Bringing Hell to Earth
Many years ago, when I was just a student at Morningside College, I started to come across the material contained in the prologue of the book Windswept House in 1978 (Prior to its eventual release in 1996). Even as a young student, I was shocked beyond belief at what I was reading, but did not have any understanding of the implications what I was reading. I had seen the movies The Exorcist and its sequels: Exorcist II: The Heretic, with Richard Burton, and Exorcist III: Legion, with George C. Scott, and read Malachi Martin's book Hostage to the Devil, prior to reading this book. However, in time, I began to realized just how powerless the Roman Catholic Church was against evil in general. I started listening to the messages of many deliverance teachers (Most notably Pastor Win Worley, Dr. J. Marcus Haggard, and Missionary Norman Parish) who also noticed and enumerated the compromise of the Roman Catholic institution. But when I read the following prologue to a novel by Fr. Malachi Martin, S.J., I started putting these facts together.
The Enthronement of the Fallen Archangel Lucifer was effected within the Roman Catholic Citadel on June 29, 1963; a fitting for the historic promise about to be fulfilled. As the principal agents of this ceremony well knew, Satanist tradition had long predicted that the "Time of the Prince" would be ushered in at the moment when a Pope would take the name of the Apostle Paul. That requirement—the signal that the Availing Time had begun—had been accomplished just eight days before with the election of the latest Peter-in-the-Line.
There had barely been time since the Papal Conclave had ended for the complex arrangements to be readied; but the Supreme Tribunal had decided there could be no more perfect date for the Enthronement of the Prince than this feast day of the twin princes of the Citadel: Saints Peter and Paul. And there could be no more perfect place than the Chapel of St. Paul itself, situated as it was so near to the Apostolic Palace.
The complexity of the arrangements were dictated mainly by the nature of the Ceremonial Event to be enacted. Security was so tight in the grouping of Vatican buildings within which this gem of a Chapel lay that the full panoply of the Ceremonial could not possibly escape detection here. If the aim was to be achieved—if the Ascent of the Prince was actually to be accomplished in the Availing Time—then every element of the Celebration of the Calvary Sacrifice must be turned on its head by the other and opposite Celebration. The sacred must be profaned. The profane must be adored. The unbloody representation of the Sacrifice of the Nameless Weakling on the Cross must be replaced by the supreme and bloody violation of the dignity of the Nameless One. Guilt must be accepted as innocence. Pain must give joy. Grace, repentance, pardon must all be drowned in an orgy of opposites. And it must all be done without mistakes. The sequence of events, the meaning of the words, the significance of the actions must all comprise the perfect enactment of sacrilege, the ultimate ritual of treachery.
The whole delicate affair was placed in the experienced hands of the Prince's trusted Guardian in Rome. A master of the elaborate Ceremonial of the Roman Church, so much more was this granite-faced, acid-tongued prelate a Master of the Prince's Ceremonial of Darkness and Fire. The immediate aim of every Ceremonial, he knew, is to venerate "the abomination of desolation." But the further aim now must be to oppose the Nameless Weakling in His stronghold, to occupy the Weakling's Citadel during the Availing Time, to secure the Ascent of the Prince in the Citadel as an irresistible force, to supplant the Citadel's Keeper, to take full possession of the Keys entrusted to the Keeper by the Weakling.
The Guardian tackled the problem of security head-on. Such unobtrusive elements as the Pentagram and the black candles and the appropriate draperies could be part of the Ceremonial in Rome. But other Rubrics—the Bowl of Bones and the Ritual Din, for example, the sacrificial animals and the victim—would be too much. There would have to be a Parallel Enthronement. A Con-celebration could be accomplished with the same effect by the Brethren in an Authorized Targeting Chapel. Provided all the participants in both locations "targeted" every element of the Event on the Roman Chapel, then the Event in its fullness would be accomplished specifically in the target area. It would all be a matter of unanimity of hearts, identity of intention and perfect synchronization of word') and actions between the Targeting Chapel and the Target Chapel. The living wills and the thinking minds of the Participants concentrated on the specific Aim of the Prince would transcend all distance.
For a man as experienced as the Guardian, the choice of the Targeting Chapel was easy. As simple as a phone call to the United States. Over the years, the Prince's adherents in Rome had developed a faultless unanimity of heart and a seamless identity of intention with the Guardian's friend. Leo, Bishop of the Chapel in South Carolina. (Located in the Southern United States)
Leo was not the man's name. It was his description. The silvery-white mane of hair on his large head looked for all the world like a scraggly lion's mane. In the forty years or so since His Excellency had established his Chapel, the number and the social importance of the Participants he had attracted, the punctilious blasphemy of his Ceremonies and his frequent and ready cooperation with those who shared his point of view and ultimate goals, had so established the superiority of his operation that by now it was widely admired among initiates as the Mother Chapel of the United States.
The news that his Chapel had been Authorized as the Targeting Chapel for such a great Event as the Enthronement of the Prince within the heart of the Roman Citadel itself was supremely gratifying. More to the point, Leo's vast Ceremonial knowledge and experience saved a lot of time. There was no need, for example, to test his appreciation of the contradictory principles upon which all worship of the Archangel is structured. No need to doubt his desire to encompass the ultimate strategy in that battle—the end of the Roman Catholic Church as the papal institution it had been since the Nameless Weakling had founded it.
There was no need even to explain that the ultimate aim wasn't exactly to liquidate the Roman Catholic organization. Leo understood how unintelligent that would be, how wasteful. Far better to make that organization into something truly useful, to homogenize and assimilate it into a grand worldwide order of human affairs. To confine it to broad humanist—and only humanist—goals.
Like-minded experts that they were, the Guardian and the American Bishop reduced their arrangements for the twin Ceremonial Events to a roster of names and an inventory of Rubrics.
The Guardian's list of names—the Participants in the Roman Chapel— turned out to be men of the highest caliber. High-ranking churchmen, and laymen of substance. Genuine Servitors of the Prince within the Citadel. Some had been selected, co-opted, trained, and promoted in the Roman Phalanx over the decades, while others represented the new generation dedicated to carrying the Prince's agenda forward for the next several decades. All understood the need to remain undetected; for the Rule says, "The Guarantee of Our Tomorrow Is Today's Persuasion That We Do Not Exist."
Leo's roster of Participants—men and women who had made their mark in corporate, government and social life—was every bit as impressive as the Guardian had expected. But the Victim, His Excellency said—a child—would be truly a prize for the Violation-of-Innocence.
The checklist of Rubrics required for the Parallel Ceremonial centered mainly on the elements that had to be ruled out in Rome. Leo's Targeting Chapel must have its set of Vials containing Earth, Air, hire and Water. Check. It must have the Bowl of Bones. Check. The Red and Black Pillars. Check. The Shield. Check. The animals. Check. Down the list they went. Check. Check.
The matter of synchronizing the Ceremonies in the two chapels was familiar for Leo. As usual, fascicles of printed sheets, irreligiously called Missals, would be prepared for use by the Participants in both Chapels; and, as usual, they would be in flawless Latin. A telephone link would be monitored by a Ceremonial Messenger at each end, so that the Participants would always be able to take up their parts in perfect harmony with their Cooperating Brethren.
During the Event, the pulse of every Participant's heart must be perfectly attuned to make I late, not love. The gratification of Pain and the Consummation must be perfectly achieved under Leo's direction in the Sponsoring Chapel. The Authorization, the Instructions and the Evidence—the final and culminating elements peculiar to this occasion— would be an honor for the Guardian himself to orchestrate in the Vatican.
Finally, if everyone did the needful exactly according to the Rule, the Prince would at long last Consummate his Most Ancient Revenge upon the Weakling, the Merciless Enemy who had paraded through the ages as the Most High Merciful One for whom the darkest of darkness was light enough to see all.
Leo could imagine the rest. The Enthronement Event would create a perfect covering, opaque and velvet smooth, to conceal the Prince within the official Church membership of the Roman Citadel. Enthroned in Darkness, the Prince would be able to foment that same Darkness as never before. Friend and foe would be affected alike. Darkness of will would become so profound that it would obscure even the official objective of the Citadel's existence: the perpetual adoration of the Nameless One. In time and at last, the Goat would expel the Lamb and enter into Possession of the Citadel. The Prince would usher himself into possession of a house— The House—that was not his.
"Think of it, my friend." Bishop Leo was nearly beside himself with anticipation. "The unaccomplished will be accomplished. This will be the capstone of my career. The capstone Event of the twentieth century!"
Leo was not far wrong.
It was night. The Guardian and a few Acolytes worked in silence to put everything in readiness in the Target Chapel of St. Paul. A semicircle of kneeler chairs was set up to face the Altar. On the Altar itself, five candlesticks were fitted with graceful black tapers. A silver Pentagram was placed on the Tabernacle and covered with a blood-red veil. A Throne, symbol of the Prince Regnant, was placed to the left of the Altar. The walls, with their lovely frescoes and paintings depicting events in the life of Christ and of the Apostle, were draped in black cloth suitably embroidered in gold with symbols of the Prince's history.
As The Hour drew near, the genuine Servitors of the Prince within the Citadel began to arrive. The Roman Phalanx. Among them, some of the most illustrious men currently to be found in the collegium, hierarchy and bureaucracy of the Roman Catholic Church. Among them, too, secular representatives of the Phalanx as outstanding in their way as the members of the hierarchy.
Take that Prussian fellow just striding in the door, for example. A prime specimen of the new lay breed if ever there was one. Not yet forty, he was already a man of importance in certain critical transnational affairs. Even the light from the black tapers glinted off his steel-rimmed glasses and his balding head as if to single him out. Chosen as International Delegate and Plenipotentiary Extraordinary to the Enthronement, the Prussian carried the leather pouch containing the Letters of Authorization and Instructions to the Altar before he took his place in the semicircle.
Some thirty minutes before midnight, all of the kneeler chairs were occupied by the current harvest of a Prince Tradition that had been planted, nurtured and cultivated within the ancient Citadel over a period of some eighty years. Though restricted in numbers for a time, the group has persisted in protective obscurity as a foreign body and an alien spirit within its host and victim. It permeated offices and activities throughout the Roman Citadel, spreading its symptoms through the bloodstream of the Church Universal like a subcutaneous infection. Symptoms like cynicism and indifference, malfeasance and misfeasance in high office, inattention to correct doctrine, neglect of moral judgment, loss of acuity in sacral observance, blurring of essential memories and of the words and gestures that bespoke them.
Such were the men gathered in the Vatican for the Enthronement; and such was the Tradition they fostered throughout the worldwide administration headquartered in this Citadel. Missals in hand, eyes fixed on Altar and Throne, minds and wills deep in concentration, they waited in silence for midnight to usher in the feast of SS. Peter and Paul, the quintessential holy day of Rome.
The Targeting Chapel—a large assembly hall in the basement of a parochial school—had been furnished in strict observance of the Rules. Bishop Leo had directed it all personally. Now, his specially chosen Acolytes bustled quietly to put the final details in order as he checked everything.
The Altar first, placed at the north end of the Chapel. Flat on the Altar, a large Crucifix with the head of the corpus pointing to the north. A hairbreadth away, the red-veiled Pentagram flanked by two black candles. Above, a red Sanctuary Lamp gleaming with the Ritual Flame. At the east end of the Altar, a cage; and in the cage, Flinnie, a seven-week-old puppy, mildly sedated against the brief moment of his usefulness to the Prince. Behind the Altar, ebony tapers awaiting the touch of Ritual Flame to their wicks.
A quick turn to the south wall. Resting on a credenza, the Thurible and the container holding the squares of charcoal and incense. In front of the credenza, the Red and Black Pillars from which hung the Snake Shield and the Bell of Infinity. A turn to the east wall. Vials containing Earth, Air, Fire, and Water surrounding a second cage. In the cage, a dove, oblivious of its fate as a parody not only of the Nameless Weakling but of the full Trinity. Lectern and Book in readiness at the west wall. The semicircle of kneeler chairs facing north toward the Altar. Flanking the kneeler chairs, the Emblems of Entry: the Bowl of Bones on the west side nearest the door; to the east, the Crescent Moon and Five-Pointed Star with Coat-Points raised upward. On each chair, a copy of the Missal to be used by the Participants.
Finally, Leo glanced toward the entrance to the Chapel itself. Special vestments for the Enthronement, identical to those he and his busy Acolytes had already donned, hung on the rack just inside the door. He checked his watch against the large wall clock just as the first Participants arrived. Satisfied with the arrangements, he headed for the large connecting cloakroom that served as vestry. The Arch priest and Frater Medico should have the Victim prepared by now. Barely thirty minutes more, and his Ceremonial Messenger would open the telephone link to the Target Chapel in the Vatican. It would be The Hour.
Just as there were different requirements for the physical setup in the two Chapels, so too for the Participants. Those in St. Paul's Chapel, all men, wore robes and sashes of ecclesiastical rank or faultlessly tailored black suits of secular rank. Concentrated and purposeful, their eyes trained upon Altar and empty Throne, they appeared to be the pious Roman clergy and lay worshipers they were commonly believed to be.
As distinguished in rank as the Roman Phalanx, the American Participants in the Targeting Chapel nevertheless presented a jarring contrast to their fellows in the Vatican. Men and women entered here. And far from sitting or kneeling in fine attire, as they arrived each disrobed completely and donned the single, seamless vestment prescribed for the Enthronement—blood red for Sacrifice; knee length and sleeveless; V-necked and open down the front. Disrobing and en-robing were accomplished in silence, with no hurry or excitement. Just concentrated, ritual calm.
Once vested, the Participants passed by the Bowl of Bones, dipped in their hands to retrieve small fistfuls, and took their places in the semicircle of chairs facing the Altar. As the Bowl of Bones was depleted and the kneeler chairs filled, the Ritual Dip began to shatter the silence. Ceaselessly rattling the Bones, each Participant began talking—to himself, to others, to the Prince, to no one. Not raucously at first, but in an unsettling ritual cadence.
More Participants arrived. More Bones were taken. The semicircle was filled out. The mumbling cadence swelled from a softly cacophonous sus-sitrro. The steadily mounting gibberish of prayer and pleading and Bone rattling developed a kind of controlled heat. The sound became angry, as if verging on violence. Became a controlled concert of chaos. A mind-gripping howl of Hate and Revolt. A concentrated prelude to the celebration of the Enthronement of the Prince of This World within the Citadel of the Weakling.
His blood-red vestments flowing gracefully, Leo strode into the vestry. For a moment, it seemed to him that everything was m perfect readiness. Already vested, his co-Celebrant, the balding, bespectacled Arch-priest, had lit a single black taper in preparation for the Procession. He had filled a large golden Chalice with red wine and covered it with a silver-gilt paten. He had placed an out-sized white wafer of unleavened bread atop the paten.
A third man, Frater Medico, was seated on a bench. Vested like the other two, he held a child across his lap. His daughter. Agnes. Leo observed with satisfaction that Agnes seemed quiet and compliant for a change. Indeed, she seemed ready for the occasion this time. She had been dressed in a loose white gown that reached to her ankles. And, like her puppy on the Altar, she had been mildly sedated against the time of her usefulness in the Mysteries.
"Agnes," Medico purred into the child's ear. "It's almost time to come with Daddy."
"Not my daddy..." Despite the drugs, the girl opened her eyes and stared at her father. Her voice was weak but audible. "God is my daddy..."
"BLASPHEMY!" Agnes' words transformed Leo's mood of satisfaction exactly as electrical energy is transformed into lightning. "Blasphemy!" He shot the word again like a bullet. In fact, his mouth became a cannon shooting a barrage of rebuke at Medico. Physician or no, the man was a bumbler! The child should have been suitably prepared! There had been ample time to see to it!
Under Bishop Leo's attack. Medico turned ashen. But not so his daughter. She struggled to turn those unforgettable eyes of hers; struggled to meet Leo's wild glare of anger; struggled to repeat her challenge. "God is my daddy!"
Trembling in his nervous agitation, Prater Medico gripped his daughter's head in his hands and forced her to look at him again. "Sweetheart," he cajoled. "I am your daddy. I've been your daddy always. And, yes, your mummy too, ever since she went away."
"Not my daddy... You let Flinnie be taken... Mustn't hurt Flinnie... Only a little puppy... Little puppies are made by God..."
"Agnes. Listen to me. I am your daddy. It's time..."
"Not my daddy... God is my daddy... God is my mummy... Daddies don't do things God doesn't like... Not my..."
Aware that the Target Chapel in the Vatican must be waiting for the Ceremonial telephone link to be engaged, Leo gave a sharp nod of instruction to the Arch-priest. As so often in the past, the emergency procedure was the only remedy; and the requirement that the Victim be conscious at the first Ritual Consummation meant that it would have to be accomplished now.
Doing his priestly duty, the Arch priest sat down beside Prater Medico and shifted Agnes' drug-weakened form onto his own lap. "Agnes. Listen. I'm your daddy, too. Remember the special love between us? Remember?"
Stubbornly, Agnes kept up her struggle. "Not my daddy... Daddies don't do bad things to me... don't hurt me... don't hurt Jesus..."
In later years, Agnes' memory of this night — for remember it she finally did — would contain no titillating edge, no trace of the merely pornographic. Her memory of this night, when it came, would he one with her memory of her entire childhood. One with her memory of prolonged assault by Summary (Ancient) Evil. One with her memory — her never failing sense — of that luminous tabernacle deep in her child's soul where Light transformed her agony with Courage and made her struggle possible.
In some way she knew but did not yet understand, that inner tabernacle was where Agnes truly lived. That center of her being was an untouchable refuge of indwelling Strength and Love and Trust; the place where the Suffering Victim, the true target of the assault on Agnes, had come to sanctify her agony forever with His own.
It was from within that refuge that Agnes heard every word spoken in the vestry on the night of the Enthronement. It was from that refuge that she met the hard eyes of Bishop Leo glaring down at her, and the stare of the Arch-priest. She knew the price of resistance, felt her body being shifted from her father's lap. Saw the light glinting on the spectacles of the Arch-priest. Saw her father draw close again. Saw the needle in his hand. Felt the puncture. Felt the shock of the drug again. Felt herself lifted in someone's arms. But still she struggled. Struggled to see. Struggled against the blasphemy; against the effects of the violation; against the chanting; against the horror she knew was still to come.
Robbed by the drugs of strength to move, Agnes summoned her will as her only weapon and whispered again the words of her defiance and her agony. "Not my daddy... Don't hurt Jesus... Don't hurt me..."
It was The Hour. The beginning of the Availing Time for the Prince's Ascent into the Citadel. At the tinkling of the Bell of Infinity, all Participants in Leo's Chapel rose to their feet as one. Missals in hand, the constant clickety-clack of the Bones as grisly accompaniment, they chanted their full-throated processional, a triumphant profanation of the hymn of the Apostle Paul. "Maran Athal Come, Lord! Come, O Prince. Come! Come..."
Well-rehearsed Acolytes, men and women, led the way from vestry to Altar. Behind them, gaunt but distinguished-looking even in his red vestments, Frater Medico carried the Victim to the Altar and placed her full-length beside the Crucifix. In the flickering shadow of the veiled Pentagram, her hair almost touched the cage that held her little dog. Next according to rank, eyes blinking behind his spectacles, the Arch-priest bore the single black candle from the vestry and took his place at the left of the Altar. Last, Bishop Leo strode forward bearing chalice and Host, adding his voice to the processional hymn. "So mote it be!" The final words of the ancient chant washed over the Altar in the Targeting Chapel.
"So mote it be!" The ancient chant washed over Agnes' limp form, fogging her mind more deeply than the drugs, intensifying the cold she had known would envelop her.
"So mote it be! Amen! Amen!" The ancient words washed over the Altar in the Chapel of St. Paul. Their hearts and wills as one with the Targeting Participants in America, the Roman Phalanx took up the Mysteries Refrain set out for them in their Latin Missals, beginning with the Hymn of the Virgin Raped and ending with the Crown of Thorns Invocation.
In the Targeting Chapel, Bishop Leo removed the Victim Pouch from his neck and placed it reverently between the head of the Crucifix and the foot of the Pentagram. Then, to the resumed mumbling-humming chorus of the Participants and the rattling of Bones, Acolytes placed three incense squares on the glowing charcoal in the thurible. Almost at once, blue smoke curled through the assembly hall, its pungent odor engulfing Victim, Celebrants and Participants alike.
In the daze of Agnes' mind, the smoke and the smell and the drugs and the cold and the Din all merged into a hideous cadenza.
Though no signal was given, the well-rehearsed Ceremonial Messenger informed his Vatican counterpart that the Invocations were about to begin.
Sudden silence enveloped the American Chapel. Bishop Leo solemnly raised the Crucifix from beside Agnes' body, placed it upside down against the front of the Altar and, facing the congregation, raised his left hand in the inverted blessing of the Sign: the back of his hand toward the Participants; thumb and two middle fingers pressed to the palm; index and little fingers pointing upward to signify the horns of the Goat. "Let us invoke!"
In an atmosphere of darkness and fire, the Chief Celebrant in each Chapel intoned a series of Invocations to the Prince. The Participants in both Chapels chanted a response. Then, and only in America's Targeting Chapel, each Response was followed by a Convenient Action—a ritually determined acting-out of the spirit and the meaning of the words. Perfect cadence of words and will between the two Chapels was the responsibility of the Ceremonial Messengers tending the telephone link. From that perfect cadence would be woven a suitable fabric of human intention in which the drama of the Prince's Enthronement would be clothed.
"I believe in One Power." Bishop Leo's voice rang with conviction.
"And its name is Cosmos," the Participants in both Chapels chanted the upside-down Response set out in the Latin Missals. The Convenient Action followed in the Targeting Chapel. Two Acolytes incensed the Altar. Two more retrieved the Vials of Earth, Air, Fire and Water, placed them on the Altar, bowed to the Bishop and returned to their places.
"I believe in the Only Begotten Son of the Cosmic Dawn." Leo chanted.
"And His Name is Lucifer." The second ancient Response. Leo's Acolytes lighted the Pentagram Candles and incensed the Pentagram.
The third Invocation: "I believe in the Mysterious One."
The third Response: "And He is the Snake with Venom in the Apple of Life." To the constant rattling of Bones, Attendants approached the Red Pillar and reversed the Snake Shield to expose the side depicting the Tree of Knowledge.
The Guardian in Rome and the Bishop in America intoned the fourth Invocation; "I believe in the Ancient Leviathan."
In unison across an ocean and a continent, the fourth Response: "And His Name is Hate." The Red Pillar and the Tree of Knowledge were incensed.
The fifth Invocation: "I believe in the Ancient Fox."
The fifth lusty Response: "And His Name is Lie." The Black Pillar was incensed as the symbol of all that is desolate and abominable.
In the flickering light cast by the rapers and with the blue smoke curling around him, Leo shifted his eyes to Flinnie's cage close by Agnes on the Altar. The puppy was almost alert now, coming to its feet in response to the chanting and clicking and clacking, "I believe in the Ancient Crab," Leo read the sixth Latin Invocation.
"And His Name is Living Pain," came the fulsome chant of the sixth Response. Clickety-clack, came the chanting of the Bones. With all eyes on him, an Acolyte stepped to the Altar, reached into the cage where the puppy wagged its tail in expectant greeting, pinned the hapless creature with one hand and, with the other, performed a perfectly executed vivisection, removing the reproductive organs first from the screaming animal. Expert that he was, the Attendant prolonged both the puppy's agony and the Participants' frenzied joy at the Ritual of Pain-Giving.
But, not every sound was drowned by the Din of dreadful celebration. Faint though it was, there was the sound of Agnes' mortal struggle. There was the sound of Agnes' silent scream at the agony of her puppy. The sound of slurred and whispered words. The sound of supplication and suffering. "God is my daddy! ...Holy God! ...My little puppy! ...Don't hurt Flinnie! ...God is my daddy! ...Don't hurt Jesus... Holy God..."
Alert to every detail, Bishop Leo glanced down at the Victim. Even in her near-unconscious state, still she struggled. Still she protested. Still she felt pain. Still she prayed with that unyielding resistance of hers. Leo was delighted. What a perfect little Victim. So pleasing to the Prince. Pitilessly and without pause, Leo and the Guardian led their congregations on through the rest of the fourteen Invocations, while the Convenient Actions that followed each Response became a raucous theater of perversity.
Finally, Bishop Leo brought the first part of the Ceremonial to a close with the Great Invocation: "I believe that the Prince of This World will be Enthroned this night in the Ancient Citadel, and from there Lie will create a New Community."
It was time for Leo to lift Agnes into his arms at the Altar. It was time for the Arch-priest to lift the chalice in his right hand and the large Host in his left. It was time for Leo to lead the Offertory Prayer, waiting after each Ritual Question for the Participants to read the Responses from their Missals.
"What was this Victim's name when once born?"
"What was this Victim's name when twice born?"
"What was this Victim's name when thrice born?"
Leo laid Agnes atop the Altar again and pricked the forefinger of her left hand until blood oozed from the little wound.
Pierced with cold, nausea rising in her, Agnes felt herself being lifted from the Altar, hut she was no longer able to focus her eyes. She flinched at a sharp sting in her left hand. She absorbed isolated words that carried a dread she could not voice. "Victim... Agnes... thrice born... Rahab Jericho..."
Leo dipped his left index finger in Agnes' blood and, raising it for the Participants to see, began the Offertory chants.
"This, the Blood of our Victim, has been shed * So that our service to the Prince may be complete. * So that He may reign supreme in the House of Jacob * In the New Land of the Elect."
It was the Arch-priest's turn now. Chalice and Host still raised aloft, he gave the Ritual Offertory Response.
"I take You with me, All-Pure Victims, I take you to the unholy north * I take you to the Summit of the Prince."
The Arch priest placed the Host on Agnes' chest and held the chalice of wine above her pelvis.
Flanked at the Altar now by his Arch-priest and Acolyte Medico, Bishop Leo glanced at the Ceremonial Messenger. Assured that the granite-faced Guardian and his Roman Phalanx were in perfect tandem, he and his celebrants intoned the Prayer of Supplication.
"We ask You, Lord Lucifer, Prince of Darkness, Gamer of all our Victims, To accept our offering, Unto the commission of many sins."
Then, in the perfect unison that comes from long usage, Bishop and Arch-priest pronounced the holiest words of the Latin Mass. At the elevation of the I lost: "hoc est Meum corpus MEUM." (This is my body.) At the elevation of the chalice: "HIC EST ENIVI CALIX SANGUIMS .V1F.I, NOVI EX AETERNI TESl AMENTI, MYSTERIUM EIDE1 QUI PRO VOBIS FT PRO MULTIS EEFUNDETUR IN REMISSIONEM PECCATORUM. HAEC QUOTIESCUMQUE FECERITIS IN MEI MEMORIAM FACLETIS." (THIS IS THE CUP OF BLOOD . YOU WILL DO THESE EVERYTIME IN MEMORIAL.)
Immediately, the participants responded with a renewal of the Ritual Din, a deluge of confusion, a babel of words and rattling bones, with random lascivious acts of every kind, while the Bishop ate a tiny fragment of the Host and took a small sip from the chalice.
At Leo's signal—the inverted blessing of the Sign again—the Ritual Din slipped into somewhat more orderly chaos as the Participants obediently formed into rough lines. Passing by the Altar to receive Communion—a bit of the Host, a sip from the chalice—they also had an opportunity to admire Agnes. Then, anxious not to miss any part of the first Ritual Violation of the Victim, they returned quickly to their kneeler chairs and watched expectantly as the Bishop focused his full attention on the child.
Agnes tried with all her might to free herself as the weight of the Bishop came upon her. Even then, she twisted her head as if to look for help in that unmerciful place. But there was no glimpse of help. There was the Arch-priest waiting his turn at this most ravenous sacrilege. There was her father waiting. There was the fire from the black tapers reflecting red in their eyes. Fire itself aflame in those eyes. Inside all those eyes. Fire that would burn long after the candles died. Burn forever...
The agony that enveloped Agnes that night in body and soul was so profound that it might have enveloped the whole world. But not for a moment was it her agony alone. Of that much she always remained certain. As those Servitors of Lucifer violated her on that defiled and unholy Altar, so too did they violate that Lord Who was father and mother to her. Just as He had transformed her weakness with His courage, so also did He sanctify her desecration with the outrages of His scourging, and her long-suffering with His Passion. It was to Him — to that Lord Who was her only father and her only mother and her only defender — that Agnes screamed her terror, her horror, her pain. And it was to Him she fled for refuge when she lost consciousness.
Leo stood once more at the Altar, his perspiring face flush with new excitement at this, his supreme moment of personal triumph. A nod to the Ceremonial Messenger by the phone. A moment's wait. An answering nod. Rome was ready.
"By the Power invested in me as Parallel Celebrant of the Sacrifice and the Parallel Fulfiller of the Enthronement, I lead all here and in Rome in invoking You, Prince of All Creatures! In the name of all gathered in this Chapel and of all the Brothers of the Roman Chapel, I invoke You, O Prince!"
The second Investment Prayer was the Arch-priest's to lead. As culmination of everything he waited for, his Latin recitation was a model of controlled emotion:
"Come, take possession of the Enemy's House. * Enter into a place that has been prepared for You. * Descend among Your faithful Servitors * Who have prepared Your bed, * Who have erected Your Altar and blessed it with infamy."
It was right and fitting that Bishop Leo should offer the final Investment Prayer of the Targeting Chapel:
"Under Sacrosanct instructions from the Mountaintop, * In the name of all the Brethren, * I now adore You, Prince of Darkness. * With the Stole of all Unholiness, : " I now place in Your hands * The Triple Crown of Peter * According to the adamantine will of Lucifer * So that You reign here. * So that there One Church be, * One Church from Sea to Sea, * One Vast and Mighty Congregation * Of Man and Woman, * Of animal and plant. * So that our Cosmos again * Be one, unbound and free."
At the last word and a gesture from Leo, all in his Chapel were seated. The Ritual passed to the Target Chapel in Rome.
It was very nearly complete now, this Enthronement of the Prince in the Weakling's Citadel. Only the Authorization, the Bill of Instructions and the Evidence remained. The Guardian looked up from the Altar and turned cheerless eyes toward the Prussian International Delegate who had brought the leather pouch containing the Letters of Authorization and Instructions. All watched as he left his place and strode to the Altar, took the pouch in hand, removed the papers it contained and read out the Bill of Authorization in a heavy accent:
"By mandate of the Assembly and the Sacrosanct Elders, I do institute, authorize and recognize this Chapel, to be known henceforth as the Inner Chapel, as taken, possessed and appropriated wholly by Him Whom we have Enthroned as Lord and Master of our human fate.
"Whosoever shall, by means of this Inner Chapel, be designated and chosen as the final ln-the-Line successor in the Petrine Office, shall by his very oath of office commit himself and all he does command to be the willing instrument and collaborator with the Builders of Man's Home on Earth and throughout Man's Cosmos. He shall transform the ancient Enmity into Friendship, Tolerance and Assimilation as these are applied to the models of birth, education, work, finance, commerce, industry, learning, culture, living and giving life, dying and dealing death. So shall the New Age of Man be modeled."
"So mote it be!" The Guardian led the Roman Phalanx in the Ritual Response.
"So mote it be!" At a signal from the Ceremonial Messenger, Bishop Leo led his Participants in their assent.
The next order of Ritual, the Bill of Instructions, was in reality a solemn oath of betrayal by which every cleric present in St. Paul's Chapel—Cardinal, bishop and monsignore alike—would intentionally and deliberately desecrate the Sacrament of Holy Orders by which he had once received the grace and power to sanctify others.
The International Delegate lifted his left hand in the Sign. "Do you each and all," he read the Oath, "having heard this Authorization, now solemnly swear to accept it willingly, unequivocally, immediately, without reservation or cavil?"
"Do you each and all now solemnly swear that your administration of office will be bent to fulfill the aims of the Universal Church of Man?"
"We do so solemnly swear."
"Are you each and all prepared to signal this unanimous will with your own blood, so strike you Lucifer, if you are unfaithful to this Oath of Commitment?"
"We are willing and prepared."
"Are you each and all fully consenting that, by this Oath, you transfer Lordship and Possession of your souls from the Ancient Enemy, the Supreme Weakling, to the All-Powerful Hands of our Lord Lucifer?"
The moment had arrived for the final Ritual. The Evidence.
With the two documents positioned on the Altar, the Delegate held out his left hand to the Guardian. With a golden pin, the granite-faced Roman pricked the tip of the Delegate's left thumb and pressed a bloody print beside the Delegate's name on the Bill of Authorization.
Quickly then, the Vatican Participants followed suit. When every member of the Phalanx had satisfied this last Ritual requirement, a little silver bell was rung in the Chapel of St. Paul.
In the American Chapel, the Bell of Infinity rang its distant and assenting response lightly, musically, three times. Ding! Dong! Ding! An especially nice touch, Leo thought, as both congregations took up the recessional chant:
"Ding! Dong! Dell! * Thus shall the Ancient Gates Prevail! * Thus the Rock and the Cross must fail * Forever! * Ding! Dong! Dell!"
The recessional line formed in order of rank. Acolytes first. Frater Medico, with Agnes limp and frighteningly pale in his arms. Finally, the Arch-priest and Bishop Leo kept up the chant as they retraced their steps to the vestry.
The members of the Roman Phalanx emerged into the Court of St. Damasus in the small hours of the feast day of Saints Peter and Paul. Some of the Cardinals and a few of the bishops acknowledged the salutes of the respectful security guards with an absentminded cross of priestly blessing traced in the air, as they entered their limousines. Within moments, the walls of St. Paul's Chapel glowed, as always they had, with their lovely-paintings and frescoes of Christ, and of the Apostle Paul whose name the latest Peter-in-the-Line had taken.