Catholic, Girl

Be Warned: Spoilers ahoy!

Writing about Playing Rise of the Tomb Raider pt. 6

I have just finished a rather challenging session of the game. There was one achievement – finding and successfully raiding a ‘challenge tomb’ titled The Voice of God – but unfortunately, too much of Lara running around like a headless chicken as I tried to find out how to leave the tomb after completing it.

In the end, I asked for help on Twitter, and no sooner than I did so I found the correct path. Unfortunately, the amount of time I wasted on searching for the route took away the fun from the game and so I ended the session immediately upon returning to the Soviet Installation. I’m starting to really dislike that place. Especially the tomb that the game keeps wanting me to visit, which I have entered several times over and not found anything in.

But back to the Voice of God tomb. As it happens, the path out was not an especially hard one to find, so really I have only myself to blame for taking so long. There’s no point dwelling on this, however; that’s just gaming. Sometimes everything falls into place and you make great progress; other times… you just make less. Next time you switch the console on you pick yourself up and start afresh.


While completing the Voice of God tomb was the ‘major’ achievement of this session (inverted commas as it really only comprised of one puzzle in order to get through), my interest was most piqued by one of the artefacts that Lara picked up along the way. She described it as a maniple- ‘A ceremonial cloth worn by priests during Mass’.

There are a number of things I’d like to say here.

Firstly, a maniple may indeed by a piece of ‘cloth’ but describing it as such seems a remarkably dull way of doing so. All clothing is cloth, after all. Lara, what kind of cloth is it?

Secondly, and as you can read above, the description of the maniple makes reference to priests and, specifically, the Mass. This put me in mind of the Catholic Church. Lara Croft has travelled to the heart of Russia, where the national religion is, and has been for the last 1000+ years, Orthodox Christianity, and managed to find part of a Catholic priest’s vestment. That is not bad going. Either there is a plot point here or a slip by the game’s writer(s). Time, I hope, will tell.

Thirdly, Lara’s description makes it seem like priests still wear the maniple. This is only the case if they are celebrating Mass according in the Extra Ordinary Form, namely, the rite used before the Second Vatican Council (1962-65). Priests who celebrate Mass according to the Ordinary Form (the rite that came into being after the Council) never, ever wear it.


While writing this post, I have been talking to a friend via Twitter who informs me that Orthodox priests might refer to the Divine Liturgy as ‘Mass’ to westerners but would not normally do so in each other’s company. Could the maniple belong to an Orthodox priest and Lara is being made to refer to the Divine Liturgy as Mass for the sake of western game players who will not know what the Divine Liturgy is?


My friend also told me that Orthodox priests don’t wear maniples, but do wear cuffs. I have looked them up and at first glance they look nothing like maniples.

I think, therefore, that we are dealing with a Catholic artefact that hopefully is part of the plot, and that Lara needs to brush up her knowledge of the post-Vatican II Church.

Playing & Writing about
Rise of the Tomb Raider
Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five

Apologies if I have misremembered any of the game’s narrative (feel free to correct me if I have); I write short notes as I play the game but rely on memory for the rest

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