Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Prayer in Space

Father Z and his commenters discuss the story of a Catholic astronaut who was permitted to take consecrated Eucharistic hosts with him when he was to abide in the Space Station.

lots of the discussion is technical. What about crumbs? How does he give communion to himself? what about if pieces of the host float away and get lost? etc.

And then there is the question of Jurisdiction:
Usually the boat is under the jurisdiction of the diocese where the ship left, so that the moon was under the jurisdiction of the bishop of the diocese that included Cape Canavral.

iamlucky13 says:19 April 2016 at 6:13 PM
With the retirement of the Space Shuttle in 2011, the Russian Soyuz spacecraft became the only way to get humans to the space station, including Colonel Hopkins. He would have been launched from Kazhakstan, so perhaps he should be under the jurisdiction of Archbishop Tomasz Peta of Astana?
 However, he then left that vessel. The largest proportion of the pieces of the vessel he was aboard at the time of receiving Communion, including all of the US portion of the station, were launched by the Space Shuttle from Kennedy Space Center, so maybe it makes more sense that he would be under the jurisdiction of Bishop John Noonan of Orlando? 
 Then again, with the US portion of the station under continuous control and communication from Houston for well over a decade, can this really continue to be treated as a voyage, rather than a more permanent condition of the station, and could a case be made for being under the jurisdiction of Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston? So confused.

As for receiving the sacrament without a priest: Vatican astronomer Brother Guy Castomagno (who is not a priest) carried consecrated hosts with him when he went to Antarctica to collect meteorites.

Buzz Aldrin, a Protestant, had a communion service in his moon trip, but it was hush hush for years, for fear of upsetting the (anti)religious police in the US..

There is, of course, a difference between science and scientism.

Often the scientism-ists pretend they are scientific, and use "straw man" arguments to ridicule believers, and the press eats it up.

But real "scientists" may or may not be believers... you see, scientists rely on logic and the scientific method to explore the universe (which for Christians is an extention of the belief that the "book of nature" and "the Book" Aka the Bible, are two ways to find God). In other words, doing science is doing the work of God.

Brother Guy in one of his books notes that the percentage of believers of scientists is about the same as that of the country where they live: i.e. low in Europe, but higher in the USA.

so what about Russia? Remember that part of Yuri Gagarin saying he didn't see God in space? It was made up by propagandists. Indeed, the first man in space, Yuri Gagarin, was reported to be a quiet believer.

and the Russians now have a bishop bless their space trips (to the bemusement of the UK reporter who saw this as a political stunt), and the Russian side of the space station has Icons on prominent display (although the western press dismiss these things as Putin propaganda).

But years ago, in communist times, I remember stories that the Russians saw angels in space,
nor were the Russians the only ones who saw "angelic beings" while in space, but of course, we are getting into conspiracy theory territory (as a scientist, I agree: like NDE's,  probably there are physiological explanations for this).

And what about other religions? Lots of Asian or Asian American astronauts have gone to space.

but usually religious affiliation information is not included but presumably includes secularists, Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists.

However, Asians do tend to be a diverse group in ethnicisty and religion:

The first Korean-American astronaut, Mark Polansky, was Jewish.
The first South Korean Astronaut, Yi So-yeon, was a Christian.

And if you think Christians are the only ones who have to ponder about how to practice
 their religion in space, here is a Wired article about a Muslim's dilemma on how to pray.

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