Change of doctrine
The Doctrines of the Faith are the foundational pillars of the Imperial faith and the Way. They represent the distilled wisdom and knowledge Synod priests across the ages in statements. In essence, the doctrines define the Imperial Religion and the beliefs that it imparts as part of teaching a virtuous life to the citizens of the Empire.
The wilful rejection, or perversion of, the Doctrines of the Faith, or actively teaching and promoting False Doctrines is defined as heresy, which is a religious crime. Consequently, what is, and is not, doctrine and the wording of those doctrines, is an ongoing debate within the Imperial Synod. It is also the means by which definitive answers are provided to settle religious debates and controversies.
Given the significance of doctrine, only the majority support of the General Assembly can add, remove or amend doctrines of the faith. This requires a greater majority of the General Assembly.
"...that I maintain that there is a pressing need for a Doctrine of Inclusionism that will settle the question of the Eternals and their right and proper role in the creation we all share.Illuminate Cicero, addressing the General Assembly
Any member of the Synod may submit a judgement to change doctrine. There is no legal requirement for clarity but the Tribune will encourage a priest to use simple, lucid language that makes the new doctrine clear and to avoid confusion. It is common for a change of doctrine to need a great deal of scrutiny so most priests will choose the final voting deadline of a summit to ensure that there is time for the Synod to discuss the change in detail.
A judgement of veto requires a greater majority to pass.
Beware of a door that has too many keys.Marcher Proverb
If the judgement is successful, then the change of doctrine becomes a formal part of the Imperial faith and gains the backing of Imperial law.
If a judgement is rejected, then in theory there is no change of doctrine. Although it does not have any legal standing, such a rejection is often commonly interpreted as a rejection of the virtue and validity of the proposed idea. For example, a failure to change doctrine to recognize that orcs have souls does not legally imply that orcs do not have souls - but will be commonly interpreted as such by many Imperial citizens if the change of doctrine was decisively rejected by the Synod.
Even more so than a statement of principle, a change of doctrine can have significant implications for the Empire, and for followers of the Way across the known world. Due to their shared faith, the priests of the Sumaah Republic pay particular attention to changes of doctrine by the Synod. There are priests who support congregations that follow the Way in many foreign nations, and they tend to look to either the Empire or Sumaah for guidance on religious matters. A significant change of doctrine may be accepted or refuted by priests in other nations, but whatever else happens it will not be ignored.
- The Judgements of the Synod
- Synod Positions
- Religious Crime
- Imperial Theology