Infinities — Chapter Three: The battle of bells and blazes
300,000 American’s had died from Covid, at least those are the numbers they were saying on the news.
The U.S. president did little to combat this virus so we shouldn’t have been surprised when they declined to commemorate this terrible event.
In fact the only acknowledgement that there was even a pandemic was a Tweet poking fun of people wearing masks in public.
The Pope showed up at a memorial event in what remained of New York wearing a mask. He criticized the U.S. president and religious leaders for their callous disregard for human life, for their criminal neglect and for blasphemy.
“Idolatry is one of the gravest sins, we must not allow ourselves to forget that it is God who determines our fate, not the president of the United States. The Church has long warned of the dangers of splitting away. We see now that we were correct to worry. Come back home.
The Vatican will be opening an embassy in the city of Philadelphia. The whole city as of now will be a refuge for any member of our church who wants to seek refuge. And every building owned by the Holy See will now be an refugee center ”
The Catholic Church owns 177 million miles of land in the U.S.
16% of the world’s inhabitants call themselves Catholic. 23% of Americans
A short speech, but an important one. A power play accompanied by an official edict excommunicating any Catholics who joined, attended any service of, tithed any money to, or supported the newly created Loyalist Federation of Gods Messenger denomination.
A list of officials who were already stripped of their power was also made public.
Ten dioceses were merged.
Two bishops publicly confessed their sins and renounced the LFGM.
They were welcomed back.
Public shaming, very effective.
They would be referred to as the canceled 37 on conservative media, and it would stick.
The Pope concluded his speech by ordering church bells across the nation be rung 300,000 times in remembrance of each life loss, calling it gross negligence.
The U.S. President heard the bells from his mansion in Florida, each chime was a shot to the bow, a Sunday bombing, a declaration of war.
For a few short hours the religious order returned to normal.
Pastors were not out in the streets calling for people to join the administration.
Fundraising and tithing were not being linked.
Churches actually had members opening their bibles.
Church was just church.
This is how the church fights in the 21st century, with words, without declaring war. Turning morality and decency into a weapon.
Vatican City is not powerful in the traditional sense.
They have no grand army to repel. No destroyers that can raze an enemy’s shores. No walls, no moats, no drawbridges.
Every stained glass window and each marbled floor could be destroyed in hours.
Military might is not what keeps enemies at bay.
The city is powerful because the Church has dedicated followers around the world. Money flows in like an everlasting stream. Cultures are defined by the midnight ramblings of the Pope, a man who is the leader of the world’s largest undeclared country. The church knows the state secrets of countries around the globe.
The world’s leaders know that they cannot attack the church with conventional warfare without risking an overwhelming counter attack from multiple countries.
What would happen if the Pope ordered Catholics to attack a country, would they? Would leaders in S. America and Africa heed the calls? Would Brazilian troops land in the wreckage of Boston before Mexican Troops? What would happen if the Pope lacked self control ? What if the Pope decided to turn the world against a single man?
These are the fears that led to the creation of the Papacy Papers.
A contingency that was never supposed to be used.
A CIA dossier released to all major news networks around the world.
Detailed information on the Catholic Churches complicity in not only child abuse but sex trafficking, money laundering and electioneering around the world.
Names, dates, account numbers, pictures, videos, DNA, signed confessions, dispositions, audio recordings.
The Vatican released a short statement pointing out that these claims needed to be verified, that these claims will of course be investigated.
That any impropriety was not sanctioned by the church at large.
No one wanted to hear their feeble excuses.
The U.S. president called for fire and fury against those responsible. He would later claim that he didn’t mean this literally after the fundraising emails and conservative media appearances repeating this language.
Catholic churches across America burned for days, but even this inferno did not thaw the indifference of most Americans.
Surprisingly, there wasn’t much resistance.
In some cases when men came in with their cans of petrol they wore no masks, made no effort to disguise their identity.
Many times they walked in during service and gave the members time to leave before they started the fires. Sometimes the members were volunteered to light the match.
The flames spread across the country, the heat burning away any resistance, the light illuminating the lack of separation between church and state.
Police officers could not or would not make arrests, even when people turned themselves in.
In some places the fire department was ordered to let the buildings burn.
A U.S. Flag with the letters LFGM was left at the ruins of Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
Catholicism has survived for hundreds of years by learning to work with any institution that can threaten them, each time outlasting the horrors of the moment to endure their shame a little longer this time would be no different.
Turning a blind eye to the political violence in America would at least be easy on the soul, this time the church at least pushed back.
This was a problem to be sure, but with a little patience and a lot of money eventually the people would forget.
The Vatican would be a little bruised and a bit embarrassed but they would as always survive, this would just be another scandal to forget. Just another sin, and who will hold them accountable for those?
There was the small matter of Vengeance, but that would come later, when the Holy See was not under a microscope.
The Pope picked up the phone and waved the white flag.
Within hours the media walked back all of their stories on the Catholic Church, people would quickly turn back to election news.
Across the world In a small town a child asks why there are bells on a nearby building.
A father struggles to explain that long ago that building and many like it determined time itself.
At one time it seemed that the bells called to the heavens keeping rain and snow and tempests away while people walked towards church singing and dancing their way to salvation.
But now the streets are quiet.
Most of the buildings are empty.
Now the bells are just bells.
They ring every hour, and I am reminded of a question asked in Sunday school.
Some little boy asked why God sent musicians to take down a city. I don’t remember the answer. But I remember the question and think that maybe you send trumpeters to tear down the walls of a city, when the city isn’t worth fighting for. When you don’t really care who wins.
All the cities near Jericho must have found the sounds of war soothing.
A city on a hill in the middle of nowhere is destroyed and all everyone hears for miles and miles is beautiful music.
The bells still ring.
No divine intervention.
Just the timeless apathetic ringing of a rusty old bell atop a massive empty building.
Ring. Ring. Ring.