The Current Pope is Augustin
IV (he has reigned since six weeks after the end of the Unification War).
Former Pope Leo XVII supported the Alliance and as a punishment the Alliance
has not given the church any new permits to build churches since the war.
The heart of the
contemporary Church is five square miles of the Great City. New Rome is centred
on the great Basilica of Our Lady of Exile, a nearly exact image of old St.
Peter's on Earth-That-Was. Our Lady of Exile is surrounded by a cluster of
shrines, convents, monasteries, universities, hospitals, schools, apartments
and offices that serve as the nerve centre of the Roman Catholic Church. Almost
a hundred thousand people live and work in New Rome, a mixture of priests and
It is here that Pope
Augustine IV resides and leads the Church, and it is here that the Ninety-Nine
Bishops come every five years for the great Conferences of Faith, as well as
for conclaves upon the passing of a Pope. (The ancient office of Cardinal was
set aside when Earth died, and Archbishop is a rarely-used rank; all bishops
have an equal say in determining the successors of St. Peter).
There are several issues of
special concern to the Church as it faces 26th century society.
Near the top of the list is
the issue of Companions. The Church has vigorously opposed the entire concept
of Companions since it first evolved, and continues to do so to this day.
Sadly, from the Church's point of view, its protests have had little influence.
The institution remains secure and popular.
When it comes to Reavers,
there's none of the tact and compassion the Church (tries to) show for Companions.
While their mental breakdown is certainly to be pitied, the Reavers operate so
far outside the realm of normal conduct that they can scarcely be considered
sentient at all.
The site of a consecrated
Catholic Church is outside the legal powers of the Alliance and has been since
the Alliance Catholic Church Permits Act 2452 gave the church the right to
apply to consecrate land and make it God's land in the universe. This gives
Cathedrals a very peculiar status and this was tested severley in 2578 when a
suspect who shot an Alliance trooper fled to a Cathedral and claimed sanctuary.
The Alliance tried to take legal action to force the Church to give up the man
and in Panquin State Authority vrs Church of New Rome the Judge agreed that the
authority of the Alliance stopped at the boundary of the cathedral and they
could not force the church to give up the man. The Alliance acted with typical
sensitivity and put a blockage around the church, forcing all within to starve.
The stalemate was broken eventually when the man gave himself up, but created
considerable anti Alliance feeling amongst many Catholics.
Cloning experiments and anything to do with DNA
resequencing has been fiercely opposed by the Catholic Church throughout the
centuries. The church has lost a couple of high profile cases to do with this.
In Elton Fothersby versus Church of New Rome it tried to stop a couple from
using cloning technology to clone a new egg from the failed eggs that his wife
had stored. It was ruled that the eggs were property of the couple and
therefore providing they were not destroyed they could do what they liked with