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'The Mandalorian' Season 3: The Show's 'Creed' and Catholicism

,, | March 22, 2023 | By

"This is the Way," say Mandalorians -- but what does that mean in a Catholic context?

Currently in its third season on Disney+, The Mandalorian is set in the Star Wars universe and follows the adventures of Din Djarin, aka the Mandalorian (or "Mando," for short).

WARNING: This piece presupposes you're caught up on the series (which just released episode four of season 3), so expect some spoilers if you're not.

An orphan, the Mandalorian was raised by the Children of the Watch, a cult that split apart from the mainstream society of the ravaged planet Mandalore. Trained as a warrior, he is adept with weapons and hand-to-hand combat, and wears near-impenetrable armor.

The group adheres to a strict set of beliefs, called "The Creed," expressed in the phrase, "This is the Way." The beliefs are centered on beskar, the metal used to make their armor, on where it was mined, and on never removing your helmet in front of other living beings.

The Story of The Mandalorian So Far

In season one, while working as a bounty hunter, the Mandalorian took on the task of collecting Grogu, a child of the same species as Star Wars' Yoda. He ultimately saved Grogu from a terrible fate and took responsibility for him.

The Mandalorian later discovered that Grogu is powerful in the Force (like Yoda), and was destined to be a Jedi Knight (like Yoda).

But, Grogu wanted to remain with his now-foster-father and, as is the custom with Mandalorians and the orphans they take in, is now in training to be part of that group.

The Beliefs of the Mandalorians and the Catholic Faith

This season, much has been made of the Mandalorians' beliefs. So, I checked in with our Father Vince Kuna, C.S.C., a fan of the show, to see what he thought of the season so far, and how the Mandalorians' creed compared and contrasted with what Catholics believe. ... Kate O'Hare, Ed.

So far, how does Season 3 of The Mandalorian compare to the others?

Like almost any middle season of a series, there’s less mystery, but more purpose in this season. The first two seasons slowly established the characters and there was an intrigue as to the race of Mandalorians, and the title character (Pedro Pascal) in particular. We now know the characters well, so the current season deals more with the moral arcs.

What can we learn from the evolving relationship between the Mandalorian and Grogu (Baby Yoda)?

The relationship evolves from a distance, if that’s possible. As of episode four, the Mandalorian teams up with other Mandalorians on missions, while Grogu beings his training with the group as a “foundling.”

The story twist is the most radical departure so far, as we’ve become accustomed to them adventuring together over the first two seasons.

In earlier seasons, the Mandalorian removed his helmet and broke the creed of his people and was an outcast. How do Catholics view those who willfully separate themselves from the Faith?

I suppose different individual Catholics would have different opinions, but my hope would be that the official Church would welcome them home, be it somewhat soon or as late as a deathbed anointing.

Active Catholics shouldn’t be passive bystanders, however. We do have the example of the Lord appearing to and venturing out to the same Apostles who had previously abandoned Him on the Cross.

This season, the Mandalorian returned to the group's home world, so he could “bathe in the living waters” – a kind of symbolic baptism – beneath the beskar mines on the planet and be “redeemed.” How does this compare to how Catholics view baptism and redemption?

This answer may also more satisfactorily answer the previous question. In the early persecuted Church, there was debate whether apostates should be re-baptized or permanently cast out.

The Church settled on the more reasonable compromise of what became the Sacrament of Reconciliation (aka Confession). Christians could confess their sins, apostasy included, and be welcomed back into the fold of the Church, without requiring another baptism.

Thus, Baptism retained its more proper understanding as the first Sacrament of Initiation, followed by Confirmation and Eucharist.

Confession, however, still incorporates Baptism. When offering spiritual counsel, I often give the encouragement to the penitent that absolution restores them to their baptism, and that they’re nudged by the Lord to “go and sin no more.”

So, the Mandalorian indeed goes “home,” and through waters is restored to his place in the order before he removed his helmet. The show depicts this in an economy of words, showing the Mandalorian taking the plunge instead of higher-ranking Mandalorian explaining this to him.

In episode three, called “The Convert,” Bo-Katan (Katee Sackhoff), a member of a royal Mandalorian family, has rejected the creed as superstition (a very modern attitude toward belief).

But, when she also dove into the “living waters” of Mandalore, to save the Mandalorian, she saw a creature she believed to be only a myth – shaking her unbelief.

However, the Mandalorian believed without seeing. How does this relate to what Catholics believe about the necessity of proof to having faith?

There are two types of truths: empirical and theological. One you can measure under a microscope; the other, you cannot. So, while Catholicism would be supported by logic and a philosophical framework, you could not “prove it” to be true or “prove it” to be untrue by the scientific method.

So, in the case of Bo-Katan, I would be skeptical she’s returned to the Mandalorian creed in the deepest sense. What if the “mythical creature” she saw ended up being proven a hallucination? Would she still claim faith?

What is the most important lesson Catholics can take from The Mandalorian?

Breaking the Mandalorian creed in the Star Wars universe appears to be the franchise’s greatest sin. However, the apostasy is not beyond redemption. So, whatever we fashion our worst sin, know that it’s not beyond the mercy of Christ.

What ideas should they examine with skepticism?

I usually complain that episodes of the various Star Wars series episodes resolve through violence. But there’s less of that this season.

This season, I think The Mandalorian better resembles the three-episode arc structure of fellow Star Wars saga Andor, my new favorite show.

In Andor, there are some episodes completely devoid of blaster and lightsaber battles, as there’s less pressure to tie up each story end within a self-contained episode.


Image: (L-R): Grogu and Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) in Lucasfilm's THE MANDALORIAN, season three, exclusively on Disney+. ©2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

Kate O’Hare, a longtime entertainment journalist, is Social Media Content Manager and Blog Editor at Family Theater Productions.

Click here to visit USC-film-school graduate Father Vince Kuna’s IMDB page.

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