|Welcome to the Secrets of the Order! Document #1
Note: The following technical document has not been edited for content or clarity. This author has merely reproduced it as instructed by Father Dougherty before his disappearance on June 5.
Document # 1. Excerpts from a hitherto unavailable Papal Treatise written, in part, by Father Jerome Dougherty. Notes omitted:
The succeeding summary of our treatise "The Psychological and Theological Findings of the Special Papal Committee for the Study of the Order of the Beloved" is submitted in all humility to His Holiness Pope [name and date omitted].
A. History of the Order of the Beloved
Established sub rosa by His Holiness, Pope Pius XII in 1947, the Order of the Beloved was created as a cloister, haven, and potential treatment center for priests diagnosed with a mental illness first described by Pierre Janet in 1946 as fugue eternae psychasthenia (sic), a psycho neurosis in which the priest or nun (Sisters of Miriam of the Order of the Beloved was established in 1951) believes himself to be endowed with eternal life. To date nine males and two females have been assigned to these Orders.
B. History of the Members of the Order of the Beloved
As transmitted to His Holiness in an earlier notandum, with two exceptions (S3 and SF1), all records of birth, baptism, confirmation, ordination, and educational background are missing, presumed destroyed by the subjects themselves or by a person (or persons) within the Vatican who is associated and in contact with the member of the Order and possibly afflicted with the illness. All subjects have credible witnesses who testify to their good standing in the Church for periods of not less than ten years.
C. Psychological Profiles of the Members of the Order of the Beloved
After six months of meticulous examination the Papal Committee, consisting of two psychiatrists (Dr. F. G. and Fr. B. W.) and committee chair and theologian (Fr. J. D.), reached the following conclusions:
1. General Description. The disease fugue eternae psychasthenia is an extensive but benign mental illness in which the subject believes he is immortal. In addition to the illusion of immortality, the patient generally suffers from ennui and severe and extensive repression of early memories; though the patient does not exhibit a loss of original personality. Most patients resist treatment of any sort (S3 and SF1 responded to hypnosis) and neither various narcosyntheses nor electroshock therapy had any perceivable effect (electroshock treatments caused mild Ganser's Syndrome in SF1). With few exceptions, patients are most reluctant to share the "knowledge" of their "immortality" with anyone outside of the Order.
2. Physical Condition. In all cases but one (SF1, mesomorphy), patients suffer from ectomorphy.
3. Mental Condition. In all cases patients suffer mild confabulation, probable repression, sporadic displacement, suspected sublimation, cerebrotonia, marked resistance, and in all but three cases (S4, S7, and SF2), moderate senile dementia.
4. Predicted but Unobserved Symptoms. The committee predicted but found no evidence of schizophrenia (dementia praecox), presbyophrenia, retrogression, pellagra, globus hystericus, involutional melancholia, catatonia, or general affective psychosis. The disease fugue eternae psychasthenia does not appear to be degenerative (with the possible exception of SF1).
5. Psychological Hypotheses. The committee agreed that possible explanations for patients' illness and behaviors are: a. Tension Theory (segregation of monastic life from "normal" life, following Janet); b. Restraint of Activity (neuroses induced internally by rigid restrictions of "habitual or instinctive activities," celibacy being a prime example, following Lidell, H. Cook, and T. Anderson); c. Learned or Externally Produced (neuroses induced externally by situations or peer pressure, following Pavlov).
6. Recommendations for Treatment and Supervision. At this point in time, the committee advises further study of the subjects without aggressive chemical or electroshock treatments. Further efforts with hypnosis might prove beneficial. Strong community involvement and social interaction through parish activities are suggested as the most reasonable and effective of known treatments. We also recommend closer supervision of the patients. More attentive handling of the patients is required to prevent them from leaving the treatment area. Three subjects have disappeared from the cloister since its inception.
D. Theological Findings:
1. General Findings. In response to direct papal inquiry, the committee concludes that there are no grounds for either terminating the Order of the Beloved or for excommunicating any of its present members. The primary calling of a priest is service to Christ; the members of the Order fulfill this sacred vocation in an exemplary manner. Their eccentric, and troubling, claim to immortality is clearly at odds with the Christian conception of the person whose soul and body achieve entelechy only after the resurrection of the dead. (Fifth Lateran Council in 1513, Denz 1440-41; see also Church pronouncement against Bautain in 1844, Denz 2766). Yet the members of the Order never assert a specific teaching and neither publicly nor privately present arguments at odds with the established Christian doctrine on the issue of immortality. The committee unanimously reports and finds that the issue is primarily psychological, rather than theological, and commends the Church and His Holiness for the Christian fellowship of healing and the just and humane treatment and respect granted to the members of the Order of the Beloved. The committee has presented a detailed argument in our primary text that the nature of fugue eternae psychasthenia, from the perspective of Church theology, is not a question of the immortality of the soul; but is rather a question for the need for a reinterpretation of the concept of the beatific vision (Benedict XII, Benedictus Deus, Denz 1000-02; Laetentur coeli, July, 1439, Denz 1305; Council of Florence, Denz 1304-06). Members of the Order of the Beloved state that their works of love in and through Christ are the sole source of their immortality. Our theological analysis of their conviction indicates that they may have experienced a heretofore unexamined type of beatific vision, a variation of the hypostatic union (St. 1a, 12.5; St. 1a, 12.2 ad 3; St. 1a, 12.6, 1a-2ae, 5.2).
Note: At Father Dougherty's request the remainder of the summary of the theological findings is omitted.