Pope St. Zosimas succeeded Innocent on March 18, 417 and died a little over a year later on December 26, 418. He was headstrong in insisting that the rights of the Church were paramount in the face of foreign interference. He was of very strict morals and decreed that illegitimate children could not be raised to the priesthood. It was Zosimas who dispatched the first apostolic vicars to the Franks.
His successor was Pope Saint Boniface I who was elected the 42nd successor of Peter on December 28, 418. His pontificate lasted until his death on September 4, 422. It was during his papacy that the secular power interference first raised its ugly head with the interference of Charles of Ravenna in regards election of the Popes. Boniface's consecration was delayed for several months because of opposition presented by Charles.
Pope St. Celestine I followed him on September 10, 422. His pontificate would last ten years in which he would convene the Third Ecumenical Council at Ephesus in 431 in which the divine maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary would be declared dogma and Nestorianism - what the followers of Nestorius, Patriarch of Constantinople preached would be condemned along with Pelagianism. It was Celestine who would send Saint Patrick to Ireland and it was during his papacy that the mention was first made of the "pastoral staff."
Celestine's successor was Pope Saint Sixtus III who was elected on July 31, 432 four days after Celestine's death. Sixtus would enlarge and embellish the Basilicas of Saint Mary Major and Saint Lawrence. This 44th Vicar in the line of Peter authored several epistles and upheld the jurisdiction of Rome over Illyria against the Easter Emperor who wanted Illyria dependent on Constantinople.
On the death of Sixtus, Pope Saint Leo the Great was the chosen 45th successor of Peter and consecrated on the feast of St. Michael in God's providence. St. Leo I enjoyed the longest reign of any pontiff to date - 21 years. But he needed that time for there were many trials ahead such as more heresies and threatened schisms, specifically the heresy of Eutychianism, so named after another powerful monk - this time in the court of Constantinople - who professed there was only one nature in Jesus. This was condemned at the Council of Chalcedon in 451, the Fourth Ecumenical Council called by Leo. He also called the Fifth Ecumenical Council at Constantinople two years later in which the Three Chapters were condemned. From there it was "out of the frying pan into the fire" for a few years later Attila the Hun, known to all as the "Scourge of God", paraded his hordes to the gates of Rome. There Leo went out bravely to meet this feared despot who was drooling in anticipation of capturing this most prized city. Leo prevailed upon Attila to turn back. With Heavenly intervention in which Attila was allowed see both Saint Peter and Saint Paul standing behind Pope Leo, Attila turned and ordered his men not to attack to everyone's astonishment, including the Hun leader's own chiefs. But Attila knew he was dealing with more than mere mortals here and thus Christianity was saved at the gates of Rome as this barbaric leader turned on his heals, retreating all the way back to the Danube River. Leo passed to his eternal reward on November 10, 461.
As we will learn in next week's installment, Rome and the entire continent of Europe eventually fell under the darkened veil of barbarism, but the missionaries and teachers of the Church mingled with the barbarians and brought the light once more out of the darkness through their faith, patience, understanding, and love. Great saints rose up such as St. Patrick who migrated to Ireland, Saint Augustine to England, Saint Boniface to Germany. The rest is history as these nations along with Italy, Spain and France were converted to Christianity opening the door for the Golden Age of the Mass, which we will explore in following installments as we follow the development of the Eucharistic Liturgy during the fourth, fifth and sixth centuries.
But if you've ever asked yourself what goes on inside the mind of the man who made the movie, where does he get his inspiration and, as Alice in Wonderland asked the Cheshire cat: "what does it all really mean?" then read on. You might be surprised at what you find.
During his recent interview with Bill Moyers published in Time's April 26 edition, Lucas admits: "With Star Wars I consciously set about to re-create myths and the classic mythological motifs." And adds, "I'm telling an old myth in a new way. ... I guess I'm localizing it for the end of the millennium more than I am for any particular place."
In a 1997 L.A. Times Magazine article, Patrick Goldstein remarked that "Lucas is as well read as any filmmaker of his generation -- one of his impromptu monologues on the psychological imprint of mythology in primitive cultures could easily pass muster at any graduate seminar lecture."
Andrew Gordon, an English professor at the University of Florida, commented that Lucas, "with the more overt treatment of archetypes," is also "playing to the academics who have touted his saga from the beginning as serious modern-day mythology. "
But what about the actual content of the Star Wars trilogy, and now, the new Phantom Menace release: is it "just a movie" as Lucas retorted in a New York press conference last week, or is there an intentional effort to propose "something else?"
Michael Medved, author of the bestseller "Hollywood Versus America" and the follow-up video "Hollywood Versus Religion," points out that it's na´ve to accept movie director's assertions that hidden religious messages are often "unintentional" and that viewers are just "reading more into the script" than what's really there.
How can you possibly admit that these things have been "overlooked" in major studio productions, he affirms, when directors and producers spend thousands of dollars investigating the most minute aspects of every scene, from the period costumes to background lighting to the best camera angles for the greatest impact on viewers? Religious objects, images and especially dialogue, he maintains, are carefully combed and reworked until the effect is "just right."
In Lucas' case, much of the mythological content of his own work has come under the direct influence of the late American mythologist and philosopher of religion, Joseph Campbell.
According to Donal Leonard, professor of philosophy of religion at the Pontifical Atheneum Regina Apostolorum in Rome, who did his doctoral thesis on Joseph Campbell, "in Lucas Campbell maintained that he saw the man who understands what metaphor is and managed to translate aspects of his work into modern problems, such as the relation between man and the machine."
"George Lucas," he adds, "has on many occasions explicitly referred to this influence. Lucas changed the script after readings of Campbell's 'The Hero with a Thousand Faces' and 'The Masks of God.' Up until 1994, Lucas was a member of the Board of Advisors of the Joseph Campbell Foundation."
In fact, in a tribute to Campbell in 1985, film-maker Lucas affectionately referred to him as "my Yoda" and explained that he was indebted to Campbell for many of the main ideas present in the cosmology of the original trilogy. Campbell, in turn, said he was "proud that something I did helped [George] define his own truth."
He was raised a Catholic in New Rochelle, N.Y. and devoured children's books on American Indian folklore, as well as amassing a large personal collection of Indian artifacts. He began having serious doubts of faith in his undergraduate years at Dartmouth College and, after receiving his M.A. in literature from Columbia, he spent two years studying in Europe, first at the University of Paris, then in Munich, where he discovered the works of Freud and Carl Jung.
Belden Lane, professor of theology and American studies at Saint Louis University, writes that Campbell was "continually drawn to the image world of medieval Christianity as symbolized in the cathedral of Chartres" and that he "recognized the force of Christian myth."
Nevertheless, Lane continues, "he also harshly criticized Western theology and carefully distanced himself from the church. Christian theology, in his view, needs the intensive and universalizing influences of mythology. Campbell frequently would contrast the priest, who serves as a custodian of facts, with the shaman, who functions as a sharer of experience. He cited Jung's warning that religion can easily become a defense against the experience of God."
While an academic in his own right and an accomplished writer, Joseph Campbell broke into mainstream America during a six-part television interview with Bill Moyers, which quickly became the highest rated broadcast in the history of PBS.
The 1988 interview was filmed "on location" at the sprawling 2,500-acre Skywalker Ranch in Marin County, California, owned by none other than George Lucas. During the encounter, which later was adapted into the best-selling book, "The Power of Myth," Campbell expounds his vision of myth, religion, belief, symbols and everything having to do with the "religious experience."
Some claim that it was this interview, together with the original Lucas Star Wars trilogy which unleashed the landslide of interest in all things religious which overtook the U.S. in the past two decades.
"Channeling cosmic forces," "searching for your 'inner-self,' " "seeking to balance the light side with the dark side," among others, all began to trickle down into the ordinary lives of soccer moms and yuppie executive dads and emerged into what was eventually vaguely labeled as "New Age" philosophy, complete with its own music, artwork, retreat centers and gurus.
Several sociologists hold that the popularizing "force" for this mystical movement initially came from the underlying spiritual motif of the Star War series which allowed viewers to forget their post-Vietnam fears and escape from reality into the reassuring mythology of a distant land "a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away."
So it's not surprising that reporters have described some of the "warrers" camped out for nights in front of theaters for tickets to the first release of the new trilogy as "pilgrims" at the end of the millennium looking for a new religious experience of the force.
As the promotional material of the 'Phantom Menace' proclaims: "Every saga has a beginning" but some, whether tired of so much modern mythology or just overwhelmed by the phenomenon of the social event and Toys-R-Us tie ins, are already beginning to ask "when will it ever end?" ZE99052122
He remained in this post until Pope John Paul II included him among the names in the Consistory of June 28, 1988 when he received his red hat and the titular church of St. Mary Liberator along a Monte Testaccio. He was reassigned as Librarian and Archivist of the Holy Roman Church until 1992 when the Holy Father made him Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Sacraments, a position he held until 1998 when he resigned his post because of age and Cardinal Jorge Arturo Medina Estevez was named to replace him as Prefect. During his tenure in the curia, Cardinal Javierre Ortas was very active and involved in the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, the Congregation for the Bishops, the Congregation for Catholic Education and the Congregation for the Clergy as well as the Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura plus the Pontifical Council for the Laity, the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity and the Pontifical Council for Interpretation of Legislative Texts.
Two years short of his eightieth birthday, Cardinal Javierre Ortas is expected to retire fully then but for now he continues to be partially involved in various curial projects and his writing while residing at Via Rusticucci 13, 00193 in Rome.
Everything happens for a reason. Nothing happens by chance or by means of good luck. Illness, injury, love, lost moments of true greatness, and sheer stupidity all occur to test the limits of your soul. Without these small tests, whatever they may be, life would be like a smoothly paved, straight, flat road to nowhere. It would be safe and comfortable, but dull and utterly pointless.
The people you meet who affect your life, and the success and downfalls you experience, help to create who you are and who you become. Even the bad experiences can be learned from. In fact, they are probably the most poignant and important ones.
If someone hurts you, betrays you, or breaks your heart forgive them, for they have helped you learn about trust and the importance of being cautious when you open your heart. If someone loves you, love them back unconditionally, not only because they love you, but because in a way, they are teaching you to love and how to open your heart and eyes to things.
Make every day count. Appreciate every moment and take from those moments everything that you possibly can for you may never be able to experience it again. Talk to people that you have never talked to before, and actually listen. Let yourself fall in love, break free, and set your sights high. Hold your head up because you have every right to. Tell yourself you are a great individual and believe in yourself, for if you don't believe in yourself, it will be hard for others to believe in you. You can make of your life anything you wish.
Create your own life and then go out and live it with absolutely no regrets. Most importantly, if you love someone tell them, for you never know what tomorrow may have in store. And learn a lesson in life each day you live.
Today is the tomorrow you were worried about yesterday. Was it worth it?
The pressures and the stress of life
Can just put you in a spin.
Just when you think you'll get ahead;
You find you just can't win.
Somehow you find the courage
to hold your head up high.
You find a way to smile,
When you really want to cry.
I think it comes from giving,
And from realizing, too
That there are others in this world
With problems more than you.
By seeking out these others
We can lift a burdened mind,
And turn a frown into a smile
Just by being kind.
If we but turn to God for help.