Neocatholic Church (officially simply Catholic Church) is strongest remaining religious organization of humanity, together with it's splinter group of Paleocatholic Church and several other, smaller heresies, being also most widespread religion. With more than half inhabitants of Outer Colonies being its adherents. Neocatholic Church by itself is significantly smaller, however still remains one of the strongest faiths, tied only with Islam, that is however splintered into many rivalling sects still considered part of it. Thus Neocatholic Church can be safely considered strongest Non-Governmental Organization not only in Galaxy but also in the whole human history, with its members spread throughout Milky Way.
Contrary to general opinion, the supreme power of Neocatholic Church lies in the hands of Synod of Righteous, a permanent council of several thousands highest ranked clergy of the Church, hailing from every possible member-church. It is the Synod from which the Pope is elected, it is also the Synod that makes decisions about the neocrusades, anathemas, excommunications and interdicts, with Pope being its theoretical head, that also announces its decisions. Normally, overwhelming majority of Synod actually doesn't reside on New Vatican, rather than that remaining in their seats throughout the Galaxy. The day-to-day works are done through their deputies working together with the Pope (which, due to his authority, gaves him surprisingly large power). When there is something important to decide, he has to call for a Council, with all members of the Synod participating. Popes are elected via the voting procedure called Conclave, similar to Council. During Conclave members of the Synod (or their deputies) elect new pope from themselves. Power of their votes depends on number of adherents of their groups, with Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy being two strongest groups. Conclaves rarely are long, mainly because candidates are in most cses chosen earlier, with deputies always knowing whom 'their' Church would like to see as next pope. Below the level of Synod the Neocatholic Church is heavily splintered into dozens of different Churches. Two strongest were already mentioned, but also majority of protestants is included, not to mention a variety of Eastern Churches and new denominations, that rose after Third World War or even after the Neocatholic Church was created. All of them have their own structures, going down into the level of singular parishes, spread around ten thousand planets in hundreds of systems (with even local mining installations mostly having resident priests).
Neocatholic Church has a very simple agenda – spreading faith in God throughout the stars, wiping out all false faiths and doctrines – including atheism, and all other religions that humans created during its search for the divine. It is achieved by dual method of missionary work and neocrusades. If the heathen country is peaceful, refrains from persecuting believers and has no problem with neocatholic missionaries, conversion attempts will be limited to those 'civil' ones. Neocatholic Church will gladly send missionaries that will be respecting local laws, limiting themselves to vocally protesting those that are incompatible with Neocatholic Church doctrines, while avoiding all types of violence. If needed, Catholic Church will gladly provide aid (as it also does in already converted worlds), sending not only priests but also doctors and relief in case of disaster, not to mention offering military support in case of problems with pirates and so on that local government in incapable of fixing... Over time, as number of the faithful grows, Neocatholic Church will promote political and society ideals in accordance to the Church doctrine. Including ban on abortions and euthanasia, market liberal economies with limited (but existing) social programs targeted in helping the poor, respect for civil rights and personal property, and monarchism or democracy. It will also staunchly oppose all manners of intolerance, including religious (with persecutions seen as unreasonable, with peaceful conversion being prefered as Neocatholic Church long ago condemned forced conversions) and racial (which also includes other species), not to mention abominable practices like geneengineering of sentient beings or slavery. Second route is taken in case of local government opposing the missionary work in militant way, by persecuting converts and missionaries or – in later step – delegalizing or attempting to purge prochurch political parties. When news of that reach the Synod, it will react with ultimatum, demanding the persecutions to end. If the reaction will not be favourable, the next step will be proclamation of Neocrusade and call for all ablebodied Christian to join the war to liberate their brothers in faith from their oppresors.
Neocatholic Church theoretically does not possess neither army nor navy. However, considering the number of its adherents, it is fully capable of amassing powerful military potential at will, simply by calling its members to arms. The number of mercenary groups, religious orders and whole countries (from Res Publica Christiana ) ready to answer such call is astounding. As such it can easily field great armies and fleets, filled with religious devotion and composed entirely of volunteers believing that if they will die, they will go to Heaven, making it power no to be trifled with. Logistics, coordination between various commanders and variety of weapon types used are their biggest disadvantage.
History of the Neocatholic Church
Neocatholic Church grew during the long and hard years of XXI and XXII century, years of unprecedented disasters and wars on scale previously unimaginable. Years during which many people, disillusioned with mundane powers of the world, started searching for something other they can rely on. Something stable in a world permanently changing. When United States nearly collapsed after Yellowstone exploded, it were the various religious organisations that formed majority of relief groups, with government actually giving them resources and military support, weakened to the point of not being able to achieve it by itself. When Western Europe collapsed into totalitarianism and ethnic cleansings after the Islamic War, it was the Catholic Church that opposed this changes the loudest, with many of its adherents dying martyr's death. After all world powers collapsed in the aftermath of Third World War, it were the religious groups that formed the core of the attempts to send relief to decimated areas of the world. As people become more and more disillusioned with the world they seen in front of themselves – one ridden with wars both civil and international, epidemies, famine and natural disasters – they started searching for the answers in religion, beginning the period of resurgence of religion throughout the world. Not only Christianity benefitted from it, but in fact all religions, including many new ones made by people who were dissatisfied with already existing faiths. As such, when the Outer Colonies were settled, surprisingly many of the colonists were religious. Of course, equally as many were atheists, but those who actually believed were many... and their faith was strong. It was also the faith that changed Fourth World War into many years long stalemate, as technologically superior armies of Federation found themselves incapable of defeating Nationalists, who, however weaken in terms of equipment, could field entire armies of zealots, fighting with fanatical devotion. To win, Federation was forced to use atomic weaponry to cleanse holdouts of Nationalist, changing many areas of Earth into postatomic wastelands. For the faithful in Outer Colonies it was a shock. They didn't leave Earth so far ago to not remember it at all, there were many of them who were born on it... mostly in places that underwent atomic cleansings. The humanity's greatest atrocity, commited on faithful by atheists. Many began to search for answers to their question in their history, only to find even more abominable atheist regimes - like Third Reich, USSR, People's Republic of China or even Revolutionary France - using genocidal methods to purge the world of 'outdated' ideas like religion. Religions that survived the Fourth World War went radical in their hatred for atheism. Not to atheists, at least most of them, but atheism as a belief was condemned as abominable extremist doctrine. Actions of countries like The Technocracy that went genocidal during Unification Wars – while being atheist – only worsened the situation. Even many generally secular states (like european colonies of New Europe) begin switching their mental sculpts to artificially created forms of deism or theistic agnosticism, under the pressure of local religious organizations. Many weaker atheist states fallen to the Faithful (of myriad of faiths) during the Unification Wars, their atheism serving as casus belli, the wars considered prevention of eventual genocide that began to be associated with atheism. Finally Unification Wars ended, and the Galaxy stabilized politically. With restored communication between sectors, new attrocities of atheism (those of religious states thought to be condemned 'exceptions') were discovered as well as Terran Federation, abominable bastard of Fourth World War, one responsible for countless deaths among the believers of all religions. Many religions – splintered during the colonization – began to attempt reunification, hoping to better combat new threats. One of such attempts was made by variety of Christian churches that assembled upon planet of New Jerusalem - a hideout, to which many Faithful from Earth's Jerusalem fled taking many most holy relics with them before the atomic cleansings, in a long and ardurous journey that was thought as a sign of God's favour. After bishop of Rome (on exile) joined them, the combined authority of the head of strongest Christian denomination and jerusalemites was enough to organize an ecumenical Council of faithful. The Council deliberated for four months, nearly perpetually. With hundreds of clergy and secular having to start from actually organizing themselves into a working council. Soon first breakouts occured, with many surviving denominations - like Jehova's Witness or Mormonism - decided to not be Christian due to lack of acceptance of Jesus as a God. The rest worked relentlesly, slowly but surely closing the gaps between them, accepting the most basic doctrines of the new, united Church, with a common enemy of extremist groups working like a great mean of unification. Finally, the Catholic Church was created, one finally truly common. With dozens of different theologies and liturgies, but with several pillars that held entirety together - including the staunch opposition to extremist ideologies (including atheism as a whole, a clear sign of the time, but also fascism, communism, socialism, and anarchism), the need for the religion to be represented in politics to protect the Faithful, the belief in godhood of Jesus Christ, lack of acceptance for slavery, geneengineering of sentient species, cerebral implants with surveillance capabilities, religious or racial intolerance, abortion, euthanasia, certain forms of anticonception, orbital bombardment of civilian targets, forcible mental resculpting, destroying environment of habitable planets and sentient AI creation. The unity, achieved with great efforts, collapsed unfortunately very quickly, for in 2265 (after merely fifteen years) were many sects seceeded following the influx of plants and doctrinal question of existence of soul among aliens. The schism occured following the decision made on Fourth Vatican Council - with Neocatholic Church deciding to accept divine origin of all creatures capable of understanding the Gospel, together the need for the Church to share the gift of salvation with all sort of sentient life. Those that disagreed, seceeded, creating second Neocatholic Church (officially, practically it is called Paleocatholic Church due to it 'sticking' to old ways), that soon splintered further, into many local groups.
|1th. Neocrusade ||Navy: 34 Capital Ships with 523 Escorts.
Ground Forces: Approx. four million soldiers and 13 000 tanks.
|Destroying or at least weakening of Fourth Reich, deemed a totalitarian regime and a danger to the Faithful.||Neocrusade succesful. With Kaiserreich support, the Fourth Reich was forced to fight on two fronts at once, ending up overwhelmed. Holy Roman Empire established.|
|2nd. Neocrusade ||Navy: 57 Capital Ships with 934 Escorts.
Ground Forces: Approx. three million soldiers and 7500 tanks.
|Several border planets - mostly Faithful, but not all - under assault from plants. Part of First Contact War.||Neocrusade partially succesfull. Three planets were ultimately lost, but with many millions of civilian were evacuated before the fall. Other planets succesfully defended.|
|14th. Neocrusade ||Navy: 17 Capital Ships with 722 Escorts.
Ground Forces: 250 000 marines.
|Locating and blockading Republic of Hades homeworld to prevent further disastrous raids against several Neocatholic planets.||Neocrusade partially succesfull. Homeworld located. Crusade suffered disastrous loses, and due to situation on the ground its commander was forced to launch orbital bombardment, decimating Hadesians and preventing further raids.|
|27th. Neocrusade ||Navy: 24 Capital Ships with 375 Escorts.
Ground Forces: 1,75 million soldiers and 5430 tanks.
|Retaking Subsector 72 from invading forces of Islamic Republic of Iran.||Neocrusade succesful. Subsector liberated, Kingdom of New Ohio established under the leadership of one of prominent crusader commanders.|
|30th. Neocrusade ||Navy: 52 Capital Ships with 1034 Escorts.
Ground Forces: 500 000 marines.
|Stopping an automaton incursion into Human space, that threatened several Faithful worlds.||Neocrusade failed, sustaining loses nearing 75%, however the automaton were forced to concentrated their forces to deal with the threat, preventing assaults prior the Scorching.|
Demography and Population
Exact number of the adherents of Neocatholic Church is unknown, believed to be 400-500 billion humans, Variants and assimilated aliens. Synod of Righteous includes many clergy of both variant and alien origins, with two popes to this day actually being aliens (one assimilated variant of plants, second an automaton).
Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus.Capital: New Vatican
Official Languages: Variety
Faction: Res Public Christiana
Current ruler: His Holiness Pius XIX
Adherents: Est. >200 000 000 000.
- Religious, Organised Religion
- Permeated Organizations