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The Four Tenets which underpin the Order of Perpetual Indulgence

(Source Sydney House Website)



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Every member of our House is guided and bound in their actions by our Four Tenets of Faith which underpin the Order of Perpetual Indulgence.

The First Tenet - The Granting of Perpetual Indulgences

The Second Tenet - The Expiation of Stigmatic Guilt

The Third Tenet - The Promulgation of Universal Joy

The Fourth Tenet - Public Manifestation through Habitual Perpetration

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The First Tenet - The Granting of Perpetual Indulgences

This is a two-fold concept: 
In early Catholic Church history, the plan was to die and go to heaven. Because everyone was born with sin, the theory was that no one could really get to heaven and so everybody had to go to Hell. This upset people - especially Satan who had to find room for everyone - so the Church invented Purgatory - a kind of afterlife waiting room where you stayed until you had ‘done time’ for your earthly sins. Depending on how bad you were, depended on how long you stayed.

Sometimes your earthly sins were so horrible ("mortal sin"), that you went straight to Hell and bypassed Purgatory altogether. Usually though, people committed only basic, run-of-the-mill sins ("venial") and so went to Purgatory to do time.

After a while, the Catholic Church decided that there needed to be some sort of order to this, and so they decided that every sin should have a time length. This was useful because then it was able to work out how to get people to heaven quicker by inventing the Indulgence.

Therefore, each ‘good’ deed you did on Earth, you were rewarded with a certain amount of days’ indulgence. Everyday good deeds included: going to Mass, saying the Rosary, taking communion, confession. Especially pious deeds, like becoming a monk or nun, gained lots of days of indulgence (plenary).

The best indulgence (and certainly the most sought after) was the "Perpetual Indulgence", which gave you instant access to Heaven without spending any time at all in Purgatory.

Overtime time, corruption set in and Perpetual Indulgences became a form of currency. The Catholic Church officially abandoned the belief in indulgences (and Purgatory) some time ago, however the concept still lurks around in various forms.

The English language being what it is, it allows us to play with words. The "Order of Perpetual Indulgence" is also a word play (pun) which we can use to advantage. For example, we can bless someone - allowing them to indulge perpetually in being of themselves, in their sexuality, in their joy.

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The Second Tenet - The Expiation of Stigmatic Guilt

Expiate: to atone for (sin or wrongdoing); make amends for. 

By wearing the old and antiquated habits of the old/early Catholic Church, the Sisters represent the old and antiquated habits of the old/early Catholic Church.

One of those habits - unfortunately still practised by many "Christians" these days - is stigmatising homosexuality as being sinful and thereby making people feel guilty for what is a natural expression for them. Our (satirical?) purpose here is to take on the duty of the Catholic Church of saying to everyone "Sorry for making you feel guilty all your life", and thereby releasing that burden from the person.

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The Third Tenet - The Promulgation of Universal Joy

"Promulgate" - 1. to put into effect (a law, decree, etc), especially by formal proclamation. 

2. to announce officially. 3 to make widespread [Latin promulgare to bring to public knowledge] Essentially, running around telling everyone that "joy" - as a concept - is for all, not just the chosen few.

People often either have learnt from their background / upbringing, or they simply forget, that no matter who you are you are entitled to have joy in your life. Rather than carrying around the weight of the world on your shoulders, you are allowed to smile, you are allowed to laugh.

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The Fourth Tenet - Public Manifestation through Habitual Perpetration

Simply getting out in public and being seen. The work of the OPI is a missionary one, and cannot ever be accomplished by sitting at home and talking about the world.

We must be out there, seen, and heard. All the theories and earth-shattering revelation in the world cannot be performed by staying at home and hoping someone in need will come knocking on the door. This is a vital part of being a member of the Order, and can be extremely hard at times.

One represents the Order each and every moment whilst manifesting. It is impossible to be inconspicuous, and whilst the demands are many, it is essential that we maintain a visible presence in the community. Sometimes, it is simply by "being there" - not performing any special activity, but merely being seen - that a powerful messages of support and awareness occurs.

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Aims & Objectives of the Abbey of the Black Swan.



The Sisters & Brothers of the Order of Perpetual Indulgence are an International grassroots response to hate, fear and ignorance. When they cease, our job will be done.

1. Expiation of stigmatic guilt (that guilt we direct at ourselves or the guilt we apply to others.

2. Promulgation of Universal Joy, especially among GLBTIQ people.

3. To be a GLBTIQ Liberation Organisation.

4. To help make every GLBTIQ person feel good about themselves.

5. To provide a public forum to for like minded gay people and gay sympathetic people to express their views and interests.

6. To be concerned with the physical and social environment of all in the GLBTIQ community.

7. To be concerned with preserving and promoting the desirable historical, social and cultural features of the GLBTIQ community.

8. To review those activities and policies of public, statutory and private organisations which affect the GLBTIQ & HIV+ Communities.

9. To support and co-operate with other organizations whose aims and objectives are compatible with those of the Order.

10. To represent the views and interests of the members of the Order before public, statutory and private organisations on matters which affect the Order.

11. To raise funds for GLBTIQ charities and in particular those relating to HIV/AIDS.

12. To carry out safer sex education and raise awareness about the needs of HIV+ people within the GLBTIQ Community.

13. To do any other acts as may be incidental or conducive to the the attainment of these objects and aims of the Order.




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