When I first started on The Pius Trilogy, my thought process was fairly linear. The solution was cui bono: who benefits? In the case of A Pius Man, who benefits from destroying the Catholic church? I can come up with a list of nation states, a few dozen dictators, and every Left-wing organization in America, and that’s before I even start writing the fiction. In choosing the villains for book one, Russian mercenaries with old Soviet ties felt right — jihadis aren’t organized enough for what I had in mind, and Russians have just the right level of Byzantine thinking. And after 80 years of old Nazis being the only acceptable villains, I think it’s time that someone looks at the Soviets as actual bad guys for a change.
Keep in mind, A Pius Man was written in 2004, before everyone decided that Vladimir Putin was a James Bond villain. It was also after Afghanistan fell apart in a few months, and Saddam’s regime crumbled in must a matter of weeks. Jihadis definitely felt like wimps. Given how fast ISIS crumbled under Trump, it still holds true.
A Pius Man is basically a nice little self contained story. And it probably would have been the end of it if the damn bad guy would have just stayed dead. But no, he didn’t, so there was a backup plan.
When the first plan of the villains fell apart, the next reliable ally for them was easy: The United Nations. After all, (again at the time) I’d listened to 5 years of anti-Catholic BS with nut cases around the world declaring that RICO charges should be up against the Vatican! Genocide! Abuse against women! And that’s only for being against abortion. You can only imagine what happens if they attempted to do anything about it.
So it wasn’t difficult to create a UN “resolution” that makes every “charge” leveled at the Catholic church an actionable offense, with the end goal of confiscating every bit of church property and liquidating it… It worked for Henry VIII.
Since even the USSR gave lip service to due process during their show trials, there was only one thing for my fictional UN psychos to do — put on a show trial for the Pope himself. And it’s not really dramatic enough if it the man just hands himself over when asked….
Let’s kidnap the Pope!
Obviously, Legacy was largely political. A lot of time had to be dedicated just to make the UN a believable villain …. Okay, given everything we’ve heard about UN forces as rape gangs or slave traders or sex peddlers, it’s easy to make them villains. But I needed them to try doing vile things in plain sight, and justify them under real world rules. It was even more disturbing when I had the UN lodging complaints against the Vatican the week I first published it.
And then there’s A Pius Stand.
Yeah, that was fun. Largely because, well, how does one address a full scale assault on the Vatican, during peace time? When I wrote the first draft in 2004, I was hard pressed to juggle it so that America would deliberately stay out of it. In fact, the US became a deus ex machina at the end. I wasn’t impressed with it, but I couldn’t imagine the US staying neutral against such a blatant display of grand theft Vatican. At the time, I couldn’t imagine a single President between 1970 and 2004 saying or doing nothing about it.
Then we met Barack Obama and my imagination improved. Between encouraging the “Arab Spring” (IE: the Muslim Brotherhood), arming ISIS, letting Libya turn into a terrorist state while ignoring the 2009 Iranian protests, I could see an American President sitting on his ass while the entire world burned.
Which left …. everyone else.
Let’s face it, even the most virulent anti-Catholic Protestant or Evangelical would be unnerved by nations of the world banding together to all but reduce a religion to rubble. Jews would go “This feels disturbingly familiar.” Every Catholic cop would just say “No, this ain’t happening.”
After a while, adding up all of the people who would object and become volunteers, I was worried that this would look too much like a fair fight. The NYPD alone has over 35,000 members.
But on the other hand, there were all those idiots who joined Occupy Wall Street (which, when it went international, broke up Catholic churches and statues), anarchists, and every Leftist group that smashed up a church in the past 40 years, Socialists from “feminists” to Anti-Fa variants.
Adding up those psychos, even without nation states deciding to say “The UN said I can confiscate churches, let’s go,” there would still be a fair number of street-level nuts wanting to tear up property and beat on priests.
Once I redistribute all of those in law enforcement to protect churches world WIDE, the number of the Vatican defenders become far less optimistic.
Leaving two heavily-armed private Catholic organizations…. the Mafia, and what’s left of the IRA.
…. Yup. They’re in trouble.
Anyway, the trilogy is out and it’s complete. Enjoy.