Since its founding in 320 A.D. nuns and monks have been living in and worshipping at the monastery of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme (in Rome). The monastery, with it’s attached church, was built as a site to house holy artifacts collected by Emperor Constantine during his “vacations” to holy land. There was a bone from the finger St. Thomas stuck in Jesus’ spear-hole, thorns from Jesus’ hat, and even nails and bits of wood from Jesus’ penultimate lawn ornament. The monastery was a fairly famous place among the religiencia.
In recent years Santa Croce had become something of a destination spot for Catholic and Catholic-adjacent celebrities. This was mostly due to the efforts of it’s abbot, Father Simone Fioraso. The padre had been a Milan fashion designer in his former life, and baby, he knew a little something about presentation. The abbot renovated the crumbling structure which had been allowed to fall into disrepair in more modern days, taking a little bit of the austerity out of the place. Fioraso’s “exuberant” approach to monastic life drew Rome’s glitterati as well as Hollywood types from across the globe. The monastery opened a hotel with convenient 24 hour limo service to the airport for its out of town guests, weekly concerts and an organic produce shop selling the fruits of its own gardens for the locals, and hosted televised specials, like a celebrity bible-reading marathon featuring film, television, and media stars, as well as politicians, religious figures, and Pope Benedict (aka: Emperor Palpatine, aka: Darth Sideous) himself. Sister Anna Nobili, who was an exotic dancer before she married christ, and her trained troupe of “nunettes” performed their “holy dance” for special guests of the monastery, which looked a lot like you would imagine it would.
It was a hopping spot, and Father Fioraso was extremely popular with the parishioners.
Reenter Emperor Palpatine.
Apparently Fioraso’s monastic resort/dance club and floor show was beginning to rub some of the Imperials the wrong way. It was determined that fun clashed with Catholic the way pinstriped gold lamé clashed with plaid jackboots, and the abbot therefore had to go. Fioraso had reason to worry, too. He was coming under the same line of inquiry that had targeted Mexico’s Father Marcial Maciel Degollado, who had been discovered to have been having sex with women instead of boys, and was banished to a life of penitence instead merely being reassigned. Fioraso hadn’t had sex with anybody, but since that included not fucking little boys, a slap on the wrist was not guaranteed.
Two years ago Palpatine busted Fioraso, kicking him out of Santa Croce to Internet-knows-where. (I certainly couldn’t find him.) The church’s congregants threw a fit, so the Emperor sent in a team of inquisitors to “investigate” the monastery. They returned to the Death Star with a sealed report which Palpatine refused to make public, but which supposedly included “liturgical and financial irregularities, as well as lifestyles that were probably not in keeping with that of a monk.” according to Imperial spokesman, Father Ciro Benedettini. (emphasis mine) They even closed the organic produce shop, claiming that the monks stocked it from the local grocery store.
As a result of this so-called “investigation”, the Empire has closed the almost 1,700 year old monastery down, and is shuffling the monks off to parts unknown. The church will continue to operate, but everything else is being scuttled for parts. According to the VaticanPublic Affairs office, the Pope offered the following advice to the departed Father Fioraso, “As you can see, my young apprentice, your friends have failed. Now witness the firepower of this fully ARMED and OPERATIONAL battle station!”