Institutions of the Holy Roman Empire

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The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy uses Jonathan Turner's definition of institutions in their introduction of the subject; institutions are "a complex of positions, roles, norms and values lodged in particular types of social structures and organising relatively stable patterns of human activity with respect to fundamental problems in producing life-sustaining resources, in reproducing individuals, and in sustaining viable societal structures within a given environment.” SEP then continues to cite Anthony Giddens's list of the kinds of institutions we may find; "institutional orders, modes of discourse, political institutions, economic institutions, and legal institutions."

For the purpose of this game, Clockwork Canon will use four definitions of these institutions accompanied with the four terminologies which the game shall associate with each.

Social Institutions as Social Forms

These are conventions, social norms, roles, mores, folkways, and even rituals. We shall call these Social Forms.

Social Institutions as Social Entities

According to the SEP, institutions are constitutive elements of complete and complex social entities; these come in the forms of societies and cultures which are capable of; sexually reproducing "...its membership, have its own language and educational system, provide for itself economically and&mdas;at least in principle—be politically independent." These shall be called Social Entities.

It has been pointed out that the distinction between Social Entities and Organizations is vague—and rightly so. Thus, we'll deal with it this way; Social Entities are ascribed forms of status, they are things a person is part of automatically after he or she is born into that society or culture. Organizations, on the other hand, require some kind of process or price; thus, organizations are conditional of membership.

Social Institutions as Organizations or System of Organizations

SEP teaches us the following;

Moreover, many institutions are systems of organisations. For example, capitalism is a particular kind of economic institution, and in modern times capitalism consists in large part in specific organisational forms—including multi-national corporations—organised into a system. Further, some institutions are meta-institutions; they are institutions (organisations) that organise other institutions (including systems of organisations). For example, governments are metainstitutions. The institutional end or function of a government consists in large part in organising other institutions (both individually and collectively); thus governments regulate and coordinate economic systems, educational institutions, police and military organisations and so on largely by way of (enforceable) legislation.

These we shall call Organizations.

Institutions in the context of the Holy Roman Empire have only one true purpose no matter how complex the discussion may become; in their understanding, these things exist as forms of natural and supernatural societal control. Without these institutions, the Holy Roman Empire would cease to exist.

To this end, organizations have been established to fanatically protect these institutions. Thus, you will see that they shall each be defined according to these four properties;

Structure; pending
Function; pending
Culture; pending
Sanctions; pending

Social Institutions as Non-organizations

These are institutions that find themselves in the most fundamental aspects of a society that exist beyond mere social forms and can exist without the need for organizations. For example, we have the English Language as an Institution, and the Barter System of Trade. The SEP teaches us further about these concepts as follows;

An institution that is not an organisation or system of organisations comprises a relatively specific type of agent-to-agent interactive activity, e.g. communication or economic exchange, that involves: (i) differentiated actions, e.g. communication involves speaking and hearing/understanding, economic exchange involves buying and selling, that are; (ii) performed repeatedly and by multiple agents; (iii) in compliance with a structured unitary system of conventions, e.g. linguistic conventions, monetary conventions, and social norms, e.g. truth-telling, property rights.

These we shall call, Fundamentals.

The Sacraments

In discussing the fictional, yet reality inspired, institutions of the Holy Roman Empire, it is best to categorize them according to the seven precepts that dictate how reality should be perceived according to the Word of God as interpreted by the Omnipresent Church of the One God. These are called Sacraments.

Introduction to Sacraments

In the context of clockwork|Canon as a game, the sacraments shall be treated as both natural and supernatural forms of societal control. This asserts that both body and soul are held accountable to the Holy Roman Empire. This is an aspect we shall name the fundamental institution of grace.

Now, please be reminded that this entry does not reflect reality; what it does reflect is the reality of the game so everything which you see here specifically limited within the context of the game.

Grace here has both physical and spiritual ramifications upon the individual that loses or attains it. The actuality of it is that it is merely an institutional term the holy Roman Empire associates with a universal phenomena called peace of mind, nirvana, ecstasy, spiritual power, and so on and so forth. This is an idea that does have very real manifestations, which the Empire has used to associate with miracles. Such manifestations, however, are not limited to those within the Empire, or to those with only pure intentions at heart.

It's situation, on the other hand, is quite clear; those who manifest it without the blessing of the church are damned as agents of the Devil. This may or may not be true, but the mechanism is there.

There are Seven Holy Sacraments which the Empire centers its entire existence upon. These sacraments are based around that concept of grace and dictate the spirit and form of the Empire as a meta-institution, and the constitutive elements that comprise that Empire. Those who are in violation of these sacraments are meted out sanctions proper with each sacrament accordingly.

Remember, the Church of our reality treats the Sacraments as supernatural institutions. The reality of this game has the sacraments as very real edicts that affect both the body and the soul of the individual. This thought should always be kept in mind.

The Seven Holy Sacraments of the Holy Roman Empire

The sacraments are natural and supernatural forms of societal control. In the words of the Catholic Church, they is defined as such; "According to the teaching of the Catholic Church...the sacraments of the Christian dispensation are not mere signs; they do not merely signify Divine grace, but in virtue of their Divine institution, they cause that grace in the souls of men."

Thus, the sacraments are centered on the accumulation of grace through ceremonies and rituals as determined by Canon Law. A short trip to the Catholic Encyclopedia enlightens us to this reasoning;

...if it is known that God has appointed external, visible ceremonies as the means by which certain graces are to be conferred on men, then in order to obtain those graces it will be necessary for men to make use of those Divinely appointed means. This truth theologians express by saying that the sacraments are necessary, not absolutely but only hypothetically, i.e., in the supposition that if we wish to obtain a certain supernatural end we must use the supernatural means appointed for obtaining that end. In this sense the Council of Trent (Sess. VII, can. 4) declared heretical those who assert that the sacraments of the New Law are superfluous and not necessary, although all are not necessary for each individual. It is the teaching of the Catholic Church and of Christians in general that, whilst God was nowise bound to make use of external ceremonies as symbols of things spiritual and sacred, it has pleased Him to do so, and this is the ordinary and most suitable manner of dealing with men. Writers on the sacraments refer to this as the necessitas convenientiae, the necessity of suitableness. It is not really a necessity, but the most appropriate manner of dealing with creatures that are at the same time spiritual and corporeal.[Text in boldface, mine]

It is clear from such reasoning that the Sacraments are social forms of institutions that are of ritualistic and ceremonious nature—from which spring the organizations and fundamentals of the entire Holy Roman Empire. Further, these sacraments, aside from their definitions, are composed of two constitutive elements: Matter and Form.

As in physical bodies, so also in the sacramental rite we find two elements, one undetermined, which is called the matter, the other determining, called the form. For instance, water may be used for drinking, or for cooling or cleansing the body, but the words pronounced by the minister when he pours water on the head of the child, with the intention of doing what the Church does, determines the meaning of the act, so that it signifies the purification of the soul by grace.

Matter here are the material components of the ritual; while form, on the other hand, is the ritualistic element of the sacraments that give meaning to the merely material component. For example, the Sacrament of Baptism takes water as its matter, while a short prayer invoked after it is the form which gives meaning to the water.

Since the fictional reality of Clockwork|Canon is inspired by real life, it only follows that the reality of the Holy Roman Empire should also be inspired by the reality of the Catholic Church. I do not mean to trivialize the belief system of the Church through this game, but for the purpose of this game, and the speculation it evokes, I must draw inspiration from it; there is no Church in existence, other than the Catholic Church, which displays such a sophisticated form of organization which it justifies through stringent reasoning.

I will now, from here on out, differentiate the Church of Reality from the Holy Roman Empire of fiction;

  • Whereas, the Catholic Church professes that "...the sacraments are necessary, not absolutely but only hypothetically..." and that "...all are not necessary for each individual...", the Holy Roman Empire of the fictional game reality of Clockwork|Canon mandates that performance and accomplishment of the sacraments are absolute and that all are required—with the appropriate sanctions for noncompliance.
  • Whereas, the Catholic Church professes that the sacraments are sacred mysteries in literal definition, the Holy Roman Empire of the fictional game reality of Clockwork|Canon mandates that the Sacraments are apparent realities, both corporal and spiritual—with ramifications both corporal and spiritual.

Since the entirety of the Holy Roman Empire finds its institutional existence and constitutive elements based on the Sacraments, it is only logical that an account of the organizations, social forms, entities, and fundamentals impressed by the Empire upon its subjects be categorized according to the Seven Holy Sacraments as professed by the early Church.

—should you wish to learn more about the doctrines of the catholic church, do visit The Catholic Encyclopedia.


Baptism exists to achieve two objectives; the first is of a supernatural and ideological nature, meant to enter a person into the kingdom of God, the grace of God, and the auspices of the Holy Roman Empire. It carries with it several connotations concerning Imperial theology and its treatment of life and death. Inevitably, the first objective sets out the following conventions;

  • Baptism is life in the grace of God;
  • With Baptism, all of one's sins before Baptism are erased;
  • Without Baptism, man is incapable of receiving grace;
  • Without Baptism, a person is barred from the gates of Heaven—this contends that an innocent (newly born babe) who has not been born again into the grace of God, upon death without a life of sin, may not enter Heaven or Hell;
  • Without Baptism, one is barred from civilization;

These conventions allow us a look further into the cultural conventions of the Holy Roman Empire and its treatment of outsiders, an integral institution dubbed—the Institution of Civilization.

The Institution of Civilization is a fundamental belief and apparent reality to all who have been touched or conquered by the Holy Roman Empire. It asserts that all those who do not live within the grace of God may not be human at all, or rather; be like beasts who are primitive, feral, and devoid of sophistication. To those who have not been baptized, they are branded barbarians or savages, held perpetually vulnerable to the machinations of Evil.

The Holy Roman Empire justifies this doctrine by citing such realities as children who manifest physical deformities or mental retardation as they grow, or the existence of savage tribes and cannibals who feast on other men and perform bizarre rituals beyond the borders of the Empire. This has reflexively impressed one single thought into the minds of all those who are of the Empire;

That the Empire is the Kingdom of God apparent on earth, while all else are the corrupted of Evil.

The second objective of Baptism is temporal of nature, designed to affirm the Divine Right of the Empire to exist and its Manifest Destiny to rule the world. It further serves to impress upon the Imperial mind the following conventions.

  • Complete Submission to the Holy Roman Empire, body and soul, grants you the Empire's protection and esteem;
  • Inherent superiority within all who are of the Empire;
  • Complete and utter loyalty to the Empire, in thought, word, and action;
  • Affirmation of the Empire's Hegemony;
  • There is only One Empire;

These conventions are there to serve as the foundation of the Holy Roman Empire's a priori existence. Before one has even reached the age of discretion one must already understand the apparent permanence of the Empire; it must be like water or air, there is no need to explain its existence, only that it is—an affirmation of its role as God's Kingdom on Earth. It must, therefore, exist without a beginning, nor an end, for it is both a temporal and supernatural entity. This merits the gravity associated with the Sacraments and the Doctrines they affirm. The Sacrament of Baptism itself must be protected from the following heretical doctrines;

  • The baptism of John (the Precursor) had the same efficacy as the baptism of Christ,
  • True and natural water is not necessary for baptism, and therefore the words of Our Lord Jesus Christ "Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost" are metaphorical.
  • The true doctrine of the sacrament of baptism is not taught by the Roman Church,
  • Baptism given by heretics in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost with the intention of performing what the Church performs, is not true baptism,
  • Baptism is free, that is, not necessary for salvation.
  • A baptized person, even if he wishes it, can not lose grace, no matter how much he sins, unless he refuses to believe.
  • Those who are baptized are obliged only to have faith, but not to observe the whole law of Christ.
  • Baptized persons are not obliged to observe all the precepts of the Church, written and traditional, unless of their own accord they wish to submit to them.
  • All vows made after baptism are void by reason of the promises made in baptism itself; because by these vows injury is done to the faith which has been professed in baptism and to the sacrament itself.
  • All sins committed after baptism are either forgiven or rendered venial by the sole remembrance and faith of the baptism that has been received.
  • Baptism although truly and properly administered, must be repeated in the case of a person who has denied the faith of Christ before infidels and has been brought again to repentance.
  • No one is to be baptized except at the age at which Christ was baptized or at the moment of death.
  • Infants, not being able to make an act of faith, are not to be reckoned among the faithful after their baptism, and therefore when they come to the age of discretion they are to be rebaptized; or it is better to omit their baptism entirely than to baptize them as believing on the sole faith of the Church, when they themselves can not make a proper act of faith.
  • Those baptized as infants are to be asked when they have grown up, whether they wish to ratify what their sponsors had promised for them at their baptism, and if they reply that they do not wish to do so, they are to be left to their own will in the matter and not to be forced by penalties to lead a Christian life, except to be deprived of the reception of the Eucharist and of the other sacraments, until they reform.

Such heresies, the proclamation and pedagogy of which, merit only the most grievous of penitential degrees as appropriated by the Sacrament of Penance. A crime against doctrine is a crime against Empire, the accused must stand trial according to the process outlined by the Sacrament of Penance. More often than not, the punishment to heresy against Baptism is immolation. This is to complete the dichotomy in both purpose and symbol;

Whereas the Sacrament of Baptism is there to birth the person once again through ablution by water and with the sanctity of the word of God, its punishment is the death of the person through the cleansing flames of fire. This is in direct connection to the matter and form of Baptism.

For Baptism is a social form, a ritual that enters one into the grace of God, it must require symbols that affirm its purpose. For its matter it requires;

  • the ministration of a priest;
  • the presence of the parents of the candidate;
  • the holding of white candles, to symbolize the Light of Christ, for all those present—save the priest who must administer the sacrament with free hands and his assistants;
  • the clothing in white of the candidate;
  • the oil of chrism to anoint the candidate;
  • the water to bathe the candidate, symbolizing the cleansing and washing away of sin and barbarity;

It's the form and practice of the rite is then as such;

The requisite and sole valid form of baptism is: "I baptize thee (or This person is baptized) in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost." This was the form given by Christ to His Disciples in the twenty-eighth chapter of St. Matthew's Gospel, as far, at least, as there is question of the invocation of the separate Persons of the Trinity and the expression of the nature of the action performed. For the Latin usage: "I baptize thee", etc., we have the authority of the Council of Trent (Sess. VII, can. iv) and of the Council of Florence in the Decree of Union. In addition we have the constant practice of the whole Western Church. The Latins also recognize as valid the form used by the Greeks: "This servant of Christ is baptized", etc. The Florentine decree acknowledges the validity of this form and it is moreover recognized by the Bull of Leo X, "Accepimus nuper", and of Clement VII, "Provisionis nostrae." Substantially, the Latin and Greek forms are the same...


The Sacrament of Confirmation turns the children of God into the Soldiers of God. No man may be properly called a man lest he accomplish the rite of passage. This implies one of the basics that found the Empire where it is now, the establishment of the Empire's Divine Right to Conquer—Holy Warriors. These warriors are there to fit a diverse range of roles and purposes.

The first is civil in nature. It's purpose is to protect the Empire from within through the use of secular institutions, like civil offices, secular government, and professions needed by the Empire to maintains its glory. These are actually rights reserved to those who deserve their rise from childhood to manhood, thus the need for the rite; only this rite confers that change to adulthood. Without it, the following rights are refused;

  • The Right to Inherit
  • The Right to Hold Secular Office
  • The Right to Civil Service
  • The Right to Secular Franchise
  • The Right to Bear Arms
  • The Right to High Education
  • The Right to Ordination
  • The Right to a Profession
  • The Right to Matrimony
  • The Right to Income

The Second purpose is martial in nature. The Sacrament of Confirmation institutes a militaristic and expansionist mindset upon its people, feeding it with various incentives. This helped to strongly establish the armed forces of the Empire with deeply rooted foundations within the psyche of the Imperials. These forces are composed of;

  • The Civil Guard; is actually just an extension of the first purpose of this Sacrament. Civil guards are merely compose and maintain the power of the Empire to police and execute its laws on its people. The post of a Civil Guard is considered part of civilian life and civil office.

Thus, considering the diverse purposes of this Sacrament, it follows that the form and matter of Confirmation would be distinct from purpose to purpose. We shall call these kinds of Confirmation.

The first kind of Confirmation enters the child into life as a Civilian serving the Empire through secular means from within. This includes a chance into the priesthood, some opportunities for higher learning and eventually a profession useful to the Empire, and ultimately the right to participate in secular governments that augment the authority of parochial administrations; this includes town mayors, clerks, and even Civil Guards.

The matter and form of this rite includes the following;

  • The Administration of a Bishop;
  • The Recipient must be Male and 12 Years of Age;
  • The Recipient must be in a state of grace;
  • Appropriate Confirmation Costume;
  • The Ceremony must be within a Cathedral;
  • Recipients may be Confirmed in batches;
  • Each Recipient Must Have a Well-Established Sponsor;
  • The practice is as thus;
At the beginning of the ceremony there is a general imposition of hands, the bishop meantime praying that the Holy Ghost may come down upon those who have already been regenerated: "send forth upon them thy sevenfold Spirit the Holy Paraclete." He then anoints the forehead of each with chrism saying: "I sign thee with the sign of the cross and confirm thee with the chrism of salvation, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost." Finally, he gives each a powerful blow on the cheek saying: "peace be with thee". A prayer is added that the Holy Spirit may dwell in the hearts of those who have been confirmed, and the rite closes with the bishop's blessing.

The second kind of Confirmation is to enter the child into the life of the army man. This works hand in hand with the Ascetic Military Orders to protect the Empire from outwith. Their roles are to serve as the Emperor's standing army. Stationed on strategic garrisons against the threat of harassment from barbarian hordes and the dangers of invasion from the devils of the silken east. Here's a better look at life in the Imperial Legion including their initiation rituals.

The third kind is a very special kind of Confirmation, reserved onlt to a few of the very best and trusted of the Emperor. This is to enter the child into the life of a warrior monk. These men are to comprise the very elite of the Empire's Armed Force, the Ascetic Military Orders. The conditions of this life are harsh and demanding, charging these holy warriors to combat evils the secular forces are too weak to face, from both within and outwith. Often, these men are handpicked to be the priest warriors of the Omnipresent Church of the One God, filling the ranks of Witchhunters, Exorcists, and Xenophobics—for lack of a better term.

The form and matter of the Ascetic orders are distinct to each individual order; they often follow the initiation template of such military orders as the ones that exist in real history— like the Knights Templars, the Knights Hospitallers, the Teutonic Knights, and etc.

Finally, and theologically; the OCOG asserts that the Sacrament of Confirmation carries the following effects for the recipient;

  • an increase of sanctifying grace which makes the recipient a "perfect Christian";
  • a special sacramental grace consisting in the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost and notably in the strength and courage to confess boldly the name of Christ;
  • an indelible character by reason of which the sacrament cannot be received again by the same person.

The Holy Eucharist

Institutions of Grace

Holy Anointing

Holy Matrimony

Machismo, Marianism, The Family

Holy Orders

also known as the Sacrament of Order, this institution mandates the existence of the Omnipresent Church of the One God, or OCOG, which serves as a meta-institution which governs the entirety of the Holy Roman Empire as the operational hand of the Saint-Emperor


[place holder]


Miller, Seumas, "Social Institutions", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2008 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <>.

Kennedy, Daniel. "Sacraments." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 13. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 25 Mar. 2010 <>.