A Free Hand Offered is the final serialized episode of The Pope on Trial and will be available soon for purchase via your favourite e Reader distributer.
In the first episode, The Fight to Save Hell, the pope has promoted his church’s ‘heavenly experience’ app in the virtual reality of an afterlife in competition with other monotheists. Images of an imagined hell and heaven are viewed discriminatory, sexist or demeaning. The blandness of the remaining occasions disillusionment.
The pope is sued by his aggrieved faithful for false, deceptive and misleading conduct whilst conducting a business of religion. They contend that he knew, or ought to have known that heaven and hell do not exist. The court makes an interim order declaring hell could never have existed in a metaphysical world of an ethical god: its concept of fear and guilt causing trauma in the young and impressionable.
In the second episode, The Fight to Believe, Pierre Bonneval, instructed by the Vatican’s Cardinal Tarso, convinces the court that the pope is entitled to have his church faithful believe in the existence of a metaphysical domain of an ethical god, notwithstanding that his own self-reasoning quantum qubit computer has declared that if hell does not exist, its dual in binary opposition, cannot exist. He does so with the benefit of art and music. Readers are invited to read more in the Preface to Part 2, The Fight to Believe, appearing on the publisher’s website www.thepopeontrial.com.
In this final episode, the pope must satisfy the court that if Christ were both truly man and truly God his Church must have changed its stance to now acknowledge that Christ was capable of enjoying his sexuality along with the rest of humanity. The pope obliges with the art of Bernini’s Ecstasy of St Teresa and more.
Outside the courtroom Héloîse demands that James demonstrate how he can love both her and Rebecca when she is expected to enjoy their sexual relationship without his enduring love. Rebecca receives her answer when desire overcomes reason.
Relying upon texts in the gospel of Thomas, and anticipating the Court’s interim order denying the existence of hell, the pope offers his church faithful who acquire ‘gnosis of the self’ an expanded meaning of the heaven of ‘an afterlife’, whilst relocating hell from the metaphysical world to that of cyberspace of a dormant limbo. He is accused of using a legal artifice to avoid the logic of his own computer’s algorithms; and male fides in failing to provide Satan with the services of a devil’s advocate to defend his occupational health and safety rights as God’s leading falling angel obliged to perform Evil.
The Chief Justice, having immersed himself in the paradox and symbolism of Magritte’s paintings, ‘The Free Hand’ and ‘The Domain of Arnheim’, and prompted by that depth of emotion engendered by the playing of the music of M. Sainte de Colombe on the bass viol, undergoes a transcendental experience with ‘god’ — as contrived to occur by those having a vested interest in the business of religion. But there are problems. In the process, the Court reveals the fallibility of the concept of the godhead of the Trinity and much more.
The reader is then constantly challenged to determine who are to be winners and who are to be losers: whether, as in paradox, it is possible for one to be viewed as both: indeed, whether the Pope has invited the proceedings. Its outcome evokes much poignancy as well as irony for each of the protagonists and for monotheism itself. Those adopting transparency seeking a unity in their relationships are winners — even though they may appear, as in paradox, losers. The single unnamed Plaintiff who has initiated the Class action against the Pope comes to be viewed as the alter for Christ. As others are left to claim victory out of defeat, the reader is asked whether those having a vested interest in the business of religion will again suppress Christ’s hidden message that the ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ is to be found in this life.