Eucharist for a Sinless Mankind
by Bertil Falk
Chapter 2: The Not-Sinning Ones
part 6 of 7
Assisted by Pater Paxinterra the two Cardinals Mervil Tojas and Björn Personit discussed the situation. A kidnapped convent cum monastery and a mankind without sin were two misfortunes so big that from a sheer statistical point of view they would not, could not, and should not have happened simultaneously. And the sinless mankind should not have happened at all.
“On the other hand, there is a proverb stating that it never rains but it pours, a statement to the effect that one misfortune usually has another misfortune in tow.”
It was Paxinterra who said that. He stroked one of his artificial hands, which was tattooed with a crucifix inserted into a test tube marked with the symbols H2O.
“The Holy Trinity has been mentioned in connection with this,” said Cardinal Personite.
“Don’t tell me you expect another misfortune after these two events?” replied Cardinal Tojas.
“All good things come in threes,” Björn Personit pointed out.
“Good things, yes, but the two events that have occurred are evil ones,” opined Mervil Tojas.
“We have not seen the end of this yet,” objected Pater Paxinterra. “Maybe these two events have not been evil.”
For a long time they sat in silence in the tourist capsule to which they had retreated. Through the picture windows they looked out upon Io and its incessant volcanic eruptions and spectacular movements. Coatings of ice billowed to and fro in hundred-meter high tidal waves.
At the same time, this hair-raised moon — torn between the gravitational fields of Jupiter and the bigger satellites Ganymede and Europa — glided along in its jerky orbit, dressed in an aura of sanctity in the shape of phosphorescent blue death, poisonous flu and ghost-red rash. It was an orgy of terrifying beauty worthy of seeing, impossible to set foot upon.
The three wise men sat at ringside in one of the capsules. The men were filled with thoughts that were at least as strange as the sights taking place in front of them. On the one hand they contemplated a beauty that simultaneously reminded of heaven, hell and purgatory, a planetary vision of Dante’s Commedia. On the other hand they pondered a mankind that did not sin.
How is anything like that possible? thought Mervil Tojas. How could theology ever cope with such an anomaly? And how could the creed ever meet such a challenge? It was bad enough to have that eternal problem of theodicy, which had caused so many people believing in an almighty God to doubt and turn their backs on the Church.
“A sinless mankind and a place without evil. If this were a generally valid thing, embracing all mankinds, then we would not have any theodicy problem to grapple with,” asserted Björn Personit as if he had read his colleague’s thoughts.
“But it is not a general thing,” Paxinterra admonished matter-of-factly.
“The veil and the inherited ability to sin are a human peculiarity that has a bearing on all mankinds, whether they are primary creations of God or secondary creations like myself and Cardinal Tojas, for we are both androids.
“A mankind is by definition endowed with the ability to sin as well as with the ability to choose between good and evil. We do both. Therefore, a humanity that does not sin may seem to be a contradiction in terms, indeed, a threat to the great plan of the Creator. Can we be sure that these beings really should be classified as a mankind? Might they not be a kind of animal, plant, bacterium or something else?”
“I have also thought of that,” Mervil Tojas added. “We really need to go and see for ourselves. On the other hand, mankinds have developed out of flora as well as from colonies of bacteria. Just think of Brother Labrafin Morke from the constellation Saggitarius, our colleague in the Sacred College. He is a stamen developed from some kind of orchid-like flower. I have met his sister, a very nice pistil. If only Cardinal Saulcerite were here, we could discuss the question with her.”
“Someone ought to inform the Pope about the problem,” said Paxinterra.
“Or... has it already been done?”
“I am not sure,” Mervil Toja sighed. “The Trappist did not seem to feel like informing the Pope, but at the same time it is his duty to report to the Pope. We are all a little taken by surprise, and we probably want to form a better opinion before we rush off to trouble the Pope with something that may turn out to be an illusory problem.”
At that moment the volcano Loki belched forth a 4,000-kilometer tall puff of flame and smoke. It was as though an electric shock passed through the capsule and its passengers who had gathered to observe the most renowned sight in the district.
Though the three wise men continued their travel in the capsule through this particular solar system of theirs, and though they put their wise heads together, they did not reach any solution. A Sinless mankind is a tough nut to crack, even when you have all the instruments of theology and all the subtleties of philosophy at your disposal. There was simply no ecclesiastical model available to force the sinfree beings into, even with the most sophisticated shoehorn.
Mervil Tojas had told them about his meeting with the permanent secretary of the Holy See, and they agreed on jointly looking into the matter of Xavier Pascal. This particular sinner was certainly not involved in any kind of sinlessness, but the problem of a kidnapped convent cum monastery seemed less elusive, and the permanent secretary had more or less commissioned Mervil Tojas to investigate that Captain Bärsärk running amok.
* * *
For his part, Xavier Pascal had found the convent cum monastery. It was swimming around in a pitch-dark RoomSpace existence without any stars or planets. The structure’s atmospheric bubble had been amply sufficient to protect it when the structure was slung from one dimension to another.
The convent was for all practical purposes a mobile city enclosed inside multi-dimensionally arranged Möbius walls. In its new universe, this hyperfine structure functioned as the only gleam of light in a universal darkness. It rotated like a gyroscope on its Klein axes and emitted red, yellow and green floodlights of rays like a syncopated galactic lighthouse in a pitch-dark highway without traffic. Disapprovingly, Abbess Tamara Crossfire, a skillful evangelist of uncertain extraction, waved her fifteen “ears,” a euphemism for the auditory arrangements that her “neck” — if that is the word — was studded with.
Her meeting with Xavier Pascal was, not unexpectedly, a tumultuous event. It degenerated into a crescendo when Mother Tamara Crossfire flatly prohibited Xavier Pascal from slinging her institution back to its original place.
“Whether you want it or not, you must be sent back,” Xavier Pascal roared. “Teresia Nightmare has given me strict orders to return you immediately and straightaway, without delay.”
“We stay here!” snapped Tamara Crossfire, fiddling with her rosary, from which hung a big crucifix. She was wrapped in a bright red cowl with a white underskirt that peeped out here and there. Deliberately, she turned up the laser warts that revolved clockwise on her face and gave her the capacity to look at the world in seven dimensions. “And if you are obstinate, we can take care of you and your crew: we’ll place you under arrest.”
“How Christian of you!” Xavier Pascal snorted with contempt.
“We have the right to defend ourselves against hooligans like you. You committed an outrage when you moved us. Now it is our turn to decide where the cupboard, as we call it, shall be. It shall be HERE!”
“But why?” pleaded Xavier Pascal.
“Because there are a lot of things for us to do here,” replied the abbess. “A whole universe is screaming for salvation.”
“I’ll be damned if there is anyone else here but us. No solar systems, no planets to colonize, and not a convert in sight. Only pitch-dark space!”
“Consider yourself damned,” said Mother Crossfire. “I agree that there are no planets here. But life exists here, life forms of a kind that you could never imagine in your wildest fantasies: mental life forms, ethereal structures. Not of flesh and blood and juice but of dreams and energy.
“We cannot miss this opportunity to disseminate the faith of God the Father Almighty, the Creator of the Heavens, the Dimensions and the Universes; of Jesus Christ, his only-begotten Son, Our Lord; and of the Holy Ghost, a being who in itself incarnates everything that constitutes forms of life in the cosmic All.
“In our universe, there are at most mankinds who oscillate between the material and the immaterial, like the beings who live on planets like Gutta and Perka. Here the mankinds are all immaterial, and they yearn for salvation like all of us who are born with original sin.”
“All this balderdash about original sin,” Xavier Pascal whimpered. “Your religious ideas are incredible.”
“To make you understand what I am talking about, I will explain original sin from the point of view of psychology instead of theology,” said Mother Tamara, now speaking in a friendly voice.
“Don’t try your conversion gimmicks on me,” said Xavier Pascal defensively. “I cannot let you stay here.”
“Now you listen to me,” the abbess hummed mildly. “Return home to your chief and talk to her. She can discuss the matter with my chief. Teresia Nightmare and Cardinal Saulcerite have known each other since... well, before.”
Tamara Crossfire paused and let her laser warts revolve clockwise for a few seconds. “In those days they fought side by side,” she sighed, “but times have changed.”
“Teresia will be furious,” quavered Xavier Pascal and thought with a shiver of his mighty mistress and her attitudes. Was she his mistress still? He knew that she could make a distinction between factual and individual matters, but he was not sure. That bastard Brainflower was lying in wait. Had he not seen him just recently walking straight into Teresia’s lair?
To be continued...
Copyright © 2008 by Bertil Falk