Magery and confession

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Puciek
Posts: 373
Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2013 6:51 pm

Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:30 pm

I will start by bringing up the note that seems to have since wandered off general
[ #24 ] General Board
A note has been posted by: Farra
In subject of: Confessing to Magery to a Priest (Edited by Kinaed) (Edited by Nadya) (Edited by Farra) (Edited by Kinaed)
Date : Tue Jan 2 23:43:54 2018
Edited : Wed Jan 3 12:55:22 2018
Expires : Mon Jan 22 23:44:09 2018
To : all
_________________________________________________________________________
Hi Staff!

A recent conversation sparked up on visnet that some of us thought required a
clear answer to regarding, specifically, a Davite-mage confessing to Magery
to a priest. One player noted that such a confession would be without
tangible consequence, quoting the sacrosant theology that confession between
a priest and sinner is kept sealed from everyone -- the Inquisition included
-- and that, as a Priest cannot beform a Cleansing-by-Fire, a mage who did
not go to the Inquisition willingly would not, or SHOULD not, be harried by
the Order as that would involve a breach of the privacy of Confession.

My understanding of this is that the Priest would, by the book, instruct --
not simply 'encourage', as Cleansings aren't really seen as an 'optional'
thing for a Faithful Davite -- the sinner to turn themselves into the
Inquisition for a Cleansing by the Fire, which need not be made a public
ceremony but MUST be done to cleanse the tainted soul. Failure by the sinner
to present themselves for their Cleansing would cause the Priest to inform
the Inquisition that the person did not follow through and needs to be
Reviewed immediately.

The general idea being that a Davite who confessed to being a mage should
expect no other outcome than the Pyre, ever, whether they go willingly
quickly or make the Inquisition hunt them down. Confession itself is a
sealed act, but the Cleansing is not necessarily so tightly-guarded,
especially when the sinner refuses the proper ritual of cleansing.

Would appreciate the clarification, thanks!
<3, Farra.
Kinaed Thematically, a priest who discusses a confession with anyone outside
of the confessional has betrayed his oathes. This is in a help file
somewhere. Zealous players have ignored this theme continously for unknown
reasons. Probably because they dislike it.

Farra - This still doesn't really answer the question of how the Order would
handle a Davite who confessed to being a Mage, or some other great sin, but
then did not perform the proper cleansing or approach the Inquisition after
being told to do so by a Priest. From what 'help sins' and 'help cleansing'
seem to imply, confessing to being a mage requires the Cleansing by Fire,
which would not be performed by the ordained priests, while Inquisitors
handle cleansings related to greater sins. Help sins pointedly says that
'known sinners who refuse to repent on their own will often receive a visit
from Church Inquisitors'. I somewhat fail to understand how the proper
chain-of-cleansing would work if a Priest cannot tell an Inquisitor that
'Mary Sue requires a Cleansing by Fire' (the confession itself need not be
discussed, only the further steps required to remove the taint) or how the
Church would retain faith from the population if a Mage confessed in private
to being a Mage, did not on their own go to an Inquisitor, and a few months
later summoned a demon that killed a bunch of people. The idea that a Priest
would let a sin continue unmolested that is, per help file, 'pure evil,
anathema to the Lord' seems .. Not right? And I wonder if there's not some
dissonance between what we're asking and the question being answered! :)

Kinaed I think the question as presented in follow-up is too
context-dependent for staff to answer. Is best answered by the RP of Order
members in that situation, based on their character perspectives and
background.
While the global perspective of magery is that they are twisted, tainted and sometimes evil, the truth of this is never as clear-cut -, especially for some mages! They may be troubled what is happening to them, especially after whole life hearing about the taint and the evil that it causes, and now they find themselves to be mages, and not going on an evil-doing spree like were indoctrinated to think will happen. And they seek help, often from one place that knows magery best - the holy order, and especially priests as inquisitors are tasked in rooting them out and have the power to issue arrest for known mages.

Sadly it seems that players like to ignore this important part of the theme where confessions are sacred, for some reasons, which robs the game as a whole of very important RP for priests and mages alike. While I understand that it's easy to then say "but it's a mage, my PC will always root out a mage" or "yes, he broke the holy promise but he did it to root out a mage, no need to put consequences again him" but that should not be done lightly. As instead of driving a story, where that priest may try to talk the mage into surrendering to the order or even turning onto other mages, it ends it with a quick warrant, which while sure is a nice "win", I think stories is what we are after, for the most part. Heck, it can even go the other way around, where mage will manage to turn a godly priest into a mage sympathiser, it sure happened before! But for that to happen, there must be a line of communications between priests and mages, one without first sentence being "IF YOU TELL ANYONE I WILL KILL YOU".
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Kinaed
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Discord Handle: ParaVox3#7579

Sat Jan 13, 2018 5:04 pm

It's also important to note that, religion-wise, the pyre is not because 'mages are evil', albeit the average person would probably view a mage as a super serial killer.

The whole pyre thing is about saving the souls of those mages; destroying the taint in their souls so they can return to the loving bosom of the Lord of the Springs. Cleansing isn't a punishment, it's an act of mercy.

It is correct for many characters in Lithmore to misunderstand this as their personal experiences with mages frequently includes everything from destruction of property, the strange spreading of illness and disease, right down to outright murder. The mage is tainted and will inevitably spiral due to said taint, but the Holy Order's lens is one of compassion.

Spoops
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Sat Jan 13, 2018 6:31 pm

What priests are losing out on RP? The game hasn't had priests in like a year.

kipperialovskii
Posts: 41
Joined: Thu Apr 27, 2017 11:54 am

Sun Jan 14, 2018 2:54 am

Corruption and IC motive is something that is, largely, IC. A priest may struggle with the internal conundrum of breaking vows to turn in a mage, as is their primary struggle in the vanguarding of Lithmorran souls/etc.

Avoiding IC punishment, as many can attest to from all walks from the game, is all down to how you handle things on an IC level. Think of the PI that ends up killing the suspect he knows is guilty. The story usually ends in him in an electric easychair and a tin hat. People may view that person as a hero, but the system punishes them for betraying duty and law. Or, alternatively, he walks free due to public opinion and personal clout if he tried his hardest to put up failsafes.

But as Spoops has said... We haven't had an active, reliable priest in a very long time. Most of my IC confessions were to two different Grand Inquisitors, just because they were the only clergy on-grid. ... The only ones who can investigate anything, as well.

The issue more lies in that we don't have people willing to fill strictly priest roles. Otherwise, confessions just go straight into inquisitors, when they are even active. To which now they have to RP, validly, struggling with their conflicting vows.

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The_Last_Good_Dragon
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Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:56 pm

I think a large portion of my own disconnect between the idea that a Priest would be breaking a vow by not "turning in" a Mage comes from this paragraph in 'help sin" —

Code: Select all

As such, confession and the cleansing that goes along with it are feared at
times even by the most loyal Davites.  However, confessions between priests
and supplicants are forever sealed and private-- only able to be breached
by the Patriarch himself.  Additionally, known sinners who refuse to repent
on their own will often receive a visit from Church Inquisitors, and
avoiding their reach is punished far more strictly than by those priests
conducting confession.
While a confession is sealed, the helpfile doesn't mention that the cleansings are not shared to other branches of the Church, and indeed is something that I would think to be a fundamental necessity of Davite society. To give a less-magery example, if a person— we'll call her Juliette— went and confessed to a sin to a priest and was assigned, say, a penance of donating 5 gold to the church, it strikes me that the priest would keep an eye out for Juliet's donation. If the priest doesn't receive notice that this donation was made, would the Church not do something about it? I would think that the Priest would go to the Inquisition and tell them that Juliet failed to serve a Penance and should be brought in for Review, saying nothing about the confession that required this "cleansing."

Otherwise, frankly, I wonder about the thematic power of the Church at all. If one can commit any sin, visit with a priest, receive a penance and completely and utterly ignore it, where does the Fear of the Church come from?

To return to the example of magery, the helpfile speaks of the singular requirement to breaking the seal on a Confession: the Patriarch, an NPC Cardinal (presumably the one over Lithmore listed in 'help feature npcs'). Would a Priest who received the confession of Magery from someone who then did not immediately go to the Inquisition to receive a Cleansing by Fire — the only viable cleansing for the Taint — not go to the Cardinal, unseal the confession, and deliver it to the Inquisition?

Ultimately, this is a bit of a pedantic discussion — I'm very happy with how Staff continues to empower players to make their own choices and allow those choices to be the determining factor of the game — but I do like to understand the Theme of the Game correctly and I know that I'm far from the only player to apparently misread these helpfiles given how many private messages I've gotten on the topic and hope that, at the very least, they can be cleared up to provide a better understanding of the broader structure of the Davite faith.
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Niamh
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Discord Handle: Niamh#3824

Mon Jan 15, 2018 2:17 pm

Fear of the church isn't supposed to come from going to confession. It's supposed to come from NOT going to confession. As the quoted portion states, known sinners who aren't noted going to confession will get a visit from their unfriendly neighborhood Inquisitor. You don't get in trouble for going to confession, you get in trouble for not going.

The Patriarch referenced is the Cardinal, who judging by that helpfile is the only individual capable of unsealing a confession once it has been made. I suspect that if he were investigating a high profile, world-reaching case of significant weight personally, he might then weigh the gain vs. loss of unsealing the confessions made by the person under investigation in order to end an immediate threat. Note that it doesn't say a Priest should contact the Cardinal to ask if he or she can have permission to unseal a confessional. That isn't implied as permission they can gain.

Nudging Kinaed toward this thread for conclusive answers!

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The_Last_Good_Dragon
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Mon Jan 15, 2018 5:43 pm

Niamh wrote:Fear of the church isn't supposed to come from going to confession.
That's directly stated otherwise in the bit I quoted above; "confession and the cleansing that goes along with it are feared at times even by the most loyal Davites."

To me, both that helpfile and passages from "help cleansing" very pointedly state that Cleansings aren't seen as optional matters by the enforcement branch of the Church: the Inquisitors and Knights, but that's precisely the image painted by this "Well, Priests can't break their vows of silence on the matter!" theme. I suppose, in continuing to work through my understanding of Davism, I suppose what I'm saying is that I wouldn't think Priests or the Church-at-large would consider a Confession complete until the proper cleansings were handled; if a Priest needed to bring in a higher authority to complete the confession would that not be the proper method — the confession then being sealed between three individuals once properly completed, ie in the cases listed by the helpfiles of requiring "Inquisitors or Higher Officials"?

If this isn't the case, then I can't imagine that we can't work to find better wording for the helpfiles to give players a more uniform understanding of the theme of Davism and the interactions between sinner, priest, and inquisitor.
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Puciek
Posts: 373
Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2013 6:51 pm

Mon Jan 15, 2018 6:40 pm

The_Last_Good_Dragon wrote:
Niamh wrote:Fear of the church isn't supposed to come from going to confession.
That's directly stated otherwise in the bit I quoted above; "confession and the cleansing that goes along with it are feared at times even by the most loyal Davites."

To me, both that helpfile and passages from "help cleansing" very pointedly state that Cleansings aren't seen as optional matters by the enforcement branch of the Church: the Inquisitors and Knights, but that's precisely the image painted by this "Well, Priests can't break their vows of silence on the matter!" theme. I suppose, in continuing to work through my understanding of Davism, I suppose what I'm saying is that I wouldn't think Priests or the Church-at-large would consider a Confession complete until the proper cleansings were handled; if a Priest needed to bring in a higher authority to complete the confession would that not be the proper method — the confession then being sealed between three individuals once properly completed, ie in the cases listed by the helpfiles of requiring "Inquisitors or Higher Officials"?

If this isn't the case, then I can't imagine that we can't work to find better wording for the helpfiles to give players a more uniform understanding of the theme of Davism and the interactions between sinner, priest, and inquisitor.
Yep, cleansing is the part of it, but that doens't mean the moment you admit a sin in a confessional you will be arrested and sent to the pyre. Rather you will be given some sort of penance and will start working with your priest to not repeat that sin again. No idea where you got the idea that confession is not complete unless cleansing is done either, seems like pulled out of the air just to back your ongoing promotion of shared confession, despite staff stating definitively that this is against the theme. It's in the OP, in plain words:
Kinaed Thematically, a priest who discusses a confession with anyone outside
of the confessional has betrayed his oathes. This is in a help file
somewhere. Zealous players have ignored this theme continously for unknown
reasons. Probably because they dislike it.
So I really struggle why you keep denying it.

There are also helpfiles and books that explain it in more details, but they are not available to the general public because some parts of the theme are intentionally vague and withheld from the common population. For example, grand inquisitor, or a mage, will both have a different view of imagery from one another, but they will both have a much richer understanding of it than a common person would, and that can be found in the help files/IC books/some other pieces of lore scattered around.
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Zeita
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Mon Jan 15, 2018 7:04 pm

The only time, as a priest/Inquisitor that I've had a mage confess in the confessional, was when they were about to (and then promptly did) kill me.

My personal theological take of Davism (noting that I never really fully absorbed the softening of the Order from a couple years back), and thus the approach that my Orderites would have taken, is to move a theoretical confessee to the pyre very quickly. As a pious priest, that would have been to tell them to take it to an Inquisitor and check in on the process of that very thoroughly. If they failed to do so, I'd report them under the reasoning that the danger to their soul (and my part in endangering it) in remaining uncleansed is greater than the weight of sin from breaking the seal of confession.

If they confessed to an honest, non-corrupt Inquisitor of mine, I'd warrant them flat out.

My take- don't take it as gospel (!).

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The_Last_Good_Dragon
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Mon Jan 15, 2018 7:09 pm

Puciek wrote: No idea where you got the idea that confession is not complete unless cleansing is done either, seems like pulled out of the air

Code: Select all

As such, confession and the cleansing that goes along with it
Once again, I'm not trying to have an argument and say that it needs to be my way; you seem to think that. I'm looking for further clarification to certain points, as the helpfiles seem to contradict each other in key points.
Last edited by The_Last_Good_Dragon on Mon Jan 15, 2018 7:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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