8 October 1997
While I had been in regular communication with my own superiors concerning my work, the fact is that I was operating in a diocese under the nose of an established bishop and I could progress no further until I had spoken with him about the matter. There was much I would not have to disclose, and much I was under obligation not to disclose; but what I was about to do had a real chance of being too overt to be overlooked by the hierarchy. The meeting itself would be in secret--only he and I officially knew it was happening--but if anything of note happened and the archbishops or cardinals came asking he would be equipped to answer their questions and would have the right to describe our meeting.
I arrived in his study when he was alone, and he welcomed me and directed me to an armchair opposite his own while he finished preparing us each a cup of coffee. We talked a while about the Church, he told me about how things were in America and asked me about events in Europe. It was a pleasant chat for about twenty minutes before we got around to the business at hand.
"So you mean to tell me you know who killed that poor priest?" he asked, refreshing our mugs.
"And blinded the other, yes."
"Nasty business, that." He handed me my coffee before sitting down and taking a thoughtful sip of his own. "Is it someone within the Church?" I shook my head.
"No. We believe he's actually leading up a cult that's set on violently destroying all major religions."
"This sounds like the sort of thing that should go to the police then, yes? Surely secular resources can be spent on secular criminals. The government has a list of dangerous organizations, you know."
"This is not simply a dangerous organization. They have extensive resources and occult support." He stopped and stared off into space for a moment.
"You're telling me this cult is able to use demonic power to their advantage?"
"Yes. And even if the local police could handle that, they seem to have fallen under the cult's sway." He sighed and shook his head, setting his mug down on the small table between us.
"How dark these days become. I fear what the new millennium will bring. There are good Catholics among the local police, are they not on our side?"
"About that. One of the primary recruiting tools being used by the cult seems to be stories about abuse by priests in your diocese. I've heard some of these stories, a few list you by name as active or having knowledge of actions." He waved his hand dismissively.
"Abuse?! Nothing of the sort." I suddenly realized I could smell a faint, almost forgotten, sense of fear coming off him and could hear his heart rate increasing. I decided to press.
"A number of them had very convincing stories. Allegedly, when complaints were made, you simply moved priests around instead of stopping them."
"Is that what they said?" I nodded, then took a sip of my coffee. "Well. There was some moving of priests around, our own church records will show that." He leaned forward, waving and jabbing his hand around to annunciate his points. "When a body grows hostile to a priest, you know, there's nothing else for it! Man can't be expected to lead a flock that won't hear him."
"Of course. But what of the complaints?"
"The complaints. If the priests were being moved because of congregational concerns, what became of those concerns? Did you investigate the abuse charge?"
"Oh, well, of course, the priests were blameless. Comes with the calling, you know." I set my mug down and glared at him.
"That can't be all the effort you put into it."
"Look," he said, pointing angrily at me, "the sheep don't get to decide what the shepherd needs from them, understand?"
"You are a bishop in the Holy Catholic Church of God. You sit in the seat of the Apostles, you are responsible for the well-being of every baptised soul in this diocese!"
"I won't hear it from you, stranger! I asked around about you before I let you come here, you know. Been weeks you've been poking around, I wanted to know who you were. I know you don't serve in a parish, don't know what it's like! And I know there's something unnatural about you, but ain't nobody seems to know what it is. I think if we're hunting monsters, we need to start in-house!"
"You're absolutely right." He huffed and turned, reaching for the phone on his table. I don't remember even thinking about it, or moving, but I felt the heat build in me and before his hand touched the receiver he was burning. I watched him until he was gone, then waved my hand and drew back all the flames that were trying to escape to the rest of the room. With that, I stepped into the spiritual realm and left.
Evidence compiled for use during the trial of Father Benedict de Monte.