Bear Growls: Theology: The Art of the Possible

Friday, August 14, AD 2015

I suspect that our Bruin friend at Saint Corbinian’s Bear is also a fan of Evita:

 

This scene from Evita takes a grimly comical look at Argentine politics. The name of the piece is a quote by Otto von Bismarck, “Politics is the Art of the Possible.” This realpolitik view was echoed by Pope Francis during his visit to Korea a year ago when he paraphrased Bismarck (or the musical) by saying, “Diplomacy is the art of the possible.”

Too often lately, we seem to be hearing prelates saying “Theology is the art of the possible.” The Bear was inspired (last year) to write his own lyrics for Jorge: The Musical. He didn’t have to change much. Imprecision, double-talk and misdirection have been the hallmarks of this papacy.

Theology is the Art of the Possible

PRELATES
One has no rules
Is not precise
One rarely acts
The same way twice
One spurns no device
Practicing the art of the possible

One always picks
The easy fight.
One praises fools
One smothers light.
one shifts left to right
It’s part of the art of the possible.

THE BEAR (on the air)
I’m only a blogger, in fact I’m a Bear.
But as a pewsitter I wanted to share.
We are tired of
the decline of
Our Church
with no sign of

A Vatican able to give us the things we deserve!

PRELATES
One always claims
Mistakes were planned.
When risk is slight
One takes one’s stand.
With much sleight of hand
Theology–the art of the possible.

One has no rules
Is not precise.
One rarely acts
The same way twice.
One spurns no device
Theology–the art of the possible.

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6 Responses to Bear Growls: Theology: The Art of the Possible

  • “This pontificate has been an eye opener for me as to how many prelates seem to really believe in little other than their own careers.”

    The village of North Hinksey, just outside Oxford, has a fine mediaeval church, St Lawrence, that dates back to the 12th century. Like many such churches in England, it has a board listing the rectors who have served the cure for close on a millennium.

    One, in particular, is calculated to engage the attention of the visitor: Nicholas Hodge, who was rector from 1531 to 1589. A tenure of 58 years would be remarkable in any age, but bear in mind that some two years after his induction, Parliament passed the act of 24 Hen 8 c 12, restraining appeals to Rome, the first salvo in the English Reformation.
    The Rev Mr Hodge would have taken the oath of Supremacy under the act of 1534; he would have used the First Prayer Book of 1549 under Edward VI and may have used the short-lived Second Prayer Book of 1552. At all events, the following year he would have been reconciled to Rome under Mary. Perhaps, he witnessed the burning of Cranmer, Latimer and Ridley in nearby Oxford.
    Six years later, he would have, once again, discarded his missal, his breviary and his rituale for Queen Elizabeth’s Book and in 1563, he would have subscribed the Thirty-Nine Articles (dubbed by Catholics and Puritans alike the “Forty stripes save one”), in what sense we know not; no doubt his supple conscience was adequate to the occasion.

    We cannot doubt the sincerity with which he would have welcomed the defeat of the Armada in 1588, for he had recanted his errors in 1553 and the Spanish manner of dealing with a relapsed heretic was not pleasant. He must have been at least 82 when, the following year he was called to his long account.

    Only the length of his incumbency makes him remarkable among the English clergy of that troubled age.

  • “I do think the shifting that many of our prelates have been engaging in lately is a mad scramble from right to left.”

    What need is there for a mad scramble to get to where you already are? The leftist bent of the western episcopate long predates this pontificate. The prelates leftism is not Pope Francis’ fault, Pope Francis is their fault. What I mean by that is they were able to get their guy elected.

  • “What I mean by that is they were able to get their guy elected.”

    With largely the same Cardinals who elected Pope Benedict, the only changes being men chosen by Pope Benedict. Most of the Cardinals were buying a pig in a poke, as is usually the case with papal elections. I doubt if many of them privately view with pleasure the Pope steering the Church towards a huge schism, although they mostly lack the guts right now to state so openly. The test of course will be who is chosen after Francis.

  • “With largely the same Cardinals who elected Pope Benedict, the only changes being men chosen by Pope Benedict.”

    From whom Bergoglio got the second highest vote count in the 2005 Conclave. So, he wasn’t exactly an unknown quantity among the Cardinal electors going into the 2013 Conclave.

    “I doubt if many of them privately view with pleasure the Pope steering the Church towards a huge schism, although they mostly lack the guts right now to state so openly.”

    They may not be pleased with the manner this pope is proceeding, but they share the same ideological vision that is the driving force behind this pontificate.

  • “So, he wasn’t exactly an unknown quantity among the Cardinal electors going into the 2013 Conclave.”

    True, but according to vote totals from an anonymous cardinal he was a very distant second, never getting more than 35 votes in 2005 on the same ballot where Cardinal Ratzinger got 65.

    “but they share the same ideological vision that is the driving force behind this pontificate.”

    If true, that would be quite a switch among Cardinals who voted for Pope Benedict in 2005 and those made Cardinals by Pope Benedict who voted in 2013.

    I think that hard core supporters of Pope Francis may have known his views in 2013, but I think for most Cardinals he was largely an unknown quantity, particularly since this was an unexpected conclave, rather than a conclave after a Pope has been visibly ailing for quite some time.

    No, I doubt if a majority of Cardinals support the actions and views of Pope Francis. What they do support is keeping their jobs, and thus the Pope in power will always have the support and allegiance of the careerists, always the largest faction among the cardinals.

  • “True, but according to vote totals from an anonymous cardinal he was a very distant second, never getting more than 35 votes in 2005 on the same ballot where Cardinal Ratzinger got 65.”

    Remember, it only took four ballots in 2005 to elect Ratzinger. And Bergoglio topped out at 40 by the second ballot. At that stage, many Cardinal electors are still casting tribute votes. Given this backdrop, that’s pretty significant. And I think that same anonymous Cardinal also said Bergoglio, seeing they didn’t have the votes to derail a Ratzinger election, urged his supporters to cast their votes for Ratzinger, thus preventing a more lengthy conclave that probably still would have resulted in a Ratzinger election. Seen in light of the Benedictine abdication and the Vatican bureaucracy running roughshod over his pontificate prior to that historic event, one can wonder why Ratzinger got elected in the first place. He was an old man at the time, who already had a well-documented history of health problems and never had much in the way of physical stamina. A simple reading of his memoir Milestones will bare that out. Also, such an election can give the appearance of a desire for continuity of St JPII’s pontificate, given his closeness to JPII. You had expressed similar suspicions:

    “Alas that is often not the case, and one wonders whether Pope Benedict, such an old hand at the Vatican, ever gained real control of it. Was he elected with the thought that he would be a brief transitional figure, with a large group of cardinals in the background eager to gradually shift the course of the Church back to where it had been prior to the pontificate of Pope John Paul II, a movement that has reached fruition in the current pontificate? Was pressure of some sort exerted on Pope Benedict to get him to resign? Was blackmail involved? One does not have to see conspiracies around every corner to suspect that not a fraction of the story behind the resignation has yet been revealed.” (Popewatch Mystery July 20, 2015)

    Also, there is the fact that Bergoglio was elected after only 5 ballots in an “unexpected” conclave.

    “No, I doubt if a majority of Cardinals support the actions and views of Pope Francis.”

    Oh, the overwhelming majority do support his ideological views that fall outside the realm of faith and morals. I mean look at the writings of individual bishops and statements from bishops’ conferences themselves. It’s leftism run amok. If you read Laudato Oh No No, (er Laudato Si) you will find copious references to statements from bishops conferences. And the swipe at “trickle down” economics in Evangelii Guadium is also very telling. The term trickle down was an American left-wing pejorative aimed at Reagan’s economic policies. And we both know the U.S. Bishops were hostile to Reagan’s economic policy as well as his foreign policy.

    Furthermore, Papa Bene wasn’t exactly right of center on matters outside of the imperatives of faith. Although he wasn’t aggressive in forcing this on everyone the way Pope Francis is, he held pretty much the same views on “climate change” for example. He wasn’t as callously dismissive of opposing views, there was no evidence that he took the views of “climate change” skeptics seriously.

    This pontificate is not the cause of episcopal leftism as much as it is the product of it.

A New Argentina

Saturday, June 1, AD 2013

Something for the weekend.  A New Argentina from Evita.  From his earliest boyhood the songs from Evita were always a favorite of my son Larry.  He inherited that liking from his parents, my bride and I both enjoying Evita and playing the songs frequently.

A lovely musical, although the reality of Juan and Eva Peron was a disaster for Argentina and continues to be due to their political successors some six decades since Eva Peron departed this vale of tears and almost four decades since Juan Peron joined her.  The Perons mixed populism, corruption, dictatorial methods and a fair amount of style into a heady brew that kept Peron in power from 1944-1955  until he picked a fight with the Catholic Church by attempting to legalize divorce and prostitution.    When he attempted to take over the Catholic schools Pius XII excommunicated him.  Peron was sent packing into exile by a military coup.  His ruinous economic policies had sent Argentina into an economic tailspin and at the time his removal was largely popular.

However, in his absence the style and glamor of his regime helped sustain the Peronist political movement in Argentina and led to his eventual recall and a second attempt to destroy Argentina with a Presidency from 1973-1974 ending with his death at 79.  His third wife, Isabel, 36 years his junior, a former cabaret dancer, succeeded him as President.  The Peronists attempted to bill her as a second Evita, but she lacked the essential ingredient of style, and she was toppled by a military coup in 1976.  Since that time the history of Argentina has been largely a tale of misrule by the military and by the Peronists, an amorphous political group usually, although not always, noted for their  unicorn and fairy dust make believe fiscal and economic policies that bear some resemblance to the policies of the current government in this country.

What John Randolph of Roanoke immortally said about Edward Livingston fits Juan and Eva Peron to a T:

He is a man of splendid abilities, but utterly corrupt. He shines and stinks like rotten mackerel by moonlight.

The video at the beginning of this post is from the current broadway revival.  Here is A New Argentina from the original London cast in 1978:

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12 Responses to A New Argentina

  • One thing I do not understand about Argentina is that the country does not have a contextually large public sector deficit (see here)

    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CDAQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.eclac.org%2Fpublicaciones%2Fxml%2F3%2F48593%2FArgentina.pdf&ei=FtGpUcH-L5Gx4AOg_4DABA&usg=AFQjCNHfEyKax1fnKQpFWXp54aFwf_K8iA&sig2=NeQYRTjrqYVJMjqBlTkw0g&bvm=bv.47244034,d.dmg

    and yet they are printing money like mad (and then falsifying price statistics).

  • A good overview of the mess that is Argentina:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jerry-nelson/argentina-the-next-egypt_b_3087977.html

    The show Journalism For All has been getting sky high ratings exposing the corruption of the Evita Wannabe currently running the place:

    http://en.mercopress.com/2013/05/27/program-on-kirchnerite-corruption-exposure-beats-football-in-argentina

  • Argentina had the world’s seventh biggest economy in the year 1900. Not anymore.
    Argentina is populated, for the most part, by descendants of immigrants from Spain and Italy and being overwhelmingly (nominally) Catholic, and they approved gay marriage not long ago. Argentina should not be an economic basket case, but it usually is.

    When Pinochet took over Chile in 1973, ousting the socialist Allende, one of the things he did was to gather up the leftists and liquidate them. I make no excuses for this, but it is what Castro and Che did in Cuba to anyone who they thought opposed them. Pinochet did set Chile on a proper economic development path. I offer this as a reason why Chile is not bankrupt and has not enacted gay marriage (or legal abortion as far as I know).

  • Argentina is living proof of how foolish government policies can take a prosperous economy and drive it into the ditch.

  • When Pinochet took over Chile in 1973, ousting the socialist Allende, one of the things he did was to gather up the leftists and liquidate them.

    Salvador Allende one 1.076 million votes in 1970. Amnesty International has put the death toll attributable to the Chilean government during the Pinochet years at about 3,200 (and fairly minimal after 1977, IIRC).

  • Instapundit: “Socialism never works as a policy, but thanks to human traits of envy and gullibility, it’s often successful as a con.”

    Argentina is blessed with vast natural resources and an educated citizenry. My son went to engineering grad school in U Puerto Rico where there were numbers of foreign students from Central and South America. We had the honor of hosting two Argentine grad students when they visited NYC. One evening I asked why a country with obvious natural riches and blessed with an educated and energetic populace could be so economically backward. The answer was the government and corruption; whenever there was an election they could not know which way things would go.

    Walter Russell Mead cited at Instapundit:

    “Argentina and Venezuela may one day grow weary of being global laughingstocks and turn to sensible policies, but at least for now the socialist dream lives on.

    “The BBC reports that product scarcity has forced Venezuela’s ‘only wine maker’ to stop selling wine to the Catholic Church, which is already suffering from a shortage of consecrated bread as flour is increasingly hard to come by and wheat is only imported from abroad. Milk, sugar and cooking oil have also been affected by the country’s currency controls and centralized control of the economy or, as the government likes to call it, the “opposition-led conspiracy.” On the bright side, however, the country’s crippling toilet paper shortage is now (temporarily) under control.

    “Not to be outdone, Argentina is facing an economic collapse of its own in which inflation, import taxes, and import restrictions have made goods either impossibly overpriced or impossible to find. Worse, the Economist reports, restricted access to foreign currency has forced ordinary Argentines to buy dollars on the black market at nearly double the official rate.”

  • Don, I hope that your admiration for the songs from ‘Evita’ doesn’t extend to that dreadful parody of the Salve Regina …

  • Actually John I think that song underlines the danger of attempting to turn politicians into demi-gods which I believe is one of the points made by the musical.

  • The British Foreign Secretary, Sir Anthony Eden (as he then was) said of Peron that “his character was beneath his talents”

  • Venezuela and Argentina are examples of the miserable history of Latin America after that region won its independence from Spain.

    Blessed with a favorable climate (in most places) and vast natural resources, political corruption, violence and hostility to the Catholic Church and the United States on the part of the Leftist Elite has been the usual formula from the Rio Grande river to Tierra Del Fuego for nearly 200 years.

    I am a student (not an expert) on Latin American history, some of which has occurred within the borders of the USA. It is very complicated, but Latin America usually succeeds in shooting itself in the foot while Southeast Asia, with few natural resources, shows how well capitalism can work.

  • Venezuela and Argentina are examples of the miserable history of Latin America after that region won its independence from Spain.

    General levels of affluence in Latin America are about average in this world. They do tend to have malintegrated labor markets. Leaving aside some border skirmishes, there has been only one inter-state war since 1885, and that involved only two countries. There has been a great deal of intramural political violence (in Mexico, Colombia, Guatemala, El Salvador, Peru, and Nicaragua, especially). Street crime is a wretched menace bar in Chile. The place could be better and could be worse.

  • I recall a common, if rather cynical, saying in the City of London – “Brazil is the country of the future – and always will be”

And The Money Kept Rolling In

Saturday, July 24, AD 2010

Something for the weekend.  And the Money Kept Rolling In from the musical Evita.  I have always loved Evita, a rousing extravaganza that warns of the dangers of electing charismatic clueless demagogues who then bankrupt a nation with hare-brained policies.  The 1996 film version managed the major miracle of being the only film featuring Madonna Louise Ciccone that I can watch without brain cells dying en masse.

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7 Responses to And The Money Kept Rolling In