Book Review: The Heretics of St. Possenti by Rolf Nelson

About 3 or 4 years ago, Rolf Nelson published “The Stars Came Back.” It was originally written like a screenplay. He has since published half of it as a novel. I believe it’s called “Back From The Dead.” In TCSB, Rolf included as part of the background of the smartship AI a group of warrior monks.

The Heretics of St. Possenti is about how the order got started.

The book starts with a Catholic bishop being robbed. He goes to jail, where he is subjected to mocking for how useless the church is in the lives of the imprisoned men. This sends him on an exploration to find answers for how the church can attract younger men and meet their needs. This lays the groundwork for starting a new kind of monastic order, beginning with troubled and forgotten veterans.

All in all, it’s a really good story. And I want to state right up front, this is a positive review from one of Nelson’s fans. I highly recommend the book.

Thinking over this book, one thought I had was “Atlas Shrugged for the alt-right.” By that, I mean similar to Ayn Rand, Nelson writes his characters with pretty much the same voice and uses dialog to lay out his philosophy. I also agree pretty much entirely with his philosophy. As a Castalia House author, I’m sure Nelson reads books by other Castalia House authors, and I saw quite a few of them in Heretics. He touches on “Cuckservative” by Vox Day and John Red Eagle, 4th Generation Warfare Handbook by William S. Lind, and of course, Vox Day’s 2 SJWs Always… books.

In fact, if you’re not a big reader, but you want to get a good overview of CH, reading Heretics is an efficient way to do it. It touches on enough to help you follow along with the discussion.

I don’t think Nelson is Catholic, but where else would a monastic order come from? Nelson apparently spent a lot of time researching Catholicism and monastic orders, and I believe did a great job of putting together a story based around the necessary technical, logistical, and doctrinal details that would be necessary for a new order to come into existence and thrive. He did such a great job, I’d convert to Catholicism if this order existed to join it. And I don’t state this lightly. And Nelson rendered the story in a way that is palatable to evangelical Christians, and possibly even non-believers who are friendly to Christianity but not considering participating.

Nelson addresses many issues in the church (which includes all denominations.) Churches are generally not friendly to men. I’ve commented several times on the contrast between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. On Mother’s Day, the sermon is invariably about Mary or Hannah, and full of praise for the heroic, hard-working moms. On Father’s Day, the best you can hope for in the average church is the pastor will forget it. Otherwise, you’ll have a sermon about how you’re not doing enough, and screwing up. The pastor never stops to think that it’s the men who work hard to provide for their families and attend church who are sitting in the pews, getting bitched out in front of their wives and children. I started skipping church on Father’s Day because of this.

Many churches have bought into the secular world. Rather than preaching Christian virtue, they preach virtue signaling. Many families now forgo protecting their children and invite strangers into their homes, putting their own children at risk of rape and attack. How is this sane? There are also classic mistranslations of the Bible that have become mainstream doctrine, such as “turn the other cheek” is taken to mean “roll over and play dead for those who seek to victimize you and your family.” And don’t even get me started on how forgiveness is abused in Christian doctrine…

This was a good book. Someday, Nelson will grow into a great writer, able to create different characters who face difficult challenges. I look forward to more from him. Like, how did the St. Possenti order grow through hundreds of years to become involved with a smartship AI?