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Papal Hitman Gear: Never Leave Rome Without It
April 16, 2011 4:19 PM   Subscribe

[Catholic-Details-For-Fiction-Filter] I'm one of the Pope's personal hitmen/supernatural problem solvers on assignment. What's in my travel kit (besides blessed weapons & ammo)?

So a papal hitman/monster hunter on direct assignment from his holiness is traveling light. He's sitting around in a foreign country, cleaning his guns, waiting for the cell phone to ring. He's got:

-A small suitcase with clothing
-Guns/etc
-The empty case for [THE SACRED THING] he has to retrieve.

What particularly Catholic items might he bring with him on his road trip? He's staying in the sub-basement apartment of a Cathedral, so he can probably get a Bible to read. He's a former member of the Swiss Guard as well.

Bonus points for what Sundries above and beyond a Crucifix & a picture of the Pope he might find waiting in the apartment or particularly Swiss ideas.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey to Religion & Philosophy (26 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
Not to derail, but does this make you a Vatican Assassin Warlock?
posted by adamrice at 4:21 PM on April 16, 2011


A Rosary comes to mind.
posted by francesca too at 4:25 PM on April 16, 2011


Perhaps a bible with several pages laced/saturated with appropriate chemicals for a Vatican assassin: scopolamine, arsenic, ketamine, cyanide, etc.
posted by cinemafiend at 4:33 PM on April 16, 2011


I would have assumed one key advantage of being adjunct to the catholic church is they would have branches everywhere, so no need for a significant wardrobe or armoury, just pick it up in country, like Q branch in James Bond but with less need for super duper hidden bases in unfriendly places.
posted by biffa at 4:36 PM on April 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Bell, book and candle?
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:39 PM on April 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


Not to derail, but does this make you a Vatican Assassin Warlock?

Just to clear up, he deals with cleaning up supernatural problems, but he's more the sacred bullets and pressurized atomizers filled w/ Holy Water type as opposed to a mystical/exorcist type. And his blood type is O+, not Tiger.

Point taken about being able to gear up locally. I guess what I'm looking for is more personal items. A rosary for sure. This is helping.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 4:45 PM on April 16, 2011


Probably a pyx, which is used to carry the consecrated host to the sick or dying. Especially if he is not a priest himself. He might want to take communion after offing demons, or before offing them, or whatever ... or potentially use it as a weapon, I suppose.

Probably a rosary; CERTAINLY he'd be wearing a saint's medal of his patron saint. You can find your own patron saint of badassery here. (But here's soldiers.)

If he is a priest, they make travel priesting kits with holy water, chrism oil, a purple stole for confession, a tiny copy of the sacramental, etc., that stow in a nice black leather case (usually). Here's some travel Mass kits which kind of make me want to write a James-Bond-Priest-Story. :)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 4:47 PM on April 16, 2011


He should wear a St. Christopher Medal for protection on his travels. A small vial of holy water may be useful to him.
posted by TrialByMedia at 4:48 PM on April 16, 2011


A Scapular of your favorite saint.

A relic of your favorite saint might also come in andy.

There is a cross that old school Catholics have (like my Mom) that has a hidden compartment that holds holy water and probably some other stuff. The entire kit is designed to be used during last rites, emergency holy water as it were. So at least pack some holy water.
posted by JohntheContrarian at 4:48 PM on April 16, 2011


Have you seen this? It's pretty much in that exact vein and might be worth taking a look at.
posted by restless_nomad at 5:08 PM on April 16, 2011


Swiss Army Crucifix? Holy water compartment, blade, corkscrew (for opening sacramental wine)?

We're Catholic, we don't read the Bible so much. However, it might make a good decoy to smuggle weaponry in. I like cinemafiend's idea of the weaponized Bible.

The saint medals, scapulars, and/or holy cards would be good. You can get a rosary ring that would function almost like brass knuckles. Then there's the full Opus Dei treatment, with cilices and hairshirts. Not sure how they'd function as weaponry, although you could probably garrote someone with a cilice.

The pyx is a great idea. To stay in a state of grace, he might also have an iPhone with the Confession app on it.
posted by katemonster at 5:15 PM on April 16, 2011


Probably a pyx, which is used to carry the consecrated host to the sick or dying. Especially if he is not a priest himself. He might want to take communion after offing demons, or before offing them, or whatever ... or potentially use it as a weapon, I suppose.

Because the host is believed to be the actual flesh of Christ the Catholic church takes the loss of a consecrated host pretty seriously, to the point of managing the crumbs and returning them ti the priest to be consumed, and there are strict guidelines as to who can take them from the church and how they are dealt with. I would assume you would need confession before communion post demon related activity, indeed confession is most important in terms of achieving a state of grace (ie so you can get into heaven if you die). You are not supposed to take communion unless you have been properly shriven (ie for sins at the more serious end of the range, plus missing communion on a Sunday or day of obligation).

The weaponised bible seems sensible, and could easily include holy artifacts (bits of true cross, bits of saints, stilettos, silver garotte) plus details of exorcism, demonic banishment, etc, all imbued with holy water, etc and blessed by the pope.
posted by biffa at 5:29 PM on April 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Because the host is believed to be the actual flesh of Christ the Catholic church takes the loss of a consecrated host pretty seriously, to the point of managing the crumbs and returning them ti the priest to be consumed, and there are strict guidelines as to who can take them from the church and how they are dealt with."

Yes, but I'm assuming it's fantasy fiction and rules can be bent in service of the story.

posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:00 PM on April 16, 2011


Definitely a St. Benedict medal! It's inscribed with a prayer of exorcism, and therefore is proof against diabolical forces, and is said to destroy the effects of poison.
posted by corey flood at 6:37 PM on April 16, 2011


Don't forget the silver bullets.

Eyebrows: Thanks for that link, I know where the rest of my evening is going be spent!
posted by deborah at 7:08 PM on April 16, 2011


Definitely a scapular, because it protects front and back.
posted by clearlydemon at 8:56 PM on April 16, 2011


He's a modern hitman, right? You said he has a cellphone. The Church of course has its uber-secret "Things We Know That We've Kept Hidden from the Rest of the World" storehouse of knowledge. So maybe he carries some essential bits of info encrypted on his iPhone, or he can log in to the Church's deep archives on his laptop (secure satellite link, of course). The secrets could contain details about crimes he is covering up, or enemies he is hunting down. He needs this data to help him carry out his tasks, but should it fall into the wrong hands....
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 9:38 PM on April 16, 2011


BTW, I don't know that he's find pictures of the Pope in the "guest rooms" he's staying in ... Catholics don't really do that. As a Catholic, I'd find it a little creepy.

I'd stick with a crucifix and set it up like a monastic cell. Here's some pictures. I do like the idea of a prie-dieu.

I'd assume a Bible would be handy in the room, but what about also a Liturgy of the Hours (single-volume short version with daily prayers; also comes in a complete four-volume version) for his daily devotional convenience? Or what about some various spiritual guidebooks, which with a little research you could use to send messages about what sort of church he's in (conservative, radical, etc.) and his reaction to them could say something about what sort of man he is? I'm thinking things like Thomas a Kempis's "The Imitation of Christ" or Ignatius Loyola's "Spiritual Exercises" or Teresa of Avila's "Interior Castle" or St. Augustine's autobiography or Oscar Romero's "The Violence of Love" ... many options. :)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:54 PM on April 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


You could look at the equipment carried by the Swiss Guard, the soldiers who protect the Pope. (Although unfortunately Michelangelo did not design the uniforms).
posted by autopilot at 3:59 AM on April 17, 2011


Vial of oil for the rite of [Don LaFontaine voice] EXTREME UNCTION [/Don LaFontaine voice].
posted by klarck at 5:36 AM on April 17, 2011


I would have assumed one key advantage of being adjunct to the catholic church is they would have branches everywhere, so no need for a significant wardrobe or armoury, just pick it up in country, like Q branch in James Bond but with less need for super duper hidden bases in unfriendly places.

A counterpoint to this is that the feasibility of staffing each location (presumably churches) with highly-trained and security-cleared personnel would be undesirable from both a feasibility and security standpoint, the latter because it's never wise, in a secret-type organization, to have anything more than a small cadre of people with a full or even relatively extensive awareness of the scope and nature of that organization. The consequence of this fact is that some branches, probably the remote ones, might be less trustworthy, as the operatives there could be subject to infiltration or worse. A secondary consequence is that remote branches might not be in possession of an armory or agent quarters or etc.
posted by invitapriore at 10:39 AM on April 17, 2011


BTW, I don't know that he's find pictures of the Pope in the "guest rooms" he's staying in ... Catholics don't really do that. As a Catholic, I'd find it a little creepy.

There was a picture of the Pope in the house my aunt, a Catholic nun, was living in. It was pretty creepy.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 5:54 PM on April 17, 2011


I was brought up Catholic and we had a picture of the pope on the wall for decades.
posted by biffa at 1:41 AM on April 18, 2011


Yeah, the very devout or old-school Catholics often have a picture of the Pope somewhere in their house.

Perhaps your hitman is into mortification? If he's a flagellant, he would carry a small sort of whip with him or maybe constantly wears painful chains that dig into his skin. This would change your character from "very devout" to "borderline crazy devout," but a good explanation would be that he does this to atone for the lives he's taken.
posted by castlebravo at 7:34 AM on April 18, 2011


This is really good stuff, thank you all. It's looking like St. Nicholas of Flüe medal (I had no I dead anyone other than St. Christopher got a medal, I thought he had the market cornered), St. Michael the Archangel scapular, rosary, Liturgy of the Hours in German, definitely a monastic cell, likely a Prie-dieu. This isn't The DaVinci Code, I need signifiers and atmosphere, and I need them to be just right enough to not stand out. Thank you all for helping with that.

We're Catholic, we don't read the Bible so much. However, it might make a good decoy to smuggle weaponry in.

Shoutin' that out as the best fucking quote of the response thread. ;-)

Honestly, the idea about the picture of the pope in the room comes from The Commitments (Elvis' picture was above it). But I do also have a Irish Catholic side of the family. But I seem to know more about theology and history than day-to-day Catholickiness.

Okay, I think I have the tools I need. Thanks again. If you're interested, I've got 1 MeFi project and this story will be the next in the sequence, so you'll be able to find it there in the not too distant future should you be so curious.

Thanks again!
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 8:49 PM on April 18, 2011


I knew this reminded me of something: Fr. Elijah: an Apocalypse.
posted by KMH at 2:33 AM on April 19, 2011


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