I’m from the Clergy and I’m here to Help

There are a great many differences between the numerous churches that dot the landscape of the continent. Each is different from every other, sometimes in radically obviously ways and other times with subtle distinctions that only a proper theologian can identify. But there are going to be differences. One of the more common differences is that between the larger organizations such as the Church of Fanolania and the Church of the Grand Diocese that covers most of the religious activity in the city states of Forkanza, and the smaller churches of the little states in the heart of the continent.

An over simplification is to designate the larger and better organized churches as being “orthodox” (a term that is less than perfect given the differences between these churches to be sure) and all of the smaller churches as being “unorthodox”. The terminology implies that these smallerholysymbol-shadowfall churches are somehow deficient in their teaching or somehow inferior when it comes to basic tenets. The compulsion to quantify these groups persists, however, despite the inadequacies of the process. The major distinctions remain primarily cosmetic, though. Take for instance the holy symbols that the priests, clerics, and paladins use. In Chute de L’Ombre the holy symbol takes elements of the ruling Marquis’ own banner and combines it with an appropriately colored crucifix. The green heart on the black cross has earned the clergy of this church the nicknames of “Coeurs Verts” in Fanolania and “Grüne Herzen” in Geldenreich. The theology is not radically different from the churches in those other countries and yet they are viewed with something akin to suspicion.

One thing that all of the clergy have in common within the Wenigzustand, Fanolania, and Geldenreich is their views on chastity and celibacy. All properly ordained priests within these varied churches are expected to remain chaste as well as celibate. But clerics and paladins are generally expected to be zealously chaste although they are permitted to be married. Corrupt (and often powerful) priests are often loathe to stick to their vows of celibacy, unfortunately, and this can create all manner of scandal and dissension within the ranks of the believers. It is an exceptionally rare occasion that a paladin will be found to be lacking in their respective vows, of course, and any clerics or cavaliers that wander from the path of purity can expect swift retribution from the hierarchy they belong to. Orthodox or not there are some things that are just not tolerated.