Ares Launch and Moon Trivia

I am watching the launch of Ares via NASA TV.

While watching I am chatting with a friend in Rome.

He just reminded me that the Moon is under the jurisdiction of the Diocese of Rome.

When man colonizes the moon and they have to set up a Catholic chapel, etc., it has already been decided by Rome that any space colonization results in the the extension of jurisdiction of the Diocese of Rome no matter which nation does the colonization.

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

    Cool! So.. if reform on earth fails, we work hard to destroy the world and move on? LOL

  2. medievalist says:

    And people say that Rome is anti-modern and never thinks ahead.

    Of course, the moon-chapel (in a modernist style) sounds like the perfect place for outreach to aliens, modern liturgy (easily movable portable tables), minimalist vestments (don’t want that maniple floating upwards) and all other manner of “progressives”. They’ve already been practicing drinking the kool-aid, which will probably be served up there in place of solids. Don’t worry Fr McBrien et al., we’ll make do with those priests with too much liturgical kit to quit the bonds of gravity.

  3. Fr. C says:

    Really? That’s too bad. I grew up in the Diocese of Orlando and thought that maybe the moon might be under the jurisdiction of my home diocese, from which the expedition set out.

    Someone once told me the story (probably not true) that when a former bishop of Orlando was meeting Pope Paul VI, he introduced himself as bishop of the moon (hopefully not true). The Pope looked confused, so the bishop explained that a new territory was under the jurisdiction of the diocese from which the expedition set out. To which the Pope responded, “So, you’re the bishop of the moon.”

    Like I said, probably (hopefully) not true, but it would be funny if it were…

  4. Tim Ferguson says:

    …but if it’s a Ruthenian rocket that gets there first and establishes a chapel of the Ruthenian Church sui iuris, will it still be immediately subject to Rome? Will the Ruthenian pastor of the Lunar chapel have to request permission of Rome, or of his bishop in order to trinate on a weekday? If one of the Ruthenian astronauts decides to marry a Russian Orthodox cosmonaut from the Space Station, who grants permission?

    Sorry…the earlier posting got my Eastern Canon Law neurons firing a bit too much.

  5. FrCharles says:

    I shall petition our Minister General to give my province dibs on implanting the Capuchin order there. When the vice province is erected, I can be vice provincial of the moon!

  6. Tradster says:

    Oh, great! Drinking the Sacred Blood out of squeeze tubes! [ummm… the Moon has gravity.]

  7. lofstrr says:

    Hopefully it will be dedicated the chapel of St. Dymphna, who better to watch over the first lunatics. :)

    And with any luck it will be and extraordinary form mass and stay that way.

  8. lofstrr says:

    “Oh, great! Drinking the Sacred Blood out of squeeze tubes!”

    Naw, the moon has 1/6 earth gravity. You could drink from a chalice if you were very careful. Good enough reason though, to only offer the body to the congregation and that only on the tongue.

    The real trick will be how to celebrate mass in zero g during the months it will take to get to Mars.

  9. Titus says:

    I had heard the same thing about the bishop of Orlando, that the 1917 CIC made the ordinary of the discovering jurisdiction the ordinary of newly arrived-at lands. Did the CIC 1983 or special law (which?) make the change? I wouldn’t be surprised at all, I just wasn’t aware.

  10. Tim Ferguson says:

    the Elevation should be easier there…

  11. TC says:

    Funny you should mention this. I subscribe to Escape Pod, a fantasy/sf podcast and they just had a story about a priest serving on Mars.

    Priests could be rotated back and forth to the Moon but shouldn’t a Bishop be sent to a colony on another planet? In the story the good father has few Catholics to tend to but they would probably have needs only a Bishop could provide like annulments, ordination (one hopes), confirmation.

    here’s the story, not too bad:

  12. Emilio III says:

    Bishop William Borders of Orlando allegedly told Paul VI that according to the (1917) Code of Canon Law he was the de facto bishop of the moon.

  13. Disappointing that the launch got scrubbed due to weather. It’ll be nice if NASA or a private group ever develop a space craft that can launch and return using traditional runways. In theory, that should allow for launches in similar conditions to what Air Traffic Control allows for typical aircraft takeoffs and landings.

  14. pseudomodo says:


    Buzz Aldrin claims to have beat us to it…

    Aldrin is a Presbyterian. After landing on the moon, Aldrin radioed earth: “I’d like to take this opportunity to ask every person listening in, whoever and wherever they may be, to pause for a moment and contemplate the events of the past few hours, and to give thanks in his or her own way.” He received Communion on the surface of the Moon, but kept it secret because of a lawsuit brought by atheist activist Madalyn Murray O’Hair over the reading of Genesis on Apollo 8. Aldrin, a church elder, used a pastor’s home Communion kit given to him by Dean Woodruff and recited words used by his pastor at Webster Presbyterian Church. Webster Presbyterian Church, a local congregation in Webster, Texas (a Houston suburb near the Johnson Space Center) possesses the chalice used for communion on the moon, and commemorates the event annually on the Sunday closest to July 20.

    Hmmmm… maybe not! HOWEVER…

    Astronaut Thomas D. Jones:

    “Just over a week into the mission, one of us realized it was Sunday again, two weeks after Easter. Our shifts overlapped for a few hours, so during one orbital night Sid, Kevin and I gathered on the flight deck for a short Communion service.

    “Kevin, a eucharistic minister, carried the Blessed Sacrament with him, contained within a simple golden pyx. The three of us shared our amazement at experiencing the beauty of creation, and thanked God for good companions and the success achieved so far. Then Kevin shared the Body of Christ with Sid and me, and we floated weightless on the flight deck, grateful for this moment of comradeship and communion with Christ.

    Hmmmmm… Lunar Chapel Here We COME!

  15. bruno says:

    “Funny you should mention this. I subscribe to Escape Pod, a fantasy/sf podcast and they just had a story about a priest serving on Mars.”

    “Priests could be rotated back and forth to the Moon but shouldn’t a Bishop be sent to a colony on another planet? In the story the good father has few Catholics to tend to but they would probably have needs only a Bishop could provide like annulments, ordination (one hopes), confirmation.”

    Bishop Trautman; BISHOP TRAUTMAN;
    Funny, he was here a minute ago!!!

  16. What about other planets? Rome also?

    Not that I am being flippant, just curious. What about “NEW” lands. Not that we have much more to conquer here on Earth, but lets say an area that doesn’t have a diocese?

    Also what about Antartica?

    Can you tell I am avoiding doing work?

  17. It would be simple enough to appoint whatever priest is going to be a chaplain somewhere remote in space to be a bishop. There were times in Ireland when abbots were few and the bishops under them plentiful…. :)

    It really would be helpful for a new bishop or priest on the Moon to have Rome’s direct line. There would likely be a lot of adaptation to be thought out for the low grav situation, and you’d be dealing with people of all nations and religions. Nobody could mess with you once you got a decision from the Pope.

  18. Father Z,
    This raises a questions. How could a priest offer the Holy Sacrifice of The Mass in Space or on the Moon when open flames of any kind are not a good idea let alone incense? Would their have to be a special “space” Missal and rite to accommodate the restrictions of low gravity and zero gravity and artificial environments? The environmental systems would most likely have a hard time with the incense. Would these limitations mean that the TLM would not be able to be offered? How would a Church on the moon deal with the absence of a lit Sanctuary Candle at the Tabernacle? Would new Space friendly Chalices other items need to be designed?

  19. Charivari Rob says:

    Regarding some of the concerns about open flame…

    A little quick research shows that, unlike the Mercury and Gemini programs (and Apollo before and even after the Apollo 1 launch pad test disaster), the space shuttles and the I.S.S. were designed and built to provide near-Earth-baseline atmosphere for their crews (~14.7 p.s.i., ~21% Oxygen/78% Nitrogen). I presume any lunar habitat could and would be built to such a standard.

    They still try to avoid open flame on spacecraft, though.

  20. Charivari Rob,
    It is also important to note that fire does not behave in lower gravity as it does here on Earth. Any flame can be dangerous in low gravity because of the unpredictable behavior. Gravity and airflow cause the flame on Earth to be more manageable. The gravity and airflow caused by it prevent the flame from totally consuming its fuel and thus moderate its burning. In low gravity the flame can become a sphere and totally consume the oxygen and fuel source and expand quickly and at a much higher heat than on Earth.

  21. Rob F. says:

    Ahh, two of my favorite subjects: Physics and Liturgy. I cannot refrain from commenting.

    Candles do indeed behave differently in zero gravity. It is gravity that causes cold air to sink, and therefore, it is gravity that causes hot candle exhaust to rise. Think about it, if there is no “up”, how could hot exhaust possibly “rise”? In zero gravity, the hot exhaust from the candle would not rise, and so the exhaust would not be drawn away from the spherical flame, and the flame would suffocate. To get a candle to burn in zero G, you would have to draw its exhaust away from it, which would also draw fresh oxygen into it. An enclosed candle bulb with two valves and a small pump should do the trick. Your safety officer would probably insist that the valves have a fail-safe that would close them and suffocate the flame if something went wrong. Or you could just get an indult to use electric candles, which would probably look more like a natural candle than something that has a funny shaped flame inclosed in a bulb.

    The moon, however, as Father Zed pointed out, does indeed have gravity, so the flame would not suffocate. Its inflow of oxygen would be reduced but not eliminated; its flame would be low and squat but not spherical. I don’t know whether special lunar-gravity candles would need to be fabricated or whether regular terrestrial candles would still work with the reduced air flow.

  22. Rob F: That was interesting!

  23. Rob F. says:

    Thanks, Father!

    So I did some googling and it turns out that a candle can burn in zero gravity if you hold your breath, don’t move too quickly or flip the pages of your missal:

    It turns out that diffusion allows enough oxygen to reach the wick to keep a very tiny dim flame going despite being surrounded by exhaust. For practical purposes, though, I’ll stand by what I wrote earlier.

    But I’m impressed. Perhaps we won’t need special lunar candles after all!

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