He paused once more, then visibly squared his shoulders and drew a deep breath.

“It is also this tribunal’s conclusion that at least some of the responsibility for these actions resides not in the priests who actually committed them, but in the instructions those priests were given. The way in which those directives were phrased, the stern injunction to secure the Charisian galleons in Ferayd at all costs which those instructions contained, lent itself to the misinterpretation which Father Styvyn and his fellows placed upon them. There is no question that Father Styvyn and the other Inquisitors in Ferayd grossly exceeded the intent and the letter of those instructions, yet this tribunal has no choice but to observe that the Grand Inquisitor’s own directive to Father Styvyn played a not insignificant part in Father Styvyn’s later wrongful actions. Accordingly, we must assign at least a portion of the guilt for what the so-called ‘Church Charis’ has termed the ‘Ferayd Massacre’ to the Grand Inquisitor himself.”

If there’d been a whisper of consternation at the announcement of the priests’ guilt, it was as nothing to the reaction provoked by Rayno’s last sentence. There were gasps, hisses of surprise, even one or two half-voiced imprecations.

Rayno let them die most of the way away, then cleared his throat once again. The sound wasn’t especially loud, but it produced instant silence, and he continued.

“The tribunal’s conclusions concerning the actions of Father Styvyn and his fellow Inquisitors, and concerning the extent to which the Grand Inquisitor’s instructions may have contributed to them, will be formally communicated to both the Grand Inquisitor’s office and, at his own specific instruction, directly to the Chancellor and the Grand Vicar, as well.

“In addition to determining the facts about those actions, however, this tribunal was also charged with investigating the deaths of the Inquisitors in question. The Charisian admiral who destroyed Ferayd has confirmed, by his own words, that he personally ordered the executions, and, moreover, that he did so upon the express instructions of the excommunicate Cayleb and Sharleyan of Charis. The tribunal does not intend at this time to issue any formal conclusions about the devastation and civilian death and suffering visited upon the innocent citizens of Ferayd by that same admiral. Those matters lie beyond the scope of this tribunal’s charter, and it is the tribunal’s understanding that King Zhames is conducting his own inquiry, and will share its conclusions with Mother Church when it is completed.

“Nonetheless, this tribunal is charged with investigating and reporting upon the actual circumstances of the Ferayd Inquisitors’ deaths. And it is the inescapable conclusion of the tribunal that, notwithstanding the guilt of the Inquisitors in question, their ‘executions’ constitute, in fact, acts of cold-blooded and most impious murder. The Holy Writ itself, in both the Book of Langhorne and the Book of Schueler, establishes for all time that Mother Church, and specifically the Office of Inquisition, is responsible for judging the actions of God’s priests, for determining guilt or innocence when those priests stand accused of crimes, and for the execution of judgment upon them if they are found guilty. That solemn responsibility and duty resides solely in Mother Church and the Office of Inquisition. Any man who sheds the blood of a consecrated priest upon his own authority, or that of any mortal entity, stands guilty before Schueler, Langhorne, and God Himself, of murder. Not simply of murder, but of blasphemy. It is an act of defiance not of mortal, fallible humanity, but of God and his Holy Archangels. There can be no doubt, no question, of the blood guilt the so-called ‘Church of Charis’ must bear in the eyes of Mother Church, of all godly men, and of God Himself.”

His voice was harsh as hammered iron, and he swept his cold, hard eyes across the chamber.

“It may be that Shan-wei tempted Father Styvyn and his fellows into sin by appealing to and twisting their determination to do God’s will as they understood it upon the basis of their instructions from the Grand Inquisitor. No doubt their immortal souls will pay a heavy price because of their grievous failure, and no priest of Mother Church can condone their actions. Not when those actions led not simply to the deaths of self-professed heretics, but to the deaths of children who had no choice, no voice, in their parents’ actions. The blood of such innocent victims must stain even the most devout of souls.

“But even though all of that be true, the men who slew those priests were guilty of an even darker and more heinous crime. They hanged Father Styvyn and his fellows — hanged consecrated priests of God — in the white-hot fury of revenge. In the passion of their own blasphemous bloodlust, they overstepped the bounds God Himself has set upon mortal men. There can be no pardon for actions such as that, and the day must surely come when they will answer both to Mother Church and the Inquisition and to God for their unforgivable sins.”

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17 Responses to BY HERESIES DISTRESSED — Snippet 49

  1. Bret Hooper says:

    So–we admit that we were guilty, BUT THEY ARE GUILTIER! Again I ask, how will it play? Doubtless some will swallow it hook, line, and sinker, but how many will accept the first part (S48) but not Charis’ “greater guilt.” Of course, if the CoGA gets to write the history books, they will read much like our history books that tell us that “for no reason at all” the Kaniengahaga from Ga’nawagi one day massacred the white settlers at Lachine, near Montreal. “For no reason at all” translates to “For no reason that we are not ashamed to have known,” namely that some of those white settlers had come to Ga’nawagi when they knew all the able-bodied men of the Kaniengahaga would be out hunting to lay in meat for the winter, killed the old people and young children, and raped the women. How this could possibly have annoyed the Kaniengahaga men when they found out seems to have escaped the writers of the history books.

  2. Jeff Ehlers says:

    And his point is…?

    They already intend to do nasty things to the Charisians. So what’s the point of piling more stuff on top of that? I know, I know, they can use it to sway the undecided, but at this point there aren’t a lot of undecided left and a lot of them are going to be more afraid of Charis than they are of the Church.

  3. Kenny says:

    @2 not sure I agree with that, while Charis has been compare to Britain, in the battle with the church I see it it as a battle of Germany vs Russia. The mainland is simple to big for Charis to conquer. However if a stalemate can be held, the mainland might just overthrow the church.

  4. erispope says:

    @3 Do recognize that Zion itself, however, can be sacked and burned (although the Temple won’t burn to the ground).

    However, you are correct in that it is too large for Charis to take over. Siddarmark, now…

  5. Karina says:

    It’s a repeat of blame the victum that occurs time and again. Justify your actions because ‘they started it’. Ignore that they wouldn’t have started it if the principles or laws that you supposedly stand for had been followed. ie…Indians are massacaring unarmed miners and farmers. Never mind that we are ignoring our treaties with them and not preventing those folks from entering indian territory in the 1st place.

    Or something simpler: She got raped because of the clothes she was wearing.

  6. Chuck S. says:

    It’s called escalation. It’s highly contagious and often fatal. The survivors write the history books and all goes well until the next outbreak of ism disease, which is the usual precursor.

    Contrary to popular belief, almost all people work for material goods-they only kill for beliefs. Humans are strange, and DW reflects the strangeness like a mirror held up to history. That’s what makes him a brilliant niche author. Most people don’t like what they see in the mirror. It makes them think, which makes their heads hurt.

    Yeah, I’m in a foul mood this morning.


  7. Peter Z says:

    Most of the prior posts are the very reason the Church engaged in this strategy; distraction. The Church can’t support their position based on either logic or theology. As I posted in the conversation between the GI and Chancelor, that they admit culpability for errors in dealing with Charis renders their difference of opinion a simple matter of scope not distinct quality. Both are either slightly right or slightly wrong, the argument has devolved to HOW wrong either is. Had the G4 been able to retain the position that only Charisian error has led to this final estrangement, Charis would have been toast. They gave up that position when they launched their first fleet, as Nahrmahn so ably voiced in BSRA.

    The position announced in this snippet cedes the entire argument to Charis who contends that a littany of errors/corruption led to this estrangement. What is left is merely the process of how to deal with Church corruption.


  8. Greg "Gunner" Stitz says:

    Picked up the book yesterday while I was running some work-related errands. Well, actually ran some work-related errands while I went out and picked up BHD…

    It was hard to get any work done, and I didn’t get anything done at home last night.

    The book is great, even better than the snippets indicate. IMHO, it’s one of DW’s better ones.

    Yes, I stayed up late to finish it.

  9. Ian Darley says:

    The church is also writing for posterity under the conviction that they will win against the heretics in Charis. Create enough period paperwork recording how hard you worked to resolve a difficult situation and there will be plenty of “proof” that the Church was right to exterminate millions of people when the time comes to write the histories of this war a couple of generations after Charis is put down and most of those pesky eye witnesses have gone on to their final rewards.

  10. Tim says:

    Its out, I went down to the local bookstore and ended up reading most of it :-). Another great story. Its amazing how far into the book 49 snippets took us. :-)

    Can hardly wait for the next one… no pressure!

  11. robert says:

    @10 Ye Gods! The book is 490 pages long. If each snippet averages a couple of pages, then they amount to about 20% of the book. Is that what you are saying, or do you mean it is more than 20%?

  12. Brom says:

    We received 127 snippets of BSRA which gave us 83% of the novel. In comparison, the 49 snippets of BHD received thus far are less than a third of the novel. (In both novels, the end glossaries are not considered.)


  13. Evan says:

    The points the G4 is actually making are:

    1. We admit the Inquisitors were guilty.
    2. But only we had the right to punish them

    The point of the first admission is to imply that they would have eventually acted, if Charis hadn’t….and maybe also to try to make the Inquisitors’ guilt or innocence not the issue.

    I wondered at first why they were admitting anything, since they couldn’t get any credit now for punishing the Inquisitors themselves, and presumably have no intention of seriously punishing the Grand Inquisitor.

    But this explains it: the point of admitting the Inquisitor’s guilt is to defend their right to be the sole judges of the Church and clergy. There’s no credibility for that right unless they pretend to be capable of punishing clergy who break rules.

    This, BTW, was a big issue in real history too; Samuel a Beckett was killed in a dispute with the King over whether the clergy could only be tried in Church courts.

  14. robert says:

    @14 If only all Cayleb had to do was murmur “will no one rid me of that gang of four…” we would not have anything to comment on.

  15. Karina says:

    @14 Assasination of political leaders is a bad road to travel down. What if it’s a despot saying that about someone like Martin Luther King? It’s better to take the high road and get the leaders own people hating him / her.

  16. _Arthur says:

    “at least a portion of the guilt for what the so-called ‘Church Charis’ has termed ” –> Church of Charis ?

  17. robert says:

    I see from Amazon’s tracking data that my copy has arrived at my PO tonight. So I will probably get it sometime tomorrow. So long all. It has been fun reading all the interesting posts. ‘See’ you over at the Torch snippets.

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