Star Wars and Catholicism

There are a lot of similarities between the Jedi Order and the Catholic Church. I usually do not use popular culture to analyze and compare to the Catholic faith, but Star Wars fits it so well that many can agree to such an exception.

Z13
“Attachment leads to jealousy, the shadow of greed that is.” ~ Yoda (Episode III – Revenge of the Sith)

It is often heard that life as a Christian means denying oneself to follow Christ. What does that mean and why? It means we must deny ourselves of the worldly things that distract us and keep us from loving God. Jealousy and greed are indeed ugly things; in fact they are two of the seven deadly sins officially known as envy and avarice. As deadly sins, as the name suggests, are deadly to the soul and do lots of damage. The Catechism states, “Envy represents a form of sadness and therefore a refusal of charity” (2540). Although Jedi Master Yoda refers to greed as an obsession with maintaining human beings, it still leads to the dark side the way that greed, or love of money, “is the root of all evils” (cf. 1 Timothy 6:10). The Catechism says that avarice is “the desire to amass earthly goods without limit” (cf. 2536). It can be argued, however, that Yoda is referring to attachment to anything; so, he might as well be implying attachment to material goods as well. This would not be surprising as Supreme Chancellor, soon to be Emperor Palpatine, would have a desire to gather material goods without limit “and their attendant power” (cf. 2552).

Z13

“Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.” ~ Yoda (Episode I – The Phantom Menace)

Anger, or wrath as called in Catholic theology, is one of the seven deadly sins. Hate and anger all too often go hand in hand. The “Lord asked for peace of heart and denounced murderous anger and hatred as immoral” (cf. CCC 2302). Unrighteous anger seeks to destroy, either physically or psychologically, and in either case is against charity. Christians are called to renounce this anger, as Saint Paul reminds us: “All bitterness, fury, anger, shouting, and reviling must be removed from you, along with all malice” (Ephesians 4:31).

“Whatever it is, I didn’t do it.” ~ Watto (Episode II – Attack of the Clones)

Star Wars fans remember the countless times that bystanders express their paranoia of the Jedi, due to horror stories they have heard, both true and false, about fallen Jedi and they have thus come to affiliate their evil deeds with the Jedi Order. The Catholic Church is certainly no stranger to this; as Catholics we often get targeted for the sins of a few Catholics who have gone rogue and have violated the moral doctrines of the Church just as the fallen Jedi violated the Jedi Code. What the Church teaches is in its documents, not in the sins of members. The Church also is often criticized for its just war doctrine; the Church teaches, “All citizens and all governments are obliged to work for the avoidance of war,” and at the same time, “as long as the danger of war persists and there is no international authority with the necessary competence and power, governments cannot be denied the right of lawful self-defense, once all peace efforts have failed” (cf. 2308). The Jedi Order strove for peace and justice in the galaxy, just as the Catholic Church does on Earth, but like the Church, the Jedi Order accepted that when an aggressor could not be peacefully stopped, then defense via war was necessary. Some saw this hypocritical of the Jedi the way some see this hypocritical of the Church. Some would see a contradiction with a Church founded upon Jesus Christ who taught us to turn the other cheek, yet the same Lord told His disciples that “one who does not have a sword should sell his cloak and buy one” (cf. Luke 22:36). Nevertheless, even in times of war, the Jedi Order had a moral code to follow in making sure not to harm innocent, unarmed civilians or even prisoners of war. So too does the Church. The Catechism says that “the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated” (cf. 2309). It further states, “Every act of war directed to the indiscriminate destruction of whole cities or vast areas with their inhabitants is a crime against God and man, which merits firm and unequivocal condemnation” (2314). It also says, “The arms race does not ensure peace” (2315).

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s