From a post to DAVIDWEBER.NET forums on 6/22/2011

Staynair and Merlin on the Archangels

    I thought you folks might like a little perspective of how the archbishop views the original archangels now that he has access to the original records. And given some of the discussion I've seen in a couple of other places, I thought I'd let Merlin answer some questions I've seen raised about The Holy Writ. These two (brief!) passages are from Foundation, though I ain't a-saying where in the book they're from. <G>

    Mikail Staynair speaking about Langhorne & Co:

    “The Church of God Awaiting wasn't created by God. It was built by men and women… men and women who'd seen a more terrible tragedy than anything you and I could possibly imagine. Who'd been broken and damaged by that experience, and who were prepared to do anything — anything at all — to prevent it from happening again. I believe they were terribly, horribly mistaken in what they did, yet I've come to the conclusion over the years since I first discovered Saint Zherneau's journal — and even more in the time since I've known Merlin, and gained access to Owl's records of pre-Safeholdian history — that for all their unspeakable crimes, they weren't really monsters. Oh, they did monstrous things in plenty, and understanding the why can't excuse the what of their actions. I'm not trying to say it could, and I'm sure they did what they did for all the flawed, personal motives we could imagine, as well, including the hunger for power and the need to control. But that doesn't change the truth of the fact that they genuinely believed the ultimate survival of the human race depended upon their actions.

    “Do I think that justifies what they did? No. Do I think it makes the final product of their lie any less monstrous? No. Am I prepared to close my eyes, turn away and allow that lie to continue unchallenged forever? A thousand times no. But neither do I think they acted out of pure evil and self-interest.”

   



    Merlin speaking specifically about Schueler and the Writ:

    “I never knew the real Schueler," Merlin said. "Nimue may have met him, but if so, it was after she'd recorded… me.” He smiled sadly. “Because of that, I've never seen any reason not to assume the Book of Schueler was written by the 'Archangel Schueler,' but we really don't have confirmation of the authorship of any of the books of the Writ, when you come down to it. For that matter, the Book of Schueler wasn't part of the original, early copy of the Writ Commodore Pei left in Nimue's cave. The entire thing was extensively reworked after Langhorne took out the Alexandrian Enclave — inevitably, I suppose — and the Book of Schueler and the Book of Chihiro were both added.”

   



    There! [he said brightly.] I'm sure this will be of immense value in putting all this confused speculation to rest. <G>