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  1. "To be honest, denying the current Pontiff is not an heretical act as such, but a schismatic one: an heretical act would be to deny that the High Pontiff as an office exists at all. For it is not a dogma of the faith that "Everard VI is the current High Pontiff", but that "The High Pontiff is the head of the Church."" Fr. Peter the Akritian says in fluent Flexio to a fellow theological NERD. "The Schismatic denies that such and such a man is Pontiff: he does not deny that the Pontiff hath jurisdiction." "And if there were a false Pontiff, it could not be accounted an heretical act to deny him."
  2. "Dear Ms. Ursuvic, I regret to inform you that your ordination was invalid, you do not have a flock, and that your claiming continuity with such holy figures as St. Julia is a contradiction of everything they stood for. Expect further elaboration at a later date. I remain your humble servant in St. Jude, Fr. Petros the Akritian, Tractarian."
  3. INASMUCH as the High Pontiff and most of the clergy have wantonly chosen to fornicate with the spirit of the age rather than remaining faithful to the revealed truths so graciously vouchsafed unto them by Almighty God, it seemed good to me to set out the true position which a faithful Canonist ought to hold. "I, [name], profess and believe with complete submission of intellect and will, that, at the command of God, a Priesthood was established for the administration of the Sacraments and the instruction of souls. I believe that this Priesthood will persist until the end of time. I hold as a divinely revealed truth that this priestly authority was reserved solely to adult males, and that therefore it is part of the divine constitution of the Church. Hence any upholding of the reverse, though it come from a superior, cannot be obeyed, for it would really be not obedience, but disobedience, inasmuch as to obey one's superior is to disobey that Superior who established the Church through the Prophets in the first place. Hence obedience to such a thing is really disobedience, and disobedience to such a thing is actually obedience. Those who, though they hold high office, embrace the heresy of denying this truth, are truly rebelling against the Church (not I), for they are rebelling against the Church as it was irreformably constituted. On the basis of this oath, I hold any ordinations conferred to the contrary to be utterly invalid. I will not receive "Sacraments" given by women "priests", or those who have been consecrated by female "Bishops," or any who have received ordinations of doubtful validity. I hold the Pontifical teaching to the contrary to be not binding in any sense. I pledge to seek ways to ride out the storm of heresy, to continue to promulgate the true line of the Priesthood, and to restore it to its proper place and glory, once that storm is o'erpast, so help me God, amen." I remain your humble servant, Father Petros, Tractarian. Saints Clement and Everistus, pray for us. Saints Pius of Sutica and Seraphim of Leora, pray for us. Saints Kristoff and Jude, pray for us. All ye holy Priests of God, pray for us.
  4. Pius of Sutica looks to his old rival, the Venerable Boniface, in the Skies. "You were right," he says. "You were right."
  5. "King Ioannes Version 1611 or 1662 edition?" Asks If-Horen-Hadst-Not-Been-Baptised Barbones.
  6. "It is disgusting to even contemplate a society named after St. James II, a staunch defender of Canonist orthodoxy, seriously contemplating and downright supporting known heresies, with the support of senior Cardinals. The Sacramental Priesthood is reserved for the male sex. This is a divine tradition received by Exalted Owyn itself. To go against it is to reject the Canonist revelation." Says Fr. Petrus, who has all-but retired to a monastic life.
  7. Fr. Petros receives the reply with the joy of vindication - not of his own, but of the doctrinal unity of the Church. He had for the last few years suffered a silent martyrdom, criticised by his closest friends in the years between Tract VI and the reply for his silent patience, and being forced to withdraw from most of public life till the controversy be finished. And although he had always remained truly faithful, nagging doubts beset him with terrible anxieties. At last, a tremendous peace of soul floated upon him. "In pace, in Idipsum, dormiam et requiescam: quoniam Tu, Domine, singulariter in spe, constituisti me."
  8. "Why does a self proclaimed heretic and heathen have a say in the internal discipline of the Church, much less a Canonist association?" Asks Fr. Petros.
  9. "Dear Miss Xatophon, May the pure love of God reign in our hearts! I am not a Canon Lawyer, and will not venture to argue for or against the validity of this marriage, whether it is what is called a Catherinite marriage - viz., a marriage in which the sexual act is never consummated - or a normal one. But if a Catherinite Marriage is valid in your case, I would still advise strongly against it. Such a marriage requires the very highest level of heroic chastity. Usually it is not binding under sin, so that, if the spouses should fail in their resolution to live celibacy, they would not be sinning, but merely reverting into a lower state of marriage. But if you and your spouse fail in this, and only a virginal marriage keeps you free from sin, you will indeed be placing yourselves in the gravest peril of your immortal soul. Living under the same roof and sharing the intimacies of marriage with a strong mutual sexual attraction is basically setting yourself up to sin, and placing yourself in grave danger of falling into sin. We must all recognise the frailty of our nature. I will quote from our founder, St. Pius: "We were unwilling to acknowledge our own mortal frailty [and hence fell into grave sin]... I have since learnt this: that any man who refuses to pity his brother when he falls into a serious fault, shows himself to be in great danger of an imminent fall himself. For pride refuses to admit weakness, and hence, as a hot-headed general is easily lured into ambushes, so Iblees can easily overcome those who are assured of their own strength." (Confessions 2.9) Hence we cannot deliberately place ourselves into proximity of sin and be surprised when we fall, or go into a dangerous situation and say: 'God will protect me'; for that is the error of presumption; we place ourselves by our own act into a situation where we are likely to fall, despite saying we resolve not to fall. Is it any surprise that God would permit us to fall if we acted thus? What would we say to that hot-headed general who ran into the ambush, and how much worse if he knew the ambush was coming, but did not prepare the forces or warn anyone? Such is the pitiable state of those who place themselves in the occasion of sin. We must avoid all sin. And to do this, we must avoid occasions of sin. This definitely represents an occasion of sin to two young people. Therefore I do not see how you can reasonably co-habitate without committing the sin of presumptuous pride. My strongly-held advice is to remain single and either live celibately, or wait for a more appropriate match. I remain your humble servant, Father Peter of Akritos, FSSCT."
  10. "They have capitalised all these fancy names and titles, but they forgot to capitalise the 'g' in 'God?'" Wonders Fr. Petros.
  11. Blessed Seraphim, FSSCT, pray for us! [!]The work is obviously very hastily put together and printed. There are probably blot marks obscuring words and misprinted words on your copy. It is printed en-masse on a cheap, double-sided piece of paper. TRACTS FOR THE TIMES. TRACT VI: ON FEMALE DEACONS. Written by Petros the Akritian, FSSCT (Provost.) I. Introduction. Reasons for this Tract. Venerable Fathers, Bishops of the most Holy Canonist Church, venerable brothers, my fellow Priests of that self-same Mother, and my dear children, the monastics and laity who look to us for guidance, this letter is for you. It is hastily written. You must forgive my haste in writing and publishing this, because it is in response to an immediate need; without swift action, I foresee the ruin of many souls in the perilous waters of either schism or heresy. I have been flooded by many of my penitents in Savoy with the most urgent requests for guidance on the late Bull of the High Pontiff. I must confess that I myself, with the deepest reservation, find the document to be very poorly judged on a prudential basis. One particular penitent, a very zealous man, took it very badly and it is in the interest of his soul and those of others, that I write this Tract in order to seek clarity. For my order, the FSSCT, is one whose very basis is the Sacramental Priesthood. Our founders, Pius of Sutica and Seraphim of Leora, understood the Sacramental Priesthood to be both the basis of the Church, and the key to her liberty and exaltation. They call it an inestimable burden and grace, an honour far greater than any that can be found on earth, and a weight bearing on any soul who fears God more heavily than a crown of the purest jewels. If the interpretation some give of the latest Bull is right, it speaks very gravely about the state of the Church and even, it must be said, the orthodoxy of the Pontiff, perhaps being the final nail in the coffin of the supposed doctrine of Pontifical Infallibility, something the Tracts originally upheld. But if the interpretation that is proper is less rash, then we are to carry on as normal, as his servants. My intention therefore is to avoid division and seek clarity. II. Interpretation of the Latest Bull. The section to which I refer is Number Eight. I will quote it in full for the proper context: "We call on all faithful Canonists to answer God’s call, for we are all called to service by the Lord of Lords, the King of Kings. Those who are skilled in fighting may serve God by joining the Supreme Order of the Exalted Owyn, and using their skills to protect Our clergy and Our flock. Those with a gift for speaking and interpreting may join to become a monk or a priest, to shepherd parts of God’s flock. Women too have a calling, either to serve as a deacon and aid priests with services or even perform them when no priest is available, or as a nun to provide charity and compassion to those who have none. All who wish to accept this higher calling are urged to speak to their local clergyman. Let all things be done for the greater glory of God." The interpretation which my zealous friend gave was that the word 'services' included both mass and sacraments, essentially delegating them both to the new female diaconate. The Church has stated that, in exetremis, the Sacrament of Baptism can be offered by laity. This was discussed in an Ecumenical Council, the proceeds of which discussed the nature of the Sacraments and how they ought to be reserved to the Priesthood. They rejected the extension of the Sacrament of Ablution beyond the Priesthood. St. Pius of Sutica spoke thus: "How can this Absolution - sorry, I am old - Ablution be performed apart from the Priesthood? We didn't create the Sacraments, we received them, because it was not we who established the Priesthood, but God. God never demands of us the impossible, of necessity He cannot condemn us for what we cannot do, being infinitely just. And so Confession and Ablution in exetremis, in this circumstance [of someone who has literally no possibility of getting it from a Priest], the rite itself, without priestly absolution, will do, for God accepts the contrition without the medium of the Priest. This does not mean, however, we should not make it the rule, for that is not God's will. The Sacraments serve God; He is not junior to them, but being their Author, He desires to ordinarily work through them, but He is not confined by them. And hence here, the desire of ablution signified by the Confession of sins and the act of a layman is sufficient to give the remission of sins. But in the ordinary, the Priest is the visible representative of God, and absolves in His Name, and therefore Absolution and Confession are joined in what was traditionally called the Sacrament of Confession." He went on: "That is not true [that who can administer the sacraments can be changed at will], for you merely lack a distinction between what is rigid and what is firm. The age of admission to the Priesthood, except that, I suppose he be old enough to have the use of reason (For Owyn instituted men as Priests and not toddlers as the Gospel tells us), is, I grant you, fluid. But the very form and nature of this Sacrament is vested in the Sacred Priesthood. For the Prophet has said: "No man can call himself above them." Them being the Sacraments; Proverbs chapter three; verse six. For it has always been held that this renewal of Baptism given by the remission of sins, is explicitly rooted, and, as part of the very form of the Sacrament, indelibly linked to the Sacred Priesthood. This is clearly the authoritative teaching of the Church as regards this Sacrament and has always been so, that this not be merely a changeable discipline, but a matter of the form of the Sacrament itself, thereby being a matter of faith, and there can be no innovation there. I should consult the wonderful Encyclical of Blessed Jude the First, which, I repeat, every Priest and Acolyte should read at once, and for that reason I have brought it with me here. Sacerdoti in Nostra Ecclesiae makes it explicitly clear. Moreover, so does the Act of Absolution itself: wherefore Ven. Humbert added: By that same authority or something to that effect, I mean to say the authority of the Sacred Priesthood, I absolve thee. It is therefore clear that it has always been understood that it is on the Priestly authority from whence the Absolution comes. If there were no Priesthood, there would be no Sacrament. Dispensation is given, again, as I said, to in exetremis Ablution, but that proceeds from desire and not from substance, for they receive the benefits of the Sacrament because God is pleased to grant their intent, not because the form of the Sacrament itself is apart from the Priesthood. To therefore extend the Sacrament apart from the explicit Sacerdotal dignity is a perversion of the very Sacrament, not merely a disciplinary change, for the remission of sins has always proceeded, as part of the Sacrament itself, from the Priest, and on his authority alone, a layman's authority being insufficient to absolve." Thus, the layman who 'administers' the Sacraments, does not do it as such, but acts as a marker of the desire of the person to receive them which cannot be realised, and this desire gives the graces of the Sacrament without itself being the Sacrament. Hence a man who is trapped on a desert island with his wife, who has no viable way of finding a Priest, may confess his sins to her and pronounce his desire and need of absolution, and this will show that, if he had a Priest, he would have done the same. And if both of them die on their island, the man would have received the grace of the absolution in an extraordinary, non-sacramental way, rather than receiving the Sacrament itself. Therefore, if Pius of Sutica is to be believed (and among my friends, he is), and if my penitent's interpretation is correct, then the very nature of the divinely instituted Sacred Priesthood has been changed. This would essentially mean the High Pontiff and has severed himself from that very institution in the very act of trying to dismantle it. For the Priesthood is a divine institution, and who happens to be individual Pontiff at a particular time owes to the things of temporarily, and therefore he should be like a stick trying to break a rock; he himself would be broken. However, I do not myself accept this interpretation, and I have advised my penitent to withhold judgement until proper clarity is given. I would be very slow in ascribing an interpretation that would leave us in a very difficult position. I do not interpret the Bull as meaning this. I interpret the word 'services' as essentially meaning mass, sermons and so forth, which are non-sacramental. These things are not in an essential way linked to the Priesthood exclusively, but they are heavily associated with it. The Scroll of Gospel says that Owyn established the Priesthood as a teaching office in matters of faith and morals. But there is no reason why a layman or monastic cannot speculate about the faith, admonish the sinner, console the scrupulous, or give his own interpretation of a given passage or theological issue. St. Jude himself was a teacher before he was a Priest, Venerable Julia of Haense wrote edifying pamphlets, and we even ask Acolytes to submit theses, some of which have even made it into the Canonist Commentary on the Scriptures, before they are ordained. Canonist mass itself is not a divine but a human institution; this can be proved from the fact that there are different rites of it which differ wildly in form and purpose. Personally, I would find it a troublesome development, although it would not be heretical as such. Such an interpretation would cause us to charitably argue for the reversal or clarification of this decision (expect a later Tract), but if it is to be upheld, schism should be as far from our minds as iblees, for iblees is the author of schism. I would only ask that, as a matter of absolute necessity, laity and monastics be barred from the celebration of Judite mass, since this is explicitly sacramental in nature, rather than the main Canonist rite which is essentially a Scripture reading, prayer and sermon. In fact, as the Provost of the only existing Judite Order I hereby bar non-ordained persons from celebrating mass in our Fraternity. III. Conclusion. Call for Renewal of Priesthood and Tractarian Movement. The clarity I seek is therefore very clear. How is the Bull to be interpreted? Are the Sacraments to be administered by Deaconesses as such? Or only the sacred ceremonies, and then only in extreme circumstances? One thing is clear. We need good Priests who are faithful to orthodoxy. Let us revive the Tractarian spirit which imbibes fervour for the Sacred Priesthood and the Sacraments as a thirsty man quaffs water.
  12. "Time to revive the Tracts for the Times..." Says Fr. Petros the Akritian ominously.
  13. Fr. Petros, FSSCT, quotes from the Thesis of St. Jude On Conversion and Humility. "Now, I write this thesis because I strongly disagree that those who convert and were of a different race, or religion, are below us in any way. In the end, we are all below one great Being and we will all be judged differently. Just because you may have been a pagan or nonbeliever once doesn’t mean that you are not a brother or sister of the Creator now. We are all equal and should love each other the same. Now I leave you to think upon this: If you are someone who believes converted heathens, pagans, or heretics, are below you, how would you feel if you were in their shoes?” "Holy Father Saint Jude, pray for us!" He exclaims.
  14. THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT PIUS OF SUTICA BOOK II: ILLUSION. ABOUT THE AUTHOR. Blessed Pius of Sutica (1610-1803), known before his conversion as Malgath, was an High Elven philosopher who converted to Canonism and later became a Canonist Priest, founding the Priestly Fraternity of SS. Jude and Kristoff. He was the author of many influential spiritual works. Disowned by his natural family as “impure”, High Pontiff Saint James II called him “An example of humility whom I wish to emulate and a teacher to whom I submit”; he was beatified for the greater glory of God by High Pontiff Jude II in 1807. He was canonised by Everard VI in 1836. READ HERE: BOOK I (IMPURE), PUBLISHED BY FRATERNITY PRESS. CHAPTER I - THE PLEASURE PRINCIPLE. I.My philosophy of life, then, was thus: having abandoned any attempt to build character, I resolved that the only meaning to life was to suck as much pleasure out of it as could be gained, and to avoid as much pain as could be avoided. My sense of morality was hence bent towards this, so that I never indulged brutal or greatly mean tendencies in terms of causing physical harm, which I would have rejected as uncivilised, but remained always outwardly polite and seemingly harmless. I was a coward, what might informally be called a ‘wimp.’ I stood for no principle or cause, except to not stand; and I would rather look in the mirror and see a coward than incur any pain to myself. Although it was of course, contrary to Thee, the experience of this philosophy taught me much which I now know. For example, I cannot now delude myself into believing myself a strong or courageous man, capable of standing up without Thy holding me up. I know that when I stood for nothing but my own self, I really did not stand at all. I was content to avoid trouble and pursue pleasure, and, again, this I called Life on the Basis of the Pleasure Principle, as if some great intellectual invention of mine, when in fact it is as old as iblees. Thou wast not my God, my God. Rather, I was my own god, a rule unto myself, and I thought this bold and new! But most novelties are just old philosophies with new labels. II.For this reason, I never explicitly crossed the line to do acts or say words that would render me Impure in the eyes of the State. I kept these things bottled up within my head. And yet, along with this contentment - that the struggle did not really matter and that I might as well get as much pleasure out of it as I could - I remained angry with the Silver State and what I thought was her fiction of Purity. Perhaps it was because they denied me the most intense pleasures, such as fornication. A lust denied is often the wellspring of anger. I cannot claim to have lived chastely at this time, for although I kept the outward chastity of Mali’aheral, yet inwardly I would not have, with only my own cowardice preventing me. Hence, I have no moral high ground whatever over the adulterer: in spirit, I was an adulterer, with only a slavish fear of the State and society that kept me from consummating the acts I desired. III.Wherefore, I desired the thrill of being a rebel, testing the line, but never with the backbone to actually cross it. I would drink altogether too much, each week, each day; each hour daring to push toward the edge of the line closer and closer. I fell in with a bad group, and they accelerated my ‘progress.’ My life hence became one of petty crime. I was merely a petty criminal simply because I was too pathetic to be a serious one. My friends were bolder than me; and I often-times lied to them in order to make it seem like I had committed crimes as grievous as theirs. A man, boasting of an act of lust, or wickedness or rebellion, would make me feel compelled to lie that I had done just as bad, if not worse. My family were worried about my habits, but they never really became aware of their true extent. And if they did, my parents loved me too much to expose me to the scandal of our society. CHAPTER II - THE NATURE OF SIN. IV.One night, it came to a head when we broke the Silver Laws in a clear and indefensible manner. Second among the ‘Obvious Laws’ is that in which stealing is strictly prohibited (Eltiran’thilln I.I.II) - and it was this Law which we violated on one warm summer night. But unlike some of the laws written in our code, this was not merely an offence against the Silver Laws, but against the very Law which Thou hast engraved into our hearts - namely the natural Moral Law which belongs to all men. It was in the trade district of the city, where we stole some bottles of rather mediocre wine. The wine was of no real value. We had much better at home. There was nothing financial in what I did. But to the man from which we stole, it could have represented a serious loss. V.If it was not money, why did I choose thee, O sin of mine? “It’s a victimless crime, Malgath.” The boys urged, their smooth voices like melting butter. Yes. I would not have chosen thee alone, O cursed one. Were I alone, the thought of stealing would never have entered my mind. But shamed by the urging of peers, I caved to the baser instinct. Again, O my soul, learn thy lesson. Thou art not as strong or self-dependent as thou thinkest thyself to be. No, no! Thou art inclined to take the path of least resistance - and in a fallen world, that path is often the road that creeps softly to death. There is no man so vulnerable as he that trusts in his own energy and resources! Lean, O my soul, on Thy God, and never forget all that He hath done for thee. VI.That is the tension which I think must shatter any remnant of Mali'thill pride which still remains with me. I once read in one of the Akritian pagan poets: Video meliora proboque, deteriora seqour. ((OOC Note: Ovid, Met.VII.20-21)) “The better things I see, and I praise them; but it is the baser that I follow.” Or in other words, as one wise man, or perhaps rather God in him, put it: “Non enim quod volo bonum, hoc facio: sed quod nolo malum, hoc ago.” ((OOC note: Romans 7:19)) Viz., for the good which I would, I do not, but the evil which I would not, that I do. Is it not amazing that I never read the like in any of our authors, despite the fact that we pride ourselves on being wise above men? Our Laws say: “Our ancestors strove for Purity...” (Elitiran’thilln I.I.IV.) but it seems that even peer pressure, passions and emotions, the law of our members and flesh, and such influences, can cause us to capsize like a gunboat on the open sea very easily. We do not realise that we are fallen creatures. Sin has a certain hold over us, and we are compromised by a mortal weakness which inclines us to the baser instincts. The refusal to acknowledge this weakness makes the High Elf even more likely to fall, and, worse, makes him refuse to pity his brother who does fall. We need to realise we all have something of the Old Krug in us. Deliver me not to a prideful heart, my God. VII.But there was more. It was not merely a caving into pressure, but I took a positive pleasure in the act. Whence came this pleasure? Allow me to guess, my Lord. I think it came from that instinct of pride and rebellion which caused me to have a contempt for a higher law placing a restriction on my free act. In my licentious philosophy, if it can be honoured by that word (for philosophy means love of wisdom, and this was the love of nothing), freedom was the highest good. By therefore inordinately chasing freedom even at the cost of evil, I fell into a bad way. Sin seems to me to be rooted in nothing less than a pursuit of a lesser good to its extreme, to the point where it overrides the Moral Law. VIII.This is why we need to have moral absolutes. My father used to tell me a story about a plotting human queen, the wife of the king. The queen desperately wanted her son, the king’s step-son, to follow after the death of the childless king. Therefore she poisoned, blackmailed and schemed, stopping at no length, ceasing to commit no evil to obtain this end. In the end, even the husband of her bosom and king was made her victim when it became clear to her he was going to prefer another man to her son. At her husband’s deathbed, she justified herself: “I never did anything, never thought anything, never said anything except for thee and for the kingdom, my lord,” sounded she in the ears of the dying king. If she was a mere lunatic it would not be a frightening story. But the truly abominable thing is that she truly believed - or at least convinced herself - of the necessity of these acts. For, she reasoned, without a single heir, the kingdom would be plunged into civil war. Her son, in her mind, would be the only one who could be universally accepted as king. This is a terrifying truth cloaked in a fictional story. For, without moral absolutes, we can justify any evil to pursue any lesser good. Convicted of our own righteousness, we will, in our pride, do every evil imaginable before facing the trial of conscience which our sins - at the least - deserve. IX.In these acts I sought to make myself free, but merely enchained myself afresh. And the chains were more chafing than before. For when I held myself to the laws of Purity, the chains were outward - now the chains enclosed my very heart and soul. O, that I had wings like a dove! Thou art my desert place, O my God, and let my soul take its final flight to Thee. [Editor’s note: Pius’ declining health meant he was convinced his own death was close at hand upon writing.] For who was freer, the man from whom I had stolen, or the thief? I had loosed myself from a Law, but bound myself by sin. My victim was constrained now by a new economic necessity. But in his heart and conscience he remained innocent and free. This is true freedom. For the just man, though a slave, is free. But the wicked man, though he reigns, is a slave, for the slave has for his master but one, and that outward, but the wicked man has as many masters as he has vices which enslave even his very interior life. I therefore freed myself only to enslave myself yet more profoundly, convincing myself that slavery was freedom, and freedom was slavery. O, had I known the free and true law of Love! She has the chains of law, but they chafe not: for they are held in place not by servile fear, but by the sweet bonds of charity. Late have I come to Thee, O my Love. But possess me ,for I am utterly Thine to possess. Hold me fast, and let me never depart from Thee! CHAPTER III - ACADEMIC CAREER. X.Whilst this reality dawned upon me, I began to suffer from intense boredom. I went from enjoying life to sneering at it. This was another flaw in Life According to the Pleasure Principle. For pleasures are transitory and suffer what I may call a Law of Diminishing Returns. That is, sensual pleasure gradually loses its novelty, and so we become weary of it, and so, to stimulate an ever-decreasing capacity for pleasure, one must seek for pleasures more and more intense, novel and illicit. Therefore, that night of my theft was when things came to a head. After that, for weeks, I would go seeking to replicate the thrill which I experienced that night. But I could never find it. I went to the same stupid job every day. I drank the same wine. Everything seemed grey and meaningless. I have felt grief, anger and other negative emotions at various points in my life. But to feel truly grieved, I must love something greatly, care greatly about something. But I cared for nothing. So there was no passion; no lamentations cried to an unknown god. Grey. Transitory. It was the true face of nihilism - a blank nihil staring me down the long prospective centuries, and driving me insane. After a time I decided I could not live by this principle any more. XI.I returned to the Silver Library. The pleasures of childhood had been more wholesome, so I suppose I reckoned that in the pleasures of the Library I might find solace. I encountered a genre of literature which might be called Self-Improvement. It involves things such as “Growing in Knowledge of Self” “Self-Esteem”, and Listening. (A Full Guide to Meditation and ‘The Self.’) As the name implies, it is far too self centered. Nevertheless, devouring volumes such as these which gave practical tips for “self-actualisation”, I sought a perverted kind of asceticism, which is far from the kind which Thy servant, our Holy Father Saint Jude practised upon this earth. Saint Jude understood that the love of Thee takes the primacy in our lives. (Thesis on Love.) We rather chase an inordinate love of self and chase “improvement” out of self-love, rather than seeking out the other to become the object of our love. XII.Dearest God, my Creator, I exist only in relation to Thee. Without Thee I am nothing. Apart from Thee, I have nothing to claim for my own but sin and death. Thou art the source, summit and sustainer of my entire life from the womb onwards. Thou art Wisdom - without Thee I am only pitiful unwisdom - Thou art beauty - without Thee I am only brute ugliness - Thou art Goodness - without Thee I am only utter wretchedness. I therefore give Thee all of my love, I make to Thee a sacrifice of love as I say: I love Thee. I immolate myself in this Act of Love. Let ‘I’ only exist to be in the ‘I’ in ‘I love Thee!’ let me be enclosed within this Act of Love in time and in eternity. I love Thee with my whole heart and above all things. O let all other things dissolve before me in this Act of Love; let me be wrapped up in the consciousness of two, and only two, luminously self-evident beings: myself, and my Creator. CHAPTER IV - PIUS REJECTS CONTRACT. XIII.It was therefore in this self-absorption that I gave myself to return to an academic career. I chased “success.” That meant power, wealth and prestige. But to what end? That question I carefully avoided, deciding to cast myself body and soul into the pit of materialism. This provided solace, for a time. I gave myself up furiously to the study of architecture for several decades until I was considered a respected master of the field. At the end of my resolve, I finally found what I had grasped for so anxiously: the great work which would propel me into an illustrious career. A senior magistrate in the Silver State commissioned me to build for him a great townhouse which would gain for me great fame in the land and would probably be enough to secure me great favour with the State. My family would be proud of me. A woman I was sweet on would be greatly impressed, and I would gain universal admiration, a comfortable life and a reputation as a great patriot. But despite all my vehement devotion to my work, I could not bring myself to sign the contract. My pen shaked, much as I did when I began this writing. Something was off. XIV.I requested a few days off to consider. The magistrate eagerly granted, but seemed surprised. I had, after all, seemed such an ambitious sort! But there was a nagging doubt which I could not answer, because I could not work out what it was. I could not sleep. I had always kept on my desk some archive documents talking about the calendar: the months of the year, the difference between Elven and normal hours, and so on, and so forth - and, most importantly of all, the years of the various realms upon which the descendants had dwelt in modern history. I studied the details only because I had nothing else to do for lack of sleep. Anthos. 1420-1454. 34 years. Athera. 1470-1513. 43 years. Vailor. 1513-1570. 67 years. And then my birthplace, Axios: 1571-1642. 71 years. And now Atlas: 1643-1704. 61 years. And now I was in Arcas and they wanted me to build a townhouse. 1704-to...what? When would this one finish? I swiftly calculated the median of the time it took for each continent to implode and force a mass migration. 61+71+67+43+34. Divided by 5. 55.2. My mind raced: in about half a century, this new place I was supposed to call home would be finished, on average, by 1759. (Griffith, thou must needs understand - that seems a long time for a human. But to an Elf, it is almost nothing.) So what? Was I to lay the foundations of a townhouse which would be abandoned so swiftly? How fleeting an honour! How pointless an endeavour! How futile a contract! O, Vanity of Vanities! And yet my blessed race, which looks upon men with pity for their short years, differ nothing from them in this manner of thinking. I was building as if for eternity something which would last, in Elven terms, ten fortnights at the most. XV.I took that contract which I had coveted for half a century of gruelling mental labour and I ripped it in shreds. At first, I felt a tremendous weight lift from my shoulders. Although I knew it not, Thou hadst delivered me from the cage of covetousness. For I now see that I would not have wrested myself from that pitiable position: there is no reason I should have read that calendar and raced my mind along such a path, unless Thou didst spur it on. Thou hast spared me from the fate I deserved, from the fate I had chosen for myself, Lord - centuries of centuries of labour ever more futile, working away at a thing that passeth away like stubble in the wind, ere its foundations were laid. O, Thou art my Liberator who hath broken my bonds asunder. Having received of this unmerited grace, unknowing that it be grace at all, I returned home that very night, unsure of what to do next. CHAPTER V - PIUS TAKES UP THE VOCATION TO PHILOSOPHY. XVI.The Library was the only place I knew where to go. And so I did. My employer was there and was looking very smug. “Ah, after so rudely ripping up the opportunity of a lifetime, young Malgath hath returned. I will, in my generosity, over thee a second chance.” He thought my refusal was a thing of vanity, and that I would now accept a worse offer. He was wrong. XVII.What now? As a child and young man, I had studied the Flexio and Akritian languages. But I had considered other races, naturally, inferior. In the natural order of science, such as in medicine, perhaps they might have something valuable to teach us. But in terms of philosophy and metaphysics, we were told as a rule of dogma that there was nothing possibly they could teach us. Indeed, to embrace foreign ideas was considered of questionable Purity, and to do so to the exclusion of the State’s ideas of Purity and so forth, utterly Impure. [Editor’s Note: c.f. Othelu Orrar, Enumerated Distinctions of Purity.] Therefore, whilst I had studied Flexio and Akritian works on mathematics, medicine, architecture, linguistics and so forth, I had never read any work of philosophy not approved by the State, except works bent toward ‘self-improvement.’ But now my mind took a different turn. The philosophy of the Blessed Mali had proven nothing but disastrous and illusory for me on a personal level. Nihilism had proven equally so. These people seemed very advanced in the natural sciences. Could it hurt to start to study their philosophies as well as their natural sciences? I had to give it a try. XVIII.I take a moment to observe how excellent the timing of this decision, or rather how excellent Thy timing was. If I had studied these things as a boy or a youth, I would have read them with nothing but scorn, disgust and a deep conviction of my own superiority. But now I was eager to learn from them. Before I would have read the philosophers to lecture them on my own superiority. Now, all that I had experienced, the lies upon which I was brought up, the utter evil of hedonism and the giving over of monstrous enemies to a transitory gust of wind, I had gone from lecturer to student. I knew I did not have the answers so I sought them elsewhere. Before I thought: I do not have the answers; surely these inferior civilisations cannot tell me them. There are no answers. Now I had abandoned that evil line of thinking, and was determined to investigate. XIX.I took another job at the Silver Library as a linguist and translator. After a few months of study, I came across an Akritian pagan writer writing in Flexio called Archimedes. Akritos was a far-away country which for centuries had never been Canonist. I did not read the Canonists because I considered them fanatics, so I stuck to the pre-Canonist philosophers. Archimedes wrote an epistle to his friend exhorting him to the love of wisdom above all things and how she needed to be preferred over any material thing. I was entranced. “Did this Archimedes have disciples?” I asked. If so, they must be found abroad. Yes, I must go and talk if this man hath any more written works and any men who know his philosophy in detail. Everything material was vain; I was now inflamed with the spirit of a philosopher. I knew that I could not rest until I knew where the true good of the sons of Malin lay. My vocation was clear: I was to become a philosopher, a Lover of Wisdom.
  15. "Pretender? The Pontiff crowned him just last month, and yet you name disobedience of the Pontiff among his sins? This is hypocrisy. You yourself accept the Pontiff's judgement if you would so accuse others of failing." Says Fr. Petros.
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