From “Deadly Doctrines: a Chronical of Duels” by Fr. Danrhysi Solcunias
The Church of the Ecstasy of the Blood has a problem when it comes to vampires.
Ideally the world is divided up into “physical” and “energy” and we exalt the physical and condemn the energy. An initial lazy repudiation of that theological structure points out how ideas, relationships, experiences, meaning, and sensation are not tangible yet are foundational to human experience—the Habitation Anchor Precept counters this by insisting that none of that exists independent of physical presence, either in a body’s mind and blood, or in a physical book. They are anchored, they live within a physical presence, and therefore they are acceptable.
Using analogy to sow doubt and confusion is a trivial pastime that scholars and aristocrats elevated to an art form—art fueled by constraint. They maneuver within the laws of poetry to craft sonnets, or build around limitations of pigments, perception, and canvas to paint.
Are vampires excused in the Church theological structure because they are ghosts who have an artificial Habitation Anchor? How is vampiric essence less anchored than ideas, captured in a record of ink and language, committed to the flesh of a blank-slate book that had no meaning before it was connected there? If an idea is written on a chalkboard that has hosted many ideas but been erased, is that idea now suspect because its habitation is temporary, even if the same idea is written in a book? As with ideas and writing, so too with possessing ghosts, and the peak of the form in ghosts melded with a body permanently.
Theological purity was never going to win out over aristocratic enlightened self-interest. The Felswift Report was produced by the Doctrine Committee almost three hundred years ago after a long and contentious process of theological examination (Church records note over 1,200 duel challenges inspired by related doctrinal points over half a decade, with 146 recorded deaths resulting.) In the end, reinterpretation of the Habitation Anchor Precept was codified to allow dynastic hives of ancestral ghosts (properly regulated, of course) as well as allowance of vampires if they could demonstrate that their spirit and their vessel were both faithful to the Church in their respective lives.
Thus you have the open secret of Lord Scurlock’s vampirism excused by the church. An entire tier of blackmail against the wealthy harboring the dead evaporated from sin to distasteful choice. Because of the apparent shallowness of philosophical engagement with the problem, and the transparency of a solution favoring the wealthy and powerful, the Felswift Report is frequently the door through which believers move from viewing Church thought from the inside to examining it from the outside—not as the faithful looking to improve, but instead as the cynic cataloging the wealthy’s self-service.