A by Pakr in the newspaper .
Rise and fall of eCatholicism
With respect towards all forms of beliefs, this article is in no way intended to mock or enrage followers of RL Catholicism.
From time to time eRepublik has seen dozens of transnational organisations come and go. Organisations with members that believe to have a cause greater than those of their own nations and whose goals often collide with the interests of their own governments, unified in the belief that their visions can outplay the existing ones.
Another one of those many organisations where the eCatholicism, which after a matter of hours from their creation would find supporters and members all over the eWorld, and ranging from simple workers to former presidents and congressmen. The eCatholicism gained much of its power solely from its name (referring to the real life Catholicism). But where did it all start? Where did it all end? And did they ever have a chance to change the balance of the eWorld?
A political renegade
In early December 2009, the idea was founded by the UKRP (political party in the UK at that time) party president named Winston L.S. Churchill. Though having gained some influence at the time, Winston was mainly criticized for being one of the many incarnations (read multis) of former player Ajay Bruno. A man who’s widely famous for generating countless multis across the eWorld and often trying to gain as much influence as he can in different countries. Many players have, and still, are being accused of being multis of Ajay, in most cases, we can never be totally sure as he rarely argues or even gives notice to those who make such claims.
In the case with Winston, I would myself be pretty confident in saying that it’s one of Ajay's many multis.
And so it all begins
Winston had faced a struggle in the UKRP for some time, having many players trying to take the power from his hands by PTO:ing his party. We can presume that these kinds of actions motivated him to create a transnational organisation with the intentions of leaving his former country behind. On the 12th of December (could have been some days earlier) Winston founded the eVatican organization and placing it in Italy. Winston then went on to declare himself the first (and last) pope in the eVatican and immediately started working out a hierarchy to be able to control the fast growing religion.
USA, Poland, Brazil, Canada, Italy, Indonesia and South Africa where only a few of the countries where a cardinal was appointed (we'll get back to their role soon) and donations from all around the world purred in much thanks to the name. Calling it eCatholicism resulted in a lot of positive publicity despite not even doing anything, being one of the largest religions IRL they could live on the reputation that Catholicism have IRL (both the good and the bad).
The hierarchy is formed
The principle of the eReligion was that everyone would submit to the pope (or Holy Father) and in all cases put his will before the will of their own nation. Surprisingly perhaps the religion (or movement) grew at immense speed. Winston recruited members among the minor political parties in countries, promising them they would have a chance to change the course of the game in a much greater extent then their political parties had allowed them.
The recruitment started with the cardinals. The cardinals would be the ones standing closest to the pope. They were elected directly by the pope (Winston) and were each given a country to “rule” over. All the member of eCatholicism would then take orders from the cardinal ruling in their respective country, and so the hierarchy was created.
eCatholicism grew quickly and gained strong support among players that were tired of the game and also people who saw it as an opportunity to role-play a bit more.
A good face towards the public
To all the “non-believers” Winston declared the religion to be a peace movement, claiming in various articles and statements that the movement existed solely to help the poor and support the little countries that faced oppression and PTO threats. Winstons first (and last) official article regarding the religion was “the purpose of the eCatholicism”.
“We consist of people of all real-life faiths, and even those who lack it. While we all hold certain moral values to be true and self-evident, the purpose of this international enterprise is to promote understanding among nations and to influence the world for the better” /Winston (the Pope)
The promises of helping the ones in need of aid resulted in a lot of donations and an increase in “members” (read: people who added the eVatican to their friends' list)
Meanwhile, on the closed forum, discussions were going wild, and most notably the formation of the eCrusaders started. An army who would follow the pope’s order and intervene where the pope saw fit. The eCrusaders would work as a military group that would blackmail nations and force them to submit to their demands. The idea was to gain so many members that a smaller nation would have to submit to the will of the pope.
The members of the Popes army had lots of secret discussion on how to gain influence on the international scene, luckily these dreams never came to the realization.
Furthermore, many members (including the pope himself) sent tickets to admin requesting for the Vatican nation to be formed, which would then work as the HQ for the members. Of course, this never happened as the demand for such a country was way too small for the admins to even consider it.
During all this many players around the eWorld were enraged by the eCatholicism. People claimed it to involve too much IRL elements and many followers of real life Catholicism saw it as a mocking of their beliefs.
The name that had at first helped eCatholicism gain so much ground and grow so fast would eventually become it’s a downfall as admins banned the eVatican ORG and eventually also putting a permanent ban on Winston for “advertising external products or services”.
With Winston, eCatholicism died. The members soon realised that it was hopeless while others had already left the religion when they realised what it was really about. Some of the cardinals probably made good cash of the donations however as these were never actually donated to the “poor” people of eRepublik.
And so eCatholicism, that ones had to potential to change the fate of the eWorld ended up becoming one big eJoke.
Once again I express my sincere respect to real life Catholicism and I would like to note that the founders and members of eCatholicism rarely had anything to do with real life Catholicism, most of the members were probably atheists anyway
All the facts I've published in this article is collected from the closed eCatholicism forum (of which i was a member), IRC discussions I held with members at the time and articles on erepublik.com