The Pope on Trial is a work of fiction serialised in three episodic parts for eBook publication.
PART I OVERVIEW
A pope seeks to restore Church credibility to guide society’s morals amidst a world-wide cover-up of priestly paedophilia, religious based terrorism and the promotion of its sacred texts at odds with society’s endorsement of homosexuality. It demands the monotheistic religions determine that they are all praying to one omnipotent deity.
The Vatican surprises by joining a confederation of member states that guarantees freedom of religion, but brings its business under the same accountability to the consumer as that of trade and commerce. At the same time the pope cedes his claim to speak exclusively on the part of God.
A recalcitrant bishop challenges commonality of belief by promoting ‘heavenly experiences’ on the internet. The Pope competes by promoting his own ‘heavenly experience’ app. ‘Hellish’ experiences are added for an odious comparison. Hell becomes such a good seller that the failing fortunes of the Church are reversed; but at the expense of the mental wellbeing of the young and impressionable.
Political correctness demands the sanitising of images of hell viewed offensive, discriminatory and more. Disenchanted with the blandness of the remainder, Church faithful sue the Pope for false, deceptive or misleading conduct. They claim that he knew, or ought to have known that hell does not exist.
The Pope’s clerical technocrats tamper with the algorithms of his application software that declares if there is no hell, there is no heaven. In a virtual reality vignette allegorical of the expelling of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden, the Pope’s application is accused of heresy and forced to make a ‘Galileo confession’ in an attempt to discredit its own logic.
A single plaintiff visiting Mary MacKillop’s religious theme park in Sydney records an intimidated Mary fighting to expose a bishop’s child sex-abuse. Comparison is made to the disputed efforts of an Australian cardinal bound to uphold his Oath of Office, but contriving to render the Church in Rome accountable.
Church dogma is examined by the Court sitting in Paris interspersed with Pythonesque humour and visits by the protagonists to scenes of Renaissance triumph in Autun, Vezelay and Chartres — until brought to an end by those having a vested interest in the retention of Christ’s disputed perfection as Man devoid of the human condition.
Readers see only token argument offered for the retention of hell where to argue otherwise would inform upon the unethical concept of original sin.