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El Pip

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Hmm. Callixtus IV, eh? That’s a left-field naming choice. Wiki tells me that Callixtus III was massively preoccupied by the Eastern Question in his day. Are we in for all-consuming wars over the Balkans?
I saw that, but what jumped out at me was more him being a Borgia. Though at this point I suppose the Church has no reputation to lose, so why not embrace it?

Callixtus seems to think that these thugs will be placated by concessions but history has shown us time and time again that this approach only causes the rebels to ask for more and more
I'm starting to suspect Cardinal Felicetti wasn't really paying attention when he read the Bible, not sure he's really grasped the message the New Testament was trying to get across. Between that and the bloodlust he is perfect material for high office, I look forward to his inevitable rise to the Papacy.
 

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I saw that, but what jumped out at me was more him being a Borgia. Though at this point I suppose the Church has no reputation to lose, so why not embrace it?

You're right. "Callixtus made two of his nephews cardinals, one of whom became Pope" is certainly a bold choice for a liberal-minded reformer to plump for.
 

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The number of countries in Italy seems to be getting whittled away step by step towards the inevitable. Let's hope God grants it sooner rather than later.
 

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The clash over Italy itself is only a matter of time, one feels.
 

slothinator

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Hmm. Callixtus IV, eh? That’s a left-field naming choice. Wiki tells me that Callixtus III was massively preoccupied by the Eastern Question in his day. Are we in for all-consuming wars over the Balkans?
You're right. "Callixtus made two of his nephews cardinals, one of whom became Pope" is certainly a bold choice for a liberal-minded reformer to plump for.

I see him more as taking from the merciful and conciliatory streak of Callixtus I and II rather than the Borgia one. At least, that's his aim in making the choice.

Wonder what we shall get out of sicily to make it all worth while? Especially with a new expansionist government drive in Sardinia, apparently...

As the next chapter will show, not much.

I saw that, but what jumped out at me was more him being a Borgia. Though at this point I suppose the Church has no reputation to lose, so why not embrace it?


I'm starting to suspect Cardinal Felicetti wasn't really paying attention when he read the Bible, not sure he's really grasped the message the New Testament was trying to get across. Between that and the bloodlust he is perfect material for high office, I look forward to his inevitable rise to the Papacy.


Now, you see, the mistake you are making is that you are reading all of the New Testament. The trick is to only read the good bits such as uh...wow there's a lot of stuff about being a decent person there huh. Better to not read it at all, you don't want to risk being protestant, don't you?


The number of countries in Italy seems to be getting whittled away step by step towards the inevitable. Let's hope God grants it sooner rather than later.

I'm afraid you'll be disappointed by the number of countries still present. God is taking his sweet time.

The clash over Italy itself is only a matter of time, one feels.

The conflict is heating up by the day and there'll be fireworks soon
 
Chapter XX: Where is Victory?

slothinator

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From the personal diaries of Cardinal Diomede Cangiano

Monday 21st of March 1864
My arrival in Paris has exceeded expectations as the Emperor himself came to greet me with a lavish honor guard. I am being housed in a luxurious palace along the Seine and have been told that the Sicilians have been lodged not far away. I need to spend some time preparing my remarks for the annexation of Puglia though I am surprised that the Emperor did not ask for an audience ahead of the conference to coordinate our actions. I imagine it is something to do with it being his city and the need to hold up a certain appearance to his people. In any case, I will attempt to talk with him before the main discussion takes place.
I must say that I am a little nervous at my role in this historic treaty but my heart swells with pride whenever I remember that the Pope placed his trust in me out of all his servants to obtain the best definition of Puglia that I can. I sincerely hope that my abilities will be up to the task but I believe that we are in a good enough position to ensure a smooth negotiation. I will spend my first night here in prayer and ask the Lord to guide my words and ensure that the trust placed in me was not in vain.

Tuesday 22nd of March 1864
I have been lured into a despicable trap and the French have me by the throat. This morning I was corralled to the place of our meeting together with the Sicilian ambassador as if I were on the same side. I did not have the opportunity to talk to Bonaparte prior to the session and was left completely in the dark as to his intentions.
When the Emperor finally deigned to show up, he began to talk about his plans for the independence of the island of Sicily as the sole condition to be placed upon the losing side. I could not hear the next words he said as the blood pounding in my ears and the heat taking over my face washed out any further context. I could not believe that this pallid imitation of a despicable man would dare deprive the Church, which he claims to protect, of the spoils it has earned with the blood of its soldiers.
I asked Bonaparte why he thought that this would be a good solution and how the Papal States would be repaid for the deaths of its citizens. He had the gall to reply that the Papal States had lost merely a few men and that, since French forces had occupied the island and Puglia still remained in Duosicilian hands, Sicily should be the territory discussed in the treaty. If that is the case, I replied, then surely it would take at most a couple more months to put Puglia on the table as was agreed before the war was even declared. He simply said that, since the French army is the only one with enough men for an occupation, he did not intend to risk more lives on his side for little personal gain. I could not think of a rebuttal at that time because the words stuck in my throat since I could scarcely believe that a ruler would value expediency over the honor and goodwill of those that he calls his allies.
Even in this behavior, Bonaparte had concealed his most refined betrayal until the end of the day. As the meeting ended, he announced that Sicily would have to be constituted as a kingdom to ensure its stability and that he had chosen his cousin Prince Napoleon-Jerome to take up that mantle. I was left staring into space at the enormity of this revelation. That a single Bonaparte may sit on the throne in France can be accepted by pinching one's nose but a return to Bonapartes on the other thrones of Europe brings back distasteful memories for all. If that were not enough, this new king is married to a Savoyard princess and adds yet more isolation and danger for the Papal States against the rising tide of Sardinia Piedmont who I am sure is in private talks with Bonaparte to expand their domain.
By the time I heaved myself out of the chair, I was the last person remaining in the room and could think of nothing else but to send an urgent message to Callixtus asking him for any scrap of guidance he might have. I do not know if I will manage to receive a reply in time but I pray that the Pope will provide me with a tool to unravel this conspiracy.

Ru5WbFMl.jpg

Friday 25th of March 1864
I am pleased that I managed to get a reply from Callixtus before the situation got too far out of hand but that is the most positive thing I can say about my current situation. The proposed solution is shaky at best but I understand that it is as much as can be hoped for in the present circumstances. The first condition for our acceptance requires that the Kingdom of Sicily sign a defensive and offensive alliance with the Papal States to ensure Italian stability and guarantee our continued access to the Mediterranean. It was not a great feat to get Napoleon and Plon Plon to accept this since I am sure that they also do not want to push the balance of Italy too far and there is no way to use this against them.
The real sticking point was the signature of a document that would render Sicily forever separate from Sardinia-Piedmont with France, the Papal States, and Two Sicilies acting as guarantors of that freedom. This did not sit well with the new King and his Piedmontese sympathies, firstly for the limitation of his authority in foreign diplomacy and secondly because he would not accept a nation with claims on his kingdom to be indicated as its defender. It was here that the elderly Prince of Cassaro finally made his presence relevant and supported my proposal. He noted that the balance of power in Italy cannot survive with the possibility of the Savoyards taking control of both ends of the peninsula and that the Neapolitan court may have many flaws but lack of honor is not one of them. If the Kingdom of Sicily wishes to be an equal participant in Italian politics, it should be free from the influence of those who would be its hegemon and stand proudly on its own merits.
So, buoyed by this support, I managed to reclaim a small amount of dignity in this shameful victory. The day was long and the discussions difficult but, in the end, the Emperor caved under the pressure and accepted the treaty with hardly any serious modifications.
I wrote a message to Callixtus for his final approval and we will have a final signing ceremony in a few days. I worry about his judgment of my performance but I'm sure he understands the difficult situation I was in and will judge this small victory in my favor.

Monday 28th of March 1864

The ink is dry, the seals have been placed and Sicily returns to the world once more. One really must wonder how many Sicilies a single peninsula can hold, maybe Sardinia and Corsica should be renamed as well but I mustn't give Napoleon any ideas.
I jest. If nothing else to cleanse my palate from the humiliation that was forced upon us and the future ahead. I hoped that I might return to serve Callixtus face to face back in Rome but he has told me that I will still be needed in France for some time. The Pope does not trust the emperor for obvious reasons and wishes me to keep an eye on the situation, especially because of the saber-rattling aimed at and coming from the new German Confederation.
Bonapartes and German unions, have we learned nothing from the last fifty years? I will have to do my best to observe and stabilize the situation from my position, I can feel that the future of the Papal States depends on it. Callixtus has not told me his plans but I know that something big is in the air and I understand the enormity of the trust that is once again being placed in me. Whatever it takes, I will make sure that France remains firmly on our side.

d1kXphtl.png
 
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DensleyBlair

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Now, you see, the mistake you are making is that you are reading all of the New Testament. The trick is to only read the good bits such as uh...wow there's a lot of stuff about being a decent person there huh. Better to not read it at all, you don't want to risk being protestant, don't you?

Bold of the Pope to set his sights on mending the schism between the Church and Judaism.

Concerning that Bonaparte now seems firmly uninterested in cause save his own, but what can you do? He is a Bonaparte after all, and that is what they do. New allies needed to counter him, but at this point you are so completely beholden to the French that other options are extremely limited. I suppose if by some fluke Bavaria had formed the German Federation then that might have been an option, but obviously that’s academic. Let’s just hope Austria are now too preoccupied with the NGF to get vengeful.
 

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A very disappointing development, perhaps the next Papal expansion might have to be outside of Italy...
 

volksmarschall

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Something big is in the air indeed! God has a sense of humor turning Italy into the multi-colored landscape it is. So much for beauty! :p
 

El Pip

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I could scarcely believe that a ruler would value expediency over the honor and goodwill of those that he calls his allies.
Surely he is completely familiar with expediency overriding honour and goodwill, he has been to a Papal Concave. Or he could just look at Papal Greece and see similar. No wonder Cangiano was so surprised by the Emperor, he is clearly gifted at missing what is right in front of his nose.

I will make sure that France remains firmly on our side.
Because that has worked out so well thus far.

In any event, I utterly support the efforts of producing extra Sicilies and hope to see at least two more emerge in the next few years. I also hope Callixtus new plan is something exciting, like an ill-thought out Crusade or something equally mad.
 

TheButterflyComposer

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Well...that went nowhere. Bugger.
 

stnylan

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The questoin about how many Sicilies does seem rather apt.

Napoleon III is coming across ... very convincingly :D
 

slothinator

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Bold of the Pope to set his sights on mending the schism between the Church and Judaism.

Concerning that Bonaparte now seems firmly uninterested in cause save his own, but what can you do? He is a Bonaparte after all, and that is what they do. New allies needed to counter him, but at this point you are so completely beholden to the French that other options are extremely limited. I suppose if by some fluke Bavaria had formed the German Federation then that might have been an option, but obviously that’s academic. Let’s just hope Austria are now too preoccupied with the NGF to get vengeful.

At this point let's just go with mending the schism with Caananite polytheism, I hear child sacrifice is popular this time of year.

Right now France is really the only option available to the Papal States and, as a sphereling, there's not much the pope can do independently. For the moment Austria is sufficiently distracted by the german behemoth being born but that won't last forever.

A very disappointing development, perhaps the next Papal expansion might have to be outside of Italy...

That is certainly an option but there are few nations small enough to be taken without support at the moment.

Something big is in the air indeed! God has a sense of humor turning Italy into the multi-colored landscape it is. So much for beauty! :p

It's a shame that the Savoyards have already absorbed some of the smaller duchies, we could have reached peak divided Italy.

Surely he is completely familiar with expediency overriding honour and goodwill, he has been to a Papal Concave. Or he could just look at Papal Greece and see similar. No wonder Cangiano was so surprised by the Emperor, he is clearly gifted at missing what is right in front of his nose.


Because that has worked out so well thus far.

In any event, I utterly support the efforts of producing extra Sicilies and hope to see at least two more emerge in the next few years. I also hope Callixtus new plan is something exciting, like an ill-thought out Crusade or something equally mad.

Cangiano is quite trusting that others value honor but he'll have to learn that there is no space for it in politics especially dealing with certain people.

I mean, it's better than France barrelling down on you but I see your point.
Callixtus has a very mad plan in mind but you will have to wait for next week to find out.

Well...that went nowhere. Bugger.

Yes, much ado about nothing.

The questoin about how many Sicilies does seem rather apt.

Napoleon III is coming across ... very convincingly :D

The good old Bonaparte family spirit is still going strong though developments in Germany might threaten the peace.
 
Chapter XXI: Of Conures and Cholera

slothinator

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From the personal diaries of Cardinal Patrizio Formica

h9RbHdUl.jpg

Wednesday 4th of December 1867
It's a bit of a disappointing week so far. Just like the last one, I suppose, but I hoped to gather more interesting material for my report to the Pope. I'm convinced he's not all that bothered about my work but it's always good to have something impressive to show for one's employment.
I'm not really sure who else I could write to now since I've run out of most of the people I can think of in the medical field. I suppose I could investigate if any of the other cardinals have connections in that direction but I always feel as if they have no interest in giving aid to their new brother.
I could pad out my report with some of the incidental information I received, there's that Bohemian monk and his talk concerning pea breeding which is better than nothing. The news was at least marginally more thought-provoking for me since it made me wonder if something similar happens with conures though extending the theory sounds like an intricate problem. I'm pretty confident that a few of the younger birds are on the cusp of maturity so it might be a fun experiment to take precise numerical notes in the next mating season.
But I have skirted around the issue of collecting proper medical information for the pope. I'll give myself a little respite for the rest of the week and on Monday I'll ask a few of the other junior cardinals for any contacts they may have.
God knows how much I hate having to deal with this sort of politicking.

Friday 4th of December 1868
The documents have been signed and sent, which allows me to celebrate a well-deserved Christmas rest. This whole ordeal with the vaccinations turned out to be a thundering nuisance but I'm certain that Callixtus will recognize it as the firm progress that I know it to be. I am still confused by the exact principles behind this method but my agents have guaranteed that the procedure is sound and was even used by Pope Innocent XIV back when he was a cardinal. The idea of the long-term effects that this might have on the natural order made me uneasy but I was assured that a similar measure has been implemented in England for the better part of a decade and there appear to be no ill effects. This convinced me enough that I decided to write up a little law that mandates a smallpox vaccine for every inhabitant of the Papal States with particular attention to newborn children. Of course, in the spirit of Callixtus' reforms, the treatment will be available to all citizens free of charge.
It will take a little bit to have the superstitious peasantry accept the new state of affairs and I understand the apprehension that they might feel since I am still squeamish about it even though I have the privilege of being advised by the best medical minds of the States. I should have doctors dispatched to the areas that are expected to be most resistant and have them present the benefits of the treatment, maybe even perform it in public on themselves to ensure that there is no doubt in relation to the goodness of vaccination.
Besides all this work, I am excited for the first meeting of the Aviary Association that I managed to form with a few fellow cardinals. I'm excited to present the results of my last breeding seasons where the numbers seem to match the predictions I found last year. A few cases still seem to be off but it's good to have a rule of thumb I can use to find new or rare morphologies. And now, with the new generations coming of age, I am curious to see what their breeding will bring and the frequency at which the future chicks will resemble their grandparents. I'll have to think of something good for the inaugural speech, I don't want to spoil the results but I will find a way to showcase my findings in an enticing enough manner.

Pw71Lk7l.jpg

Saturday 3rd of April 1869
Work is plodding along nicely and I've even managed to complete a new ordinance. It's not too impressive but I have received assurances that it will save almost as many lives as the vaccinations we introduced. So from now on, doctors and nurses will be required to wash not just their instruments but also their hands before they deal with patients. Several of the men I spoke to made a big fuss about the indignity of being considered unclean but by the time I interacted with a few of them I had a well-practiced response to get rid of them. This development comes on the heels of a philosophical principle that I really worked hard to comprehend. Though it may sound like the ravings of a paranoid madman, it appears that diseases and other such ills are caused by invisible living beings that can be transmitted to people through several means of contagion.
I was upset to discover that this was known to a number of professionals for quite some time but many doctors vehemently resisted these advances, instead sticking to the old principle of miasma. I am told that a Tuscan man, Filippo Pacini, discovered the animalcula which cause cholera by the effect of their nefarious influence. I have sent him a request to leave the Kingdom of Sardinia and come to Rome in exchange for a leading position in our medical system. I can hardly imagine what a gut-punch it must have been for him to make so great a discovery and nonetheless remain ignored due to the reticence to accept change. If there is one thing that the Vatican Council is making clear it's that there is no space left for the detritus of history but we should push forward into the future. Of course, I do not mean that we should abandon all tradition, especially when it comes to matters of faith, but there is no harm in the abandonment of superstitious elements that the artists are so fond of idolizing.
In any case, I have already received a letter from Pacini in which he accepts his appointment and promises to emigrate within a couple of months and lend his skills to our benefit. I suppose I will have to provide a suitable laboratory for him but I am not quite sure what is the best way to achieve this. I could send some circumspect letters around to the doctors we already employ and ask them, under the pretense of ensuring the quality of their facilities, what is the setup of their own laboratories. Once I have that information, I can make an order for whatever exaggerated quality of equipment they pretend to have.
Yes, that should work fine. Once all of that is done, I only need to write up a report for Callixtus so he can see how well everything has progressed while he's at work in the Council. I expect that he'll appreciate that.
 
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DensleyBlair

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The Vatican gleefully accepting modern science? Well I'll be damned. Or they will, I suppose.

Seeing those Mendel charts took me right back to my GCSEs.
 

TheButterflyComposer

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Astonishing that the Vatican Council is going this route. They will be badly out of joint when evolution becomes widely known if they've already conceded this much by their own arguments.

Quite literally, this books ruined quite a lot of all Abrahamic religion overnight.
 

El Pip

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Astonishing that the Vatican Council is going this route. They will be badly out of joint when evolution becomes widely known if they've already conceded this much by their own arguments.

Quite literally, this books ruined quite a lot of all Abrahamic religion overnight.
Come now TBC, surely this is the last thing anyone should be surprised by. When the theory of evolution comes out most of the Cardinals will be relieved at the excuse to finally ditch all that 'god' stuff and become the secular Italian state they already de facto are.

If there is one thing that the Vatican Council is making clear it's that there is no space left for the detritus of history but we should push forward into the future. Of course, I do not mean that we should abandon all tradition, especially when it comes to matters of faith, but there is no harm in the abandonment of superstitious elements that the artists are so fond of idolizing.
Certainly the Vatican council can abandon the '10 Commandments' (very inconvenient), the 'Sermon on the Mount' should go to (As Sir H would say, it is doing irreparable damage to the defence budget) and most of Jesus' miracles surely fall under superstition. At which point one is left with the question does the modern Catholic Church really need Jesus at all? It would be a lot easier to go off and invade neighbouring states and massacre the innocent if they did just drop him, less feeling guilty when all the pictures stare at you for starters.

I was going to say it was surprising they'd got that far with all the rest of the world's catholics screaming about how the Papacy has been corrupted by it's temporal adventures in Italy and lust for conquest. Then I remembered that all the non-Italian Catholics are probably barred from entering, so most of the Cardinals aren't even aware of the issue (and wouldn't care if they did know.)
 

TheButterflyComposer

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Come now TBC, surely this is the last thing anyone should be surprised by. When the theory of evolution comes out most of the Cardinals will be relieved at the excuse to finally ditch all that 'god' stuff and become the secular Italian state they already de facto are.
I was going to say it was surprising they'd got that far with all the rest of the world's catholics screaming about how the Papacy has been corrupted by it's temporal adventures in Italy and lust for conquest. Then I remembered that all the non-Italian Catholics are probably barred from entering, so most of the Cardinals aren't even aware of the issue (and wouldn't care if they did know.)

"The Catholic Church has gone power mad and starting empire building nation states!"

Dead silence, and then the Spanish and French Cardinals start laughing uproariously and get back to running their respect governments.

And no one has heard or seen cardinals outside them and Italy so...yeah, the church is probably fine.
 

Cromwell

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Nothing anti catholic about evolution. Biblical literism is a Protestant area. I think the church will lead the way in genetics if Cardinal Formicia gets his way!