From a reader…
It occurs to me that two of the three people on Apollo 11 were in the military at the time of their trip the moon. The command module pilot, Michael Collins, and the lunar module pilot, Buzz Aldrin, were both active duty military at the time of their trip. Is there an argument to be made that this is sufficient to make the moon part of the Archdiocese of the Military?
Thanks for your good work, and for keeping it light at times too.
There are a few bishops and priests, etc., whom I would happily send to your planet’s Moon, so that they could straighten the situation out for good.
However, as it stands now, it seems that the Moon is under the jurisdiction of the Diocese of Orlando.
“ORLANDO?!?’, you may be saying. “Disneyworld? EPCOT? THAT Orlando?”
The idea is that, back in 1969 when Apollo 11 landed on the Moon, the Diocese of Orlando included Cape Canaveral. Because the journey to the Moon began from the Diocese of Orlando, Orlando had jurisdiction.
There is an anecdote about this. The late Archbishop Borders, at the time Bishop of Orlando, during an ad limina visit in Rome told Paul VI that he was the bishop of the Moon.
I would have given anything to have been there with a camera to record for history Paul VI’s expression as he considered this statement.
That said, we also must consider that the 1917 Code was in force at the time of the Moon landing. In the 1917CIC, can. 252 said that the competence of the Congregation for the Propogation of the Faith extends to “those regions which, since the sacred hierarchy has not been constituted, retain the status of a mission.” (Eius iurisdictio iis est circumscripta regionibus, ubi, sacra hierarchia nondum constituta, status missionis perseverat.)
This is a strong argument in favor of Propaganda having jurisdiction (hence, “Rome”). However, if Orlando, having a competing view, wanted to press its claim, the diocese could bring a case before the Apostolic Signatura to assert its claim to jurisdiction.
I suspect that the Archdiocese for the Military Services is, right now, stretched a bit thin and won’t immediately want to make any claims. I could be wrong. I’ll ask around.
And since we are in pre-Lent, and starting to think about fasting and abstinence, etc., regarding whether astronauts are obliged to fast, can. 13 of the 1983 Code (in force now) says that travelers are not bound to the particular laws of their own territory while they are absent from it, or by the laws of the territory in which they are present (with the except of laws which establish good order).
Hence, if there is going to be any colonization of the Moon, someone is going to have to work this jurisdiction thing out.
Maybe the Moon would be a good place for future retired Popes? Popes Emeriti? I deeply esteem Pope Benedict, but the thought of having a bunch of these ecclesiastical outliers around strikes me a lunacy. And, if that’s lunacy, what better place to plant them than on the Moon? With their great experience, they would do well in governance there, quiet as it might be.