question of a faithless priest

Hypothetical- a younger son of the nobility enters the church as a career rather than a calling. They rise to where they are given some church territory to control, for example the village priest.
If they are "phoning it in" going through the motions in order to keep the money coming in and themselves comfortable, will that mean the village divine aura will fade? If so what happens in more collective situations- a city with multiple churches, for example- does the aura fade away or rise and fall by which church is supposed to serve the area? Or if it is based on the congregation what happens when the people become more casual in their worship? Or some of the people?

Generally I would place it on the overall faith of the congregation. Even with a priest who is "phoning it in", if the overall faith of the congregation is high then the divine aura will be solid.

In actual history at the time, there were many priest who were poor examples of the catholic faith. However that did not reduce the faith of the common people, unless the priest actions came to light.

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looking over the rules for creating a divine aura, I think it could also be interesting to have a covenant inside a own or city where they simply failed to establish a dominion aura, but the priest never noticed. So the faithful head to church, say their prayers, and there is no dominion aura to interfere with the covenant...

Especially with churches raised when an area was first officially Christianized where the priests may have been political appointees with little faith or knowledge of the new religion...

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I am sure there are many towns and cities in Mythic Europe that are Catholic in name only. Especially in those that predate the raise of the Catholic faith.

In principle, I think all of these factors contribute to the aura; the «motions» of the priest, the faith of the congregation, the piety the priest, and so on.

The granularity of aura scores means that one factor is unlikely to change the aura by itself. A town defaults to 2 and a rural area to 1. A village with an average priest would probably equate to the latter, and a village without a church the same. The priest would have to be rather blatantly sinful to make it worse than no church ...

Now, faithless could mean a range of things. There is ambivalent, and there is sinful. Greed, sloth, and pride would be rather plausible indulgences for the career priest you consider, and making it sufficiently extreme, you can justify whatever sinister setting your story requires.

If we consider the village church itself, the aura defaults to 4. Consecrated ground is 3-5. This gives you more granularity to play with. It is not unreasonable to let the ambivalence of the priest have the church aura fade to 3. However, the church is still consecrated, and it would take active desecration to make it fade further.

To consider the congregation. The average rural population sustains an aura of 1. A pagan population who have never hear the word of God makes an aura of 0. I take it that average worship is quite casual in the first place, and I can't quite see a little more casual making much of a difference.

Looking these numbers over, I would rule for my own stories that a congregation who noticeably differ from average piety can make a ±1 difference to the default aura. Similarly, a priest can make the same difference to the church aura. Actively sinful life styles sustained over time can make more of a difference, but in the case of the church.

This was - in the issue of Simony - a central theological problem of the Catholic Church around 1050. The validity of the sacraments of simoniacal priests was rejected by Pope Leo IX in the easter Synod of 1049 - but the synod did not follow him in this, and thus it did not become canon law.
The problem got resolved by Peter Damian in the liber gratissimus: while simony is a crime and should lead to punishment of the simoniacal priest, it does not invalidate or tinge his sacraments.
By Peter Damian's argument, 12th and 13th century Catholic parishes must not fear the lack of faith of their priests. Their sacraments remain valid nevertheless - and in ArM5 their works maintain the Dominion.
Catholic priests tainting their rituals with infernal actions - like in an old Ars Magica adventure - are quite another topic in ArM5.

This best is adjudicated by the SG for each specific situation.

For sagas going several decades beyond 1220, see e. g. sub rosa #16 p.49:

After 1220 AD – the typical beginning of an Ars Magica saga – historical Europe changes rapidly: the
population increases, as do trade and literacy. People of different religions mingle regularly, haltingly transforming faith from an aspect of communities and traditions to one of individuals and convictions.


Thanks for providing a more in depth explanation of my overly simplified example. In addition to priest who practiced in ways that did not mess with the Catholic faith as prescribed by the head of the church in Rome, there were also a great many priest who saw the position as a means to obtain a quality of life that they could not otherwise obtain.

Even the Pope was not exempt from activities that were actively forbidden to the priesthood.

Be careful about your quote: celibacy meant different things at different times - but never required complete sexual abstinence for life.

I never said it required complete sexual abstinence for life. However there are several documented instances of the Pope actually fathering illegitimate children while they were the Pope.

The instances listed in your link are 16th century noblemen used to more or less discrete mistresses.

In the middle ages before mid 12th century celibacy for a priest meant not having a wife (otherwise you were a "nicolaite" - and there were many).

Then the 1st Council of the Lateran (canon 3: "We absolutely forbid priests, deacons, and subdeacons to associate with concubines and women, or to live with women other than such as the Nicene Council (canon 3) for reasons of necessity permitted, namely, the mother, sister, or aunt, or any such person concerning whom no suspicion could arise.") and the 2nd Council of the Lateran (canon 6 and 7) made living with concubines and women causing suspicion an offense, for which a priest could be defrocked.

Even in 1220 it was not persecuted, if you just fathered a child as a priest.

We are moving away from the original question. Even if it was not persecuted, it was still a sin. A priest intentionally engaging in activity that is sinful fits with the topic of a faithless priest.

Which leads to more questions- 1) in order to spread dominion auras a priest (or person of similar church standing) has to perform two ceremonies- one to consecrate the other to invest the divine. If there is no consecrated place then how does a rural area gain a divine aura of 1, and secondly if the initial consecration failed and this was not recognized, and thus never consecrated again, would the faith of worshipers eventually imbue it with a divine aura, or not? Similarly by RAW disuse can lead to the elimination of a divine aura, if the aura fades to 0 from this (say in an abandoned town) and someone comes back later does the church need to be re-consecrated, does the dominion aura need to be re-invested, or are the previous ceremonies sufficient?

In general, a Catholic church is dedicated by a bishop, or several ones.

If an area is consciously left by the last Catholic Christians, they usually take the relics from their churches' altars with them and ritually deconsecrate the churches - so nobody can abuse them by making them a stable or worse.
So a new dedication of such a church is needed, before a service can be held in it again.

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I am not quite sure what the RAW on this is, but I'd say that the mere presence of worshippers will, eventually, build up an aura. So you can easily have a divine aura without any formal consecration ever taking place there.
Once consecrated a place or object will remain consecrated for a very long time unless someone actively removes that consecration.
Note that a church that has been deliberately abandoned will likely have been deconsecrated by the Church itself as part of abandoning it.

I agree. I reckon @silveroak is right that RAW does not give the mechanics for creating the rural aura, but RAW is clear that rural areas usually have an aura, and historically most villages do not have a church. As Christ says, where people are gathered in his name, He will be in their midst, and thus it is reasonable to expect regular grace said in each house in a hamlet to establish an aura.

A few points on this- ROP:D p.11 also indicates that investing a dominion aura is in addition to being consecrated, and there are no rules for deconsecrating. Also a town which is abandoned, depending on circumstances, may not have a Catholic priest to advise them of the need to deconsecrate, especially if the consecration was undertaken without the use of relics.

This next part is not about RAW, but about the relationship of such relics establishing a dominion aura and tethers establishing a Magic Aura, and what might be devised from studying the interactions of the two (would a church accidently consecrated with tethers instead of relics generate an oversized magic aura? Is there a non-tether equivalent to relics that can be ritually imbued to become tethers? Perhaps a special form of vis that could be enriched...)

Final note (for now) I feel like there needs to be some rules or guidelines for desecration- does that establish an infernal aura? Infernal vis from a divine aura? What happens when crusaders desecrate a Muslim holy site, or when diabolists break into a church to do the same...

Theologically a priest just phoning it in still does valid sacraments. God makes good the lack. This was quite important back in the early days, because if you condemned a heretic, you didn't want to condemn all his ordinations, declare marriages he has performed null, or what have you.

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There are really two types of desecration.
One is when you have, for example, some diabolists doing their best to desecrate a church by celebrating a satanic mass there, or stuff like that.
The second is the rituals that priests do when a church is intentionally abandoned.

For the first case, rules may well be lacking. I'd say that if the perpetrators succeed (which is by no means certain) then an Infernal (or Magical or Faerie depending on who is responsible) aura will replace the Divine aura there. In the case of crusaders trying to desecrate a Muslim holy site, then the aura will probably just weaken or disappear, but not be replaced by any other kind of aura unless the crusaders in question were actually trying to create some other kind of aura.

In the second case no new aura will appear. The consecration will simply be removed. Any divine aura created by the old consecration will not immediately disappear, but it will quickly fade away, and in the presence of some surrounding aura be replaced by that aura.

I would call the second deconsecration rather than desecration, and expect it would follow either the equal time rule or the rules for interdict. As to changing the aura, and the need for intent I see this as less clear. Crusaders may not be knowingly and actively serving the infernal, but their intention is to oppose a rival vision of the divine, as such that could certainly be seen as an infernal motive even if they do not see it as such. However in any case if desecration allows changing the aura to another type this means that dominion auras can be changed by relatively trivial work for the benefits- two diabolists break into a church and desecrate it and suddenly the whole town is in an infernal aura. A pagan desecration might create a faerie or magic aura in place of the divine... which might work in some games where you want the divine to fall, but otherwise really undermines its dominance as the ritual power previously reserved for the Muspelli and only for faerie and magical auras becomes available to nearly anyone.
On the other hand I could see a ritual of desecration which acts as a season of vis extraction in a single night, but extracts infernal vis from a divine aura, at the cost of a point of confidence...

Though arguably you can use the rules in ROP:I to model a desecration as an infernal ritual- at least where that is the stated intent. I don't know that that would work for crusaders splashing pigs blood around a mosque (hypothetical example) trying to desecrate another version of the divine...