Catholic Corps


Catholic Corps

The Catholic Corps is a fictional military order in the "Warrior Nun Areala" universe and appears in several comic books published by Antarctic Press. It was created by Ben Dunn and its first appearance was "Warrior Nun Areala" Vol. 1 #1 in December 1994.

Origin

The Catholic Corps is an amalgamation of the old military orders which in the fictional world of "Warrior Nun Areala" have survived in their original purpose to this day. Smiting the hammer of death unto the devil those forces that would make the core of the Corps were preceded by superhumans empowered by God such as those mentioned in the Golden Legend and by martial saints such as Saint Maurice or Saint George. The Corps in its modern form goes back a mere a thousand years.

It began in 1066 when a Scandinavian girl named Auria was born to a pagan father and a Christian mother. Impressed by her fighting prowess, Odin called her to serve as a Valkyrie but she was disillusioned when she saw he would only accept warriors who had died in battle into Valhalla, even if they were wicked, and disregard good people who died peaceful deaths. Renouncing her father's gods, she swore loyalty to God Almighty—in her words "the only "true" God"—who accepted her conversion and gave her the Christian name Areala. Waging a one-woman war against the Norse gods, she was ultimately killed by Tyr though she was reunited with her mother and her father, who converted to Christianity shortly before his death, in Heaven. Now an angel of the Heavenly host, Areala's mother advised her to continue her work through others. That was she saw a nun seeking to escape Viking raiders in Norway. She gave the sister her name and power to the sister who promptly killed those that would have raped and killed her. [ "Areala: Angel of War" #1-4]

This all happened in 1066 with the Sister Areala raising the Angelic Areala's sword to protect the Church and all God's children from the Devil's schemes, be they natural or supernatural, human or monstrous. Soon enough, she inspired other women to take the veil and follow her forming the Order of the Cruciform Sword, a religious order combining military and religious ways of life to literally be soldiers—as well as Brides—of Christ. In fact, these Warrior Nuns were the very first military order ever predating the Knights Hospitaller by four years. However, it was not until sometine between 1073 and 1085 that Pope Gregory VII recognized them and granted them their Papal Orders. [ It is merely stated that Order was recognized under Pope Gregory VII and thus could have happened at any time under his reign which went from 1073 to 1085. "Warrior Nun Areala" Vol 3 #1 ]

Their brother order, the Order of Magic Priests began in 1212 when Pope Innocent III chose to create a new Order, one in which the miracle workers who had existed since before Moses would receive proper training in their gifts. One of their first tests was with the Children's Crusade where Father Hugo, one of the first Magic Priests, and Warrior Nun Ursa rescued them. Following the traditional version of the Crusade, an orphan boy—here named Stephan of Burgess—found himself gifted with super-human powers by God and rallying other children decided to use his powers to free the Holy Land from Muslim rule. However, Stephan failed and he and his friends were captured by Muslim Arabs, the boys for use as slaves and the girls for use as concubines. The slave ship's captain was about to rape one of the little girls when Sister Ursa killed him and her nuns freed the children. Seeking Stephan, she told him of the newly formed Magic Priests which Father Hugo invited him to join. He eagerly accepted. ["Silver Cross" #1 ]

Mission

The Catholic Corps [ Its name may or may not be a reference to the Vatican Diplomatic Corps] serves the (fictionalized) Roman Catholic Church and protects the instrument of God's will on Earth from all His enemies, natural and supernatural, such as demons, witches, Satanists, werewolves, oni, fallen angels, zombies, antipopes, Masonic plotters, Nazi mystics, aliens, and other monsterous slaves of the Devil, thus ensuring that against the church Christ built upon Peter "the gates of Hell shall not prevail." [ [http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/index.php?search=Matthew%2016:15-18;&version=31; Matthew 16:18] ] They are needed because "Warrior Nun Areala" presents the Catholic Church as literally representing God on Earth. Glimpses of Paradise show this and for their part, demons actively hate the Church, using its name interchangeably with Heaven and seeing it as what must be destroyed in order to allow for their slaughter of the human race. (Except for the Devil and his most fanatical minions, most demons recognize the futility of an assault against God and instead seek to strike at Him through His human children.) As such, the Vatican's Catholic Corps is the means by which Heaven fights a proxy war against hell for the purpose of protecting God's children on Earth

The Silver Cross Program

Though miracle workers and warriors of the faith had existed for centuries it was not until 1212 that Pope Innocent III decided that children either gifted by God with superhuman powers would receive proper training in their gifts or be trained to serve in various military orders. Perhaps their first recruits were the participants of the Children's Crusade. After being rescued by the then 150 years old Warrior Nuns and the newly formed Magic Priests, the children volunteered to serve, with Stephan--the boy who had led the failed mission--learning to use his powers as a Magic Priest and his sister Mary recruited to serve as a Warrior Nun. Dubbed "Orphans of Christ", they were raised to serve with the Warrior Nun who rescued them, Ursa, giving Mary a silver cross.

This has continued to this day with future soldiers of the church mostly chosen at birth from promising orphans to learn demonology and receive basic training from childhood at military academies /orphanages, as part of the Silver Cross Program. [ That is according to creator Ben Dunn. When jokingly asked what parent-teacher night would be like for the Silver Cross children, he specifically stated that the children would be orphans. A later issue not written by Dunn contradicted that when a nun remember graduating from Silver Cross and that as an orphan that she was the "only" person without family to cheer for her. "Warrior Nun Areala" Vol. 3 #15] In that the academies are also Catholic schools they also receive religious education in their catechism; uniforms are mandatory. It is assumed that they also learn traditional subjects such as math and history. The most famous academy is the St. Thomas Academy in upper New York State though there are others such as Saint Paul's or Saint Dymphna's. Trained in martial arts and endowed with superhuman powers, the youths of the Silver Cross Program--male and female--get into their share of trouble. Once they complete their training and are accepted as Warrior Nuns, the young women can and often do customize their battle habits. For example, Sister Shannon's adopted sister Sasuki, a Japanese Warrior Nun, gives her uniform a Ninja motif. On becoming Magic Priests, the young men tend to be more restrained in their fashion sense.

Defensive Units

The Defensive Units are the means by which the Church protects all God's children from monsters. Divided into various groups, each dedicated to specific tasks, the Units police the world and are its oldest and most respected religious militia. They do not think of themselves as superheroes. They are not vigilantes but are fully deputized by the governments in which they serve and are forbidden from taking human life under almost any circumstance, though they can and will use non-lethal force against aggressors. Dedicated, the men and woman of the Defensive Units often serve for life with cybernetic enhancements augmenting their physical prowess as they age or are injured. Cyborgs are common and Ben Dunn deadpanned that prosthetic arms are all the rage at the Vatican.

Warrior Nuns

The earliest and definitely the best known member of Vatican's military orders is the Order of the Cruciform Sword [ The Warrior Nuns' official name is the Order of the Cruciform Sword. This may be a reference to the Brotherhood of the Cruciform Sword, a military order sworn to protect the Holy Grail in the film "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade". ] , a military order of Warrior Nuns. Doing the hardest work, doing it with the fewest resources, going through the hardest drill instruction of their military -- so hard that one out of fourteen completing final training is an accomplishment [ Sister Shannon looks at a class of fourteen and remarks about how possibly just one might make it. "Warrior Nun Areala" Vol. 2 #1 ] --, these women are the Marines of the Defensive Corps. Essential to Warrior Nun training are faith, vigor, and most important of all compassion so that justice be tempered with mercy. Trained from childhood and instilled with an ethos of Holy War, the girls that grow up to Warrior Nuns are true Crusaders.

Founded by the original Sister Areala in 1066 and formally receiving their Papal Orders from Pope Gregory VII sometime between 1073 and 1085, the Warrior Nuns fight the war against hell with the vows of vigilance, chastity, and faith laid down by their founder. [ These vows differ from the more familiar vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience because the latter were set up in 12th and 13th century, long after the Warrior Nuns began.] (However, the Warrior Nuns as founded by Areala were not the first warrior nuns ever. Their founder is referred to as the first "true" warrior nun [ "Warrior Nun Areala/Scorpio Rose" #4 ] ; holy women functioning in a similar capacity go back as least as far as the time of King Arthur as seen with his sister, the White Nun.) The first of the military orders, they have tradionally targeted monsters though in the Middle Ages they would fight human enemies of the Church such as well such as Muslims in the Crusades and presumably heretics at home. Even into Early modern Europe, it was taken for granted that they had the right to summarily execute a person for blasphemy. ["Warrior Nun Areala/Scorpio Rose" #1 ]

Today, they make a habit of fighting only monsters and fighting human only on very rare occasions. Alongside the Magic Priests and others, they will serve in the Vatican's paramilitary Defensive Units and are under the leadership of Cardinal Shoc with Mother Superion as his right hand woman. They, of course, have their world headquarters in Vatican City, specifically underneath St. Peter's Basilica. Doing battle against Satan in all his forms yet protecting all human life, Warrior Nuns and their ilk seen to operate in the United States, Europe, Japan and other places around the world.

They are very dedicated and will serve unto death. Even so, there have been cases of Warrior Nuns leaving the order, the most famous of them being Shotgun Mary. Also, even some Warrior Nuns that remain in the order are critical of the system seeing themselves as second class citizens who are overshadowed by the Magic Priests. That is because the Magic Priests do not suffer constant budget reduction and are fully trained in the superhuman powers that both possess. Despite requests to the contrary and there being young Catholic girls who could grow up to be as good a miracle worker as any Magic Priest, they only receive limited training.

In times past, the Warrior Nuns participated in the Crusades and numbered in the thousands. At the moment there are only a few dozen Warrior Nuns currently active and some look at it as being "archaic, pointless and superstious ramnant [sic] of the Middle Ages", that is "nothing more than the Catholic equivalent of a kung-fu academy." [ [http://www.sjgames.com/in-nomine/articles/new/GMs/resources/warriornuns.html The Warrior Nuns] ] With how the biased Cardinal Stark lowered their budget and overstretched them--indeed, tried to unmake them--, there were at one point even rumors that Sister Shannon Masters's students would be the last generation of the order. [ "Warrior Nun Areala" Vol. 2 #1 ] However, no Pope has ever cleared the decision to dismantle them. In fact, glimpses of the future show that the Catholic Corps with its attendant Warrior Nuns and Magic Priests will continue for decades, perhaps even centuries to come.

Other Defensive Units

In line with its military role, the backbone of the Corps is its Defensive Units the most famous of them being the Warrior Nuns. However, they are not the only ones. Others include--

*Magic Priests--The Magic Priests are the second most famous of the Defensive Units and, as their names implies, they are miracle workers. Founded one-hundred forty six years after the Warrior Nuns in about 1212, the two orders are complementary and were equalized in 1304 by Pope Benedict XI's Papal Bull. Unlike the Warrior Nuns, they are always well funded and are the Catholic Corps preferred Unit. Their training is rigorous and go through grueling mental probes to see if they can indeed be trusted to wield their powers. There are thirty six Magic Priests in the world with twelve of them on active duty, doubtless in imitation of the Twelve Apostles.

*Techno-Priests--Designing the weapons and equipment the other orders use, the Techno-Priests are heirs to the Church's scientist-priests such as Lemaître and Mendel. With how monsters are real in the Warrior Nun Areala universe, the fictional Church has had to encourage advanced technology even more than it has in real life to combat said monsters.

*Warrior Priests--Like the military orders of the the middle ages, warrior priests do exist. Unlike their miraculous brothers, they use no supernatural powers and they mostly use modern weapons as are used by modern soldiers. The prime example is the now defunct "Black Hand", the (fictionalized) Pope's personal special forces team.

*Psi-Priests--They are psychic clerics in the service of the Vatican. They are mostly used in interrogation, intelligence, and to mentally probe Corps members to test for spies. Resembling the grey aliens, they are bald, have almond eyes, extremely thin, have almost no facial features, and are emotionless.

*The Black Angel Corps--The Black Angel Corps is the Catholic Corps' air force. Its airmen are, in fact mostly women, highly trained Warrior Nuns. Training is difficult and Mother Superion personally leads it.

*Small navy?--Though it is not known if it is a true navy, the Vatican is seen to command a small fleet of submarines and ships, such as "Exodus" for example.

*Swiss Guard?--The Swiss Guard are the real Vatican's real military. Like their real world counterparts, the fictional Swiss Guards' main purpose is to guard Vatican City itself and the Pope's life. They presumably would be part of the Catholic Corps.

Abilities and weapons

uper-powers

In a clear case of continuationism, the powers the Magic Priests and Warrior Nuns use are gifts of the Holy Spirit. An earlier Sister Areala remarked that on receiving her powers she knew what the Apostles felt at Pentecost. [ "Warrior Nun Areala" Volume 2 #6 ] (See the [http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts%202:1-21%20;&version=31; anointing of power] ). In fact, the Order of Magic Priests, cultivate such powers as firing energy blasts, superhuman strength, flight, detecting demonic forces, remote viewing, using Jedi Mind Trick like powers of suggestion, and presumably more. While not necessary to exercise their powers, some Magic Priests have been known to use Latin when using their abilities. Aside from Latin being "cool" due to the Latin Rite Church, the largest and de facto branch of the Catholic Church, having kept it alive after the fall of Rome as the lingua franca of post Roman Europe and thus making the language of the educated elite, it has been and remains the traditional language of the western Catholic Church. See Latin Mass/Latin liturgy.

However, while both they and the Warrior Nuns are touched with the gift of miracles, only the Magic Priests are fully trained. Sister Shannon once told her students that while Warrior Nuns may be receive some training such as healing and temperature control full training is allowed to the Magic Priests for the same reason women may not be ordained. [ "Warrior Nun Areala" Vol. 2 #1 ] She, for example, has the powers of exorcism and healing, two hallmark abilities of those touched by the Holy Spirit in the Bible's Acts of the Apostles, but no more. For example, no one is seen to speak in tongues.

In what seems like a goof, these men are called "Magic" Priests despite the fact that, along with other branches of Christianity, Catholicism frowns on sorcery. [ [http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/p3s2c1a1.htm#2115 Catechism of the Catholic Church] See also the Catholic Encyclopedia in how its article [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11197b.htm "Occult Art, Occultism"] refers to magic or attempted magic as a "disease" and that it is "a corruption of religion ... and it appears as an accompaniment of decadent rather than of rising civilization." ] However, they do not truly violate Christian views on magic because of the source of their power. Creator Ben Dunn states that "In the WNA universe magic is based on several components. Some are earth based. Some are demonic. In this case the church taps into the magic that is heavenly. Sort of like the clerics in D&D." [ [http://www.apforums.com/view_topic.php?id=2572&forum_id=16 Magic Priests? Would the church condone magic?] Antarctic Press Forums accessed 6/01/07 ] Thus, while the powers the Catholic Corps heroes use would more accurately be called miracles, they can be called magic in the theurgic sense.

It should be noted however, that while the forces of Heaven do intervene on Earth for the sake of humanity, direct blessings may not always be the case. If the words of "Areala"'s fictionalized Anti-Christ are true it is possible that, in at least some cases, their powers and abilities are the result of a "God-gene." The Anti-Christ remembered that the angelic Watchers or Grigori who defected from Heaven in order to take human women for wives and fathered on them a race of giants and demi-gods--or Nephilim. He claimed that a portion, though diluted, of that divine power exists to this day in small portions of the human race thus allowing humans some super-natural abilities. He in fact implied that the Magic Priests are in fact all Nephilim, direct descendants of angels. [ "Warrior Nun Areala" Vol. 3 #4 ] The term God-gene was first coined by Nazi Frederick Ottoman; unwilling to accept God, he conducted various tortures/experiments on children hoping to find a way to naturalistically understand faith-based powers. While he has yet to succeed in mapping Nephilim DNA, it is assumed that when finished he would reverse engineer the genome to use the power for himself. He received a substantial boost in this when he managed to claim a book on Magic Priest "spells." ["Silver Cross" #2]

Tools and weapons

While not all its members receive full training in the supernatural, Warrior Nuns and other members of the Corps' Defense Units are still trained in the martial arts and in swordsmanship and are the equals of any Army Ranger, SEAL, or Green Beret. Due to the Order of the Cruciform Sword's dual oath to defend the innocent and battle evil, Warrior Nuns have been traditionally equipped with weapons that cannot permanently harm human life. These include non lethal weapons, such as "stun sticks", when fighting humans. Even standard weapons such holy swords that kill "spawns of Satan" mostly pass harmlessly through humans or any other of God's children.

However, when the sword passes through an especially wicked person, such as a murderer or someone who made a deal with the devil, that Sword will induce intense pain and trigger visions of Hell inside the person's mind, sending him or her into shock. The effect varies on other non demonic beings; for example, when adventurer and were-cheetah, Brittany "Cheetah" Diggers was brainwashed by Neo Nazi Dr. Frederick Ottoman and sent to kill Sister Shannon, she was dealt a blow by Sister Shannon's sword. While she was merely fainted and woke up healthy and free from mind control, were-cheetahs serving Ottoman of their free will fought Sister Shannon were wounded by her sword. The Warrior Nuns and the rest of the Catholic Corps' Defensive Units may also use other relics or other religious objects.

Thanks to the Techno-Priests, however, supernatural weapons are not the only ones at the Catholic Corps' disposal. Just as in the real world, there has always been Vatican supported scientific advancement. That the fictionalized church in "Warrior Nun Areala" conducts research and development itself is due to an almost alternate history question posed by creator Ben Dunn: if demons were to walk the Earth with mortal feet, would not the Vatican have embraced and encouraged high technology early on to counter them? [ letters column "Warrior Nun Areala Rituals" #4 ] As such the Techno-Priest's innovations allow the Warrior Nuns and others to access the finest firearms, "rayguns", infra-red night vision goggles, jet packs, heavy artillery and high-tech vehicles--from single passenger hover cars to airships--and "much" more that the Holy See can provide them. The Warrior Nuns and their co-religionists have full access to the Vatican's central computer/database, Gabriel; named for the angel, it is shown as a benevolent machine with full artificial intelligence. [ "Warrior Nun Areala" Vol. 1 #1.] [Interestingly, [http://www.vatican.va/phome_en.htm the real Vatican's database] is housed on three servers dubbed Michael, Raphael, and "Gabriel". (It is not known if the fictional Vatican has other living computers named for the two other archangels of Catholic lore.) Trigillio, Rev. John, PhD, ThD; Rev Kenneth Brighenti, PhD; Rev. Jonathon Toborowsky, MA. "John Paul II for Dummies" pg 241 ] Robots are also used by the Corps for heavy work and combat; they are also sometimes used in conjunction with Holodeck like holograms and virtual reality for training purposes. They can also use cybernetic enhancements, an example of which is Sister Shannon's artificial limb.

One of the most impressive devices is the Crown of Thorns satellite array. One of the Vatican's crowning achievements, it can be and is used for more mundane tasks like recon and communications. However, its chief purpose is its function as a teleportation system. The Crown of Thorns allows for teleportation of tools, weapons and other objects to any place in the world at any time; for example, when Sister Shannon summons her battle habit and weapons, she is in fact using Crown of Thorns. No mention has been made of teleporting people. Crown of Thorns thus allows the Corps an instant worldwide reach and makes the small force a foe to be reckoned with.

Funding

It is said that the Warrior Nuns have a budget that rivals that of the Pentagon [ [http://www.sjgames.com/in-nomine/articles/new/GMs/resources/warriornuns.html Description at In Nomine] ] but it is never explained how the Church provides that much money for either the Warrior Nuns or the Magic Priests, either from the collection plate, the Vatican Bank, or somewhere else. [ Regardless of the money it has invested in ornate churches, the real Roman Catholic Church actually does not have as much money as people think. In terms of its liquid assets, the Vatican has a remarkably small budget and regularly runs deficits. For example, according to Zenit News Agency in 2002 it spent $260 million but only took in $245 million, with a deficit of $15 million. [http://www.zenit.org/english/visualizza.phtml?sid=38645] ] This is referenced when one when priest asks Areala that she "not put such a strain on the Vatican's limited resources. .. For such a small group, you Warrior Nuns spend money like there's no tomorrow!" [ "Warrior Nun Areala: Resurrection" #3 ] ) It is possible that like another great Catholic military order, the Knights Templar, they or the fictionalized Church have banking and business interests, albeit one's not seen. The more devout Catholics that can do so are known to give generous tithes. [ "Father David Crowe: Magic Priest' #1] In that world governments know that the Devil's minions are real and that the Roman Catholic Church combats them, it is possible that world governments pay the Roman Curia Peter's pence in order to fund its mission of battling demons but this is only speculation.

View of other religions and faith militias

Despite the Catholic Church being portrayed as the "official" church in "Warrior Nun Areala", God does not scorn non-Catholic or even non-Christians. God acknowledges all as His children. He will not punish non-Christians for ignorance. [ [http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?book_id=61&chapter=1&verse=12&end_verse=14&version=31&context=context 1 Timothy 1:12-14] Willful ignorance and deliberate stubbornness are another matter however. ] Included among them are His Earthly worshipers--Christian, Muslim, Jew--who number in the billions, but also His worshipers from other planets in the universe [ "Warrior Nun Areala/Razor: Revenge" We see religious extraterrestrials. ] "and" worshippers from all the parallel universes in the multiverse. [ "Avengelne/Warrior Nun Areala" There, warrior angel Avengelyne and warrior nun Sister Shannon Masters cross over from their respective universes and meet. They acknowledge multiple dimensions and that God is creator of the all.]

Over the series, the men and women of the Catholic Corps have met with heroes and villains of other belief systems and their relationships with them have varied. There are several other groups loyal to God and that serve Him and are quite respectable. They have sisters in the Church of England's Warrior Nuns who, in World War II, worked with Druids to prevent Nazi invasion of UK during the Blitz. Sister Shannon's own adopted grandfather was a Shinto priest and her patron, Saint Areala the Angel of War, was a being from Norse mythology before converting to Christianity. She has met and befriended martial Buddhist nuns whose (fictionalized) Shaolin Monastery she sees as "magnificent. .. rivaling even the Vatican!" The Corps has dealt with Jewish anti-hero, the Hammer; empowered by Kabbalah mysticism despite the fact that Jews mostly reject Christ as their Messiah, he has made a career of being a Nazi hunter and of protecting Israel. The Vatican has worked, albeit reluctantly, with the Sehkmet, a group representing Egyptian myth. In Japan, lesser kami from Japanese mythology have been seen active in Japan, even working with the Catholic Corps against folklore oni and Sister Shannon's grandfather was an Onmyōji. All religions--except for devil worship and witchcraft--are shown to have degrees of truth but the Corps tends to look at non-Abrahamic religion skeptically. This is seen when Mother Superion tells a heroine of the Sekhmet, a group representing Egyptian mythology, "I know of you and your organization! We are not unaware of your doings..." [ "Warrior Nun Areala: Rituals" #5 ]

The above, however, tend to be disciplined, deputized, full time professional fighters. Thus, the fictional Vatican tends to looks down on religious vigilantes working independently as so much rabble. Examples include the "Ba'albuster" a punk with little more than a costume, an attitude, and no concern for civilian casualties. There is also the late Cleric and his three children, the Cross, the Host, and the Wine, naming themselves for the elements in the Eucharist . Extremists, they oppose the "papists", of the Catholic Church for being too soft on demons. Their use of imagery does not suggest Protestantism.

The Redeemers

The Redeemers are an independent a band of monster hunter superheroes funded by the fictional Deltacorp's fictional CEO Max Delta. While the Catholic Corps is the most prominent anti-demon militia in the "Areala" universe, they serve as the second most prominent anti-demon militia.

They had their roots when villain Dr. Kailanx infiltrated Deltacorps using its technology for a variety of diaboloc schemes, either his own or in working for others. In fact, the technology used by Julius Salvius--the series' very first villain--bore the DeltaCorps logo. When this was tracked to Max Delta himself, several of his super-hero allies teamed up with others to fight the threat. Led by former Vietnam veteran superhero Tommorrow Man, the Redeemers is made up of Samantha Elliot, Shotgun Mary, and some others. Though they initially found such teamwork difficult, they quickly banded together forming a band of demon hunters that keeps in touch and enjoys Max Delta's patronage. Though not irreligious--encountering the supernatual on a regular basis, they take heaven and hell along with the rightness of such things for granted and at least one of them (Shotgun Mary) is a Christian--the Redeemers has no formal ties to the Vatican or any other religious group and offer their world a very different and secular superheroic alternative to the Vatican's Catholic Corps.

The World of Warrior Nun Areala

Unlike the DC Universe, for example, in which virtually all published books take place and the characters therein regularly crossover and meet "Warrior Nun Areala" stories and related comic books mostly take place in their own self contained fictional universe. While the heroes have met other Antarctic Press characters such as those from "Gold Digger" and "Ninja High School" thus proving that the fictional universes are not absolutely separate such crossovers are an exception and the events in one Antarctic Press "universe" generally do not affect the events in another.

With flashbacks to Biblical events such as the War of Heaven, the Great Flood, and the Crucifixion along with the affirmation of various Christian creeds--albeit in the context of entertainment-- the fictional theology presented in "Warrior Nun Areala" roughly corresponds to orthodox teachings. God created reality long ago out of love for those who would be His children. Ruling from Heaven on high and "working in mysterious ways", He guides Creation to the ultimate good of His children. Indeed, His Christian worshippers refer to Him as Father. However, not all wish to accept His love and even reject Him and His goodness altogether. In the beginning, one of His creations, Lucifer rejected God's wisdom and, thinking that he could be a superior leader than his omniscient Creator, sought to take the throne of Heaven. Lucifer's War of Heaven and rebellion against God and His goodness led to the creation of evil. From comments between evil sprits it is seen that the War of Heaven was the ultimate war ["Warrior Nun Areala" Vol. 3 #7 ] . Regardless of this, Lucifer lost and was cast out from Heaevn but has not accepted defeat and still works against God.

For now, Heaven wages a "cold war" to contain evil and protect the innocent. There us in fact an uneasy truce with Heaven content to leave Hell alone if it does not transgress its boundaries. For that, demons rely on generations of Satanists to do their dirty work ["Warrior Nun Areala" Vol 1, #1. Various examples since then. ] and to provide conduits to the mortal world, or "Prime Material Plane", as demons call it.

Earth

From its support of orthodox Christianity complete with angels, demons, miracles, heaven, and hell, it can be taken for granted that the history of the world of ‘’Areala’’ conforms to what is described in the Bible, including the Creation according to Genesis. Mentions are made of angels descending from Heaven to mate with human women, thus producing giants and of Noah's Flood. ["Warrior Nun Areala" Vol. 3 #3-5 ] However, that combined with mentions of both Divine Creation, evolution and of the War of Heaven having occurred "eons" ago would seem to suggest some form of old Earth Creationism—that the Earth was made by God and that, perhaps, there was a Garden of Eden, but that the Earth is billions of years old regardless—is at work. Introductions refer to is as a universal paradox.

However, if the words of "Areala"'s fictionalized Anti-Christ, Az Rabah, and the apostate priest Mordecai Black are trusted, no "true" demon has in fact walked the Earth in over ten thousand years. Though the supernatural is on full display in the world of "Areala" it is still a, relatively, rare occurrence with the average person living a mundane life free from such miracles. Such things as angels and demons interacting with humans on a daily and intimate basis--or even intermarrying--, God walking on Earth in full glory seem to be confined to Antediluvian times and thus ended with Noah's Flood. Thus with the old land lost forever, civilization rebuilt itself and with the confusion of tongues at the Tower of Babel scattering peoples across the Earth, history began. More specifically, the history of God's interaction with humanity as recorded in the Bible began with Abraham, perhaps the only person left who remembered the true history of the world.

From flashbacks to the past and glimpses of the present, the world is mostly the real world with its real history. The most obvious divergence is the supernatural being in full view, that being the whole point of the speculative fiction. Other differences include more advanced technology, the Vatican's military orders, various gods and monsters, and individuals possessing superhuman powers either by some sciences, divine blessings, or the God-Gene, a genetic code imparted by the Nephilim angels which allows humans to use supernatural powers. In the context of the modern world, however, it is unknown what effects literal physical manifestations of religious truths have on the general public. Japan is seen to carry on ethnic cleansing against its oni and one letter to the editor of "Warrior Nun Areala" stated that with the forces of Heaven and Hell in plain sight, that people would have no choice but to believe. [letter columns "Warrior Nun Areala: Rituals" #6 ] Regardless, incredulous individuals have asked warrior nuns if the creatures they fight are in fact demons and are surprised to be told yes. ["Warrior Nun: Black & White"]

The Catholic Corps is known to the world at large and its members have even been interviewed on television by New York's Action News. From interviews there, it is revealed that they are seen as controversial by outsiders and even by some of their co-religionists such as the Daughters of Charity, something that is said to have always existed. [ "Warrior Nun Areala" Volume 2 #6 ] The public is also aware of them through unauthorized comic book adaptations of their adventures. (It is seen that other Antarctic Press heroes have also had comic book adaptations of their adventures, leading characters to reference their own comics and thus break the fourth wall.) The fact that angels and demons walk the earth, if rarely, has even inspired trading card games such as "Holy War."

Glimpses two hundred years into the future show that intense pollution has rendered Earth uninhabitable thus prompting mass evacuations. The exact condition of Earth, its presumably ruined cities, whether or not there are any survivors/survivalists, the state of the old shrines is unknown. Also not known for that matter is how the disinhabiting of Earth would affect the endtimes prophecies. [ For example, the Tribulation, Armageddon, the Second Coming, the Apocalypse in general. ] What is known is that by that time, humans have colonized various planets and the battle between good and evil has spread from one planet to the cosmos. Demon warlords have been seen to rule "hell planets" as their personal fiefdoms even as the Catholic Church, still true to its mission, has fleets of star ships patrolling the galaxy protecting the innocent and fighting the evil. What is also known is that by that time Sister Shannon has become the stuff of legends with armies of Sister Shannon robots made in her image in the Vatican's service.

Heaven

Heaven is shown as the abode of God and His angels. Ruling from Heaven on high and "working in mysterious ways", He created the physical universe along with all reality an indefinite time ago [ In "Warrior Nun Areala" Vol 1, #1, it states amidst other contradictions that humans are Divine Creation or Natural Evolution and that "one cannot exist without the other." Also "Lillith" #0 speaks of the War of Heaven as having occurred "eons" before the creation of man. Thus, relative to its stories and despite mentions of Noah's Flood, Antarctic Press has no comment on whether Earth was created six thousand or six billion years ago. ] out of love for those who would be His children. Indeed, His Christian worshippers refer to Him as Father.

"Warrior Nun Areala" uses traditional Dantian imagery of skies and clouds to show Heaven as a place in the sky. Heaven is seen to be a wonderful, beautiful place where those who died in the hope of rising again find themselves. Every tear is wiped away, every injury is healed. It is a place where lame beggers walk, blind men see [ "Silver Cross #3] and those who lost their loved ones are reunited with them in marble palaces finer than any on Earth [ "Warrior Nun: Black & White" #13] . God transforms His children into gods like Himself so as to further their enjoying everlasting paradise as they walk along streets of gold as equals to the angels in unending pleasure and happiness. It is a place where a lion laying down with lambs and where children lead them are common sights, Heaven is the ultimate destination, luxury, seaside, ski, mega- resort. [ [http://www.biblegateway.com/topical/topical_resource.php?source=1&tid=2262 various verses] ]

People already there make a habit of showing disconcerted "new arrivals" around and joke about Heaven getting "good publicity" by the people still on Earth [ "Silver Cross" #3] . They trust the Earthly ministers of the Church to tell how people to get "up there" and intervene directly or indirectly when needed on Earth. This is seen in the Arealas, especially the original Saint Areala who still serve by aiding Warrior Nuns on Earth by empowering them or advising them--usually by means of visions or near-death experiences. Indeed, the saints whether canonized or not form advocacy groups for those on Earth with family members looking out for their loved ones that have yet to come home [ "Warrior Nun: Black & White" #13] .

Roman Catholic Church

In "Areala", the Catholic Church is shown as literally being the one true church of the one true God and as being the divinely mandated instrument of His will on Earth. Founded by Jesus Himself and built on Saint Peter, the Rock, whose heirs, the Popes, are confirmed through the series as being God's representatives on Earth [ This was contradicted in one story about the Church Being founded on "Pope Pius", not Peter, who trained in immortal Pope to rule for centuries. Later stories retconned it to a more orthodox history. Please see "The Papacy" in "Characters in Warrior Nun Areala" ] , angels ally with Catholic Church [ "Razor and Warrior Nun Arela: Dark Prophecy" #1-4 ] , demons curse it [ "Warrior Nun Arela" Vol. 1 #1-3 ] , and the souls in Heaven see it as divinely ordained [ "Warrior Nun Areala/Scorpio Rose" ] and made to bring souls to paradise [ "Silver Cross" #3 ] . It is blessed as such and serves as His oracle and right hand. Though governed by common men who are just as subject to human sin and human weakness as any other person, the Church itself that they govern is shown as perfect and holy and is shown as the earthly extension of God's Kingdom. This is a privilege that others churches just do not share. As seen from the point of view of the most devout and traditional Catholics, other denominations are not always portrayed sympathetically, with Warrior Nuns grieving as divisions in Christendom and defections from the one Church. The logic is that if the Catholic Church is the one true Church then the other Churches are not.

The role of Folk Catholicism is unknown. In evangelizing native peoples, Catholicism has traditionally tried to Christianize existing religious practices rather than remove them altogether. That means that pre-Christian practices have survived and "unofficial" Catholic practices have arisen. "Areala" is no exception as seen in the Warrior Nun faith in Areala. While theological hardliners like anti-hero Cardinal Stark take a dim view of it, it is a common belief among them that the original Areala will periodically appear before them to choose a new avatar and champion. That and the fact that the pagan gods do exist leaves the window open to things like Benedicaria, Santería, Pre-Christian Alpine traditions, Saint Death, and Jesús Malverde

To the end that the Church serves as God instrument it also serves another purpose. Despite the fact that Heaven and Hell are in a cold war, demons sometimes bring their battles to Earth. When that happens it is the duty of the Church's Catholic Corps to intervene and protect the innocent.

The Vatican

In the real world as in the fictional world of "Areala", when "the Vatican" is used, it usually refers not to the Vatican City State itself but to the Holy See, the Catholic Church's global administrative government. It represents the international government of the Church and is based in Vatican City where Saint Peter may well have been crucified upside down over 1900 years ago. The fictional Vatican in "Warrior Nun Areala" is mostly like the real world's real Vatican though with key differences. For example, the real Vatican is slow moving and seemingly inefficient due to the fact that it has no policing power, relying instead on winning the argument and goodwill to maintain communion with over a billion people from literally every country and every conceivable socio-economic/political background. It neither thinks of itself as a government or a corporation nor works like one. Despite various myths, it does not function as a secret society, does not have billions of dollars hidden away, does not engage in millennia long conspiracies, and does not rule the world. [ Allen, John, "All the Pope's Men. ]

However, the fictional Vatican "does" have several of the above characteristics, albeit in a good way to protect the world. Also unlike the real Vatican, the fictional Vatican of "Warrior Nun Areala" has policing power in the form of the Catholic Corps and does operate like a government or a corporation. Having fought an unending war against monsters for centuries, the fictional Vatican has no choice but to be fast moving and able to act on a moment's notice either to save humans or kill demons. In that the fictional Vatican is mostly like the real one, it can be taken for granted that its history is also the same. In fact, there are various allusions to actual events. For example, Pope John Paul I's untimely death—and its giving rise to conspiracy theories—is used and flashbacks often include references to events of the time such as the Protestant Reformation or the Crusades. Of course, the main difference concerning the fictional Vatican and the real one is the influence of its miracle working clerics and the existence of its military orders to this day. That can be seen in things such as courageous Magic Priests or proto-Magic Priests having fought in the Crusades against evil Sorcerer Imams. Another example is how one of the first Warrior Nuns the Catholic Church ever produced, The White Nun, served her brother King Arthur in the time of Camelot. ["Warrior Nun Brigantia #1. It should be noted that a historical King Arthur would have been a Celtic Christian--if he was a Christian at all--since Pope Gregory the Great would not send the future Saint Augustine of Canterbury to England with the purpose of finishing the job that earlier missionaries had begun and uniting the Church to Rome until 597, long after the Arthurian sagas are usually set in the late 5th to early 6th century. However, like most Arthurian legends (for example, traditional legend has Sword in the Stone set outside the Archbishop of Canterbury's Cathedral before there even was such a post), the White Nun is anachronistic. At one point she speaks of her duty to protect England as did her brother Arthur when in fact the Anglo-Saxons who would make "Angle-land" were Arthur's worst enemies. Anglo-Saxons ultimately took Britain from the native Britons--Arthur's people--, making them foreigners or "Welsh", in their own country. They still have Arthur Pendragon's symbol, Y Ddraig Goch, the Red Dragon, on their flag. ]

The most recent example of the fictional Vatican's role in world affairs was in World War II where its Crimson Nun, Sister Alicia, proved the bane of Nazi supervillains along with other superheroes like the Church of England's Sister Brigantia. These missions, however, were kept secret [ "Warrior Nun Areala" Vol. 3 # 4 ] allowing the Vatican preserved the illusion of official neutrality it had [ "Warrior Nun Areala: Rituals" #3 ] as it did in the real world. The fictional Vatican, however, was only a little more powerful militarily than the Vatican of our world due to the fact that in the years leading to the War, the villain Mordecai Black bombed a Magic Priest meeting meaning that the generation of Magic Priests that could have and would have faced down Hitler died before they ever had the chance. Yet despite that ensuring "Satan's influence", as the original Sister Areala said as she watched events unfold ["Crimson Nun" #1 ] , held greater sway on Earth than it would have for centuries before or after, the Vatican still proved a major player against all the Axis Powers and assured Allied victory in combating Nazi occult threats. Even now, the Vatican works with world governments in the hunt against surviving Nazis. ["Silver Cross" #1 ]

Specific differences include the fictional Vatican being the headquarters of a global Military-industrial complex that maintains a watchful, paternal eye on the world, regardless of an individual's respective beliefs. Aside from the museums, gardens, living quarters, and stores of its real life counterpart, it also houses a prison where monsters taken alive are held, a full military base, underground laboratory for advanced research and development, an airbase, and other things. Like the real Vatican, it has treaties and relations with nearly every country in the world though the fictional Vatican also has military treaties with various countries deputizing the Catholic Corps to freely hunt monsters in their borders. For example if the New York police face a case involving the supernatural, it falls under the jurisdiction of a deputized Warrior Nun or other member of the Corps who is authorized to take full authority of the case. In case of complaints, the police officer is to take said complaints to the local bishop or archbishop. ["Lillith" #1] . For its part, the Vatican tends not to get involved in secular crimes (humans attacking humans) on it being outside their "jurisdiction" ["Warrior Nun: Black & White" #3] unless requested to by parties involved or if there is an overriding concern such as the Corps working with the militaries of other governments to fight Neo-Nazis [ "Silver Cross" #1 ] . The fictional Vatican also has contacts with the Italian government and police ["Father David Crowe: Magic Priest" #1 ] --and presumably other governments and police departments--to a far greater extent than the real one. Vatican Museums and archives are said to hold "the" largest collection of relics and supernatural objects, pertaining to both good and evil in the world ["Lillith" #2] and is the world's foremost authority on the supernatural. It is also portrayed as one of the most secure locations in the world; attacking it is said to be suicide [ "Warrior Nun Areala" Vol 2 #3] though it has indeed been attacked over the centuries with varying degrees of success. Such attacks are always repulsed however and the damaged structures rebuilt. (However, while actual assault is usually futile the Vatican has proven disturbingly susceptible to infiltration by enemy forces--demons, Freemasons--hoping to destroy it from the inside.)

Purgatory

Despite Purgatory's importance in Catholic theology as a prelude to Heaven, it is never mentioned.

Hell

"Warrior Nun Areala" uses the traditional fire and brimstone imagery to portray Hell as a fiery, volcanic, underground torture chamber. Hell in "Warrior Nun Areala" is portrayed as being underground but it is not known if it is literally inside the Earth like a huge cavern that anyone could dig to. Suggesting other wise, demons often need to use teleportation portals to arrive on Earth from Hell though mere communication can be done by things as simple as Parker BrothersOuija Boards.

Like Dante's "Inferno", it is divided into various zones, primarily wasteland areas and urban areas that are nothing more than unending slums and shanty towns, such as the city of Cryptopolis and the territory "Candyland". ["Warrior Nun: Black & White" #14 and "Lillith" #1, respectively. Demons are shown as surprised that humans named a children's board game after one of their countries. ] There are seven levels. Some inventions include portraying Hell as having multiple moons, a fully functioning subway system, the Torment Express, [ "Lilith Demon Princess" #1, 2 ] and, perhaps, having a McDonald's Franchise [ "Ninja High School" #38 ] . Seen as a whole, however, Hell (or at least those parts of it pertaining to Orcus, the least evil demon and the one most often seen, drawn by "Areala" creator Ben Dunn) is shown as a planet sized eye with biomechanical tentacles floating in space to which lost souls flow.

A cosmic gulag worse than any death camp Hell began when Lucifer and his angels entered into revolt against God in the War of Heaven, thinking to create their own realm. They failed to defeat God and yet He allowed them their wish; they were given Hell. However, having rejected God's love they deprived themselves of all happiness. That is because the fallen angels, now demons, have nobody but each other to make themselves happy and with inherently selfish natures, they only make each other miserable. Now deformed cretins, they are made as ugly as they once were beautiful and are sealed away with Hell serving as a prison. Though it id common for lesser demons to walk the Earth, the greater demons are trapped in Hell and are unable to menace the earth.

In at least a few cases--such as Hexa the former Valkyrie and the oldest, most determined foe of the Arealas through the centuries--demons are also pagan gods who allied with the devil to revenge themselves against the the Almighty God who replaced them. Certain demons such as Beelzebub, who has appeared in "Areala", were once worshipped as gods, and Ben Dunn explicitly said that meetings alliances between demons and evil pagan deities are possible

When humanity chose to sin, they followed the demons in rejecting the happiness God would give them. At the moment, Hell is inhabited by lost souls so selfish and wicked that they would rather suffer until the end of time, shaking their fists at God all the while, than express one shred of remorse for the evil they had done in life. Yet even if they do deserve it, even if they do choose to go to hell, it is always seen as a tragedy when anyone finds himself there. Confirming that feigning religion is far from enough to avoid the line to perdition [ [http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?book_id=48&chapter=7&verse=5&end_verse=7&version=31&context=context Mark 7:5-7] ] , glimpses of Hell even show nuns and priests that thought their offices alone would be enough to assure them in a place in the Kingdom of Heaven. It was not. One hero seeing them thought why even bother when so many find themselves in Hell regardless of all attempts to give them salvation. Yet the answer they realize is right there. "We bother 'cause every one of those millions "coulda" been in line at the gates of Heaven." ["Warrior Nun: Black & White" #14]

As for the place itself and not the "inmates", it is a place of absolute chaos. Due to the selfishness and treacherous nature of its inhabitants, Hell is a failed state and through the various levels of the Inferno, demon warlords fight for power. The most notable war was the Great Demon Purge, a battle about two-thousand years ago and fought either on the eve of Christ's Incarnation or in the wake of His resurection. This chaos exists because although Satan nominally rules, having taught his followers rebellion, they themselves rebel against him. He himself is chained as a prisoner in the deepest pit of Hell for the sake of Creation. Most demons are glad to have their genocidal tyrant neutralized because they know that if he were free he would grind them under his totalitarian dictatorship, leading the damned in a war against God to destroy all goodness and to take the throne of Heaven for himself. Though their only fate would be suicide, demons remaining loyal to Satan--the worst of the worst--hate God so much that they do not care if it would be their end and the end of all that exists. Terrified of Satan, most demon warlords will to set aside their rivalries and combat Satan loyalists, the "accursed devils", to keep him from being freed. ["Warrior Nun Areala" Vol 1, #2] Except for the Devil and his most fanatical minions, most demons recognize the futility of an assault against God and instead seek to strike at Him through His human children. They do that by seeking entry to the human world for a variety of murderous campaigns--or, in rarer instances, to ally with Heaven's agents, the (Catholic) Church, to preserve the status quo. Fighting rarely for good and more often for evil, it is these demons who are the ones mostly seen in "Areala".

Regardless of disunity across Hell as a whole, demon warlords keep a tight reign over their personal fiefdoms where they enforce their own laws and function as quasi naturalization agents registering lost souls at "Processing Centers" where the dead are stripped of whatever religious symbols they took with them. Also, dead people might find themselves in Hell with their tombstones complete with crosses and inscribed prayers. Said symbols are promptly destroyed at Processing as their power remains effective at repelling demons even there. ["Warrior Nun: Black & White" 14] Afterwards, the damned are then assigned to everlasting torment. This includes random torture for sadistic pleasure, use by demon mad scientists, slavery, or being processed for food. Being that they are already dead, when the damned are butchered in open-air slaughterhouses they are eaten "alive" and remain "alive" as they are digested ["Warrior Nun: Black & White" 14] . Aside from that demons have their own Hells such as the Netherworld, Hell's gulag, or being demoted to McJobs where they sell "McTorment Shakes" and ask customers if they "want fries with that."

Some demons have proven able to show compassion and even genuine love--albeit limited--to their children and immediate family members. However, with those children raised in a culture that nurtures their inherent evil they are promptly corrupted. However, demons defecting back to Heaven are not unknown nor are demonic double agents working for Heaven. Children born of angelic/demonic unions, such as Lillith even happen from time-to-time. ["Lillith Demon Princess #0]

atanism

With how the Devil is shown as actively seeking the destruction and even damnation of humanity, his mortal foot soldiers are shown in "Areala" as gross villains without exception. Engaging in rape, murder, human sacrifice, cannibalism, sodomy, and worse these destructive, suicidal, doomsday cults are in fact terrorists that do not seek to justify their evil but indulge in evil for the sake of evil. Devil worshippers mostly do the "dirty work" pertaining to Satan and other demons such as attempts to ruin the Catholic Church and mass murder. Aside from that, demonalters will work to open portals from Hell to Earth so that their masters may be free; they have also been known to give their bodies to demons. The only occasional sympathy given them is when they are portrayed as deluded fanatics thinking that the demons they serve actually care about them. As a rule, demons decidedly do not care about their worshippers and see them as tools to be used and discarded as needed. Human occult practices such as human sacrifices and magic books for summoning demons are often seen by demons as fools’ exercises in self-pretension. Magic circles and other similar things meant to summon and even control demons are said to backfire, with the human being killed, every time.

As to their structure, larger Satanic cults are shown as being generational in nature; their members might pass for regular people in public, but behind closed doors they practice their rituals and teach their children such matters ensuring that it continues. Depending on the cult, demonolaters may be a disorganized rabble made of juvenile delinquents with too much time in their hands to highly disciplined and organized terrorist cells seeking world domination; their rank in the infernal hierarchy likewise varies from nameless groveling slaves of demons to leaders of demons. Famous cult leaders include Julius Salvius, Areala's first and greatest foe who came within a hair's breadth on bringing hell to Earth and a fictionalized Aliester Crowley who was forced to team up with the Church of England against the Nazis. Crowley's spells are used to this day.

Portrayal of other religions

While not necessarily the viewpoint of the comic-book writers, "Areala" centers on religiously conservative Christians and tells its story from that point of view. As such, despite a reticent and semi-official disclaimer from creator Ben Dunn that if it works for you its true, the fact that there is a single all-powerful, all-knowing, being who not only exists from eternity to eternity but also has universal dominion over all things and expects His specific views to be obeyed means that there are only so many truths regardless of what people might want to believe. For example, the Catholic Church is portrayed as God's "official" church with other groups having degrees of truth. In that Native American worship of the Great Spirit is shown to be a respectable and legitimate, if "unofficial", form of worshipping God shows that some religions other than the Catholic religion—presumably Abrahamic, or at least ones that acknowledge a moral and all powerful Supreme Being—are acceptable and are just differing interpretations of the same higher truth.

Polytheistic religions on the other hand are not shown as such. Pagan gods are shown as being far from all powerful or self-existent and are even shown as not being really real. Bordering on being figments of human imagination come to life, they are incapable of independent existence and require the faith of their human worshippers to survive. If deprived of sincere adoration, they weaken and eventually die. If given sincere adoration, they thrive. Using those theological mechanics, most of the classical pantheons, the Greek gods for example, no longer exist. Other belief systems such as atheism, devil worship, and paganism are seen as misguided or even corrupt.

Below are the religions portrayed in "Areala". While it can be assumed that they still exist in the comic book's fictional universe, some religions--for example Eastern Orthodox, Taoism, Hinduism, Confucianism, Jainism--are never mentioned there.

*Protestantism--With how Protestantism emphasizes the Bible over religious hierarchy—indeed, was created as a revolt against the hierarchical Catholic Church—it has no larger organization to ensure homogeneity and this ensures a variety of unrelated sects that sometimes have nothing in common other than emphasis on the Bible and traditional rejection of the Catholic Church. This diversity is reflected in "Areala". For example, while it does not share the divine mandate of the Catholic Church with how King Henry VIII broke the church "in" England away from Rome, the modern Church "of" England is today portrayed as a perfectly legitimate and respectable organization. Its Warrior Nuns, though smaller in number and less famous than their Catholic sisters are active in Britain's defense against the supernatural. [ "Warrior Nun Briganttia" #1-4] On the other hand, denominations that broke away from Rome due to theological matters rather than ones of authority are shown less sympathetically. German monks at the time of the Reformation are shown grumbling about the "Lutheran heresy". [ "Warrior Nun Reinthochter" #1 ]

*Judaism--Though in the context of entertainment, "Areala" portrays Jesus as what He said He was, that He is the Son of God, the Messiah, and the King of the Jews. As such, He is the Messiah whether people choose to believe in Him or not and that includes His own people, the Jews. With few exceptions, Jews reject Jesus being their Messiah believing that if they were to accept Him as their Messiah that they would cease to be Jewish. This aspect is almost never touched on and the only time Jews were seen was in one angry anti-Catholic Jew dubbed the Hammer shown in a very anti-heroic light. [ "Warrior Nun Areala" Vol. 2 #1-3 ]

*Islam--Unlike other religions in the series, Islam is the only mainstream religion, along with all its practitioners, to be consistently portrayed in a negative light. For a variety of reasons, Christendom has had a long standing if in some ways understandable bias against Islam. [ Christian tension towards Islam can be seen at the very root of the matter in things like how Islam is in direct contradiction to Christianity claiming that Jesus in fact is not God, neither claimed divinity nor was never crucified, and will return at the end of time to reject Christianity. Tension can be seen with how its being revealed to its prophet by an angel he at one time feared might be Satan seemingly confirms Saint Paul's warning that Satan might disguise himself as an angel of light to give a false Jesus. It is a fact that Muslim armies conquered Christian Palestine, brought low the Christian Copts of Christian Egypt, took Christian North Africa, and conquered Christian Spain before being stopped in France in 732, just a hundred years after Muhammad's death, and making them Muslim countries—something that, with the exception of Palestine and Spain, remains so to this day. There is also the fact that cruelty on part of the Seljuk Turks and especially the "mad" Caliph Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah against Christian pilgrims to and in Jerusalem, the deliberate destruction and desecration of various Christian shrines even the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the forcing of Christians to wear badges of shame, and their assaults on the Christian Byzantine Empire started the First Crusade 1095 and the later Crusades afterwards. The Turks launched wars of conquest against Eastern Europe before being stopped at Vienna in 1683. Finally Muslim pirates launched slave raids against Christian Europe, kidnapping untold numbers of Christians until they were stopped by the Catholic France's conquest of Algeria in 1831. A similar thing was seen in Arab slave trade which dealt in Africans and existed until 1900. With how Islam posed a very real and a very dangerous threat to the weaker and less advanced Christian West, Europe felt under constant threat from Islam, from the first Moorish landing in Spain 711 to the second Turkish siege of Vienna in 1683. While this situation would eventually be reversed with an ascendant West and an impoverished Muslim World, Islam was left forever stained in the eyes of the Western World.] In modern times, however, progress is made and while no Christian could grant full legitimacy to Islam without contradicting core tenants of Christianity, there are attempts at Interfaith dialogue. Such dialogue is not seen in "Areala". While it does not go so far as to espouse the average medieval European Christian's view of Islam such as "Mahound" being a devil worshipper serving the demon Termagant, Muslims in "Areala" are shown as gang rapists who ogle nuns' breasts and would if given the chance sell nuns as sex slaves [ "Warrior Nun Areala" vol. 3 #5 ] , as smugglers [ 'Warrior Nun Areala" vol. 3 # 7] , as child molesting slave ship captains who kidnap little Christian girls [ "Silver Cross" #1] , and as the Anti-Christ's willing soldiers because the Anti-Christ and Islam's promised champion, the Mahdi, are the same person. [ "Warrior Nun Areala" Vol. 3 #1-4 ] In fact, the only possible time any sympathy was extended to Muslims was in one flashback to the Crusades when a warrior nun, Mary of Aquilonious, was angered at seeing murder victims. However, with how Mary, a woman dubbed mad by her foes, gives such contradictory information it is possible that the victims who are seen only in silhouette are not Muslims at all but Christians. (See goofs) Also even if they were Muslims, the motivating factor there is the anger is directed at the act of murder itself not at any sympathy for the victims. [ "Warrior Nun Areala: Resurrection" #1 ]

*Buddhism--It is seen and portrayed benignly. Despite some superficial similarities there are critical differences between Christianity and Buddhism—the former promises life eternal through the redemptive suffering of a God who became a man for the sake of that God's love while the latter was founded by a man so heartbroken by suffering that he taught the rejection of all desire even ultimately for conscious existence so as to forever escape all suffering. Regardless, central character Sister Shannon was shown befriending Chinese Buddhist nuns and standing in awe of their temples. Their mother superior returned the affection and asked her if she would prefer to train with her. Sister Shannon politely declined. [ "Warrior Nun Areala: Resurrection" #2 ]

*Shinto--It is seen and portrayed fairly. While the greater gods such as Amaterasu the sun goddess do not make appearances, lesser kami are active in Japan living somewhat in the open with humans. Monsters have no use for Christianity seeing it as foreign but good spirits are willing to work with Christian clergy even those who were once their own worshippers before leaving for another god. [ "Warrior Nun Areala: Rituals", various examples since then ]

*Indigenous religion--Local cults pertaining to indigenous peoples are seen and shown with varying degrees of legitimacy. For example, Native American worship of the Great Spirit is shown as another people's worship of God while African cults are shown to worship demons and offering them human sacrifice.

*Druidism--It is seen and, regardless of its main practitioner, Albion, being a lecher, Druidism itself is seen somewhat fairly. England's Warrior Nuns see Druidism skeptically, though.

*Paganism--It is generally portrayed as superstitious bunk whose time is passed. Indeed, "Arealas characters see it either as the worship of either dead idols or even demonic imposters. Most of the classical pantheons are severely weakened or even dead due to Christianity's spread across the world depriving them of worshippers. Those that do survive do so by allying with Satan, relying on informal worship—for example, a fan's enthusiastically watching "Clash of the Titans" or '—, and the rare devout worshipper to survive. The worst case scenarios include the Norse gods who died in Ragnarök—it was in 1066—and the Greek gods whose king, Zeus, is reduced to an emaciated, retarded, lecher barely able to produce static electricity. A better fate, if one far removed from the "glory days", can be seen in the Egyptian gods who, though weakened, are shown to be intact thanks to a small but devoted Sehkmet cult. Some others such as the ancient Babylonian gods and the Chinese gods also survive. [ "Lillith" #3 ]

*Neo-paganism--Though its primary practitioner is in fact a centuries old immortal, "Neo-Paganism" is seen in stereotype with "gypsy witch" Scorpio Rose as a mysterious expressionless individual whose worship revolves around unicorns and nature. One reader once wrote to the "Areala" letter columns criticizing the portrayal of neo-paganism in another Ben Dunn comic book, "Ninja High School" where Lillith, Orcus, and Father David Crowe made their first appearances. There, wicca/witchcraft was conflated with devil worship in the character of Mimi Masters a gentle witch who has consort with demons. Dunn justified this on the logic that if wicca is based on nature worship, on the Earth, then it (wicca, witchcraft, paganism in general) would call on Hell since Hell is inside the Earth.

* Non-believers--In a world where the supernatural is in plain sight for all to see, non-believers are portrayed negatively. They are either shown as villains as in the case of the Holy Man and Mordecai Black, or as bitter, disillusioned cynics in willful denial of what they see.

Notes and References


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