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  1. doggiedude
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    doggiedude Contributing Member

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    Militant Catholicism

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by doggiedude, Mar 14, 2016.

    So in my WIP the current Pope dies and the Cardinals split into two groups each moving to new locations. (The Vatican is wiped out) One group is turning into a terrorist organization even though that group's Pope is denying any such thing publicly. The main issue that the group has is in regards to a World Government and its plans to cryogenically store a couple of billion people. The Vatican for the previous several hundred years had always considered people getting themselves cryogenically frozen and then shipped off to search for colony worlds as tantamount to suicide; since there's no way the people on those ships could know if they would be ever unfrozen.

    There's the set-up .... Keeping in mind that this all takes place about a thousand years in the future and all sorts of things can change over time. Is there anything I'm missing in regards to such an event happening. I'm not Catholic or even religious so I don't know much about the inter-workings of their hierarchy. I've done some basic research on Catholicism but probably not enough.

    Thanks for any thoughts
     
  2. Ochalis
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    Ochalis Member

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    I'm Catholic, so let me try and help you out here.

    Firstly, the passing of the Pope would definitely not cause the cardinals to split, and/or dissolve the hierarchical structure of the Vatican.

    Following vacancy in the Vatican, cardinals from around the world are summoned to Rome to a meeting in the Vatican, which is eventually followed by the Papal Conclave, otherwise known as the Papal Election. The Papal Conclave is an assembly of Cardinal-electors (also known as the College of Cardinals), who, after hosting many general congregations to discuss the state of the Church and formally invoking the guidance of the Holy Spirit via Veni Creator Spiritu, process to the Sistine chapel and elect the new Pope via secret ballot. But, not before they take a solemn oath to observe the secrecy obliged, to not assist any secular powers that could influence the election, and obviously to observe the law governing the election. Once a candidate receives two-thirds of the vote, they can choose whether or not to accept the position. If they accept, they then choose a new name, and can officially call themselves the new Vicar of Christ/Bishop of Rome/Supreme Pontiff/Pope. (Keep in mind this is a very simplified version)

    As for the... terrorism. Cardinals are ordained Bishops appointed by the Pope. They are generally very elderly, and as far as I know, harmless. They lead a life of prayer and good works. I very seriously doubt that they would morph into some murderous extremist group.

    [​IMG]

    (^These guys? Terrorists?)

    --

    I suppose if I have any questions it would be the nature of the Catholic Church in your future. What specifically has changed? What are its morals now?
     
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  3. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    Cardinals would't be fighting; they're leaders. All they have to do is lead. And don't you dare pretend the Catholic Church is innocent. Crusades, inquisitions, witch-burnings, burning of homosexuals, endorsement of slavery and the cover-up of priest child sexual abuse have all occurred. And many of them still continue to preach prejudice against the LGBT community, and to promote condomless sex in poor countries where epidemics of STD's are salting the wounds. Sure, it does nice things as well, but it's far from pure. Under the right circumstances, with the guidance of the right people, it could easily, easily be more violent again. I worry though that this plot would be interpreted as an attack on the Catholic Church, and thus a piece of aggressive atheist propaganda. I'd make sure you don't demonize the whole organisation and it's concept.
     
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  4. Ochalis
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    Ochalis Member

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    Nobody said the Catholic Church was innocent/pure. ? I genuinely thought that he was saying the cardinals themselves, old as they are, would be taking up arms and carrying out bombings and whatnot. That's the only thing I had an objection with. Sure, maybe they could lead, but that didn't sound like what the author had in mind.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2016
  5. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    If Osama Bin Laden carried out 9/11 personally, I don't see why the cardinals wouldn't do the same.
     
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  6. doggiedude
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    doggiedude Contributing Member

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    To answer some of the questions raised
    1- I saw that a large portion of the Cardinals are very elderly (80+) as an actual requirement. However, since one of my MC is 153 y/o and still doing fine I didn't think being over 80 was a stretch to being active (although, no not as the actual terrorist just as leaders).
    2- This is all just a sub-plot during the story, there's plenty of other groups acting as terrorists.
    3- It's not a stance on atheism is was more about showing how any powerful group of angry people can go out of control. Also a reflection on how Muslims are viewed today. Many people lump all Muslims together as radical terrorists but in reality that's far from the truth.
    4- Adding to the instability of the Catholic leadership the Vatican in Rome (and much of Italy) was wiped out decades before in a flood. They moved to Brazil for many years ... Then Brazil (and most of S. American) was flooded out. Then they moved to Ontario ... few years later flooded again. At this point the split happens when one group insists on moving back to Italy in a mountain region and the other group goes to Russia in another area far from water.
    (I actually put the terrorist one in Russia near an active volcano so while they aren't going to get flooded out next time ....)
     
  7. Samurai Jack
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    Samurai Jack Active Member

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    You're describing, to some degree, the Western Schism, so there's certainly precedence for a Cardinal split and more than one Pope.

    Though voting for a new Pope is currently limited to Cardinals UNDER the age of 80. It's a recently changed rule, however.
     
  8. Sileas
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    Sileas Member

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    I feel like this topic could become a bit.... inflamed. I wonder if it might be best to move it to the debate room, despite the fact that it is, in fact, a plot topic.
     
  9. Samurai Jack
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    Samurai Jack Active Member

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    I have a "Show Ignored Content" thing, so I know there are additional posts, but what I can see is conversation directly related to plot points.

    I don't see what there is to get inflamed about. The Catholic Church has split several times. Those splits have led to violence if not outright war.

    There is no specific stance on cryogenics for people, but it's a resounding no for embryos, so that's not a stretch.

    The word "terrorist" could be a bit heavy handed, but from the point of view from a government, paramilitary action against it would be labeled terrorism, so, cool.
     
  10. plothog
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    plothog Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I'd expect there would be some theological grounds for the split too.
    The Catholic Church is a global organisation so I'm not convinced the location of headquarters is enough to cause a split.

    The modern Vatican does tend to push a more peace based agenda than most Western Governments, but 1000 years is long enough that more militant elements might start to gain more influence again. (Possibly the emergence of such elements might be part of the trigger for a split.)

    Isn't there far more high ground in South America than Ontario?
    La Paz, Bolivia is the highest capital in the world.
    I'm not convinced that if the sea level rose so much that it flooded all of Brazil, that Ontario would be a viable destination.
     
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  11. doggiedude
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    doggiedude Contributing Member

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    Not all of SA flooded. In fact there are now hundreds of island nations now that are in the midst of getting reorganized and reconnected to the world.
     
  12. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I think this works. A simple bit of prose on your part that 80 is the new 30 and you're good to go. There is precedent in Science Fiction for this. It's not "offensive" to the traditions of the genre. Or.... don't worry about it overmuch. This kind of thing happens in Sci-Fi all the time and doesn't hamper success in the least. In the film Aliens (the 2nd in the franchise) save for Sgt. Apone, ALL of the marines in this elite group are at least a decade too old for the ranks they hold in the film, and the ranks they hold are too low for the kind of elite group described. So, it's wrong on two counts.

    The film was wildly popular. :)
     
  13. Wolf Daemon
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    Wolf Daemon Active Member

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    I suggest doing a LOT of research on the Crusades.
     
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  14. Matt E
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    Matt E Stormblessed Supporter

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    I think it's plausible to say a schism could form within the leadership of almost any organization, including the Catholic Church, but for the type of dramatic schism you're talking about, I'd expect there'd need to be quite a bit of enmity between the two parties, lasting for decades, before the conflict could be brought to blows.
     
  15. Commandante Lemming
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    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you're in the far future - anything goes. The Catholic Church can and has been used for exotic developments in Science Fiction (See: "A Canticle for Liebowitz"). As for some form of radical schismatic group - yeah - I don't see why you couldn't take something like the real-life Society of St. Pius X and dial them up to 11, so to speak. Although, taking the SSPX analogy, they didn't appoint their own pope - but that's really more a stylistic question.
     
  16. doggiedude
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    doggiedude Contributing Member

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    I had also been thinking along the lines of England when the King broke away from the Catholics. I'm sure the actual people living in England at the time were thinking it was all well and good for the King to do such things but they were going to continue following the Pope.
    In the same manner I'm having the Cardinals split off and each of them announce a new Pope and the people are going to choose whichever one they identify with. Since they don't have a historical location to center around who knows which one is the "True Pope". Also the terrorist acts that are popping up are being done under another name. For now it's only known that it's a Catholic group not publicly aligned with either Pope.

    I'm just looking to make sure I've filled in all the plot holes in this scenario. I don't want someone to come along with some blatantly obvious reason why this could never occur.
     
  17. Commandante Lemming
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    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    The closest parallel to what you're talking about isn't the Church of England, it's the Western Schism at the end of the Avignon Papacy. In that schism, you had a Pope who tried to return the church from Avignon to Rome, which resulted in the election of a new Avignon pope to compete with him. Then they has a failed council at Pisa to try and resolve the mess, but which elected a third claimant to the throne and hence added a third ring to the circus. At that time the churches were more tied to the government, so it was really the kings who made the calls as to which pope to follow, so it probably wouldn't break as cleanly in modern times, but it would look something like that. Another recent schism to look at would be the split in the U.S. Episocopal Church over gay priest - a lot of congregations split off and formed the C.A.N.A. church. Even though both stayed in the Anglican Communion worldwide, they had a huge legal fight over the rights to the church buildings and there was a lot of acrimony - to the point where the Episcopalians pursued lawsuits to reclaim church buildings where the congregations supported C.A.N.A. then sold off the church buildings after they won rather than allow the CANA congregations to keep churches. That might be a better model of how it would play out in a more democratized world.
     
  18. doggiedude
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    doggiedude Contributing Member

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    There's something I hadn't thought of. In Catholicism the churches are actually owned by the church not the congregation .... correct?
    That sounds like something I could have some fun playing with. Both groups could start fighting over property ownership.
     
  19. GrandJury
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    GrandJury Member

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    Wait, there was a division, right? Are the two groups still considered Roman Catholic? Could they be considered two different denominations/sects of traditional Catholicism?
     
  20. doggiedude
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    doggiedude Contributing Member

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    They could be whatever I write them to be.
    Currently I have it written as the New Vatican located in Ontario was flooded out. During the flood the 123 year old Pope insisted on staying until everyone was evacuated mostly because he felt guilty about picking Ontario to begin with. He drowned during the evacuation. Mass disorganization ensues .... Some of the Cardinals regrouped in Italy and some in Russia. Both groups are claiming to be the "Real Vatican" and have elected Popes.
    Keep in mind this is a small subplot and all the internal workings and interior fighting is not known to the reader.
     
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  21. Commandante Lemming
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    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think so, yes. Church buildings were a big issue in the Episcopalian split and they'd be a bigger issue with Catholics, as would the assignment of bishops and priests.
     
  22. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    While the "Great Schism" has been mentioned, there was an even greater schism earlier than that, when the Orthodox Catholic churches (mainly Eastern Europe - Greek Orthodox, Polish Orthodox, Russian Orthodox) split from the Roman Catholic churches. That's a rift that continues to this day.
     
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  23. GrandJury
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    GrandJury Member

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    Just out of curiosity, how does this tie into the main story? Since this is just a subplot and all

    EDIT: Nevermind, I just remembered the whole sleeper ship issue, carry on :)
     
  24. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I would say, in answer to your OP, @doggiedude, because your story happens so far in the future you can probably set it up any way you want. Unless you plan to go heavily into backstory (history) you don't really need to dwell too long on whether the church is still behaving the same as it did 1000 years 'ago.'

    Things change so fast these days. I imagine there are people who were alive in the 1930s who, if they came back and discovered the changes in the Catholic Church since then would be very surprised. I mean ...nuns wearing short skirts (instead of ground-sweeping robes) or just street clothes. Perfectly okay to eat meat on Friday. And other stuff, too. And that's only about 70 years ago.

    Things change. I'm sure the Catholic church is going to come around to allowing universal birth control pretty soon, probably do away with celibacy as a requirement for priesthood, etc. In 1000 years' time I imagine things will have changed even more. They may well evolve young cardinals and popes. Maybe even militant ones. If organisations don't change with the times, they usually don't last.

    If I were you, I'd go ahead with your story and see what you end up with. If you need to, later on, you can stick in a few details that track any change you've come up with.

    It all sounds interesting. Good luck.
     
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