459: Holy Ghost

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Holy Ghost
Okay, everyone, cross yourselves, then cross the streams.
Title text: Okay, everyone, cross yourselves, then cross the streams.

Explanation

Many Christian denominations hold the belief (of which Catholicism is one) that God exists, and exists as a threefold presence within which there are three distinct 'persons' who interact with one another and the world, yet sharing one common nature. The three 'persons' sharing the property of being God are conventionally called the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—but in more archaic English usage, the third person was referred to as the Holy Ghost.

The 1984 movie Ghostbusters was based on the premise that ghosts exist and that four unemployed men had access to technology that could trap such ghosts. These men formed a business as Ghostbusters and an important tool in their arsenal was a so-called "proton stream" powered by a wearable backpack. These streams would prod or stun ghosts, allowing them to be maneuvred into traps. Throughout the movie, the Ghostbusters reminded each other 'not to cross the streams' as this was supposed to cause a disastrous reaction, until the climax of the movie where crossing the streams was required to banish the main antagonist.

Here we see that the Ghostbusters have just encountered and eliminated the Holy Ghost, and are being taken to task by the Pope. The bishop points out that Christian theology requires a Trinity and is unwilling to accept the Ghostbusters' apology.

The title text is a play on the fact that Catholics may make the sign of the cross to ward off danger (by touching the forehead, chest and shoulders), colloquially called 'crossing oneself', and on the danger of the Ghostbusters' 'crossing the streams' (touching two proton stream together, which in Ghostbusters canon causes an explosive chain reaction in all nearby atoms).

Transcript

Pope: This is a disaster.
Voice: Is it really that bad?
Pope: Do you know how much scripture we'll have to revise?
Voice: Look, we've apologized—
Pope: I mean, we can't have a trinity with just a father and a son!
Voice: Again, we're sorry.
Pope: Sorry's not enough. Guards, take their proton packs.
Ghostbusters: Hey, we were just doing our jobs!
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