The Fine Line
Father Johannes de Silentio, S.J.
A learned Jesuit priest, leaping to faith and struggling with the dizziness of freedom
- Investigative Abilities
- Anthropology (1), Archaeology (1), Architecture (1), Art History (1), Forensic Psychology (1), History (1), Languages (3 points—raised speaking English and Spanish, also speaks Latin and Greek), Law (1), Natural History (1), Occult Studies (4), Research (1), Textual Analysis (1), Trivia (1)
- Bureaucracy (1), Reassurance (1)
- Astronomy (1), Chemistry (1), Cryptography (1), Data Retrieval (2), Document Analysis (1), Forensic Anthropology (1), Pathology (1)
- General Abilities
- Athletics (7), Health (10), Medic (10), Preparedness (6), Scuffling (8), Shooting (2), Shrink (12), Stability (8)
- Holy water, worn paperback copy of Fear and Trembling, pocket Bible, bus pass, rosary, .22 revolver, priest’s robes
Johannes was born with the name Abraham Climacus. He was born into money: his Cuban-American father inherited Abraham’s grandfather’s lucrative import/export business, squandering most of it over the course of his career. His mother was the only daughter of a wealthy Danish physician. She died of unknown causes when Abraham (the youngest of three children) was 8.
Abraham was raised in a devout Catholic family and attended private Catholic schools up to and including his undergraduate education. His father (Pedro) cast a shadow over the rest of his life. A passionate, superstitious, mildly alcoholic, deeply conflicted Catholic, Pedro was convinced that God had cursed his family because of Pedro’s youthful sins. Pedro believed that none of his children would live past the age of 33 (the last year of Jesus’s life). Rather than wait to see if his prophecy was correct, Pedro committed suicide when his oldest child was 32 and Abraham was 22, just about to graduate from college.
As a young man, Abraham rebelled mightily against his father’s religious intensity and the strictures of his home life. He openly mocked Christianity, finding support and solace in philosophy, psychology, and the arts (particularly the theater). After leaving college, Abraham eked out a living as a playwright, penning experimental and subversive works for independent theater groups around the U.S. He was particularly inspired by Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, and wrote several variations on it throughout his career.
As he aged, Abraham increasingly found himself drawn to art that confronted religious and occult topics. His own work veered sharply in that direction. He began to associate with like-minded artists and individuals obsessed with the occult. These associations eventually consumed his life, to the point that he stopped writing entirely and devoted all his time to occult research and rituals.
The breaking point came when Abraham “woke up” to find himself involved in the ritual sacrifice of his lover, a woman named Regine Olsen. The two had developed an intimate relationship after Regine starred in several of his plays, and Regine had followed Abraham in his descent into the occult. Now, she was a completely willing participant in her own sacrifice, and the group making the sacrifice hoped to summon some kind of demon with her spilled blood. At the moment her throat was cut, Abraham felt a kind of electricity run through his body, a sharp shock as if ice water had been thrown on his soul. He fled from the ritual and that community, never to return. For the rest of his life, leading Regine to her own murder would forever be the worst thing he had done.
At the age of 35, Abraham suddenly found himself completely adrift in life. Impulsively, he returned to the institution that had provided him with structure and security as a young man: the Catholic Church. He enrolled as a Jesuit acolyte and immersed himself in a new life of the mind and of the spirit. It was here that he chose the name “Johannes de Silentio”: one of Søren Kierkegaard’s pseudonyms and the “author” of Fear and Trembling. By choosing this name, Abraham hoped to distance himself from his past, while simultaneously grounding himself in Kierkegaard’s theology.
The man now known as Father Johannes has spent the last two decades within the Jesuit academic community. He researches constantly and publishes academic papers on various topics. He is always careful to stay out of the limelight, but through his scholarly work he is known as an expert on occult topics. As required by the Jesuit order, he has taught Latin and other subjects at a Jesuit university: Gonzaga, in Spokane, Washington, where he has a small apartment and personal library on campus. He devotes his private time to prayer, contemplation, and research. But through it all, he has been unable to find a peaceful resolution to his internal spiritual war.
About five years ago, Johannes retired almost entirely from teaching and devoted most of his time to research and writing. At some point, his publications on the occult drew the attention of the FBI Special Unit (and the Ordo Veritatis), and he has worked for them since then.
Now at the age of 57, Johannes continues to struggle with his faith. Increasingly often, he awakes to find one image seared across his eyes: a ritual dagger severing his beloved’s throat. He works for the Ordo Veritatis not only because he wants to protect the Veil (although his own internal “veil” is far from secure itself), but also in the hopes that he can redeem his past sins and settle his own spiritual conflict.