The Knights of the Lion of Judah were founded in Year 147 (of the new Standard Solarian Calendar) by two men: St. Michael Ibaraki and St. Gabriel Zhao Rong (neither of these were their birth names, but the names they took on founding the order.) As I mentioned last time, the founding principles of the Knights were justice, courage, solidarity, subsidiarity, and faith. Justice, being the first and the prime concern of the Knights in their normal activities, I thought I could examine it a bit.
St. Aquinas defines justice as “… [A] habit whereby a man renders to each one his due by a constant and perpetual will” (See here for a more in-depth discussion on that.) In that regard, we are all called to be ministers of justice, insofar as we are all supposed to render what is due to each person from us. The Knights take being ministers of justice to a higher plane, that of a vocation. Specifically, the Knights administer justice throughout human space by:
- keeping all human countries to a Code of Conduct of Interstellar War, so that the fewest people need die in war and to keep the machinery of humanity’s life among the stars running;
- brokering and enforcing international treaties;
- overseeing some contested elections, referendums, and other political power-transfers;
- protecting and aiding in trade among colonies that otherwise might be stifled by more powerful neighbors;
- and protecting and freeing humanity from alien oppression, so that humanity and the Church might be free to spread the Gospel to all species across all of the cosmos.
Now, of course, this does not sit well with many powerful people in human space, most especially the Administrators of the Federation of Peoples and the imperial family and nobility of the Empire of the Stars, the two most powerful human countries. They would prefer to war however they see fit, or at least however their neighbors would collectively tolerate their behavior. It also does not sit well with the two powerful neighbors to humanity, the Horde of the Stars and the Swarm, who would rather wash over the rest of humanity in a wave of conquests like they did initially (though when the Swarm created one too many Lesser Queens, she broke off, and is much more benevolent toward her human subjects and neighbors.) Every year, the major, and some of the minor, powers test the boundaries set by the Knights, starting small wars with, trying to fix elections in, and interrupting trade around smaller neighbors to gain power.
The knights deal with this by dispatching flotillas or fleets to likely hot-spots, to enforce the Code of Conduct of Interstellar War on combatants, dispatching armed negotiation parties to troubled areas, dispatching observers with the tools to detect interference, and escorting ships along select trade routes. The primary tool for the first method is the carrier battle group, usually made up of a heavy carrier, a light or stealth carrier, two to three cruisers, four to five destroyers, and a cloud of frigates, corvettes, and interceptors, in addition to several landers full of mechs, mechanized infantry, and sometimes even tanks. Every system controlled by the Knights (with systems being administered by the Knights only after a fair referendum and long negotiations) has a defensive contingent, normal space forts (NsFs), hyperspace forts (HsFs), and an offensive carrier battle group for deployment in the surrounding areas. Their systems are selected for strategic importance, according to the Grand Master of the Knights of the day. Earlier in the Knights’ history, they even left (some woulsay abandoned) systems when it became apparent that they were no longer useful.
This focus on strategy in port-placement can mean that the Knights’ justice is sometimes administered with less-than-perfect evenness. In addition, many Knights, far from losing a devotion to bringing justice, develop an overly strong attachment to their own conception of justice, that forgets other truths, such as subsidiarity or faith in God’s Providence. They become would-be Imperialists, wanting to dictate to all of humanity what peace and justice looks like by force. This is despite the fact that special attention is given in the writing of the founding saints warning and arguing against such an attitude.
The Knights are often welcome, especially in independent systems or the Border Marches, the countries along the border with the Horde and Swarm, but they are not without their often-vocal critics, and face wariness even where they are helping to save the people, especially when a delegation or force of them is led by someone from among the Imperialist school of thought. Nonetheless, they go where they are not wholeheartedly welcomed, and serve their version of justice across as much of human-settled space as they can.
The Sisters are going to be up next, and then another snippet.