Eucharist for a Sinless Mankind
by Bertil Falk
“Requiem for an Android”|
appeared in issues
248 and 249.
Chapter 1: The Bureau of Salvation
part 1 of 3; section 3 of 3
Mother Saulcerite of the planet Bavaria is now a Cardinal and head of the Bureau of Salvation. She is well regarded and may become Pope. However, a new test awaits her: Brother Urbanus Collectus is assigned to aid her in the investigation of a newly discovered species near Betelgeuse. The species is sentient but has not tasted of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.
Afterwards, the cardinal brought her new colleague to McChurch, the fast Lord’s Food restaurant strategically placed in one corner of the only square inside the Monastery Town. The place was absolutely packed, and the guests had to stand in line. Mother Saulcerite lined up on the slow fast food queue while Urbanus Collectus looked for an unoccupied table.
Priests from different sects attended behind the desk. A Lutheran of the Order of Laestadianism read the words of institution and then pushed the tray with the burgers and the coca wine across the desk to Saulcerite. All the while, the ringing of bells announced that the miracle had happened: “burgers” became corpus and the coca bled.
Cardinal Saulcerite took her tray and plowed her way through the crowd of nuns and lay workers. They turned aside when they saw her resolute triangles, which almost blasted a way to the spot in the universe where Urbanus Collectus had swiped a table under the very noses of two almost immaterial Gutta nuns. They seemed to have some less than spiritual but nevertheless very well chosen biblical quotations on the tips of their partly transparent tongues.
“What kind of problem with that mankind has made Mervil Tojas so upset that I’ve been saddled with you,” Mother Saulcerite said and added “Corpus Christi. For me given,” whereupon she took a bite of the burger.
“This species seems to be... I don’t know how to express this... immoral...” He broke off.
“So what?” the cardinal said. “Original sin is a universal quality, a hereditary characteristic, and immorality is a function of that fact. Ever since the day when the serpent caused Eve and Eve caused Adam to eat from the tree of knowledge, sin has...”
”I know all that,” Urbanus Collectus said and his respect for the solid Cardinal yielded to pure irritation. “It’s not at all as Mother Saulcerite thinks. It’s in a sense the opposite way around. The immorality of the mankind we’re talking about is that it seems as if they have not tasted the fruit of the tree of knowledge.”
“You mean that we’ve stumbled upon a mankind where the Fall of Man has not yet happened?”
“Something like that, yes,” the priest eagerly said. “We’ve never before come across anything like this. Up to now, all the mankinds we’ve run across in the universe have led a wild life, haven’t they? Not only Earth should be called Sodom, and not only Bavaria should be called Gomorrah.”
Cardinal Saulcerite ignored the allusion to the planet where she had reaped her first laurels in the service of the Church. ”For you given,” she said holding out a cup of pasemite. Urbanus Collectus leaned forward and took a swig. Whereupon he repeated the words of institution and let Mother Saulcerite have a gulp.
“One should never say never,” Mother Saulcerite hissed. “There is actually an interesting case in our annals. It happened long ago, but is described in our records and a few papers have been written about it.”
“A species without the Fall of Man?”
“Not exactly, but almost. A missionary vehicle touched down on one of the planets newly discovered by the Federation in the constellation of the Lyre — as seen from the Vatican, of course. The missionaries came down in a wonderful jungle with all kinds of friendly wild animals and happened to arrive at the very moment when a serpent-like phenomenon handed a giant fruit to a naked, three-footed and one-armed being of a kind that seemed to be female.
“This woman-like being let a male-like being taste the giant fruit. There they were standing, eating. All of a sudden they stared at each other and were shocked. They disappeared but returned later, now with some parts of their bodies covered with leaves — figs did not exist on this planet, so it must have been some other kind of leaves.
“‘You take what you have!’ as Cajsa Wargh said long ago. In a case like this, any leaf will do! Our missionary patrol had the luck to touch down just when the Fall of Man happened, and therefore Adam and Eve on that particular planet could jump across the Old as well as the New Testaments and straightaway join the Holy Catholic Church.”
“What has this to do with the mankind I’m talking about?”
Mother Saulcerite’s triangles became square-shaped.
“Can’t you see,” she said, “that the Fall of Man has not as yet happened on that newly discovered planet of yours?”
“Exactly when does a Fall of Man actually happen?” Urbanus Collectus said sullenly.
“When the first human beings appear,” Saulcerite replied.
“Exactly!” the young priest exclaimed, and Mother Saulcerite could not escape noticing an alarming strain of triumph in his voice. “The mankind I’m talking about has been around for millions if not billions of years. Nevertheless, people are floating around in a totally sinless state. For some reason the Fall of Man missed their planet.”
“WHAT ARE YOU SAYING?!”
Mother Saulcerite floated halfway up in the air. And in truth, her voice sped as if on overdrive, and she looked like an angel fallen from the sky.
A fallen angel!
People turned around and looked at her with unaffected surprise.
“I say as Cardinal Mervil Tojas said to me before he sent me here,” Urbanus Collectus replied calmly. “This is a job for the matron from Bavaria. This is a job for Cardinal Saulcerite.”
The triangular eyes of the cardinal dilated into pentagons. That was her species’ way of blushing, but Urbanus did not know that and thought that the lady was raging mad at him. He instinctively ducked to avoid the expected box on his ear — which never materialized.
Mother Saulcerite struggled with the vertigo-like feeling the young monk’s unexpected message had unleashed within her. “We must go to the library,” she said. “Our librarian should be able to find some literature about sinlessness. There is always some madcap in the past who has examined the idea.”
Her feeling of carousel dizziness had been turned into determination. Mother Saulcerite was in her old form.
There were really a few people in the past, and not all of them madcaps, who had sneaked about the question in question. The librarian Rustam Dynasty could straightaway tell them that above all Saint Rayus Bradburius — as early as in the midst of the second millennium — had described the admittedly fictional but nonetheless sin-free blue fire balls on the planet Mars. The impulse put the cardinal and the priest in a good mood, but when they read the saint’s explanation, it evaporated.
“Saint Bradburius said,” Rustam Dynasty said, “that the sin-free balls explained that they had discarded physical sin and were living by the Grace of God. They did not kill and had no desires. They had put aside their bodies.”
“The theory that the Fall of Man occurs at different points in time in the universe only to coincide ultimately in one common spot — The Last Judgment — has turned out to be correct and in accordance with the modified Omega hypothesis of Saint Teilhard de Chardin,” mused Mother Saulcerite.
“The Saint Bradburii observation indicates undeniably that The Last Judgment has already taken place on Mars and that the blue balls have already attained salvation and arrived at a state of sinlessness,” asserted Urbanus Collectus. “It’s apparent from what they say that they had previously been present both in the flesh and as sinners, but when their bodies disappeared and only their blue souls remained, then the lust of the flesh disappeared, and the sins, too.”
The cardinal square-shaped her triangularities.
“But the Saint Bradburii discourses were parables. There were never any fire balls on Mars,” Mother Saulcerite added with a dismissive gesture. “I suspect that we must enter deeply into this thing. I’ll now assign a cell to you. I’ll be very pressed for time tomorrow. I have a lot of errands and cases and a homecoming missionary, but the day after tomorrow at 300 o’clock Universal Decimal Time you can come to me and tell me about that mankind out there by... where?”
“In the vicinity of Betelgeuse.”
Copyright © 2008 by Bertil Falk