From the Shrine: Captain Kirche!

I simply must swipe all of these from the Shrine.  They are just too good:

Some pretty impressive pictures, I think.

Brandon at This Old Church is awesome:

Is there a prohibition against clerics using phasers?

So is The Lapped Catholic:

Everyone already knew the Curt Jester was awesome. Note the Star Fleet badge on the Papal Cassock:

Casey Truelove is especially awesome, because in addition to these pictures, he also said: "Incidentally, I really like the pun."

This is my favorite:

Jeremy Priest offers a video enhancement of Casey Truelove’s pictures.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Kradcliffe says:

    I love your blog, Father, but you’re a NERD! :P

  2. Guilty as charged. I can even take my cellphone(s) apart and put them back together!  And they work!

  3. Tim Ferguson says:

    However, I can’t imagine His Holiness splitting an infinitive. “Boldly to go where no man has gone before,” thank you very much.

    Or actually, in keeping with the hermeneutic of continuity: “Boldly to go where innumerable saints have trod before.”

  4. Dan Jordan says:

    Canon 1966 (2104 Intergalactic Code of Canon Law)
    1.Use of Phasers by Clerics is banned except for the most grave reasons.

    2. The Supreme Pontiff and other Patriarchs may authorize the use of Phasers for Clerics in Intergalactic Missionary Territories but only in self defense and only on stun.

    3. Clamorous hunting by clerics is banned and clerics are subject to a just penalty.

  5. Jim says:

    Ah, the miracle of photoshop!

  6. KK says:

    Your ability to take your phone apart and reassemble it is legendary. However, I understand that you struggled a little with your iPhone while blindfolded and hanging from your feet listening to a Bernadette Farrell/Dan Schutte CD.

    On headphones.

  7. KK: Who could do anything but barf while listening to that? Even right-side up?

  8. Dan: Shouldn’t that be “Clamorous hunting of clerics is banned and clerics are subject to a just penalty”?

  9. TNCath says:

    Dr. McCoy to Captain Kirche: “He’s DEAD, Ben!”

    So who would the rest of the cast be?

    Mr. Spock: Cardinal Bertone?
    Dr. McCoy: Archbishop Ranjith?
    Mr. Scott: Cardinal Comastri?
    Mr. Sulu: Msgr. Marini?
    Mr. Checkov: Msgr. Ganswein?
    Lt. Uhura: Ingrid Stampa?
    Nurse Chapel: Archbishop Ranjith’s secretary?

  10. AlephGamma says:

    The Pope may be familiar with the German ST parody from German TVs Bullyparade which has three effeminate crewmembers: Caepn’ Kork, Spucky and Schrotti. There was recently a movie, which I must see since I missed it, called i think ‘Unser (T)raumschiff’ ~ ‘Our Dreamboat (Spaceship).’ If he ever appears I foresee il Papa straightening out the crew, since the trio prance around like liturgical dancers constantly giggling over tea time desserts and Prosecco. BTW it was all done in Bavarian (Bayrisch) accented German.

  11. Chironomo says:


    Who to cast as the Klingons though? Extending this analogy begins to cause problems unless you want to cast some of the oppositional Bishops as Klingons and Romulans, but then this would imply some kind of general state of war to exist between the Holy See and the more liberal Bishops. Then again…

  12. TNCath says:


    No way. I won’t touch that one with a ten foot crosier.

  13. Guy Power says:

    “Me transmitte sursum, Caledoni!”

  14. KK says:

    “Feast of the Beaming-Up” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

  15. Frank says:

    I think this is very sad..
    A shake your head sad way of the Catholic faithful using the internet!
    We did not appreciate the art in NY of the ‘Chocolate Jesus’ and I’m sure we don’t want pictures of Our Holy Mother cut and pasted.
    and I don’t see the point of dorking up The Vicar of Christ!

  16. Brian C. says:


    I appreciate a call for decorum as much as anyone… but surely you can see a *qualitative* difference between a comedic portrayal of the Holy Father as a sci-fi HERO, as opposed to a (self-described) pornographic nude portrayal of Our Blessed Lord in chocolate?

    In Christ,

  17. Maureen says:

    If it is appropriate to portray the Pope as Peter, at the helm of the Barque of the Church, or to have a nave in a church, it is surely appropriate to depict the Pope symbolically as the captain of a great starship.

    And indeed, there is a ship of stone and water which navigates the
    Circumsolar Route, and every soul on that vessel is in the Pope’s care.

  18. Cassanda says:

    Maureen: If it is appropriate to portray the Pope as Peter, at the helm of the Barque of the Church, or to have a nave in a church, it is surely appropriate to depict the Pope symbolically as the captain of a great starship.

    That’s obsurd logic. “Peter, at the helm of the Barque” evokes general and universal truths. Benedict at the helm of a starship invokes all the secularist, anti-religious garbage from the pop culture series.

    The more offensive artist assaults are nearly more preferrable to this simply because they are more recognizable. It’s like the difference between the obvious danger of a flood and the insidious danger of an undercut riverbank.

    You could just as well place Benedict at the Jedi Council or the throne room of the DeathStar with all the pantheism of that series. Then you’d have room for Mary as Anakin’s slave mother. Or is that getting uncomfortable?

  19. Antiquarian says:

    Just how long ago was that thread claiming that traditionalists have good senses of humor?

  20. Tim Ferguson says:

    Where’s that fifth book of Aristotle’s Poetics when you need it…

  21. JP says:

    Antiquarians, are Frank and Cassandra traditionalists? Do they even have a sense of humor?

    All I can say is wow, there’s humorlessness and then there’s humorlessness. God save us from the Dead Serious.

  22. JP says:

    Sorry, don’t know where that “s” came from, Antiquarian.

  23. Brian Day says:

    Does the fact that it is 1-April mean anything anymore?


  24. Turtle Girl says:

    Awesome! Freakin’ Sweet! I can’t tell you how many religious and philosophical debates my husband and I have gotten into when watching Sci-Fi–It rocks and any combo of our favorite religious hero and Star Trek is to be commended. My hat is off to you.

    …And in response to Cassandra:

    (Cassandra: Benedict at the helm of a starship invokes all the secularist, anti-religious garbage from the pop culture series)

    Using secular things and “converting” them for our own use is a classically Christian thing to do. Read early Church history or Greek Philosophy or Paul talking to the Greeks at the altar of the uknown god. And Seriously–it is all in good fun. I can get worked up over the smallest liturgical details–because there are so many little things that are important and do matter and small ways to show respect. But these pics are just goofy fun for people who love Sci-Fi (despite it’s pantheistic, gnostic, or secular humanistic leanings) and are also devout Catholics. Just chillax.

    I’ll probably open a can of worms here (I am inwardly wincing, but I can’t seem to help myself sharing this)–but a friend of mine did much the same thing a few years ago and it’s been on my fridge ever since, see this link if you’re interested:'The_Matrix'_Gives_Boost_To_Priesthood_Vocations.htm


  25. Speaking as a lifelong Trek fan and a traditional Catholic with a great sense of scientific curiosity and sense of humor… those are all simply HILARIOUS. My fav has got to be the one from the Curt Jester… only nitpick is that the com badge is TOS when OBVIOUSLY His Holiness is on the Enterprise D. Come on. :)

    On a more serious note, just tonight I watched the Voyager episode (“Critical Care” I think) in which the Doctor finds himself captive in a society that only gives treatment to people based on how “useful” they are. He, of course, spends the whole episode fighting against this and working to convince others of the innate value of every life, whether or not it can “do” anything better. Ironic of course, considering that the Doc is a “thing” himself, being a holographic program, and yet he is the voice of humanity and the champion for the inherent dignity of life. And the best part? He succeeds! His one seemingly small voice changes hearts, one at a time and in the end, with smiles of relief at throwing off such inhumanity, he helps to make a difference in that society’s treatment of its citizens. Sound like something a pro-life Catholic could watch?

    Trek may be secularist, but at least it’s usually the good, old-fashioned, honest secularism that isn’t afraid to tackle the big questions and even to answer them in a way that may seem inconsistent with the more modern, ideological type of secularism – like in tonight’s episode. Its whole premise was, basically, that there is a universal natural law that all life is inherently valued… but if we really are random evolutionary products then on what the heck kind of basis could we make that assumption? Why WOULDN’T it be ok to simply neglect some persons because they are less productive? The episode doesn’t deal with that directly, but that’s the underlying question – the writers have challenged us, subtly, to try to understand WHY we know it was right for the Doctor to fight for the dignity of each person.

    Not bad for a bunch of secularist writers, I’d say.

  26. Cassanda says:

    Humorless? No, not at all.

    But these are fart jokes, pie in the face, Homer Simpson hitting his head (again!). Some people think that’s the pinnacle of humor. If you like fart jokes, just own up to it.

    But don’t insult my intelligence by trying to rationalize the pics a means of cultural evangelization. They’re farts. If you think farts are funny, go ahead and laugh—-guilt free. But stop trying to say farting is Christianizing burritos.

  27. RBrown says:

    Not much for Star Trek. Other than “Forbidden Planet” and “The Day the Earth Stood Still”, I’m not a big Sci Fi fan.

  28. Cassandra –

    It’s playful. Yes. But it also makes a doctrinal claim — that the pope is the head of the Church. And it also makes a value judgment — that he is therefore awesome and beloved. It’s funny to express these sentiments in unexpected ways, but they are really sincere sentiments. You can dismiss that with flatulence, or not find the way these sentiments are expressed interesting, but.. the motivating intent is quite earnest and sincere, if light-hearted!

  29. Cassanda says:

    But it also makes a doctrinal claim—that the pope is the head of the Church.

    If you’re claiming a doctrinal stance, it’s grossly flawed. Placing him on the bridge of a starship in a captain’s chair is hardly suitable for that. Captains report to admirals, Starfleet, and the Federation. And the phaser pic?

    It’s fart. Stop trying to intellectualize it.

  30. Melody says:

    The fact is that we are all nerds about liturgy. It follows that Father Z and others would be nerds about others things. ^_^
    This lowly Trekkie had to wipe off her monitor after seeing those pics.
    One must give the nod first to John C. Wright, who wrote, “If the Vulcans had a church, it would be Catholic.”

    Cassandra- If you watched Star Trek, you would know that the Captain is the highest position because the ship is usually out of immediate contact with Starfleet. Starfleet gives the Captain a mission and then he’s in charge from there. It’s sort of like how the Pope is the visible head of the Church on Earth, while Jesus is the true head. The pics are silly and frivolous in nature, but certainly not disrespectful.

  31. Michael Christopher says:

    Good grief, you people just can’t get a joke or get along for five minutes! Guess I’ll turn on EWTN.

  32. jane says:

    You people (guys?) should be ashamed of yourselves for allowing the Pope to appear in such a ridiculous way. It reminds me of people who dress their dogs up in clothes and prance them around. It just makes me cringe. It is so disrespectful. It calls to mind all the cheap, circus-like liturgies that we all poke fun at…and I really don’t think this is Benedict’s humor, do you??

    jane in memphis

  33. Jordan Potter says:

    Where do these people come from? The other day we heard from some Puritan who didn’t like the image of Pope Benedict enjoying himself on a skateboard. Now we hear from Puritans who don’t like the image of the Pope as a heroic member of a starship crew.

    “Fart jokes”?? Playful and loving homages in honor of our dear Holy Father are “fart jokes”?

    Yeah, humorless is right, and definitely Puritanical. There’s absolutely nothing offensive or disrespectful about Catholic Star Trek fans having fun in this way. But there’s really nothing that can be done for those who take offense when no offensive is given.

  34. Christine says:

    And for those concerned about Captain Kirche’s lowly rank, please note that he does become an Admiral, which I believe is indicated by the last two pictures. Jordan, I think some of these commentators must come from the Borg, since you ask.

  35. Chris Molter says:

    This is unforgiveable! Shameful! Disrespectful! Anti-Catholic! Heretical! Schismatic!

    We all know His Holiness should NEVER be depicted in this way!

    He obviously should be in C&C on Babylon 5 or on the bridge of the White Star! ;)

  36. mary says:

    Hmmm, I’m in favour of him being revealed as the mysterious twelfth cylon myself….

  37. Melody says:

    Nawww… He should be in command of the Battlestar Galactica!

  38. Vincenzo says:

    Melody wrote:

    “Nawww… He should be in command of the Battlestar Galactica!”

    click here

  39. Peg says:

    I’m having a good laugh tonight over this whole conversation…reminds me of Sunday dinner at our house.

  40. Melody says:

    You have mad photoshopping skillz Vincenzo. I felt as if I was looking into Father Z’s second favorite dream (the first would involve more Latin).

  41. Cassanda says:

    Jordan — you obviously don’t know what a Puritan is. I think you’re reaching for the word “prude”. Puritans were the arch-protestants of the “Church” of England who sought to purify it of any vestige of the papacy—thus their name. It’s truly offensive to be called that. I’ll assume you’re just ignorant.

    Melody – stop trying to put a sophisticated spin on bawdy humor. Laugh if you think it’s funny; it’s OK. But the attempt to make a valid Catholic analogy just fails. It would be much more apt, for instance, to equate Starfleet with the Jesuit order. Sent out to disciple the universe (or in Kirk’s case to inseminate it as well). But we all know how it ends with the Jesuits.

  42. Brandon says:

    Well. I’m a traditional. And I have a sense of humor. Look. I made Captain Kirche photos!

  43. Melody says:

    Cassandra- As a lifelong Trekkie and Catholic, I take some exception to that statement. But you are obviously not a Trekkie, or you would understand the implication of this joke: The Pope is greater than Kirk! And Kirk is even better than Chuck Norris! ^_^

    In other words, it’s childlike hero worship, plain and simple. The Church intertwined with our beloved childhood fantasies and dreams. As children we looked up to Kirk and Spock; so now we look to the Pope. Such images clearly imply a shift in priorities and are emblematic of an attitude of “in the world, not of the world”.

  44. Antiquarian says:

    I will say only that those objecting to images of this sort should never explore the Church’s centuries-long practice of liturgical and other religious drama in the Middle Ages. The extravagant use of humor, and even parody, that was once so completely acceptable, even within the Mass, would probably give some of our friends apoplexy.

  45. Melody, well put!

    I wonder what people would do if we jacked all this up a notch, so to speak, and had people read G.K. Chesterton’s poem on the jackass who carried Christ into Jerusalem, whereby the jackass, despised by all, becomes the hero. It reminds me of a certain Alexamenos who was proud to be mocked as a jackass by those who depicted him worshipping a crucified Jackass, who is Christ Jesus. It’s not bad to be fools for Christ’s sake! Alexamenos is my childhood hero, and I’m proud to woship the same crucified Jackass as did he. Now, I hope no one thinks that is blasphemous!

  46. Melody says:

    Fr. Renzo- Thank you. I promise to eventually get around to finishing your trilogy, I did truly love that anecdote.

  47. Laura says:

    Ahhhh, Father Z – Sister Scholastica would have loved it.

    ‘Nuff said.

  48. Jordan Potter says:

    Cassandra said: Jordan—you obviously don’t know what a Puritan is.

    Then how was I able to spot one so easily?

    I think you’re reaching for the word “prude”.

    No, your hypercritical ever-so-serious objection to kindhearted fun and levity is not prudery, it’s puritanical.

    Puritans were the arch-protestants of the “Church” of England who sought to purify it of any vestige of the papacy—thus their name. It’s truly offensive to be called that.

    You’re taking “Puritan” literally, when it should have been obvious I wasn’t referring to the historical English Puritan sect. For my money, your taking offense at humor and at lighthearted homages to our beloved Holy Father is all of a piece with the humorless failure to understand and appreciate Christian culture displayed by the Puritans (and by pretty much all the original Protestants, for that matter). Really, someone photoshops Pope Benedict into some images as a starship captain, and rather than smile and chuckle, you fly off in a huff about the secular humanist values and setting of the Star Trek stories.

    I’ll assume you’re just ignorant.

    It’s never safe to assume that someone with a degree in history is ignorant of who and what the Puritans were.

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