Latin

The movie "Oblivion" and its analogy to the Novus Ordo

A few weeks ago I happened to watch "Oblivion", a Hollywood movie set in an undefined future time. I caution that this piece has a bit of a spoiler alert on it, so if you haven't seen the movie "Oblivion" and plan to see it then you might want to see it first, for the twist is half the movie.

In any case, the movie is set in future time and we follow a technician played by Tom Cruise with what seems to be his girlfriend, or fiancé perhaps - they do not seem married in any case, although I'll admit I didn't check for wedding rings. His time is spent servicing these firghter droids which are kept on Earth to destroy the remnants of an invading alien force which invaded the Earth, but lost the battle. As a result all of the Earth's humans have migratede/are in the process of migrating to another planet, and left behind are these machines which harvest the Earth's resources for transportation to the new planet, I presume. It is these machines which the technician services.

This couple is responsible for its sector, and they are aware of other sectors although they never venture into them. Their memories have been wiped out to protect the mission and the mission is run from a ship in outer space - in a command centre called "the Tet" -, the only communication that these 2 people have with the outside world.

An incident takes place which opens the main character's eyes  - a space vessel crash landing on Earth. The only survivor is a woman, who is only saved by the actions of the main character, who gets in the way of the droids which killed all the other crew members in the vessel. This woman turns out to know him from before, and further on we learn that she was his wife. She seemed familiar since he had had many flashbacks of her before he had even met her.

It turns out that he was an astronaut  previously, and that his crew was preparing for a discovery mission to another planet when this vessel arrived from outer space. The crew was instead sent to check it out. Approaching the vessel their craft were pulled in somehow, at which point the main character and his now-girlfriend - the pilots - ejected the hibernation module from the space craft. They pilots succumbed, and had their memories wiped out.

It gets worse. They were then sent back to Earth, first as part of an invading army, having been cloned, and then after the army had managed to wipe out most of mankind, having also taken the chance to destroy the moon, they were sent to service these machines which extract vital supplies from the Earth. We never see who made the alien vessel, and we do not know of its motives: All we know is that it is intent on destroying mankind and has no qualms about using them to destroy one another, although it realises that their memories have to be wiped out first.

The line which struck me most with the movie was when the main character's 'real' wife, in attempting to convince him that he is working for the enemy, tells him how their crew was sent to investigate this mysterious object which had been spotted in space: "It was the Tet".

It is that line which made the analogy with Vatican II unavoidable. Imagine a naive commander ( represented by Pope John XXIII) sending his crew (in this case represented by the bishops)  to meet a foreign threat (call it 1960s hippism, modernism, what-have-you). Returning from this journey these crew members then find themselves embracing the threat they were sent to oppose, and on top of that, embark on an unrelentless quest to wipe out those who they were supposed to protect all along. That is pretty much what happened, except obviously along the way the naivity of Pope John XXIII gave way to the recklessness of Pope Paul VI.

Some analogies are quite striking:

  • The memory wiped out so that the crew members will attack their own reminds me of modern Catholics, who are so uninformed about the Catholic faith that they view any authentic Catholic expression with suspicion. They gleefully embrace the errors which so horrified their forebears.
  • The Church started in the 1960s according to many, not least those who prepared the synod documents of the 2014 estraordinary synod on the family, in which no document or Pope before 1960 was cited, as if the family sprung up as a result of people cosying up to see their favourite astronatus on their space flights. For the crew, their lives started when  their memories were wiped out, so they only remember the past 3 years even though the main character is well into his 40s at least.
  • The way the Earth is divided into different zones, with the crew not being allowed to see beyond their own. This is a direct analogy to how the Church has splintered into different national churches, most with their own distinctive heresies, each unable to participate in the liturgy of another because instead of one Roman rite liturgy, we essentially have different liturgies per parish. If you can't go beyond your zone, then you will be at the mercy or whatever priest or bishop who happens to be around.
  • The way the crew which was meant to serve comes back persecuting its own has its direct analogy in how the bishops have shouted down so many who have stood up for what the Church teaches, the latest clear example being the Franciscans of the Immaculate.
  • Getting rid of the Latin and the Tridentine Mass means that both priests and laity have no communication with the outside world - the Catholics who came before them  - just like the crew only has communication with the outside world through the Tet,

The analogy with Vatican II is...

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