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1634: The Galileo Affair: Chapter Five

       Last updated: Thursday, December 4, 2003 04:02 EST



    The Reverend Jones began to cough theatrically.

    Father Augustus Heinzerling, SJ, glared at him over the brim of his stout briar pipe. “Ja? We are in the open air here, not so?”

    Jones looked back at the heavy German priest with an expression of stunned disbelief. “What? Is there such a thing as open air around that—that substance you smoke? Dang it, this nation isn’t supposed to be using chemical warfare.”

    “Oh, knock it off, Simon.” The third pastor at the table came to Heinzerling’s rescue. Father Lawrence Mazzare, parish priest at St. Mary Magdalene’s church, Grantville, looked up from the page of the book he was holding open. “Gus, smoke if you want, but get downwind.”

    “Auch Sie?” Heinzerling adopted a wounded tone, but couldn’t help his grin. As one of the seventeenth-century clerics who had joined Grantville’s cadre of twentieth-century pastors, he had had nearly a year and a half to learn the hard way about the barbaric practice of making the smokers stand outside.

    It was, he reflected, one of the odder differences the “up-timers” showed. The Ring of Fire had brought a town full of twentieth-century English-speaking Americans into seventeenth-century Germany. The exigencies of diplomacy, statecraft and espionage—along with the ambition of Mazarini, one of the Pope’s more promising young ambassadors—had washed Heinzerling up in Grantville. Settling down with his wife and three children—to the mild consternation of the twentieth century Catholics in town—he was becoming less and less like the Jesuit that the Society had usually been embarrassed to admit it had. Not so much like a proper Jesuit, perhaps, but he could certainly fake being a decent parochial priest on a good day. With a following wind. It was, he thought, a good life if only one didn’t weaken.

    And now they were putting the finishing touches on a paper intended for the Pope—or, at least, the Pope’s closest advisers. Somewhat to Heinzerling’s surprise—and to Father Mazzare’s complete astonishment—the shipment of twentieth century Catholic texts which Mazzare had asked Mazarini to take to the Pope the previous year had borne fruit. In the spring of this year, Harry Lefferts had returned from his long sojourn in Italy and France—bearing with him a polite letter from Cardinal Barberini requesting a further amplification of the texts.

    The “paper” which had resulted was more in the way of two massive tomes. One of them dealt with the next fifteen years of the Thirty Years’ War, and the other with the history of the Catholic Church to the late 1990s.

    Giving the war a name was odd, to Heinzerling. He’d never thought of the troubles in Europe as being one war all taken together. He had bounced around the chaplaincies of two Imperial armies and an assortment of other postings out of the sight of people of quality. He had never really seen anything to tell him that the series of unpleasant events and occasional bouts of slaughter were part of some larger whole. Somehow, the war didn’t seem to deserve anything so grand as a title when you saw it from the inside. It was just an inevitable part of life’s condition that had been with him since, practically, his ordination to the priesthood.

    Now, Heinzerling had begun to take a keener interest in peace. He was entering upon his fifth decade of life and his little Karl was nearly ten and clamoring to be a soldier—a soldier, yet, with a company of horse manned for the moment almost entirely by Scots Protestants whose current commander Lennox had had the lights punched out of him only six months before in a bar-room brawl. By one Gus Heinzerling, SJ. (Only temporarily punched out, alas. The surly Calvinist had regained his senses and his feet and acquitted himself thereafter better than Heinzerling liked to admit.)

    Giving the “paper” practical effect was like being back at school, though. Gus had staggered out of the Collegium at Köln with his head crammed full of logic and rhetoric and the rest of the trivium and quadrivium and fit to be a faithful soldier of Christ. And now he was having to go through it all again on this latest project of Father Mazzare’s.

    They had the garden furniture out behind the rectory in the fresh autumn air. Fortunately, yesterday’s rains had been replaced by sunshine. Karl, Aloysius and Matthias were getting the barbecue alight in the intense and scientific manner of small boys allowed to play with fire. Hannelore, to his constant pleasure lately become the Frau Heinzerling, was keeping one eye on the boys and the other on her knitting as she chatted with the Reverend Mary Ellen Jones. The Reverend Simon’s wife was a minister in her own right and quite the most bizarre thing or person in Grantville as far as Augustus Heinzerling, SJ, was concerned. He kept watching his own wife for signs of getting ideas in that direction and was ready to put his foot down for the first time since he had married Hanni.

    The table was spread, for the moment, with books and papers and scribbled notes. Father Mazzare had received a letter from Cardinal Antonio Barberini asking—asking, mind—for an appreciation of the three hundred years of history, so far as Grantville had the books to give it, that had led to the doctrines and dogma that was in the bundle of books lately sent to the Vatican by the kind agency of the good Monsignor Mazarini.

    It had been easy enough for Heinzerling; the cardinal gives an order, he jumped to it. For Mazzare, more complicated. The first thing he had pointed out was the hedge of ifs and buts and pleases, not an imperative mood in the whole thing. And that glaring subjunctive in it, inviting a caveat wide enough to ride a squadron of lies through, should Mazzare find it so convenient. Someone was setting a subtler test than Father Mazzare’s research and reporting skills. His obedience was on trial as well.

    There was also nothing in the letter that demanded secrecy, so Mazzare had made an appointment with Mike Stearns as soon as he could, which turned out to be late in the evening. He had been kept waiting, Heinzerling with him, patient in the presidential offices. Mike had returned from some official business or other with Don Nasi and, of all people, Harry Lefferts. Neither of the priests could figure out why, after Mazzare had explained what he had been asked to do, both Harry and Mike had snorted with laughter.

    “Just keep it quiet, okay?” Mike had said, “We don’t want anyone getting the idea that it’s open season on giving out information to the crowned heads of Europe. And run everything you come up with by Francisco here, he’s in charge of this stuff now.”

    Apart from the outburst of laughter, Harry had kept silent, looking thoughtful as Mazzare had explained what Cardinal Barberini wanted. Later the same evening, the young miner-cum-commando had knocked on the rectory door and spent an hour in conversation with Father Mazzare, a conversation that Heinzerling had only vaguely been aware of as muffled voices from downstairs. Heinzerling knew that type, all right. Decent enough on the straight and narrow, well-dressed and polite, what the Italians would call an Uomogalanto. Unleashed or gone bad, nothing but a cold-blooded murderer with a polish of high manners.

    The writing-up of three hundred years of theological history was not going to be done overnight, of course. And none of Grantville’s Catholic priests—there were five, now, doing pastoral work, two of them in the chapel at what had been a refugee center, one settling in as the High School’s catholic chaplain and Latin master beside the two of them at St. Mary’s—had a lot of time to spare. A note went back to the Cardinal explaining that the work was in hand amid the pressure of pastoral work and the thing began to take shape. The pastors of the other churches had pitched in to lend an ecumenical perspective—even the endearingly deranged Reverend Al Green, whose effort to portray three hundred years of post-reformation rapprochement as the Catholic Church’s progress toward the doctrine of justification by faith alone had had to be quietly but firmly edited out.

    Now there remained only the final edit before any of their dwindling supply of electric typewriter ribbon was committed to the project. And there was another of the many little ironies created by the Ring of Fire. The up-timers considered typewriters “antiques” and make jokes about using them. But down-time artisans would pay a small fortune to get their hands on one—manual typewriters even more than electric—so they could disassemble them and begin designing what would soon become the cutting edge of a new world’s literary technology. Indeed, the first seventeenth century typewriter had just appeared on the market. It was a great monstrous clumsy thing, which almost needed to be operated by fists instead of fingers. It was also selling like the proverbial hot cakes.

    The Reverends Jones had suggested a barbecue, and so the crisp autumn air was being blued with smoke while the ladies maintained Grantville’s internal lines of communication and the menfolk finished what Jones kept calling the First Letter of Mazzare to the Romans.



    “Nope,” said Mazzare, interrupting Heinzerling’s smoker’s reverie. “Unitatis redintegratio was 1964. We’ve been admitting you heretics were human for nearly twenty years longer than you thought, Simon, and I suspect even before that.”

    “Ha!” Jones reached for his beer. “Typical of the Whore of Rome. Denying innocent Protestants the joy of a good propaganda line. You’ll be telling me next that all the stuff I got out of Jack Chick comics has to come out, too?”

    “Well, if it stays in, we have to explain why the church in the twentieth century sanctioned the eating of babies at mass--”

    Heinzerling broke in. “—when as any fool knows it is only on high days and holy days we do this in these more civilized times, ja?”

    Mazzare shot him a look that suggested there might be a lecture later. Damnation, the man was only two years older than he was, there was no need for him to pretend to be some kind of father-figure.

    The Reverend Jones was trying not to snork beer out of his nose. When he recovered, he said, “But seriously, though, what do you expect the cardinal will do with all this, beside use it to dither even longer about what to do with all this?”

    Heinzerling realized that that was one he could answer. “Perhaps I might assist, ja? It is not perhaps the cardinal who wishes it, I think. I have made such reports before.”

    “Oh?” asked Mazzare.

    Both of the up-time clerics looked at him expectantly, and at each other. Behind him, he could all but hear the other Reverend Jones—another cleric, he forced himself to remember—staring at his back. “Ja. You do not forget that I am of the Societas Jesu? Such reports are the common coin of life in the Society, if one is about its work. All go, eventually, to the Father-General.”

    “And he’s asked for this through Cardinal Barberini?” Jones looked thoughtful.

    “From what I hear of this particular Cardinal Barberini he is not much given to deep reading.” That much he had had from the gossip in Avignon, and confirmed from Mazarini as well. Cardinal Antonio Barberini the Younger was not in the studious, pious mould of his namesake uncle or his elder brother. A butterfly who ended up in the church for no compelling reason and whose sole mission in life was to beautify his surroundings. Worthy, certainly, but hardly a scholastic heavyweight. “He is more concerned with things of art and beauty, and hang the consequences.”

    “Quod non facet Barberi, facerunt Barberini,” quoted Mazzare.

    “Uh, whut? This here hillbilly preachuh don’t get none of that thar Romish jabber.” For all his affected accent, Jones was the only one present not wearing a meshback cap against the bright sun, even if he was the only one with actual hillbilly roots.

    Heinzerling could parse the Latin. “‘What the Barbarians did not do, the Barberini did,’” he translated. “But what does this mean?”

    Mazzare smiled. “I shall add a note to our report. The Pantheon at Rome had its bronzes stripped for a Barberini creation of some sort, I forget what. I do remember the pasquinade, though. I think we need to warn the cardinal that he should not tear down ancient monuments to save a few scudi on the beautification of Rome.”

    “Well, since we’re warning against every other error the church made, I don’t see why not.” Jones eyed the pile of manuscript in the middle of the table. “There’s a lot there. A good ten inches of history, all stacked up neat.”

    Heinzerling regarded the pile thoughtfully. He had ended up writing most of it longhand, having the only decent handwriting of the three of them. His hand still ached at the memory of it all. “I was telling about the Father-General. Muzio Vitelleschi.”

    “Oh?” Mazzare looked more alert. “I didn’t think you had to do with him, Gus.”

    “No, ordinarily I do not. The Father-General commands the provincial, who commands the heads of houses and collegia, who tell the priests what to do. And reports go back the same way. This is how it is done. But I came here by accident, found myself doing pastoral work, and was ordered to stay. The Society takes the resources it finds to use.”

    Heinzerling paused a moment. “I speak no secrets, you understand? The Society does God’s work as well as it may and with what it finds to hand. It gives the opinion of stealthiness, dishonesty at times. What some would call ... I am sorry, I do not know the English word. Scheinheilig? Holy-seeming, but without the reality?”

    “Hypocritical,” Jones supplied. “I guess the Jesuits do have a reputation for a certain, uh, moral flexibility?”

    “Moral flexibility, no. Moral absolutes, and practical flexibility.” Heinzerling nodded. He couldn’t think how long it had been since he read St. Ignatius’ Exercises. Or, for that matter, how long since he’d even owned a copy. He felt a pang.

    “You were saying, Gus?” Mazzare’s tone was gentle.

    Heinzerling realized how transparent he had been. “So, the Society does what it may. Here, it has me in place and must needs ignore the fact that I have twice been so close”—he held up thumb and forefinger—”to being declared incorrigible.”

    The other two priests nodded. Heinzerling was not proud of the way he had been. He was prepared to admit that he had been a sorry excuse for a Jesuit, even if he was about par for a regular priest in the seventeenth century, of any denomination. It was only being able to settle down, acknowledge Hannelore publicly and follow what shreds of his vocation remained to him that had let him be anything other than a brawling, drunken loser. There were very few clerics that weren’t, but the Society expected—and usually got—better.

    “And so,” he went on, “I am instructed direct from the Father-General that I must see that Father Mazzare does not stint with his researches, that he is complete and thorough and finds time to do it in a timely manner. Be a good curate, in other words.”

    Mazzare chuckled. “Actually, you are that. All we have to get you cured of is that filthy thing.” He waved at the pipe.

    “This is not so bad,” Heinzerling said. “It is a less rough smoke than the clay pipe. And lasts longer also. And the Turkish tobacco is much sweeter, not so?”

    Heinzerling cringed as his wife spoke from behind him. “No, Herr Mazzare, you tell this fat fool! As soon as I hear from the Doctor Nichols about the canker in the lungs, I am telling him to quit. And telling him and telling him.”

    “Oh, leise,” he said over his shoulder. “Nur ein, ja? Just a little pleasure?”

    Hannelore rolled her eyes to heaven. “Did I think he would listen, when he said he would marry me? Did I? Mary Ellen, tell me it is easier if you are a minister yourself, please? Might I become a nun and make this fool see sense?”

    “Hanni,” said Mary Ellen, “if there’s any of them that aren’t so dumb they wouldn’t listen to Almighty God Herself, I haven’t met him yet.”

    “Gus, you see what you’ve provoked?” said the other Reverend Jones. “And I’d give up now, frankly.”

    Heinzerling looked sharply at Mazzare, who was keeping his face egregiously straight. He harumphed. “As I was saying. The Father-General writes to me, saying that this report is to be made. And that the order will come from Cardinal Barberini. Of course, it must. How can the Father-General of the Society order a lay father like Herr Mazzare? So he asks a cardinal and a prince of the church, and the Pope’s nephew, to send the order.”

    Mazzare nodded. “And so here it is,” he said. “Three hundred years. Three hundred years of every book we have left in town, everything the schoolteachers could supply from the French and Spanish history they had at home and, God help us, some stuff we cribbed from historical romances.”

    “Yup. Just got to get it typed and sent off.” The Reverend Jones looked at the pile of notes, and at the beer stein in his hand. “Hmm,” he said, “Gus, how are those boys of yours coming along with the fire? I feel a primal urge to burn food coming on.”

    “I should never have let him read that stuff about pre-Christian religion,” said Mary Ellen. “He took to burnt offerings a mite too well.”

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