the beginning of the process.

  • My own take on why God would require faith rather than simply reveal Himself fully to all is (1) we are simply not ready for it in our mortal state (or at least only a very rare few would be), and (2) it is like a rich man seeking true love – if he dazzled her with all his wealth, would she really love him for him, or for his wealth? Of course, being omniscient, God would know the answer, but for our sake – to give us the chance to truly love God for Who He is, and thus in a much deeper way, rather than out of fear (in the sense of being scared of Him).

  • I don’t really see faith and certainty being in conflict. Nor faith and reason. There are simply some things about God that cannot be reached through reason (e.g., His trinitarian nature, Christ’s resurrection), although much about God can be known through reason. Faith bridges the gap between what can be known through reason, and a more complete understanding. Much like physics vs. metaphysics. Broadly speaking, physics is limited to the realm of the causal, you need metaphysics to get to things such as will and purpose.

    The Resurrection is a perfect example. You cannot “reason” your way to the Resurrection. You either believe it occurred as a historical fact, or you don’t. You accept by faith the testimony of Scripture and its witnesses, or you don’t (much liike a juror ultimately has to accept on faith the testimony of a witness). Once accepted, you can then apply reason to work out the implications of the Resurrection, but the brute fact of the Resurrection requires faith.

  • but the brute fact of the Resurrection requires faith.

    I disagree. Christianity (as pointed out by the video Don posted awhile back) exists and exists all over the world. But when you look into the time it was born & spread, as JP Holding pointed out so well, there is NO reason it should have spread or survived at all.

    Yet here we are. The faith exists. Brute fact & reason of the matter is that some miracle must have happened in the 1st century for this faith to have survived at all. That a slain God-Man came back to life is the least implausible miracle explaining the whole thing.

  • This is a good post. If we really believe that Jesus Christ is the Lord God of all Creation, and we really believe that we eat His Body and drink His Blood at the Holy Eucharist, then we should fall prostrate at Confession immediately prior to reception, saying what the Prophet Isaiah said before us, “Woe is me, I am a man of unclean lips among a people of unclean lips.” Frankly, we should be scared out of our wits to receive Jesus.
    .
    One quote above brought back a memory: “Dawkins would be existing as a brain floating in a Mi-go jar on Pluto in the Cthulhu mythos.” In a way, perhaps this has already been depicted:
    .
    The Gamesters of Triskelion – maybe Dawkins was one of the three disembodied brains.
    .

  • “We judge the Creator of All by our standards, and we do not repent, as Job did, for our blasphemous folly:”

    We wish to create God in our own image. We wish to have God on a leash so to speak. We wish a “personal experience with God.” We want God under our control for our benefit, a servant deity so to speak. Why do we do this? Because we do not understand the meaning of ‘God is Love’. Love takes many forms. God wants us to be like Him. We are not like Him. We are selfish and monstrous like Cthulhu in many ways. To become as God wishes us to be is generally a very long and painful process. God puts us through this process because He loves us. For many this is difficult to accept as love. God says do it my way, not your way. We should all be thankful God cares enough to do this for us when we are so reluctant, bitter and not gratefull about it.

PopeWatch: Bear Growls: Sorry Saint Paul

Monday, December 14, AD 2015

 

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One of the more pernicious pathologies within the Church today is an ecumenism that neuters the command of Christ to the Church to “make ye disciples of all the nations”.  Our bruin friend at Saint Corbinian’s Bear takes a look at a dispiriting recent example:
The Vatican has just released a new document assuring everyone that it has no mission to the Jews.

This is not going to be politically correct. You have been warned.

The need to examine the Vatican’s proof-text (Romans 11:29) in context required a detailed examination of Paul’s clear teaching on the issue. That will be published in Part 2.

But for now, St. Paul wrote, “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if any one is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:8-9 RSV.)

Keeping in mind St. Paul’s double anathema, read what he wrote about the salvation of Jews:

We ourselves, who are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners, 16 yet who know that a man is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ, and not by works of the law, because by works of the law shall no one be justified.

(Galatians 2:15-16 RSV.)

Now, since a different gospel is preached because of interfaith relations, one may ask which is the more important of the two. It is not surprising to hear the Vatican say it has no mission to the Jews, and that Jews may or may not have a special Jew way to salvation.

If you want the photo op with the rabbi at the press conference, the only thing you have to bargain with is the truth. Today, interfaith relations are so important they have eclipsed the truth. In addition, Pope Francis has worked closely with an Argentinian Rabbi, Abraham Skorka, with whom he authored a book, “On Heaven and Earth.” We all know how Jorge Bergoglio’s personal connections influence Church policies.

The Protestants say Catholics believe the teachings of men. The Bear has to concede them the point too  often. The Bear is just an ursine mammal, but he would think twice about advocating a scheme in which knowing rejection of Jesus Christ was a routine method of salvation.

What does it really say about the need to be Christian — no, Catholic — to be saved, or, rather, our leaders’ opinions on that? We have often discovered clues that the Church now believes in universalism, that all persons are saved and Hell is empty. Bad ideas have consequences in the Church, and we should be alert for their expressions. One is this: if everyone is saved, religious differences become unimportant.

Now the Vatican repeats their favorite phrase on this issue: “For the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable.” Of course He didn’t revoke them. They got their Davidic dynasty forever, and they got their Messiah, in Whom the Law was completed. Elijah prepared his way in the person of John the Baptist, and Moses and Elijah — the Law and the Prophets — met with Jesus during the Transfiguration. Not to mention over 300 Old Testament prophecies fulfilled by Jesus’ life.

God never revoked his covenant, He completed it.

All Jews  have to do is accept it. Yet the Church has crossed them off the list of people to be asked in order to please men. Is the Bear alone in finding this monstrous?

How different from the early Church, where Jews were tirelessly proselytized! Why were Jews converting to anything under the urging of the Apostle Paul and other Christian leaders if it were not necessary?

But something is going on that makes interfaith relations more important than the truth of the faith, and  the salvation of souls of people we supposedly care so much about. The Bear sniffs the air, and there is something unwholesome on the breeze more often than not of late. The Bear finds himself typing “The Prince of This World” too often.

He fears for his Church as never before.

Ultimately, the Bear fears the Church is currently advancing a different program than the one Jesus began with St. Peter.

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23 Responses to PopeWatch: Bear Growls: Sorry Saint Paul

  • It’s not just the Jews. All anyone needs is to tap into the power of Jorge to be saved.

  • My best friend is a Jew.

    We met twenty years ago and he was largely a secularist Jew at the time. Frankly, I was only nominally Catholic, so religion wasn’t a regular topic for us.

    Over time, both of us became more devout and, somewhere along the way, we began encouraging each other. Religion became a dialog, rarely express but often present, so much so that his fiance sought my advice in deciding whether to convert to Judaism from Agnosticism. (Jon is endlessly amused that a Christian convinced an Agnostic to become a Jew.)

    Jon asked me, long ago, how we can both be right. I told him that we cannot both be correct, that Jesus is either the Messiah or was a mad man. Jon laughed and told me that he hoped one day to convert me since I would make a fine Jew. I expressed the same view and that dynamic has held.

    My point is only this: the modern view of “tolerance” is capitulation and deceit. True ecuminism says “we have more in common than we readily acknowledge and, since true conversion can never be forced, let us concentrate on what we have in common. Let us accomplish good things together but, make no mistake, I am who I am and want you to walk ever more with me.”

    I think it is a mistaken attribution but, if the Church is saying “preach the Gospel constantly. If necessary, use words.” That sums up my view of ecuminism nicely.

  • Even on its own terms, this non-magisterial document does not preclude evangelization by any Catholic, even with an eye towards conversion. Not not of anyone, Jewish or otherwise. It forgoes a formal “mission” directed to conversion of the Jewish people on the part of the Church, however the need for salvation through Christ our Lord for all people without exception is affirmed in the document.
    Here is a link to the actual document itself-http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/chrstuni/relations-jews-docs/rc_pc_chrstuni_doc_20151210_ebraismo-nostra-aetate_en.html

    None of which to deny that the document is arguably problematic and confusing to say the least.

    To David’s point, if asked directly I wouldn’t recommend anyone convert to any faith other than the Catholic Faith, for any reason, and most certainly not as a pre-condition to marriage.

  • I disagree.

    I prayerfully considered the matter and recommended that she follow the path most likely to fill her life with true joy – a faith filled life as a wife and mother.

    The enemy of faith is not persons of faith but the secular Agnosticism and Atheism that seeks to drive God from the mind and memory of Man. In this sense, I agree with Pope Francis.

  • Good post.

  • Thank you for the Bear Growls. The Bear has been very growly lately. One of the perils of two-part articles is that not everything is on the table after the first one. Indeed, individual Catholics may still seek the conversion of Jews so long as they do it “humbly” and with “sensitivity.” (Like pewsitters need to be told that?) But they sure aren’t encouraging, and the official mission of the Church is over, finished. Actually, a professor who sits on the commission that drafted the document has claimed it should be read as an “exhortation” that individual Catholics not seek to convert Jews.

    The Bear concedes that the document says all need to be saved “through” Christ. Yet, apparently, “through” does not mean actually believing in Him and accepting Him. You can reject Christ, yet still magically be saved “through” him. It reminds the Bear of the deliberately tricky language of Lumen Gentium that seemed to encompass everyone within the saving community of the Church, even though they did not actually belong to the Catholic Church.

    True, we have had “invincible ignorance” all along, but the Bear does not have the sense that’s what they’re talking about. (It would be insulting, for one thing.)

    The Bear thinks they really blew it by appealing to St. Paul, who had no doubt the only way to be saved was to give up the works of the Jewish law and put your faith in Christ. He taught that by retaining Jewish ceremony such as circumcision you were putting your faith in works, not the saving death of Christ.

  • “Actually, a professor who sits on the commission that drafted the document has claimed it should be read as an “exhortation” that individual Catholics not seek to convert Jews.”

    I think that is the only logical way to read it. When is the last time the Church abandoned a whole group of people from “official” efforts at conversion? The distinction between individual and official efforts at conversion is merely a CYA effort against the outrage that this idiocy should rightly rouse among all Catholics who give a fig about the Faith.

  • 16 . . . “A man once gave a great banquet, and invited many; 17 and at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come; for all is now ready.’ 18 But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it; I pray you, have me excused.’ 19 And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them; I pray you, have me excused.’ 20 And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ 21 So the servant came and reported this to his master. Then the householder in anger said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and maimed and blind and lame.’ 22 And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ 23 And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges, and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. 24 For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.’”

    .
    That’s something of a no-win scenario for the servant of the master in these politially correct times, isn’t it?

  • True ecumenism says “we have more in common than we readily acknowledge and, since true conversion can never be forced, let us concentrate on what we have in common. Let us accomplish good things together but, make no mistake, I am who I am and want you to walk ever more with me.”

    I get what you are saying, but the danger in current times is concentrating too much on “what we have in common” and pretty much ignoring differences. If anything, the focus should be on the differences since that is what separates.

  • Ernst Schreiber.

    You said it!

    “That’s something of a no-win scenario for the servant of the Master in these politically correct times, isn’t it?”

  • C. Matt,

    “Meeting people where they are” pre-dates this papacy. That is a good thing for me since I really have to force myself to listen these days.

    I think the idea that we have to meet people where they are, fits this discussion well. Using my earlier example, Jon and I float between commonalities and stark differences. Lately, we’ve been talking a lot about the study of Talmud and how that differs from the study of scripture or theology.

    We talk about differences because there is a strong, fraternal bond between us. There is trust and, so, little room for misunderstanding. Where those conditions are more present, dialog continues through disagreement.

    It is a rare dialog that moves through disagreement without a pre-existing condition of trust.

    Sharing our faith must be more than mere defense of it. Yes, we must stand up for Christ, while standing in the Colloseum. Such noble service CAN convert. But, we must also build on our common experience as people of faith in a hostile world. If we honestly listen and share, some souls will be moved to dig deeper. THOSE are souls worth pursuing for God’s great glory.

    I should not like to see trust snuffed out by aggressively challenging the core beliefs of others prematurely.

  • For the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable.” Of course He didn’t revoke them. They got their Davidic dynasty forever, and they got their Messiah, in Whom the Law was completed.

    Exactly – there is a difference between revoking and completion/fulfillment. Revoking an incomplete covenant would be going back on God’s word. But once a covenant is fulfilled or completed, there is no longer anything to revoke. You have to look at the terms of the covenant, and those terms were fulfilled by Christ. You cannot rely upon a fulfilled covenant to insist on continued obligations that no longer remain to be fulfilled. Thus, I don’t see how a Jewish adherent could insist on Judaism being salvific if the promised Messiah has already been provided and he refuses Him.

  • I have no problem with the approach of meeting people where they are. The problem seems to be that people tend to get stuck there. You are right that trust needs to be built up, etc. I am referring more to those situations where it never seems to go beyond that “common bond” stage. I understand that with some people, it may never get beyond that. What I am finding even with people with whom I have a fair amount of trust, they simply can’t get beyond the current indoctrinated indifferentism. The law of non-contradiction does not seem to exist in their universe.

  • C. Matt,

    “Ah, got it.”

    Yes, it is a curious thing that we live in an age of college kids refusing to go to class in “Lynch Hall” because of the “negative connotation” of the name “Lynch,” and, yet, nothing truly important is being discussed.

    His Holinessd is not alone in the absurd contradiction of proclaiming that Christians and brothers to Muslims and, yet, not even requestion normal filial courtesies like protecting our churches in Muslim lands. There is a definite one-way-ness to interfaith courtesy, even among our brother-Christians.

    There is a natural hesitation to give up on relationships, even ones which are destructive.

    I experienced this as a young man, dating a Southern Baptist. I was welcome in her family so long as I was a potential convert, “open” to their heavy-handed overtures. To their credit, when I finally staked my flag, willing to go no farther, I became persona non grata.

    So it should be whenever the give-and-take has ceased, when we are being told to either bend or be silent. It is then that we should rebel, both as individuals and as a community.

    There is surely a faithlessness to remaining silent before the House of Saud, letting their kingdom incarcerate Christians for bringing bibles into the kingdom, while giving into their demands for good treatment in the West,

  • Christians killed by our “brother” Muslims are just collateral damage to a greater agenda. The Bear keeps smelling the same faint odor, and it’s all over the new Jew-Church document. (Read it and see if the Bear is making things up.) But he can’t quite place it.

  • I have difficulty with the term Jew Church Document. This isn’t really for the Jews. If it were, then it would present Christ crucified and risen from the dead. This document condemns Jew to hell by effectively negating their conversion. Pretending to be pro-Jewish, it is anti-Semitic of the highest order. I despise it.

  • Liberal Catholics+ liberal Jews = this kind of document

  • Anzlyne,
    It is not liberal if…IF….the writer based it on Romans: 11:25 ” I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers, so that you will not become wise [in] your own estimation: a hardening has come upon Israel in part, until the full number of the Gentiles comes in.. ”
    Does the Church contradict God’s partial hardening of the Jews by trying to convert them prior to the full number of gentiles entering in? Is that hardening by God light and the Church can overcome it? This passage does not say that: Romans 11:21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, [perhaps] he will not spare you either. 22 See, then, the kindness and severity of God: severity toward those who fell, but God’s kindness to you, provided you remain in his kindness; otherwise you too will be cut off.”
    This is a deep area. Are we saying that the Church should work against a severe choice of God prior to the Church ascertaining that the full number of gentiles has de facto entered in?

  • Yes Bill my comment was too flip .
    My thought is that we should be conservative (even ! Fundamentalist) about the fact that we don’t ” convert” from the revelation of Truth in the old covenant. That covenant is fulfilled in the New.. Maybe I am too semantically inclined but ” conversion” is a turning perhaps perceived as a repudiation – whereas fulfilling has to do with all of us.being open… accepting the leading of the Holy Spirit to All Truth. Perhaps use of the term “conversion” is insulting to religiousJews, but the idea of ” fulfillment” is certainly not.
    .
    I don’t think we should try to keep our evangelizing proselytizing powder dry until the day WE perceive the fullness of gentles entering in… God has got that part . We are called to ring out the message to the Ends of the earth

  • God is outside of time. Therefore, the Jews who believe in the Trinity and God as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, are our older Brothers, who carry and revere the Old Testament. It is not God’s will that any soul be lost. Principles and persons must be winnowed.

  • I know a man who was very anti-Semitic until he learned he was Jewish…

  • Mary DeVoe.
    :). thanks…

Bear Growls: Pope Francis the Angry

Friday, June 19, AD 2015

18 Responses to Bear Growls: Pope Francis the Angry

  • That pretty much says it all.

  • Yes, P Francis is angry, and really pessimistic as to the possible goodness in the human heart, despite his profession of the opposite—possibly why he adopted S Francis of Assisi, as a counterbalance to whom he really is.
    ….
    He decries “those who consume and destroy (n. 193) and positions “opposites” between “sustainable development” vs. “insatiable and irresponsible growth” (which only he, or Sanchez-Sorondo, would know the difference between them, of course). He bitterly derides “businesses [that] profit by calculating and paying only a fraction of the costs involved.” (Nonsense: businesses pay the cost of … doing business, my economically illiterate Pontiff!) (also n. 193)

    And lastly he wishes there to be an end to “political and economic debate” (usually the characteristic mark of free societies, free speech and debate, that is) and yearns for global authority, vast “actions to be taken” (163), to just wrap this messy earth thing up and make a pretty little Franciscan Utopia for him and his Pontifical Academy Court. None of whom have had to work an honest 14- or 16-hour (or more) sweaty, dirty, bone aching day in their life. Usquequo, Domine?

  • Bear is right (but I repeat myself). The good news is that the mystery is over. Francis has showed his cards and he is proud of them. My prayers go to those who can best counter his nonsense.

  • Elizabeth, I like your goats. I recently posted a video of our new baby goat. Assuming you like goats.

  • @The Bear: Yes, I do have a soft spot for baby goats, and calves, and foals. Guilty as charged. 🙂

  • @Elizabeth Fitzmaurice & The Bear: no lambs?
    *
    I posted this over at CM

    Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 2 plus years and a fairly good image of the pope has [or should have] emerged.

  • The good news is that the mystery is over. ”

    Yes, he’s “come out of the proverbial closet” so to speak, and rational people will no longer have to be subjected to the daily barrage of…”but he was misquoted by the media.”

  • Yes, Don L., I aver the same:

    I have found it exhausting to deal with the checked-pants, ever-so-earnest defenders of P. Francis, when his history shows he is one of these uncriticized Jesuit “visionaries” without any substance (they still ooh and aah over Pedro Arrupe) who makes these fantabulous statements that just thrill them up their pants leg. Aaaaugh!

  • Well, he’s right to be angry; we’ve made the planet a “pile of filth” dontcha know?

    Well, maybe not in free market, capitalist America, where pollution has waned while our development advances, but in those greedy, corporate-ruled, capitalistic places like China, India, and Russia, absolutely!

  • No one who is this anti-capitalist and who is an ardent supporter of ever more centralized government sees the poor as anything but a prop.

  • The Bear knows. The Bear speaks. The Bear is right. Long live The Bear.

    The most reasonable commentators are getting what our dear Pope’s deal is. He’s angry and flailing about without a clue about the real world. His is an imaginary, perhaps Argentine world, looked at through the cloudy lens of Liberation Theology. Someone should speak to him. Perhaps it will be the One he claims to represent.

  • We still believe in Divine Providence, right? Something about God writing straight on crooked lines? Lord, where are You? Do it soon!

  • I firmly believe that God’s Will ultimately prevails in spite of human folly. However, it is often after a huge amount of suffering caused by the human folly.

  • “We. the people”, are the “poor”

  • [“We the people” are the “poor”]
    Rather, we the people are those who are genuinely the people of God; not all the “poor” believe in God or His Providence.

  • Sydney O. Fernandes: ““We the people” are the “poor”]
    Rather, we the people are those who are genuinely the people of God; not all the “poor” believe in God or His Providence.
    You are more than correct. I am specifically referring to the “redistribution of wealth to “the poor” and from who will this wealth to be redistributed come for redistribution to the “poor?. This is important because I believe this Climate Changegate is to line the pockets of the ultra rich to further enslave the “poor”.

  • It appears that many others smell raw politics in so much of this “help the poor” and “save the environment/climate/snail-darter”, game.
    Offer people freebies, justified sloth, or an official legal imprimatur on their lust, via law (or enable sin with the mercy card) and you can manipulate the voting masses like a drunk sailor.
    The “smoke of Satan” indeed.

  • Don L –
    “of this “help the poor” and “save the environment/climate/snail-darter”, game.
    Offer people freebies, justified sloth, or an official legal imprimatur on their lust, via law (or enable sin with the mercy card) and you can manipulate the voting masses like a drunk sailor.”

    I don’t say the pope is part of this as a political move — but he and many others, with their good intentions, are being played and used by Satan.
    a perfect storm from hell isn’t it? The safe, reliable guide for a Christian pilgrim has always been the Church, led here on earth by the pope. Now the Christian wonders where to look for safe footing.

Bear Growls: Pamela Geller

Monday, May 11, AD 2015

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Saint Corbinian’s Bear is bemused about the hysteria regarding Geller’s Draw Mohammed contest:

See the picture above. Does anything strike you as odd? Muslims attack us, and we are the ones who have to be reminded to be nice? This is a standard tactic: play the victim card. Close down discussion. You don’t want to be a hater, do you?

The condemnation of Pamela Geller’s free speech exercise in Garland, Texas by L’Osservatore Romano was unintentionally hilarious, as were thousands across the globe. They might as well have said that Muslims are mad dogs who can’t control themselves when something (Muhammad drawing, accidental Quran burning, the historical fact of First Crusade, Friday) triggers their irresistible urge to kill. Because in their warnings not to do anything that might offend our delicate Muslim cousins, they not only damn free speech, but could not be more condescending to the very people they’re trying to protect. They’re like Bear Safety Tips.

The Bear would not be the first to draw a comparison to someone blaming rape on the way women dress. “Geller had it coming.” Oh, come to think of it, the last person the Bear remembers doing that was Chief Australian Muslim cleric Taj al-Din al-Hilawi in 2006.

Sheik Hilawi was quoted as saying: “If you take out uncovered meat and place it outside on the street, or in the garden or in the park, or in the back yard without a cover, and the cats come and eat it… whose fault is it, the cats or the uncovered meat? The uncovered meat is the problem.” Yep, ladies, better keep that cat-meat covered!

Pope Francis, who never saw a religion he didn’t like — except some elements of Catholicism — has said you cannot make fun of another religion.

Drawing a picture of a supposedly historical figure is not making fun of any religion. Giving some group advance veto power over speech is the end of free speech in principle.

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23 Responses to Bear Growls: Pamela Geller

  • Homer, Iliad, Book XXI, “Striong hatred defender of peoples.”

  • So we had a high school girls tennis tournament this past Friday; the weather was fairly hot and humid, and the concrete courts in the full sun, well, they were at least 10F hotter. Still, it wasn’t that bad in standard high school tennis attire, and any teen age girl who plays tennis regularly should have been able to handle it well.
    .
    Most of them anyway. One (two?) the the teams had a number of girls who were dressed head-to-toe in headscarves, large shades, long athletic type pants, jackets even. One of the coaches had to come into the building to grab a Ziploc-ed bag of ice that was to be placed on the head of one of the girls with a headscarf so she wouldn’t get heat stroke.
    .
    I shook my head. He shook his head. Neither of us could say anything.

  • DJ Hesselius.

    Thank goodness their not on the dive team. Headscarves could cause serious injury when entering the pool from the high dive.

    All kidding aside, the girls may want to switch disciplines. Just a thought.

  • As a matter of good manners I am normally opposed to offending the religious sensibilities of anyone.

    A much neglected aspect of good manners is knowing when you should be rude, to keep someone from spiraling ever-ruder. Not usually taught to children and avoided by the adult but hot-headed because it’s a temptation to justify bad impulses by it, but it does exist.
    Not sure about other folks, but “do something you know some modern sects will find offensive in response to death threats and previous murders on suspicion” is a rather grossly exaggerated example of a minor rudeness to let someone know they are being rude.
    ****
    I must wonder– what do these folks think the extremists do to their neighbors who share 99.9% of their religious positions, but not that additional one?
    For that matter, do they realize that the sects that think Mohammad should never be shown got more popular because they killed those who disagreed? (There are historical pictures of Mohammad, a search will bring them up.)

  • I am not personally brave. I admire those who do step up to right wrongs even despite mortal danger. Sometimes, besides not being brave, I also am held back from action because I have to really think things over…and over.. (Like when I first read Geo Weigel about pre-emptive strike) Maybe I am one of today’s nabobs, disabled by what-ifs and what-abouts. Anyway, God bless Pamela Geller.

  • The poster is right – Jesus’ message is love and faith, not fear and hate.

    Fear and hate is Mohammed’s message.

  • Ironic, that one of the ads on this thread is for a Muslim marriage site.

  • The ads are google generated cmatt and vary by the computer used to access the site. I normally get a bunch of book and yarn ads.

  • I admire Geller’s courage, but her tactics are not admirable. Gratuitously insulting other faiths is simply wrong. The vast majority of Muslims are not jihadists, and Geller’s stunt wounded them just as the gratuitous molestation of a consecrated host wounds us. Of course, such acts, whoever reprehensible, cannot justify a violent response. And it would be imprudent beyond measure to try to criminalize such infantile behavior. Geller was within her legal rights and deserves the protection of the law. She is still a jerk.

  • Philip: I agree, they shouldn’t be playing tennis if they aren’t wearing the right gear, but alas, not my call. And no, one does not need to wear revealing Lululemon to play tennis well. Most tennis uniforms I’ve seen are pretty basic and not skanky. More “conservative” districts can always find 14 inch skirts, or skirts with capris, and a looser fitting dry-fit top. It isn’t that hard nor that expensive.
    .
    I’m not even sure it is the coach’s call on who plays and what they wear. (They were out of town folk.) If the girl can swing a racket and hit the ball, it is my impression she is on at least the JV team no matter what she is wearing and might hit heat stroke.

  • Mike, The First Amendment is operative.
    .
    Someone needs to tell those people that Almighty God doesn’t need them to punsih blasphemers.
    .

    Not sure she is a jerk. I think she’s “diablical.” Maybe Ms. Geller set a trap and tallied a body count. It could have gone differently.

  • T,
    Of course the 1st Amendment is operative. So what? All kinds of odious conduct is protected by the 1st Amendment, and that is as it should be, just as the violent response is unprotected andunlawful as it should be. But none of that rescues her behavior from its odious nature.

  • gratuitous
    [gruh-too-i-tuh s, -tyoo-]
    Spell Syllables
    Synonyms Examples Word Origin
    adjective
    1. given, done, bestowed, or obtained without charge or payment; free; voluntary.
    2. being without apparent reason, cause, or justification:
    a gratuitous insult.

    Would you like to make the case that “do not make an image of Mohammad, or we will kill you” is without reason, cause or justification in people responding negatively, or are you sticking with blaming those who do not fold under to threats of death?
    Please keep in mind that land which was once under Muslim control and currently is not is also an extreme insult, not to mention the issue of those who convert away from Islam– even if they were only members because their father was.
    .
    The vast majority of Muslims are not jihadists,

    The vast majority of the US has never served in the armed forces, either; it does not follow that thus only a fraction support the actions of the US armed forces.
    .
    and Geller’s stunt wounded them just as the gratuitous molestation of a consecrated host wounds us.

    No, it doesn’t.
    Mohammad is not God, his image is not his body, and those who are objecting are basically the homicidal version of those Christians who object to statues and paintings of saints and the Christ.
    The Islamic tradition against the images also forbids images of Allah and all the Prophets– including Jesus and Abraham. To prevent idolatry.
    .
    If you want an analogous situation to drawing Mohammad, there’s this:
    It is as if someone, in response to wide-spread threats of violence over a lack of respect to images of Christ, and after many murders, drew an image of Christ on the Cross doing something that was offensive to those committing the murders.

  • Is this a terrible thought?

    The police killed terrorist that evening.
    Two men died that were armed and dangerous. They died because of their hatred.

    So be it.

    CAIR can call Geller a hate speech enthusiast all they want. The fact is two terrorist will not be planting a smart bomb tomorrow or next month. They are forever with their satanic idol.
    Geller a jerk? No. She is exposing the threat.

  • Gratuitously insulting other faiths is simply wrong. The vast majority of Muslims are not jihadists, and Geller’s stunt wounded them just as the gratuitous molestation of a consecrated host wounds us. Of course, such acts, whoever reprehensible, cannot justify a violent response. And it would be imprudent beyond measure to try to criminalize such infantile behavior.

    I attended a legal seminar the other day where the instructor noted that a surplus of adjectives and adverbs, particularly in a legal brief, was a sign that the person writing was unconvinced by their own arguments. It is perhaps, at the least, a sign of a weaker argument. Just saying.

  • I was going to say Gellar’s “insult” was too calculated to be gratuitious, but foxfier beat me to it.

  • If we care so much about the delicate sensitivities of Muslims, why are we offending them by tolerating, say, homosexual marriage?

  • Mike, the last time I can recall you offering an emphatic opinion, it was to tell us that it was intolerable that a nun offered a group of students at a “Catholic” high school a precis of a literature review in The Linacre Quarterly. Now you’re telling us that Pamela Geller’s Mo’toons contest is as well. Personally, I doubt I’d have to travel far from my home to find perfectly gruesome displays. Somehow, I get through the day and I do not think the local police would be all that impressed if I shot up the nearest community theatre offering a performance of Angels in America.

    Some people make exhibits of themselves. Cannot pay too much attention or you just get more exhibits.

  • Great comment, good thinking Philip

  • To find out why you are wrong Mike Petrik- google “peaceful majorities irrelevant”-eg those now in Muslim-controlled countries and that in Germany in 1938-and do not miss Brigitte Gabriel’s speech about this. And also, note that there was once here a “peaceful majority” that did not want to upset the “blacks are sub-human property” applecart and that there is a “peaceful majority” here now in the US while 3500-4000 human beings PER DAY are murdered, some simply because they are Black, some simply because they are Hispanic, and thousands simply because they are girls. Mike, moral peaceful majorities must come out loudly and publicly against the murderous minority or their assumed Pollyanna “peace” will destroy even them. Guy McClung, San Antonio

  • Take a chill pill, Mike.
    .

    Let us not surrender in to savages.

    .
    In other news: “Blogger hacked to death in Bangladesh, third this year.”

  • The problem with Islam is that anyone (I mean man), can grow a beard, slap on a tunic and take a vacation to Mecca- and come back and declare themselves a “sheikh”. Any “sheikh” can declare themselves an “expert” in interpreting the Koran- just like Hilawi. Who mind you, even though holding the position of the highest Muslim in English speaking Australia, needed himself an interpreter because he couldn’t speak English. Hilawi was a convicted thief who was jailed for theft in Egypt. And he was charged for driving an unregistered car and his offensive behaviour to police officers when they stopped him. Yep! The highest cleric in Australia. The senior expert on cat meat and women.

    Muslims twist the Koran to their advantage- thats how they can shut down a logical argument. Don’t draw Mohammad. Don’t criticise. Don’t trust a non- Muslim.

    Plus, their religion thrives on fear and suspicion. That’s probably the common thing that unites them. It’s unfortunate to the intelligent, and good- intentioned Muslim person that they get bundled in with the scum.

    Blame Mohammad- he should have thought ahead when crafting his Islam.

  • http://pjmedia.com/blog/al-qaedas-assassination-campaign-against-blasphemous-bloggers/
    As Westerners come under fire for drawing cartoons of Muhammad, Bangladeshi bloggers are being killed with hatchets for professing disbelief in the Islamic prophet or simply promoting a secular society.

    They view it as an “attack,” you see.