Shadows of Boston
The Catholic Church
Nay child, there is only one recourse for the likes of you. Repent, and do your sins in the name of the Lord, instead of in the name of Lucifer. – Father Brian O’Malley
The Church of the Sixth World is much what you remember it. Big gothic cathedrals, communion, long prayers and persistent rumors of child molestation. The difference is that all that money that the Church has accumulated over the years has a real use today; it gives the Church the power of a AA Megacorporation. To put that in perspective, the Church can field resources equivalent to one or two of Neonet’s subdivisions.
The SINNER chip
Cleverly (or not so cleverly) named the SIN chip, this superficial chip is implanted under the surface of the temple and reads surface thoughts captured from the host. The only thing the SINNER cares about is whether or not these thoughts are concurrent with sinful acts , and then records them later. When a Catholic receives confession, these sins are read by a small handheld device, which the Priest can then absolve on a case by case basis.
Shadowrunners are allowed a certain degree of… latitude in their sins. They’re all recorded, just like any other Catholic, but Priests tend not to care about things like theft, destruction of property or even murder so long as they are done in the best interests of the Church. However, some sins (such as heresy, blasphemy or infidelity) are held in much higher esteem for runners, since they aren’t really assumed to be part of the runner’s job description.
The Church has an abundance of two things. Money, firstly. Money flows in from all parts of the globe and many high level corporate executives still consider themselves at least ostensibly Catholic (particularly at Neonet, Ares, and Aztechnology). They spend this money mostly on infrastructure, support for the common folk, and spreading the good word of the Lord. Mostly. The high-tech Paladins are infamous for being very expensive warriors of Christ. They are, thankfully, rare.
The other abundance is magic. About 1% of the population has a Magic score and only a small percentage of that has trained their ability to any notable degree. Closer to 5% of the Church’s officers are awakened, and in urban areas the concentration can be as high as 10% amongst ordained priests. Granted, most of these are merely magical amateurs but enough are terrifying sorcerers to give the Church a degree of clout. The Church practices it’s own unique Tradition that is neither Hermetic nor Shamanic but something else altogether. They summon angelic spirits that have a greater-than-normal working knowledge of world than most spirits.