Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 9/29/18

While my interest in politics continues to wane, I did watch the recent Senate hearings featuring SCOTUS nominee, Brett Kavanaugh (photo left), and his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford. A couple of takeaways:

  1. In a televised interview prior to the hearings, Kavanaugh pointed to his Catholic upbringing as an indicator of his moral excellence: “When I was in high school — and I went to an all boys Catholic high school, a Jesuit high school (i.e. Georgetown Preparatory, photo right, replete with a statue of the founder of the Jesuits and sworn enemy of the Protestant Reformation, Ignatius Loyola), where I was focused on academics and athletics, going to church every Sunday at Little Flower, working on my service projects, and friendship, friendship with my fellow classmates and friendship with girls from the local all girls Catholic schools.” Hmm. In my personal experiences and observations, membership and participation in Roman Catholic institutions definitely DOES NOT ensure moral excellence.
  2. The Democratic members of the Senate Judicial Committee claim Kavanaugh is morally unfit to be a SCOTUS justice due to Dr. Blasey Ford’s allegations, but aren’t these very same senators even less morally fit because of their unqualified support of the murder of the unborn on demand?

Speaking of immorality in the Catholic church, this pedophile priest and cover-up scandal tsunami that began in early summer continues to fester. Pressure is growing for pope Francis to address credible accusations that he participated in covering up for pedophile cardinal, Theodore McCarrick.

The German Catholic church is the vanguard for liberal reforms. The Germans took the lead in pushing for the lifting of the ban on communion for remarried divorcees as well as allowing intercommunion with Protestants. The Germans are now calling for the end of obligatory celibacy for priests. The pedophile priest scandal tsunami has put celibacy on the hot seat.

Why aren’t conservative Catholics making a bigger stink about Francis selling out to the Chinese communist government? Francis’ reform steamroller has bludgeoned them into silence.

This conservative priest must not have gotten the email. Burning rainbow flags in Francis’ progressive Catholicism is verboten.

“God Friended Me” debuts this Sunday, 9/30/18

Several months ago, I had posted that CBS had improbably planned another religious-themed television series, even after cancelling its disastrous “Living Biblically” show. The pilot episode of new series, “God Friended Me,” will be debuting this Sunday at 8 PM Eastern.

The show launches with Brandon Micheal Hall as Miles Finer, an outspoken atheist who receives several Facebook friend requests from God and subsequently has his world turned upside down.

I certainly don’t expect this show to present the God of the Bible and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Rather, I do fully expect that the (g)od of “God Friended Me” will be the same feel-good, faux deity portrayed in Michael Landon’s “Highway to Heaven” and Roma Downey’s “Touched By Angel.” You know the one. No sin, no repentance, no salvation in Jesus Christ by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, just a lot of Oprah-style religious cotton-candy that will appeal to the all-good-people-go-to-Heaven crowd.

But can the Lord use something like “God Friended Me” to draw a person to Jesus Christ? Absolutely He can! So with that thought in mind, I’m hopeful.

If you’d like to watch the pilot episode before Sunday evening, just click here.

Reviews of each episode to follow.

Director Elia Kazan talks about his films

Kazan on Kazan
By Michel Ciment
Cinema One Series #26
Secker & Warburg Limited Publishing, 1973, 199 pages

I felt the need for some light reading material recently so I purchased a used copy of this book from Amazon. “Kazan on Kazan” may have been the first book I ever read about director, Elia Kazan, after having borrowed a copy from our local library way back in the 80s or early-90s. I enjoyed re-reading Kazan’s personal insights into his nineteen films. This is a short book, but there are many others available that cover the director and his films in far greater detail.

I’ve previously mentioned that I became interested in Kazan back when I was a young teen after watching the very unconventional ending of his 1961 film, “Splendor in the Grass.” Over the years, I became very familiar with all of Kazan’s work and even reviewed his nineteen films here at WordPress over the course of 2017 (see here). I haven’t I posted anything about Kazan since then because I needed a break following that marathon.

Kazan (1909-2003) was a remarkable fellow. At the high point of his career in the mid-1950s, he was considered America’s finest director, both in Hollywood and on Broadway. He revolutionized film and the theater by popularizing Konstantin Stanislavski’s method of training actors (i.e., “The Method”) and brought a level of realism to his productions that was unlike anything seen in America at the time.

Kazan quit the American Communist party in 1936, but remained a Marxist and atheist the remainder of his life. However, he would earn the unceasing ire of the American Left for his friendly testimony before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1952. Kazan had been brought up in the Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches, but ultimately rejected the ritualism and legalism of institutional religion.

Why do I continue to value Kazan’s films? There was no such thing as the “good guys” versus the “bad guys” in Kazan’s later movies. The most notable characteristic of Kazan’s later work was the ambivalence of the main characters. They were motivated by both “good” and “bad” ideals, unlike the other American films of the time, which always portrayed the main character as a stereotypical “good guy.” Kazan’s characters were deeply flawed and that mirrored the reality that I knew. The director had fantastic insights into humankind and American society and wasn’t afraid to rub his audience’s noses in it, even as his films drew smaller and smaller box office.

So, Kazan stated the problem correctly; people are flawed, people are sinners. However, as an atheist, he could offer no solutions to man’s dilemma. He had no Gospel, no Good News to present to his audience.

“Kazan on Kazan” is strictly for Kazan aficionados.

Gordon’s Bible and a low-budget horror film

I never met my father-in-law (photo left, in 1941 at age 27). He died in 1961 at the age of 47 when my wife was only six-years-old. My wife grew up missing her father terribly.

Gordon was raised in a small, country town about 35 miles southeast of Rochester. He was an athletic kid and loved sports, especially baseball. He used to worship on Sundays with his large family at the small Methodist church in town. Curly, as his friends called him, entered the Army as an infantryman during World War II and served in Europe and the Pacific. But when he returned from the war, he found out his wife had been unfaithful, leading to a divorce.

Somehow, the country kid purchased a Red and White store in Rochester’s upscale East Avenue neighborhood, specializing in fine steaks and chops for his “discriminating” clientele. He soon met up with my mother-in-law. They married in Las Vegas and had a little girl, my wife. Gordon eventually developed heart trouble and had a heart attack. Back in those days, there wasn’t much they could do for heart patients besides prescribe bed rest. Against his doctor’s orders, Gordon went out on a hot day in September 1961 to play a round of golf, but wouldn’t return home to his wife and daughter.

Gordon lovingly doted on his daughter. She has many pleasant memories of her father even though she was so young when he died. The shock and sorrow of losing a parent at such a young, vulnerable age never leaves a person. The only keepsakes my wife had of her father were his Army dog tags and the worn Bible he carried with him throughout the war with its dog-eared pages marked with tiny notes.

My wife and I were both raised in Roman Catholicism and didn’t know Jesus Christ as our Savior. We were married very young and didn’t have two nickels to rub together for many years. I don’t remember who babysat for our son, who was one-year-old at the time, but in the summer of 1976 my wife and I went to see “The Omen” starring Gregory Peck and Lee Remick. It was a film about the coming of the anti-Christ and was actually very well-done despite its low budget. Well, that movie REALLY unnerved my wife and I with its references to the anti-Christ and his number being 666 as mentioned in Revelation 13:18. Neither of us had ever read the Bible before. We rushed home from the theater and my wife dug up her Dad’s old Bible, it was the only one we had, and we fumbled through it until we were able to locate the reference to 666. There was something about that event that gave us a new perspective on the Bible. I had previously dismissed it as a dusty collection of semi-myths and parables irrelevant to “real life.” But these references to Satan and the anti-Christ in Revelation triggered my curiosity. Although my wife had never read the Bible, she respected it because her father had carried it with him and read it throughout his extremely perilous stint in the Army.

Providence? A Christian can look back at their life before they accepted Christ and identify some of the people and things the Holy Spirit used to draw them to the Savior. It would be another seven years after seeing “The Omen” before we accepted Christ, but that movie and Dad’s Bible played a part.

Portrayal of the Catholic persecution of evangelicals in Latin America

Turbulent Waters: Lone Warriors in Colombia
by Jane Livingstone
Moody Publishers, 1958, 177 pages

Periodically, you’ll see an article somewhere about historical anti-Catholicism in America, but the articles usually tell only one side of the story. Bigotry is never a good thing, but there are reasons why American Protestants were fearful of Catholics to the point paranoia. Popes right up into the 20th century had decreed their right to limit the religious freedoms of non-Catholics. In European and Latin American countries, where Catholics were in the majority, the church imposed upon civil governments to restrict and persecute non-Catholics.

Sixty years ago, author Jane Livingstone drew upon actual reports from evangelical missionaries to create this portrayal of the Catholic church’s persecution of believers in Latin America.

Plot

Paul Moray, an airline executive, is sent by his company to Santillanos, Columbia to establish a small airport there. He’s accompanied by his wife, Dinah, and their two daughters, Judith and Ariel, who both recently accepted Jesus Christ as the Savior by faith alone at a church service in their hometown. The parents are nominal Protestants. Prior to their trip, a woman visits their home and pleads with them to make inquiries in Santillanos about her missing brother, David Westwood, an evangelical missionary, who she fears is the victim of anti-Protestant intolerance. While on the plane trip, the Morays meet Bernice Taylor who is traveling to Santillanos to find her two nephews and niece, who have been orphaned by anti-Protestant violence.

Upon their arrival at Santillanos, the Morays are invited to stay at the estate of a prominent plantation owner, Rodrigo Alvarado, and his younger brother, Juan, both practicing Catholics. It’s soon discovered that Bernice’s young relatives were placed in a convent orphanage. The Morays assist Bernice in rescuing the three children, also with the help of the Alvarado brothers, who are beginning to question their Catholic faith in the wake of the anti-Protestant violence they are witnessing.

Through the testimony of the two Moray daughters, Juan accepts Christ. He then locates missionary, Westwood, who is a prisoner in the local jail and near death, and frees him. The local Catholic clerics strongly suspect the Morays and Alvarados are involved in the abduction of the children and minister and impose upon the local officials to hound them mercilessly. A romance grows between Rodrigo and Judith as they conspire together to outwit the Catholic authorities. An outbreak of anti-Protestant violence leads to Juan’s death. Rodrigo, increasingly embittered towards his church and impressed by the testimonies of his dead brother and Judith, also accepts Christ, as do Paul Moray and his wife. Judith accepts Rodrigo’s marriage proposal and will live with him in Santillanos. A romance has also bloomed between Ariel and the recovering Westhood, and they will marry once they’re back in the United States.

Comments

This novel is a testimony to the violent militancy of pre-Vatican II, Roman Catholicism in Latin America. Despite the official change of Catholicism’s approach to Protestantism, from that of militant confrontation to ecumenical dialogue, vestiges of the old attitudes would continue, especially in Latin America, right up until very recent times. News stories of anti-Protestant persecution in Southern Mexico were being reported in the news in 2015 and 2016. The preface of this book was written by Clyde W. Taylor, Secretary of Public Affairs for the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE). My, how things have changed! The NAE is now a strong supporter of ecumenism with Rome. Order the Kindle ebook from Amazon here.

Answering the alleged “95 Catholic Verses” – #s 21, 22, 23, & 24: The Authority of Sacred Tradition? – Part 2

Today, we will continue with our responses to Dave Armstrong and his book, “The Catholic Verses,” in which the Catholic apologist presents ninety-five Bible verses or passages that allegedly validate Catholicism and are claimed to “confound” Protestants.

Citing the four passages below, Armstrong argues for “the binding authority of tradition, according to St. Paul”:

#21) “I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I have delivered them to you.” – 1 Corinthians 11:2 

#22) “And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.” – 1 Thessalonians 2:13

#23) “So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter.” – 2 Thessalonians 2:15

#24) “Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is living in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us.” – 2 Thessalonians 3:6

Directly beneath the four verses, Armstrong writes, “Catholics believe that there is such a thing as a binding, authoritative Sacred Tradition and that it is explicitly indicated in the Bible (notably in the above passages). We believe that the Church is the guardian of this apostolic Tradition, passed down continuously through history from the Apostles.” – p. 38.

As you may recall, Armstrong has already made his case for the binding authority of oral tradition with his presentation of the alleged “Catholic verses” #s 4, 5, 6, & 7 (see here), so it’s a bit mystifying why he feels the need to tread the same ground once again. An editor would have easily caught this redundancy. Because I have already addressed Armstrong’s claims regarding oral tradition at length, I will keep my response to this second barrage somewhat brief.

The Greek word for tradition is παράδοσιν – parádosis – which can mean something passed on from one generation to the next, as we tend to think of a tradition, or it can mean an instruction or teaching.

Regarding 1 Corinthians 11:2, in context we see that Paul is either referring to the Old Testament warnings to flee from idolatry as he expounded upon in chapter 10, or he may be referring to his exhortations that follow in chapter 11 regarding praying, authority, and head coverings. He definitely is NOT referring to some mysterious black hole of “Sacred Tradition” by which Catholicism manufactured a multitude of unscriptural doctrines such as the immaculate conception, praying to saints, earning indulgences, etc.

Regarding 1 Thessalonians 2:13, the believers of the early church did not have the New Testament and depended on the direct teaching of Paul and the other apostles. As an apostle, Paul’s teaching authority was directly from the Lord Jesus Christ. But the things that Paul wrote in his epistle to the Thessalonians he had previously preached to them: “Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things?” – 2 Thessalonians 2:5. In context, we see in 1 Thessalonians 2:13 that Paul is not validating some mysterious “Sacred Tradition,” but is referring to his teaching authority as an apostle of Christ.

Regarding 2 Thessalonians 2:15, in context we see that Paul is exhorting the believers to hold tightly to his teachings regarding the second coming of Christ, which he had just expounded upon in verses 1-12. Twisting this verse to prove Catholicism’s mysterious “Sacred Tradition” black hole is self-serving eisegesis.

Regarding 2 Thessalonians 3:6, in context we see Paul is referring to the exhortation to work hard and not to be idle and is linked to his preceding warnings in chapter 2 regarding the lies of false teachers. Using this verse to prove Catholicism’s “Sacred Tradition” is flagrant deception.

Context is the key to proper Bible exegesis. As my old Baptist pastor often used to say, “Text without context is pretext.” Armstrong is guilty of manipulating verses out of context to say what they do not say.

While Armstrong presents 1 Corinthians 11:2, 1 Thessalonians 2:13, 2 Thessalonians 2:15, and 2 Thessalonians 3:6 as irrefutable “Catholic verses,” which allegedly prove that Roman Catholicism’s Sacred Tradition is binding and authoritative and “confound” Protestants, we find upon careful examination that these verses, in the context in which they were written, do nothing of the sort.

For this post I am indebted to the articles below:

Tradition in the New Testament and 1 Corinthians 11:2

Discernment and the Sufficiency of Scripture – 1 Thessalonians 2:13

Tradition in the New Testament and 2 Thessalonians 2:15

Tradition in the New Testament and 2 Thessalonians 3:6

The Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 9/22/18

Pope Francis is once again being pragmatic by throwing his Vatican-appointed, “underground” Chinese bishops under the bus and recognizing bishops appointed by the communist Chinese government. Pope John Paul II would have been aghast, but Francis sees the concession as taking one step backward in order to take two forward. This compromise with China is another reason why conservative Catholics eagerly anticipate the end of Francis’ tenure.

Millennial Christians are big on social justice and definitely don’t go for the Christian nationalism of Jerry Falwell, Jr., Robert Jeffress, and Franklin Graham.

Amidst the current pedophile priest and cover-up tsunami, there has been little discussion in the media as to WHY so many priests have preyed upon mostly male children and young men. Studies suggest that 30-50 percent of Catholic priests are homosexual and a significant number of them are ephebophiles, a term for homosexuals who are attracted to adolescent males, generally ages 15 to 19. Catholic seminaries, with their all-male populations and rule of mandatory celibacy, were magnets and incubators of deviancy for centuries.

This article from a liberal Catholic rag speculates that further progressive reforms by pope Francis and his allies may push conservatives to schism. The EWTN-types are feeling like their backs are against the wall at this point. What would prompt them to finally say, “Enough!”?

This is an interesting article on Moore, the ecumenical and doctrine-lite female preacher whose rising celebrity speaks volumes about the sorry state of today’s evangelicalism.

The U.S. bishops’ installation of a sex abuse hotline is akin to Al Capone setting up a hotline for businesses to complain about mobster racketeering.

This satire reminds me that many of today’s hipster evangelicals would see incompatibility in entertainment choices as far more problematic than if their spouse was a Roman Catholic and faithful to their church’s gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit.

Convent horrors: From the frying pan into the fire

While searching our county library’s database for items listed under “Roman Catholicism,” I stumbled across this very interesting French film:

The Nun (La religieuse)

  • Directed by Guillaume Nicloux
  • Based on Denis Diderot’s popular 18th-century novel, “The Nun (La religieuse),” and adapted to the screen by Guillaume Nicloux and Jérôme Beaujour
  • Featuring Pauline Etienne as Suzanne Simonin, Isabelle Huppert as Supérieure Saint-Eutrope, and Louise Bourgoin as Supérieure Christine
  • Distributed by Le Pacte (France), 2013, Running Time: 100 minutes

Plot

In mid-17th-century France, a 17-year-old girl, Suzanne, is placed in a convent by her parents for supposedly only a limited period of time. Suzanne subsequently learns from the friendly mother superior (Francois Lebrun) that her parents intend for her to remain in the convent and become a nun. The girl rebels against the rigidity of convent life, refusing to take her “final vows” at the last second, and is sent back to her parents.

Suzanne’s mother reveals to the girl that she is her illegitimate child and that she will not be sharing in the family’s dwindling estate. Suzanne is sent back to the convent, much to her displeasure, but sadness turns to terror when the friendly mother superior dies and is replaced by the harsh Supérieure Christine, who is determined to crush the girl’s rebellious spirit. Suzanne manages to smuggle out a plea for help to sympathetic parties, and Supérieure Christine retaliates by relentlessly punishing the girl to the brink of death.

Suzanne’s outside benefactors are able to arrange her transfer to a different convent, which initially appears to be much less harsh. However, it’s soon revealed that the nun in charge, Supérieure Saint-Eutrope, is a lesbian who preys upon her younger charges. Saint-Eutrope makes several advances upon Suzanne, but the girl is able to rebuff her. Suzanne reveals the sordid goings on within the convent to a visiting priest confessor, who then works in league with her benefactors to stage her escape.

After traveling all night, Suzanne awakes inside a sprawling estate. She learns her wealthy benefactor, who had saved her from the horrors of the convent, was her biological father, who had died during the night. She can look forward to a secure future on the estate with her half-brother.

Commentary

It’s disturbing to follow Suzanne’s horrific experiences within the two convent hell-holes. However, this fictional story is an excellent portrayal of the real abuse that routinely took place within Catholic convents, rectories, seminaries, and the palaces of prelates century after century. Suzanne’s character represents the millions of women and men, girls and boys who were physically, emotionally, and/or sexually abused over the course of a millennia by the “celibate” Catholic clergy. Sadder still are all of the Roman Catholic souls who have been misled by their church’s false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit.

Actress Pauline Etienne does an excellent job in her portrayal of a young woman caught in her religion’s legalism, ritualism, and extreme asceticism, which all veiled the unspeakable corruption at its core.

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Supérieure Christine devises another “discipline” for the rebellious Suzanne.

Argh! Can’t put off painting the house any longer!

Fourteen years ago, my wife and I were looking to buy a new home. We were both 48-years-old at the time and our two sons had moved out several years previous. After having already done the “house and yard” thing for 22 years, I was contemplating moving into a condo and putting my feet up on weekends. But my wife went out looking at houses with her realtor sister and called me excitedly at work saying I had to come see the house they had found. I pulled into the driveway and gulped at the big yard with many oak trees. In addition, the house had wooden shingles that would need painting unlike our first house, which was aluminum sided. Argh!

My wife’s enthusiasm for the the house was overwhelming (see postscript below) so I reluctantly agreed that we buy the property, figuring that I still had plenty of gas in the tank at 48 to take care of the house and yard.

I’ve already whined about the huge volume of leaves I must contend with every November because of the oak trees (see here), so today I’ll focus on the chore of painting the house.

The previous owners had the house painted right before we bought it, so it was good to go for several years. I originally planned on painting the house seven years after we moved in, but I procrastinated and after nine years the ol’ shingles were starting to look pretty shabby. As a result, I had to do A LOT of prep work and the very weathered shingles needed two coats of paint. Ach! I painted the front and sides of the house in 2013, but of course I waited until the end September to start, so I ended up painting under the eaves as the cool, early-October rains fell. Not smart. I painted the back of the house the following year, 2014, and took a break from painting the next two years.

I then put together a plan to paint one-quarter of the house every summer, which keeps  the prep work to a minimum and the amount of paint needed to one coat. I painted one of the sides and half of the front last year and anticipated painting the rest of the front and the other side this summer. However, I kept pushing it off because I kept thinking I had plenty of time, but after this weekend I realized I was backed into a corner with summer quickly coming to a close. So I requested to work from home in the mornings this past Monday, yesterday, and today (rain is predicted tomorrow and Friday) and work on the house in the afternoons.

Monday was prep work (cleaning, scraping, priming) and it wasn’t that bad because it had only been five years since I last painted that portion. Yesterday, I worked on the trim. I had optimistically planned on completing the trim yesterday, but only got halfway through. It’s very tedious and time consuming painting all of the edges and corners with a brush. Today, I’ll finish the trim and Saturday I’ll paint the big surfaces with a roller.

Some quick lessons:

  • Painting isn’t enjoyable to me, but I do appreciate being outside and getting some fresh air. The house is a ranch so I don’t have to use the extension ladder all that much. I had all of the tools so pretty much all I needed to buy was the paint and put in the elbow grease.
  • There is some satisfaction in seeing the house looking good after the paint job is complete.
  • I do have a responsibility to our neighbors in the tract to keep our house and property well maintained.
  • The Bible warns against procrastination. If you keep pushing things off they’ll deteriorate to a point where the effort needed to bring things back around will be overwhelming. This has applications for the temporal, but most importantly, for the spiritual.

“The sluggard does not plow in the autumn; he will seek at harvest and have nothing.” – Proverbs 20:4

If we neglect our walk with the Lord by putting off reading and studying the Bible, time in prayer, and attending church, our spiritual state will deteriorate. Don’t let that happen to you. I speak from experience. Get right with the Lord and commune with Him every day throughout the day.

Postscript: My wife’s father died in 1961 from a heart attack at the age of 47 when she was only six years old. When we were initially looking at the house, the elderly owners were present, but they nervously told us they had to leave soon for an engagement at a nearby country club. My nosy sister-in-law inquired which club they belonged to and they hesitatingly responded that they had been members of the club down the road for fifty years, which turned out to be the same establishment my wife’s parents had been members of. Come to find out, the two couples had been very good friends and the husband often golfed with my wife’s father. That’s all my wife needed to hear. So our house was previously owned by one of her father’s best friends.

Kids in Space

Yes, it’s time once again to take a break from theological discussions and review the next issue of the Legion of Super-Heroes in Adventure Comics from DC Comics’ Silver Age.

Evidently, the editors at DC thought it would be an interesting contrast to follow the classic saga about the Legionnaires as grown adults with this story about the Legionnaires as small children in…

The Five Legion Orphans!
Adventure Comics #356, May, 1967
Writer: E. Nelson Bridwell, Penciller: Curt Swan

Plot

While the majority of the Legionnaires participate with their parents in celebrating the gala Parents’ Day festivities in Metropolis, the five Legionnaires who are orphans – Brainiac 5, Dream Girl, Element Lad, Mon-El, and Superboy – sit dejectedly on-call inside the team’s clubhouse. The quartet then responds to an emergency summons from the planet Zinth. Raiders had absconded with the mammoth crystal that powers the entire planet and dropped it into a deep pond, apparently to be retrieved later. The heroes recover the crystal, but are transformed into toddlers by the strange waters. The tots are taken to the Interstellar Orphanage and subsequently adopted by five different couples who marvel at the children’s super powers.

Of all the children, only Brainiac 5 with his “twelfth level intellect” retains his rapier mental abilities and he is immediately suspicious of the circumstances because all five couples are from the same planet, Baskh, and live in close proximity to each other. He notices a large container of water in his foster father’s lab and by experimentation determines it’s from the youth pool in Kandor, the legendary Kryptonian city, which explains why it affected the otherwise invulnerable Superboy and Mon-El (Superboy hails from Krypton and Mon-El’s world was very similar).

Brainiac 5 creates an antidote and the quartet are restored to their normal physiology. The Legionnaires confront the adoptive parents who reveal that a radioactive asteroid had collided with Baskh’s moon and the fallout had killed all of the planet’s children. Having determined that only non-native children could survive on Baskh, the couples attempted to adopt, and when that was unsuccessful, they hatched their complicated scheme to transform the five Legion orphans into toddlers so they could adopt them. Rather than press charges against the couples, the Legionnaires sympathize with them. Brainiac 5 informs the disappointed adults that the fallout is now harmless and that they and the other Baskhians are once again able to safely produce children.

Commentary

E. Nelson Bridwell filled in for Jim Shooter to write this lightweight tale, but it is an entertaining trick coming immediately after the adult Legion saga. Curt Swan does a nice job of rendering the five Legionnaires as toddlers.

Secondary story: Lana Lang and the Legion of Super-Heroes!
Originally published in Adventure #282, March, 1961
Writer: Otto Binder, Penciller: George Papp

Plot

In 20th century Smallville, teenager Lana Lang has a crush on Superboy and contemplates how she can encourage his affections. Meanwhile, the Boy of Steel is summoned to a cave near town where he is met by Thom Kallor, a teen from the 30th century who explains that he acquired multiple super powers and became Star Boy when his spacemobile traveled through the tail of a comet. He subsequently joined the Legion of Super-Heroes and is tracking two escaped convicts. One of them he followed to 20th century Smallville and apprehended, but the other is still back on his homeworld. However, he needs Superboy to return with him to the 30th century to find the criminal in the planet’s complex sewer system using his X-Ray vision. Lana secretly overhears the conversation and plots to make Superboy jealous by using the powerful Star Boy as a ploy. She threatens to reveal Star Boy’s identity to the apprehended criminal if he doesn’t cooperate. The trio travel to the 30th century and Superboy quickly apprehends the fugitive. Lana then attempts to make Superboy jealous with Star Boy’s reluctant participation. Superboy is privy to Lana’s scheme and turns the tables with the help of Star Boy’s girlfriend, Zynthia.

Commentary

This Legion “classic” was written only six years previous to the “Five Legion Orphans” story, but readers can easily observe how storylines had become more sophisticated in that short time span. Jim Shooter or his fill-ins would never write a story as hokey as this. Papp’s stilted artwork makes one truly appreciate Curt Swan’s gifted penciling. This is Star Boy’s first Legion appearance and he’s presented as having multiple super powers that rival those of Superboy. His powers were scaled back in subsequent Legion appearances to solely the ability to increase the mass of any object.