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Aerial view of St. Peter's from BOAC Queen Victoria


Catholicism in Ill Bethisad is much like it is *here*. The Latin Rite is not quite so prevalent, however, being mostly confined to England, France, Italy, southern Germany and parts of Eastern Europe and Africa. Other Catholic traditions, especially the British or Cambrian Rite and the Isidorian Rite of Castile are dominant forces within the Church and are numerically superior to the Latins.


Many groups whose forms of worship differ often dramatically are accounted Catholic. Several of the divisions, known collectively as the Uniate churches, are derived from ancient cultural tradition or language use. A list of these rites follows, but the most basic divisions are the great families known as Latin, British, and Eastern. The various subdivisions of Catholicism are governed by their own codes of canon law and have their own particular traditions within the same catholic and orthodox faith. The chief subdivisions are headed by a patriarch, traditionally the " "first among equals" of all the bishops of that particular church. Each of these churches looks to the Roman pontiff as the supreme leader of all Christian churches; but the Pope of Rome does not enjoy direct leadership of any of the Uniate churches.

A number of "uses" or local varieties exist within the Latin Rite. These consist of small national churches (particularly among the Eastern Catholics) or larger cohesive groups within a larger community. One example is the Catholic Church of Dalmatia. Population is about 250,000 in Dalmatia; and undoubtedly there are communities of ex pats in the Dalmatophone States as well. An especial note should be made regarding the Catholic Church of Dalmatia (or Dalmatian Use). It is sometimes and quite erroneously referred to as the "Dalmatian Orthodox Church", but of course, it is not Orthodox in the sense of Russian or Serbian or Greek Orthodoxy. On the contrary, it is simply a very conservative Catholic denomination. Among the ideosyncrasies of the Dalmatian Use are: the rejection of the alterations to the Divine Liturgy (Vatican Council), affirmation of the supremacy of the Pope of Rome over all temporal authorities and affirmation of the infallibility of the Pope of Rome when speaking with St. Peter's authority. Most Catholics account these excesses as "a bit severe", the last of which is not a feature of Catholic doctrine in Ill Bethisad.

The British family of churches has a number of local varieties or uses. The Irish and Armorican churches are local varieties of the Kemrese Rite, and all use the same liturgy, based ultimately on the Liturgy of Saint Patrick. The English Catholic Church, sometimes known as the Anglican Use, is a relative of the Kemrese, but is closer to the Roman church in practices. It differs mostly in its use of English in the Liturgy of St. Osmund rather than the usual Liturgy of St. Pius V. When celebrated to its fullest extent, it is accounted the most sumptuous and fullest of all Catholic liturgies.

1. Western / Latin Church

-Latin/Roman Rite
-Catholic Church of Dalmatia (Dalmatian Use)
-English Catholic Church (Anglican Use)
-Nakchivan Rite of 1544
-Croatian (aka Glagolitic or Slavo-Latin Rite)
-Minor Patriarchies
-Venice (and Aquileia)
-West Indies
-East Indies
-Holy Roman Episcopal Lutheran
-Historic Rites of Religious Orders
-Ambrosian rite
-Isidorian Rite
-Brythonic Rite
-Cambrian Use
-Irish Recension
-Armorican Use

2. Byzantine Rite

-Greek Catholic Church of Croatia, Dalmatia, and Serbia [working title]
-Italo-Byzantine Catholic Church
-Albanian Exarchate
-Ruthenian Church*
-Slevan Exarchate
-Ukrainian Exarchate

3. Syriac Rite

-Maronite Church

4. Armenian Rite

-Armenian Church*

NB: It is uncertain if all those "national" churches (marked with a *) exist as separate entities or if they fall under the auspices of a single Patriarch. Though the status of the Oriental Churches (vis-à-vis having a patriarch) was broached by the Vatican Council, nothing specific was determined at that time. Many Catholics in the East have called for the Pope of Rome to create a patriarchy for them as a sign of the "maturity of their church", including several Eastern Catholic metropolitans. The current Pope has expressed "agreement with the faithful" that instituting a patriarchy would be an appropriate action; yet has not done so out of respect for the Orthodox who historically never created a parallel papacy for Rome as a replacement after the Schism.

These Churches are all largely self-governing units in that they accept core Catholic teaching and the authority of the same councils accepted by Rome. They come under the Pope of Rome only in his office as Ecumenical and Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church. They therefore must accept his teachings on faith and morals, but not on issues that affect local customs and liturgical matters, these being decided by the local synods of bishops.

Q. What is the relationship of the non-Latin hierarchies with the College of Cardinals and the Pope of Rome?

A. These patriarchs (Glastein, etc.) are equal to the Pope of Rome (Patriarch of the West) when you look at each rite as an individual branch of the Church. They each have their own bishops and call their own synods. When you look at the Catholic Church as a whole, the Pope of Rome takes, in a sense, one step up as leader of the whole Church, being the Ecumenical and Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church.

A non-Roman cleric may be elected as Pope of Rome by the Spirit-guided College of Cardinals, but it has been traditional that non-Roman clerics take no part in the actual elections process. There has been a strong movement afoot, favoured by the present Pope of Rome, to amend this practice, thus allowing all the princes of the Church a voting stake in the college. The theory being that the leader of the universal Church should be elected by the representatives of the whole Church, not just the Romans. It is expected that the present Pope of Rome will enact such legislation. Some inside the Vatican aver that the move is aimed at smoothing the path toward reunification with the Orthodox East.

Q. From what you describe, there is a clear hierarchy and the various rites are fully integrated so that unlike *here*, you wouldn't have the Roman Catholic Church (Latin Rite) and other related rites (Uniates) dangling on it but instead *The* Catholic Church which includes the Latin amongst the other rites.

A. Yes, this is pretty much the case. "Uniate" precisely means adhering to the Pope in his capacity of Pontiff of the Universal Church, but maintaining their own rites and traditions. *Here*, Uniatism is fairly recent; in IB, it's almost a millennium old, as the British (Celtic) church became Uniate rather than simply conforming to Roman traditions.

The Pope of Rome

The current Pope of Rome, John XXIIJ was born in 1920 at Seville in Castille, where he served ten years as that city's bishop. He is now 16 years into his papacy. John XXIIJ was the first non-Roman bishop elected to the papacy in several centuries.

Helvetian Guards

The Three Roles of the Pope of Rome

First and formost: Bishop of Rome. The Pope is, in fact, chiefly a diocesan bishop. Patriarch of the West. Next, he is also the chief bishop and leader of the Roman or Latin Rite of the Catholic Church. In this capacity, he is an equal to the other patriarchs of various rites, such as the British, Antiochene, etc. Ecumenical and Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church. In the Catholic understanding, Orthodoxy is in a state of schism and the Pope is the legitmate head of Christendom in apostolic descent from St. Peter, leader of the Apostles. In this capacity, the Pope of Rome has the right and duty to speak with authority on matters of faith and morals that all Catholics must adhere to as matters of religious doctrine.

Ecumenism and Christian Reunification

Ecumenism is a growing force in the Catholic church, and it is expected to remain such among the various sects of Catholicism. The desire to create and maintain friendly relationships with other Christian churches, notably the Protestant, has been one of the current Pope's works. The other great work of the present papacy, in concert with his Orthodox counterparts, has been the great strides towards the reunification of the One Church, that is, the Christian Church as existed before the Great Schism, and the healing of the breach that has existed within Christendom since 1054. While it seems that the closer the two bodies approach, the farther apart they seem to be. Fifty years ago, headlines in Rome and Constantinople heralded the "imanent conclusion of the Great Schism"; yet there remain many issues of doctrine and practice that elude satisfactory resolution between the two camps. More concrete results are to be seen at the forefront of Protestant-Catholic relations, particularly between the Catholic Church and the more traditional of the Lutheran churches. Since the establishment in 1789 of the Holy Roman Episcopal Lutheran Church, much work has been done to foster amity between Catholics and traditionalist Lutherans. The net effect has been the rapid growth in the number of Episcopal Lutheran parishes not only within the HRE but abroad as well wherever Germans have settled.

Christian Scriptures

The standard Latin text of the Bible is that of the Nova Vulgata, the New Vulgate, produced in 1907. The earlier versions of the Vulgate have been superceded by the New Vulgate except amongst certain ultraconservative Catholics who continue to use the Clementine Vulgate (1592). Also, the Cambrian Rite still allows for monastic churches to use the Old British translation, such as the edition found in the Gospel Book of St. Teilo, which predates holy Saint Jerome's Romana Vulgate (early 5th century), which itself is also used by many churches in Britain.

See Wikipedia:Vulgate for more.

The accepted text of the scriptures (in English translation) can be found here:

There has been a long tradition of venerating certain non-canonical Christian texts, such as the Shepherd of Hermas and the Letters of Christ and Abgar. While not part of the Bible, these and other early Christian writings are enjoying something of a renaissance among Catholic scholars and laymen alike. The Letters are particularly venerated amongst the Cambrian Rite and English Roman Catholics. Abgar was arguably one of the first Christian monarchs in history, ruling over the territory of Edessa in Mesopotamia.

Questions on the Seemingly Fractured Nature of the Catholic Church in Ill Bethisad

Q. It depends on how you see it. *Here* you have the hierarchy with the pope at the top and people linked to him being either Latin (through the hierarchy) or Uniate (directly). But since *there* you have a lot more Rites that are all considered more or less equal, the Church could be said to be divided not in the pejorative sense but in the sense of having a less linear compositions. So, how can the Church be said to be unfractured?

A. Let us clarify. The situations *here* and *there* are, in essence, the same. The only fictional difference is the survival of the British Church (which here became thoroughly Roman/Latin? at the Synod of Whitby). All the rites that I listed (above) exist *here*, in fact, including the Isidorian of Spain, which is *here* very much reduced.

As for the equality of rites - they are "equal" *here*, too, in that their traditions are of roughly equal ancientness with Rome; and any of the rites that have patriarchs (like Antioch and Britain), find an equal in the Pope, who is Patriarch of the West. The chart above shows which Rites are "equal" and which fall under a local usage, or tradition (such as the Isidorian).

Nevertheless, the Pope of Rome is supreme over every deacon, deaconess, archdeacon, priest, archpriest, monsignor, abbot-priest, monk, nun, bishop, archbishop, cardinal, metropolitan, eparch, and patriarch within the Catholic Church on account the position being inherited from St. Peter. This is his office of "Ecumenical and Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church".

[Notwithstanding that the Orthodox do nòt subscribe to this "western heresy". In their understanding of Church hierarchy, all bishops are equal, period. While the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople is considered "first among equals", due to his proximity to the emperor (when there was still an emperor), he is not considered to have any kind of supremacy in power or right to speak and make policy alone. This collegiality is a hallmark of the Orthodox Church. It is something which the two sides have been struggling to reconcile.]

All of the various rites regardless of liturgy used, language used, date Easter is celebrated, or any of the thousand minor variances in form all share in the same substance of faith and religious doctrine. All confess the same creed and all look on the Pope of Rome as the ultimate leader and teacher of the faith in succession from Jesus Christ through holy St. Peter.


Some minor tidbits surrounding the Catholic Church in Ill Bethisad.

The Vatican Council (1988-1990)

Pope Gregory XVII oversaw the (slight) revision of the Divine Liturgy in 1965, and opened Vatican Council in 1988. John XXIII closed it in 1990. Mostly it treats with human rights issues and similar. There are no official decrees on papal infallibility, supremacy of Peter, etc. Catholic Churches in general look towards the Pope of Rome for guidance, but not so much for sovereignty.

Vatican Council also addressed matters of the Pope of Rome's temporal authority over the Papal States. Namely, the Pope of Rome remains the ultimate authority in the States, but that power is reserved for vetoes in grave instances (say the Senate decides that it would be a Good Thing to invade Malta and risk war with the Commonwealth of Nations - the Pope of Rome would be within his rights to veto that one) and as a sort of court of last appeal in judicial matters. The Senate, governmental ministries and the civil judiciary were also entirely laicised. Several late 19th and early 20th c. civil reforms (mostly of a human rights nature) were enshrined in law.

Language Issues

The Eastern Catholics have long had the tradition of singing the liturgy in the vernacular tongue. The Cambrian Catholics have also shared this tradition, with the exception of the Dumnonians who have maintained their own tradition of the liturgy in Latin.

Latin, certainly at one time the vernacular of the imperial West, remains the official language of the Roman Catholic Church, and all documents that pertain to the Roman Rite are written in Latin. Documents pertaining to the other rites are written in the chief language of that rite and equivalent Latin versions subsequently deposited with the Vatican archives. The Isidorian Rite officially adheres to the tradition of the liturgy in Latin, but there is an increasing move towards vernacularisation. The Divine Liturgy may NOT be sung in vernacular, though some portions of the Litrugy (certain prayers and intercessions) may be sung in either Latin or vernacular. The education of Catholic children was totally revised in 1990 to also focus more on understanding what is happening in Mass and learning the meanings behind the gestures and words. On the positive side, priests are explicitly prohbited from mumbling the Latin - they too must learn to intone clearly.

The Arian Catholic Church

A discussion on the possibility of an independent Arian church being assumed back into the Catholic Church ensued in September of 2004, resulting in the following exchange:

--- Daniel Hicken wrote:

> --- In Conculture, Nik Taylor wrote:
>> >  From what I understand of Catholicism
>> > *there* and the Aryan Heresy, I 
>> > don't think it could be accepted into
>> > Catholicism.  As I understand it, 
>> > the rites primarily differ in practices, and
>> > *not* doctrine.

This is true. Howanever, ány heretical scion will
be welcomed back into communion with the Church
provided that doctrinal issues are resolved in
such a way that basic Catholic-Orthodox doctrine
is not compromised. This was what, for example,
the Councils of Toledo and Zaragoza dealt with.

As I understand it, Arianism's basic "heresy" was
in believing that the Christ was a different
divine entity from the Father. That won't fly in
Rome where the two are homoousios - of the same
substance. Personally, some aspects of Arianism
make a lot of sense, but it doesn't square with
the standing theology - so out it must go!

>> I'm thinking, actually, Nik, that with the
>> suppression of the rites
>> over 300+years by the invading Portuguese and
>> replacement with Portugal's rite (whichever it is)

Isidorian (a rite of the Roman Church).

>> the Aryan Heresy will be highly
>> moderated and be much, much more in line with
>> Roman Rite than at times prior.

> Moderated so much that they've dropped their 
> distinctive Christology?

It's possible. Arians did have an interesting
theology - a sort of "linealism" rather than
"trinitarianism". That of course could not

I suspect that there would really be little
difference to note between a modern Arian Rite
liturgy and any of the other modern liturgy.
There really was not much difference between
Arianism and orthodoxy anyway.

Sadly, next to nothing is now known about the
Arian liturgy apart from a couple tantalising
hints. For example, detractors of Arianism
complained that Arian hymns and psalms were sung
lustily to drinking and popular tunes (rather
than the more sedate chanting of liturgical
music). It might be that the modern descendants
of some Arian groups continue this lusty form of
hymnody within an otherwise orthodox christology
and liturgy. An interesting discussion of
Arianism in Iberia I found here:

See also: <>

The Traditionalist Catholics

The movement of so-called Traditionalist Catholics are part of a movement within the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church which was created in the XIX century at Avignon (France) as a reaction to perceived liberalising tendancies within the church and among the clergy.

Traditionalist Catholics are not, despite popular misconception, a distinct rite or even an independent organisation. Also, contrary to slanders in the more yellow press, charges of near heresy or even outright schismatism are completely false. Rather, the Traditionalists derive members from all corners and aspects of the Church and simply form a set of behaviours and beliefs which set them apart from other Catholics. Doctrinally, the movement is perfectly sound -- their differences are all ritual and practical in nature.

As Traditionalist writer Fr. Antonin once put it:

"Traditionalists do not question the legitimacy of any changes promulgated in recent centuries by recent Popes and Councils, but rather the long term values of those changes."

Hierarchically, Traditionalist Catholics have no particular leadership. Indeed, apart from some writers who have publicly espouse the philosophy, there is no specific leadership or designated spokeperson of the group as a whole. Their membership is drawn from the laity as well as all levels of the clergy. That being said, some parishes are known to have larger populations of Traditionalists than others due either to normal shifts of population to parishes that are perceived as "purer" of faith or leadership; or else due to a region simply being the home of a larger than ordinary number of Traditionalists.

The basic tenets of Traditionalist Catholicism which differ from the mainstraim are:

  • Primacy of the Holy See: Traditionalist Catholics maintain the principle of the Pope of Rome being not only a spriritual leader but also a temporal one above other heads of states in the world. From their point of view, no leader has the right to oppose the Pope of Rome or to commit an action banned by him. To do so, for them, result in an action being not only against the person of the Pope of Rome but through him, a sin against God. In the past, it is an historical truth that the Pope of Rome was seen as higher than the monarchs of Europe. In practice, as nationalism and democracy have altered the nature of Europe's monarchies, this view is no longer current. The Vatican Council (1988) eliminated stylistic language that placed the Pope of Rome above all temporal rulers as a matter of Roman Law. The only remaining tradition that harkens to those older times is that it continues to be the right and prerogative of the Pope of Rome to crown the Holy Roman Emperor upon his due election.
  • Religious Laws: The Traditionalists believe that Christian tradition and church laws should apply in all countries. In many countries, this has meant campaigns to pass, change, or abrogate laws to follow orthodoxy in regard to the church's teachings. While this is a type of behaviour seen in the extreme arms of most religions, it is the intensity and lack of an eucuministic approach that makes the Traditionalists stand apart from other Catholics. The Holy See has withheld an official opinion on this aspect of the Traditionalist movement: Vatican Council upheld the right of peoples to "determine their own laws within their own national and provincial constitutions, guided by the loving grace of the Holy Spirit".
  • Roman Superiority: The Traditionalists believe that while other Rites of the Church might have validity, the Roman Rite, due to its history and home city, should always have precedence and be considered at least first-amongst-equals. The leaders of the other Catholic Rites have long denounced this aspect of Traditionalism as an example of bias and bigotry. There have been examples of communities with high concentrations of Traditionalists that have sought to suppress both other Catholic Rites and other nonCatholic religions.
  • God-centered life: As the Creator and ultimate judge, the Traditionalists believe that all of one's actions should be done in apraisal of God. This means that any action causing joy but not dedicated to God (lay music, sports, stamp collecting, etc...) is worthless frivolity and to be avoided.

In addition to differences in beliefs, Traditionalists maintain certain practices which have become obsolete elsewhere or which have been diminished elsewhere.

  • Mortification: Both as a means of humbling oneself and to prevent impure thoughts, some Traditionalists inflict on themselves a certain level of discomfort as part of their daily lives. The most common ways of doing so are: sleeping without a pillow on a hard surface, wearing coarse-hair undergarment, wearing a "cillice" (a metalic chain tied around an apendange), etc... It should be noted that the object of mortification, as practiced by this group, is not the infliction of pain or a wound per se, but rather to enforce a moral lesson. They will refrain from any methods that would pierce the skin or result in permanent injury, both of which being considered sins when self-inflicted. The Church has commended the Traditionalists for this practice, in so far as the mortifications bring no physical harm and result in spiritual growth.
  • Segregation of genders: women and men, when in church, should sit on different sides of the room. Women must wear veils while in church. Women are often barred from minor liturgical roles that would result in them "teaching or speaking" publicly in church. Vatican Council addressed this aspect of Traditionalism specifically, as have several papal encyclicals, all of which have denounced these practices.
  • Gender restriction: Unmarried persons should be accompanied by a married chaperon of his own when spending time with a person of the other gender, such as when courting. Only unmarried women (which is taken to include nuns) should perform works outside of household chores. Women should not ride a bike or a horse (sidesaddle excepted) as this might lead her to sin.

The Cambrian Rite

See Cambrian_Rite for the main article on this Rite. Most Kemrese are Christians. The chief rite in the land is known generally as the Cambrian or Kemrese Rite, and like the Byzantine is a separate rite in allegiance with Rome. It has its own hierarchy, headed by the Abbot-Patriarch, and its own traditions and laws.

Quoted from the Brithenig site: On issues of religion the Kemrese monarchy rejected the Synod of Whitby. The Christian church in Kemr remained autonomous from the [Roman] Catholic tradition introduced from Europe. The organisation of the established church was monastic and tended to be otherworldly. While it profited from the patronage of the monarchy the church maintained the right to criticise the abuses of the status quo when its leaders possessed the strength of will to do so. During the twelfth century the Catholic Church successfully sought to bring the independent Kemrese Church under the doctrinal authority of Rome. The spiritual head of the Cambriese Rite is the patriarchal Abbot of Glastonbury. The Protestant Reformation created a significant disestablished minority in the British Isles, enough that religious wars were fought there, but not enough to disturb the pre-eminence of Catholicism.

A certain, almost wishful, connection with Constantinople has always been maintained; but I hardly think the Kemrese Rite can be called "Orthodox". It might best be called "Celtic", as it seems to be a direct descendant of the old Celtic Church. In form, though, it is certainly much more evocative of Eastern Christianity than typical Western.

The veneration of the most holy Virgin Mary and holy St. David is cultivated throughout the country; while the veneration of the holy Saints Perran, Stannus and Joseph of Arimathea is strongest in the south.

Some practices particular to the Cambrian Rite -- The vernacular (Brithenig) is used in Upper Kemr during the liturgy; in the southwest, Latin is the norm. Portions of Dûnein and Brittany adopted the continental practice of using Latin as a liturgical language in the 14th century. The "Celtic tonsure" is preferred to the Roman. The hair is clean shaven ear to ear and crown to forhead, rather than in a circle at the top. In the south, religious vocabulary is strongly influenced by Celtic: il nemez (church building), ce druez (priest), il croumbs (altar), ce nouefs (saint), nerth (holy); and Greek: agiós (holy), c' ágios/-a (saint), l' ékon (icon). The ancient Book of St. Teliam and the Missal of Glastein are the chief sources of Cambrian liturgical material. The former contains the gospels in Latin, and is an "Old Vulgate" text, which differs slightly from the continental Latin text used by the Roman Rite. The latter contains the ordinary and rubrics for the liturgy, all the variable prayers and readings.

There is also to be addressed a certain "license" taken by the Cambrian Rite in the matters of what is considered scripture and what isn't. This is but one area where Glastein differs with Rome. Notably, as was said above, the extra-canonical books "Epistles of Christ and Abgar" and "Shepherd of Hermas" are considered semi-canonical. There are others as well, practices that do not entirely jive with Rome: a somewhat independent streak in dating Easter, married priesthood, women in liturgical roles, use of the vernacular and a tenacity in keeping the native monastic system over a more usual episcopal structure. While Rome and Constantinople have ancient and glorious claims - and had emperors and ecumenical councils to back them up; while Antioch and Alexandria have strong historical claims to fame; the claims of the British Church as "Most Ancient in the World" are thought by many to be dubious and are poorly understood by Christendom in general. This might have some "unofficial" bearing on the matter.

Kemr is a fairly diverse country, and there is little room for religious intolerance. There are sizeable communities of Cravithyow, Hindus and Muslims (these two mostly from India), as well as some Zoroastrians and Jews; not to mention Isidorian and Roman Catholics, liturgical Protestants and evangelicals. After the Cambrian Rite, the largest sects by population are Cravithyow, Isidorian and Roman Rite, Protestant, Muslim and then the rest. By the late 20th century, Kemr is falling into the same religious apathy that much of Europe is suffering. Rugby seems to be supplying the religious needs of the masses; and there is a fairly widespread movement of people seeking alternative spiritualities.

Catholic Church Map of North America

Map catholic provinces 2.JPG