DAILY CATHOLIC    THURSDAY     June 10, 1999     vol. 10, no. 112

Pat Ludwa's VIEW FROM THE PEW

To print out entire text of Today's issue, go to SECTION ONE and SECTION TWO
    INTRODUCTION
          Pat Ludwa, a committed lay Catholic from Cleveland, has been asked to contribute, on a regular basis, a lay person's point of view on the Church today. We have been impressed with his insight and the clear logic he brings to the table from his "view from the pew." In all humility, by his own admission, he feels he has very little to offer, but we're sure you'll agree with us that his viewpoint is exactly what millions of the silent majority of Catholics believe and have been trying to say as well. Pat puts it in words that help all of us better understand and convey to others what the Church teaches and we must believe.

          Today Pat follows up on our trilogy criticizing the New Age aspects of the Star Wars phenomena with his own take on how so many have read into things that aren't even there and points out that knowing of something doesn't necessarily mean knowing it just as knowing of God pales in comparison to truly knowing the Almighty as Pat points out in his column as he takes a shot at the Obe-Wan Kenobe mystique in "May the Farce be with you" They forget that the Church, as founded by Our Lord, is not a democracy!

May the Farce be with you

          When Star Wars first came out, I was enthralled. It was a great movie. Star Trek meets Buck Rogers. It had all the action of those old movie serials and with better special effects. Good vs. evil was clearly defined. Imagine my surprise when I was talking about it with a friend. "Did you see Star Wars?" I asked? "Yes, it was great. Such deep theological insights." "WHAT!!!!!!!" "It's an action movie!!!! Not a theological piece!" No one reads JRR Tolkien thinking he's giving an authentic history of the earth or the social lives of hobbits!

          I can see how various things in our life can prompt thoughts of God and our relationshp with Him. I remember talking to my mother how the movie "The Seventh Sign" got me thinking if I would die for Him. But I sure didn't think it was a treatise on Revelations or anything. Now, with the opening of "Star Wars, Episode One - The Phantom Menace" (Which I have not seen yet) I'm not too surprised to read and hear about all these theological discussions being bantered about. Recently in my local paper, someone wrote in the Religious news section that the theology (of the movie) was wrong. Their contention, that First Episode promotes thinking with your heart and not your head. An Obe-Wan vs. Mr. Spock argument. Thing is, it's neither.

          For one faction, faith is what we 'feel', a 'warm fuzzy' theology. If it's right for you, then it's right. The Obe-Wan Kanobe idea of faith. We see them in the Church. We have to redo the Mass (for example) to liven it up, make it more fun to draw people back. As if devotion to God isn't reason enough to attend Mass. We've also seen serious moral errors pushed by this mentality. "God wants me happy, this makes me happy, ergo…." They either forget, ignore, or were never taught Christ's teaching, " And He said, 'What comes out of a man is what defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, fornication, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a man'" (Mark 7:20-23). So we cannot rely on our heart, our conscience without the help and guidance of the Church. Yet, our 'heart' does draw us to God, to seek God. However, often, our wants and desires get in the way of a true search for God. As Christ said, the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. So they weaken and kill their conscience (their heart) and rationalize their way further and further from God.

          So is the answer the Mr. Spock slant? Reason and logic? Not at all. Again, errors, mistakes, and heresies have been put forward with logical, reasoned responses. "I appeal to you, brethren, to take note of those who create dissensions and difficulties, in opposition to the doctrine which you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by fair and flattering words they deceive the hearts of the simple-minded" (Romans 16:17-18).

          Faith is attached to reason but goes beyond it. "God, Who through the Word creates all things (see John 1:3) and keeps them in existence, gives men an enduring witness to Himself in created realities (see Rom. 1:19-20). Planning to make known the way of heavenly salvation," (Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation [DEI VERBUM] Vatican Council II; Ch 1, #3)

          This is the 'force' that Star Wars alludes to. It's this 'knowledge' of God that led those who did not 'know' God to assign names to Him. After all, Aristotle wrote that if we go back to the origin of the world and all creation, we come to the 'unmoved mover', i.e. God. So by logic, we can know that there is a God. But God didn't want us to merely know 'of' Him, but to 'know' Him.

          "Planning to make known the way of Heavenly salvation, He went further and from the start manifested Himself to our first parents. Then after their fall His promise of redemption aroused in them the hope of being saved (see Genesis 3:15) and from that time on He ceaselessly kept the human race in His care, to give eternal life to those who perseveringly do good in search of salvation (see Romans 2:6-7). Then, at the time He had appointed He called Abraham in order to make of him a great nation (see Genesis 12:2). Through the patriarchs, and after them through Moses and the prophets, He taught this people to acknowledge Himself the one living and true God, provident Father and just Judge, and to wait for the Savior promised by Him, and in this manner prepared the way for the Gospel down through the centuries." (Ibid)

          So faith is not devoid of reason. But faith goes beyond reason and logic. Logically, according to the wisdom of the world, Christ's birth, life and death was not according to the way one becomes a leader. Born poor and in obscurity is hardly a way to become great. (Sidhartha [Buddha] was born of royalty). He spoke to relatively few people (hardly the way to get your message known to the maximum number of people). And He was accused of a terrible crimes and executed with known criminals (not the kind of symbol one wants as the leader of a movement). "For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, 'I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the cleverness of the clever I will thwart.' Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?" (1 Corinthians 1:18-20).

          Conscience vs. logic? "For Jews demand signs (feelings) and Greeks seek wisdom (logic), but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men." (1 Corinthians 1:22-25).

          G. K. Chesterton once wrote that it isn't that those who have lost their faith believe in nothing, rather it is that they will believe anything. Even a theology according to Lucas.

          So, next time someone (maybe even a Catholic) comes to you talking about the profound spiritual meaning of Star Wars, just smile and think "May the farce be with you."

      Pax Christi, Pat

June 10, 1999       volume 10, no. 112
VIEW FROM THE PEW

DAILY CATHOLIC

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