The Holy SeeEdit
Pope Constantine II InaugurationEdit
November 25th, 1970
"Today, I have been chosen by God," he begins in Latin, "through His servants the esteemed College of Cardinals." His voice echoes throughout the square, speakers positioned throughout and interpreters translating into Italian, English, and various other languages. "Today, our Father gives me a message. A message of hope, tolerance, and peace. A message to preserve the state of the world.
"Brothers and sisters, it is clear that the pace of the world is swift. We are rocked with political instability and secular movements. We must, however, refuse to neglect the Gospel. We must strive to continue our Savior's work of peace and justice. We cannot let the dark extinguish the light.
"And so I implore you, brothers and sisters in Christ, to work to bring forth the fruits of righteousness. Do not let this world descend into chaos and sin but let us be soldiers of Christ. Let us bear arms not of weapons but of compassion and grace. Let us listen in the quiet of our hearts for the will of God. Let us change our world for good, and deny Satan the pleasure of a divided and ravaged earth.
"I, as your brother and as the brother of Christ, do pledge to attend to these matters of which I speak. As the humblest servant of our Lord, I do swear that I shall not let the powers of evil destroy the peace and security we have toiled so hard to build up. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit."
"As it was in the beginning, is now and forever shall be, world without end. Amen," chorused the crowd in reply.
"Esteemed citizens of the Spanish Republic, it is with solemness and gravity that I report to you this morning that our nation is currently in a state of war with the United Socialist States of America. The oppression of the communistic American leadership over the young, hopeful new Republic of New England cannot and will not be tolerated by the Spanish Republic. Even now, our naval forces under the capable Admiral Santiago Santin are fighting alongside the Northwest Coalition to free the port of Boston from American blockades that would deny the people of New England the right to trade or fish. The entire Atlantic fleet is on full alert and much of this fleet has been directed to the Mid-Atlantic.
For too long, Spain has sat idly by as communism stamps out liberty around the planet. Today, however, Spain draws a line in the sand. This shall be the high-water mark of socialism. Henceforth, communism and socialism shall be on the retreat across the planet, and the first defeat of those wishing to enslave humanity begins today at Boston."
Italian Constitutional Convention, Session I, Rome, Italy 1500
Achille Cantazaro reached up to his neck, straightening his red tie with slender fingers. A serious expression lay upon his bespectacled face as he pondered his next words, words which would define the future of the newborn Italian Republic. The Senate hall lay in hushed silence before him. No notes were present on the worn oak of the podium he stood hunched over.
Clearing his throat, he bent down, his mouth level with the podium's microphone, and began to speak, his low voice filling the hall.
"Fellow Italians, what we have witnessed over the past year is an event of great historical importance, an event that will define us as a nation. When the Spaniard Batista seized power, we did not take the chains of his dictatorship lightly. Indeed, within months of the takeover over thirty cells of freedom fighters had sprung up in places as varied as Capua, Milano, and Cagliari. But the Spanish, unwanted as they were, brought about many positive changes. A previously corrupt government was dismantled. Courts began to resume the prosecution of criminals. The mafia was virtually wiped out.
"But it was not enough for Aurelio Batista. History has shown that the power-hungry will do anything to satiate themselves, and so it was with him. Under Batista, innocents were raped, murdered, and occasionally crucified." The latter had been rumored to be the gruesome fate of dissidents at Batistan political prisons. Although no evidence supported the claim, the frenzied revolutionaries that made up the new Senate tended to believe the worst of their previous Generalissimo - not without justification, of course.
"The people of Italy did not stand for it. We are better than that. We bear the legacy of an empire that conquered the world; how could we do any different? A foreign dictator took our freedom, and we rose up and crushed him. The Italian people deserve all the commendation that can be given to them.
"But the future is not set in stone. Italy is a war-ravaged nation. Milan lays in ruins reminiscent of an average Swiss or Ottoman city. Alessandria and Rome are not much better off. Many other cities suffer devastation wrought of the struggle between freedom and tyranny, a struggle which has yet to end. To borrow an expression from the Americans, the goalposts have merely shifted. The objectives have changed - Batista is dead or soon to be - but the fight remains. I am confident the Italian people can handle it."
Cantazaro paused for the inevitable applause that followed this statement, taking the time to wipe pooling sweat from his brow. As the noise died down, he continued.
"A violent world awaits out there beyond the comforting security provided by our borders. To the north, perpetual war is waged in a manner reminiscent of the north's barbarian ancestry. To the east and south, Communism, that most detestable of failed ideologies, has taken root in a weakened populace cowed by large promises and terrifying punishment for noncompliance. The Chinese wait like religious fanatics for an opportune moment to attack, to spread their poisonous ideology to some other poor nation. The Ethiopians are embroiled in turmoil and uprisings due to that very same ideology. (note: I actually don't know why the Ethiopians are embroiled in turmoil and uprisings. He's giving a speech, not a seminar.) We cannot allow such barbaric violence to reach us. We cannot allow the lie that is communism to take root among our populace. I do not expect that true Italians will be fooled by pretty words and empty promises, but it is no impossibility, and precautions must be taken to avoid it. I am not suggesting that we withdraw the fundamental right to free speech from communists among us; far from it. When their lies are put to light, they will be exposed for what they are. Italy must be ready to do the exposing.
"To the west lays hope in the form of our Spanish allies. The Gauls, the French, are also refreshingly on our side, as the Germans seem to be. The Poles, less so, but as long as we can cultivate a lasting friendship with those among free nations who have a small amount of common sense, we should have no issues with the Poles. They are a pragmatic nation; they know that assaulting the combined might of the free world would be suicidal, and they harbor little love for Communism in any case.
"But I've spent enough time prattling on about communism. Before we can make a name for ourselves on the world stage we need to make a name for ourselves on the domestic stage, which is infinitely more important. Bear in mind, fellow Senators, that we are merely the latest in a long string of Italian governments; the last semi-effective one fell fifteen hundred years ago. We need to prove to the people of Italy that we are capable and worthy of serving them, that we are better than the others.
"To do so, we need to provide a safe environment for our citizenry, all of our citizenry, that supports and stimulates private innovation and equal opportunity. The ingenuity of Italians kicked off the Renaissance; surely it can pull Italy out of the minor rut we find ourselves in. To protect that ingenuity from corruption and debasement by trouble-making elements within society, a strong police force and military is an absolute necessity, as well as a small amount of regulation on potentially fraudulent and unethical business practices. This would allow a free market to flourish in Italy, to stand in stark contrast to the sweatshop labor of communist China. This cannot be stressed enough. If we do not embrace the principles of capitalism, we will not succeed. That is all there is to it."