You know Fr. Stan, the mild-mannered, collar-wearing priests at your parish? He’s a jedi. And you can be one too.
One of the coolest things about being Catholic is that you’ve got the fullness of Truth. But it has a cool side effect and it’s that whenever anything in the world has a grain of truth in it, you can see a neat reflection of Catholicism.
So with that, we’re going to jump in our X-Wing and take a pass at the 3 ways that Catholic Priests are just like Jedi.
They Have Power You Can’t See
While it’s true that Jedi can do super cool things like double-jump (well, depending on how far you are in Jedi Fallen Order) and block blaster bolts with their light-sabers, it’s no secret that the real magic of being a Jedi happens a little more behind the scenes.
Whether it’s using Jedi mind tricks or communicating across vast distances, Yoda makes it clear that the real power of a Jedi is not in their physical weapons.
We often forget that priests have power. Real power. We watch movies like Star Wars and we think “power” means the ability to lift rocks with our minds or pull X-Wings out of swamps.
Real power is the power to forgive sins! Real power is the power to bring Jesus into our physical world in the Holy Eucharist! Real power is the power to crush demons with a Crucifix and some Holy Water!
The celibacy of Jedi is a constant theme in Star Wars. While it isn’t explicitly stated as “celibacy,” it’s clearly understood that romantic relationships of any sort are a “no-no.”
We’re all familiar with the most obvious example of why the Jedi Order had this rule. Anakin Skywalker famously destroyed the entire Jedi Order because of his fear of losing the woman he loved.
This fear, as Yoda foretold, led Anakin directly to the Dark Side.
It’s important to understand that this rule was not because love is a bad thing or that romantic relationships are dangerous.
This rule existed because Jedi had a higher calling and attachments to anything other than their service as a Jedi was a distraction and a temptation.
As early as the 4th century we have evidence of the Catholic Church’s teachings on celibate priests.
The Council of Elvira which was held in the early 300’s, made the following statement:
We decree that all bishops, priests and deacons in the service of the ministry are entirely forbidden to have conjugal relations with their wives and to beget children; should anyone do so, let him be excluded from the honour of the clergy. – Council of Elvira CC. 33
While this does make mention of wives, it is clearly understood in Church history that while there were married priests in the early Church, these were men who were married before they were ordained.
In the patristic tradition of the Church, unmarried men who were ordained to the priesthood were not allowed to be married once they took Holy Orders.
There is no reference to celibate priests in the early councils of the Church that would imply it was a new teaching, rather it is a ratification and reinforcement of something already there.
Therefore, it has always been true that Catholic priests were celibate, or at least meant to be.
While many people question the relevance of celibacy today, it is as important as it ever was.
- Chris was celibate during His life on earth.
- The priest’s real identity is to be an “Alter Christus” (another Christ) and as such, his true identity is found in Jesus and His Church, not in a marital union.
- Celibacy is a gift from God that is freely bestowed on those who are called to the priesthood. Priests willingly accept the gift of celibacy and understand what it means.
- The priesthood is not for the priest, but for the Church. Those who answers God’s call to the priesthood must be capable of giving themselves “totally and unconditionally to the brethren.” (From The Relevance of Priestly Celibacy Today by Crescenzio Sepe, Secretary of the Congregation for the Clergy)
If you’ve got a few extra minutes, Bishop Barron’s explanation of celibacy is a good one.
Similarly to the Jedi, priests have a higher calling than marriage.
This does not mean that marriage is bad or that we should not desire marriage. It does mean that marriage is not the only option for men and that the priesthood should be seriously considered by all Catholic men before choosing to marry.
Just like the Jedi Order, the Order of Melchizedek requires detachment from certain things so that a greater purpose may be pursued.
Anyone who has been married (like me) immediately recognizes how difficult the life of a married priest would be. Neither the Church nor their family would receive the attention or commitment necessary to flourish.
They Have A Lightsaber
Okay, this one is a little bit of a stretch, but not by much! Priests don’t literally have lightsabers, but after I explain myself, you’re going to realize they have something much better.
Most people are pretty familiar with the lightsaber. They can basically cut through anything, they block blaster bolts, and they made crime scene cleanup a thing of the past.
Most importantly, though, lightsabers are understood the be the weapon of the Jedi Knight. Jedi and lightsabers go together.
The Priestly Lightsaber
While priests don’t literally carry around a “laser sword” that can cut through any known metal with ease, they do carry a different kind of sword, one that has been shown to have immense power.
This video is only 2.5 minutes long. This is Bishop Oliver Doeme from Nigeria sharing a story about how Jesus appeared to him in December of 2014. Jesus was holding a sword in his hand and he held it out to the Bishop. When the bishop took the sword, it turned into a rosary.
Jesus then said “Boko Haram is gone” three times. Boko Haram was a radical Muslim group that terrorized Nigeria for many years.
Today, through the power of the rosary, they are all but extinct. History is full of stories like this, revealing the power of the rosary.
One thing that is certain is Mary has a special place in her heart for priests. Because Mary is the Mother of the High Priests, Jesus, she is in a special way the Mother of priests. Priests who devote themselves to the rosary truly do carry a sword in their hand to wield against Satan.
Finding Jesus In Star Wars
Just because something isn’t specifically Catholic, doesn’t mean there isn’t meaning in Truth. Whenever we bump up against true things, we see reflections of other true things, we see reflections of God in anything that is true.
The idea of this article is not for you to watch a million hours of Star Wars thinking it will make you a better Catholic.
The point of this article is to help you see that the real war is not a fantasy one in a galaxy far, far away. It’s very easy to get caught up in all the stories and imagination that comes with modern movies and video games.
The only problem is that there is a very real story happening right now. Your story. That story doesn’t involve lightsabers and telekinesis, but it does involve real power, real villains, real heroes, and most importantly, you.
Priests aren’t really Jedi, no. They’re way more important.
If you’ve ever wanted to be a Jedi, you might just want to be a priest.
If you’ve ever found yourself wishing Jedi were real, well maybe you should take a closer look at Fr. Stan next time you’re at mass. 😉