OOC: Happy Holidays, everyone! I started this thing a while back -- after the first group chat, when we'd mentioned a Christmas Mass during our discussion of the characters' religion. Found the file a week or so ago and have been writing more, off and on when I get bored. Because of winter break and availability concerns, I added to it so that it could stand by itself. Though if anyone wants to use it as a jumping point for an RP thread, by all means, comment away! I guess this is the first part of two posts, with the second one coming... whenever I get time to finish it.
Benjamin Malloy – President of the United States, Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, workaholic extraordinaire – isn’t a man to go to church on a regular basis. Though many Presidents before him have found ways to do so, Malloy has not. Nor, if he were perfectly honest with himself, does he really want to. Ben’s moderately successful attempts to not work on Sundays are less about keeping holy the Sabbath and more about trying to spend time with his wife. His beliefs are complicated; they’re something that he’d perhaps spend more time wrestling with if the problems of the nation weren’t forefront in his mind.
He regards religious belief as a private matter. He said as much when the subject came up during the campaign, referencing Thomas Jefferson’s ideal of a separation between church and state. When he’s asked, the President will respond that he was raised a Catholic, but any attempts to pursue the subject further are usually met with a desire not to mix politics and religion, and a swift change of subject.
Even without being a weekly churchgoer, many supporters have said he is a man of great faith. He agrees with them if they’re using the word as a sort of synonym for… well, flat-out belief: be it in the people around him, or that there are things beyond his understanding, or even in the inherent good of humanity. He hopes they don’t mean Faith, as in Christian dogma. Though he believes in God, his grasp of theology is more than a little shaky. And he outright disagrees with some of the Church’s teachings, only adding to his struggles with religion.
So when Malloy asked a few members of his staff to see what it would take to go to a midnight Mass for Christmas, they were mildly surprised. It is not uncommon for a President to attend holiday services. Midnight Mass, however, is rare. Of further interest to the Senior Staff and their assistants, who privately discussed this aberration in their leader’s routine, was the fact that he gave absolutely no reason for his request. Reason or no, however, they set about figuring the logistics of the matter (particularly in regards to feasibility, security, and public relations).
Doing some research inadvertently tripped the curiosity of both the dean of the Washington National Cathedral, the Very Reverend Samuel Lloyd, and an assistant to Monsignor W. Ronald Jameson in the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle. Without being asked, both men gave President Malloy an open invitation for a midnight Mass. The National Cathedral delivered a hand-written invitation (citing the cathedral's proud distinction as being "the national house of prayer for all people") for an interfaith service. St. Matthew’s, the seat of the Archbishop of Washington and a prestigious Catholic church, relayed their offer via phone call from the Monsignor to the President’s secretary.
So now there are two offers for a midnight service for the President of the United States. And as both Cathedrals have hosted Presidential functions in the past, security is no longer an issue – a relief to both the Secret Service and the First Lady. Both churches are willing to perform the service at 12:00AM on December 24th: the night before Christmas Eve and roughly ten hours before the President and First Lady intend to depart for New Jersey and their holiday at home.
Now all that has to be decided is… which invitation to accept?