Divine text : The Pope is the Eldest of My children.
Commentary : The Pope represents God to watch over the preservation of His Religion in this world. Whatever his age, the Eldest acts as a guide for the children of God. The Spiritual Power has decided that this is so.
The Sacerdotal Council (Hội Thánh / 會聖 ) is divided into two Bodies: the CỬU TRÙNG ĐÀI / 九重臺 and the Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺 (Divine alliance entrusted with Legislative Power). But the Hộ Pháp / 護法 himself, head of the Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺, is considered in the temporal sphere as the younger brother of the Pope, although in the spiritual sphere he may be his equal.
Divine Text : He (the Pope) has the right to represent ME to guide My children in the Spiritual Way (Đạo / 道) and in the Temporal Way (Đời).
Commentary : The Pope has the same powers as God to teach Virtue to all His Disciples. He is concerned with each one of them, he guides each one and takes care to ensure that each one does not transgress the Divine Law (Thiên Điều / 天條). He obliges all disciples of God to make themselves conform strictly to the prescriptions of the New Code (Tân Luật / 新律). Thus any disciple, whatever his rank in the Episcopal Hierarchy, in the case of wrong behaviour, ought not to benefit from the leniency or mercy of the Pope. Protection of a guilty disciple makes him lose his blood in the Empyrean Realm (Thiên Vị /天位), provokes jealousy among the faithful, and lessens the good reputation of the Holy Doctrine.
The Pope must protect, uphold or console adepts who are crushed by the miseries of life, and dignitaries who as members of the Sacerdotal Council (Hội Thánh / 會聖 ) are overwhelmed by the weight of their abstinence. Since the Pope has full powers to replace God he must try to transform the life of suffering into an existence marked by happiness.
This is the Exalted Task of the Pope.
Divine text : He has control over bodies, but no control over souls.
Commentary : The reference to the body is a reference to the material part. The material part of men is their Temporal Way (Đời).
The reference to the soul is a reference to the spiritual part and the spiritual part is their Spiritual Way (Đạo / 道).
Earlier God has said : He has the right to guide in the Spiritual Way (Đạo / 道) and in the Temporal Way (Đời). Thus God has indicated clearly that it is a question of guiding His children in the way of Virtue, a way which God himself has outlined, and also in the temporal way which Virtue has produced. But there is no question of control over the totality of the spiritual and temporal parts. We must make clear the difference in meaning between the words Way and Part, and make every effort to understand and not confuse these two words.
Here are the Holy Words of God, when Hộ Pháp / 護法 asked him about the powers of the Pope :
Hộ Pháp / 護法's question : According to the Gospel of Christianity which the Master has decreed, the Pope has full powers over souls and bodies. Because of these extensive powers, Christianity has gained great material influence. Today, the Master reduces the powers of our Pope in relation to the psychic part, so that I am fearful that he may not have enough authority to preach the good news to men and convert them.
God's answer (given with a laugh) : It was a mistake on My part. I was rigged out in a sensual body, which resulted in an Incarnate being having the same powers as I have over souls. He mounted My throne, took hold of the Supreme Powers and abused them to make men slaves of the sensual body. In addition, the precious powers which, for love of humanity, I had bestowed on you, formed a two-edged weapon, which encouraged you to create anarchy among yourselves.
I am not coming today to take these powers from you, but rather to destroy their deadly effect. The best way to deal with the evil is to separate these powers into two, so that there will be no dictator.
A person who controls the Temporal and the Divine simultaneously usually does not fail to take hold of legislative and executive powers. Once such powers are within the control of a single person, it is rare for humanity to escape from oppression.
If I granted the Pope (Giáo Tông / 教宗) full powers over bodies and souls (that is, over the Temporal and the Spiritual), what good would the
Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺 be? The
CỬU TRÙNG ĐÀI / 九重臺 is the Temporal and the
Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺 is the Spiritual. Without the Spiritual, the Temporal has no right and without the Temporal, the Spiritual has no strength. Strength and right must unite to recreate the world. This is the good way for you so that you will unite, and help one another and ensure that My Divine Doctrine does not degenerate into Profane Teaching.
I am not coming today to take these powers from you, but rather to destroy their deadly effect. The best way to deal with the evil is to separate these powers into two, so that there will be no dictator.
A person who controls the Temporal and the Divine simultaneously usually does not fail to take hold of legislative and executive powers. Once such powers are within the control of a single person, it is rare for humanity to escape from oppression.
If I granted the Pope (Giáo Tông / 教宗) full powers over bodies and souls (that is, over the Temporal and the Spiritual), what good would the Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺 be? The CỬU TRÙNG ĐÀI / 九重臺 is the Temporal and the Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺 is the Spiritual. Without the Spiritual, the Temporal has no right and without the Temporal, the Spiritual has no strength. Strength and right must unite to recreate the world. This is the good way for you so that you will unite, and help one another and ensure that My Divine Doctrine does not degenerate into Profane Teaching.
Divine text : He has the right to communicate spiritually with the Thirty-Six Heavens, the Three Thousand Worlds, the Sixty-Seven Planets, and the Ten Tribunals of Hell to beg for the sanctification of your souls.
Commentary : When God says : "beg for the sanctification"He means to indicate that the Pope only has the right to beg. It is the role of the Bát Quái Ðài / 八卦臺 (Council of the Gods) to bestow this sanctification or not.
How can the Pope communicate with the Thirty-Six Heavens, the Three Thousand Worlds, the Sixty-Seven Planets, and the Ten Tribunals of Hell?
He must go to the sanctuary of the Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺 (Divine Alliance) to entreat the miraculous powers of Spiritism. There is a passage of the Holy Scriptures (Pháp Chánh Truyền / 法正傳) about the Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺 on this very point :
“Besides the Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺 is the place where the Pope communicates with the Thirty-Six Heavens, the Three Thousand Worlds, the Sixty-Seven Planets, and the Ten Tribunals of Hell to beg for the sanctification of the souls of humankind.”
Thus from an esoteric point of view (Đạo / 道), the Pope has no power. Even his requests addressed to the Bát Quái Ðài / 八卦臺 (Council of the Gods) must go through the Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺.
The Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺 is then the intermediary between the Pope and the Higher Spirits : Thần / 神 (Genies); Thánh / 聖 (Saints); Tiên / 仙 (Immortals); Phật /佛 (Buddhas).
Divine text : The Legislative Cardinals belong to the three branches : Taoist, Confucianist and Buddhist.
Commentary : There is only one Legislative Cardinal in each branch. The three branches differ from each other both interiorly and exteriorly. The doctrinal principles are not the same. The New Code (Tân Luật / 新律) is a syncretisation of them. For this reason God has added :
Divine text : Though the Laws and Principles of these Three Doctrines are different, I consider them as forming a single whole.
Commentary : Because He considers them as a single Doctrine, God reveals himself to humanity and makes humanity establish the New Code (Tân Luật / 新律). God adapts himself to humanity's state of spirit and soul. All are to be conformed to this Code so as to be able to carry out religious practice without infringing the Divine Laws, aiming at their individual sanctification and the communication of the good news to their neighbour.
In the past Divine Laws obliged men to raise their personal dignity to the level of the dignity of the Great Spirits (Thần / 神, Thánh / 聖, Tiên / 仙 , Phật /佛) to allow them to perfect their virtue and to achieve their individual sanctification.
Today the Great Spirits have reached down to the level of men so as to lead their souls back to the Divine Space and place them on the same level as God.
When we were forced to do this, it was all difficult. Now that we are free, it has all become easy. This is natural. More so because at this stage we have passed beyond the “Cycle of Progress” [(The first cycle of Manvantara is the Cycle of Creation (Tạo Hóa), that is, the Cycle of Innocence (Thánh Đức). The second cycle is Cycle of Progress (Tấn Hóa), or Cycle of Struggle and the Destruction. The third and the last cycle is the Cycle of Conservation (Bảo-Tồn), or the Cycle of Reproduction (Tái-Tạo) or Renovation (Qui-Cổ)] and we have reached to highest ranks. The old doctrines no longer have sufficient moral authority to uphold Faith. When men lose their faith in Religion, the tendency to self-destruct continues to exist. If this tendency continues, anarchy is inevitable.
If the Temporal must rely on the Spiritual simply to exist, there is a reciprocal need for the Spiritual to deal carefully with the Temporal so that it can last. Who knows whether the New Code which has been established according to the instructions of God who came with precisely that aim, has not been called upon to undergo at some future date modifications which would adapt it to the spiritual state of men who remain constantly open to evolution? The Temporal and the Spiritual must unite to guide Humanity on the Way of Eternity.
Example : Someone has asked : “Why hasn't God used the former laws which were already established for the Three existing Religions?Why is He creating a New Code, and thus forcing men to abandon the Former for the New?
We replied :
“The answer is that God has taught us in a message : The Jade Court (Court of the Gods) has fought with the former laws and the Thunder Temple (Heavenly Sanctuary) has destroyed the old principles. The former laws therefore and the old principles no longer have any value. Religious people who mistakenly believe that they have to conform to the former laws and the old principles are clearly contradicted by the Divine Laws of Caodaism, for Caodaism replaces God to administer Religion.
This is the reason why the Supreme Master forbade the five branches of the
Ngọc Sect (Confucianism) to use the former laws to continue the inculcation of blind enthusiasm into Humanity.
The observation of the former laws is a transgression of the Divine Laws and if we transgress the Divine Laws we cannot achieve individual salvation.”
This is the reason why the Supreme Master forbade the five branches of the Ngọc Sect (Confucianism) to use the former laws to continue the inculcation of blind enthusiasm into Humanity.
The observation of the former laws is a transgression of the Divine Laws and if we transgress the Divine Laws we cannot achieve individual salvation.”(Read the remainder to gain a better understanding of the doctrinal point of view of God).
Divine text : Thus Unity becomes Trinity and Trinity is none other than Unity.
Commentary : Thus the New Code is the syncretisation of the Three Religions, and this makes the Unity become Trinity, and the three former codes of the Three Religions are blended into a single form, the New Code.
Divine text : The Legislative Cardinals have the right to examine the religious laws before their promulgation, whether they come from the Pope, or are proposed by the Cardinals (Đầu Sư /頭師).
Commentary : In the ranks of the CỬU TRÙNG ĐÀI / 九重臺 (the Nine Degrees of the Episcopal Hierarchy), the Pope represents the Divine Spirits to watch over religious practice. The Pope has the right to make laws, a supreme right conferred on him by the Divine Spirits and by God. The Cardinals represent the mass of the faithful. They derive their great authority from this mass. The Pope and the Cardinals must always be in agreement so as to consolidate the work of the “Creation of the World”, which consists of unifying God and Men.
Ordinarily the Divine Mission is often beyond the reach of men and men of often hostile to the Divine Mission. Who knows whether one day the Pope may not enact laws which are beyond the capacity of human beings? whether the Cardinals may not propose laws which contradict the Divine Laws? This means a disagreement among them. Without the Legislative Cardinals who represent the Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺 within the CỬU TRÙNG ĐÀI / 九重臺, and who play a mediating role to reconcile them, Religion would lose its balance and its order would be marred. This would cause dissention and the creation of separate sects.
Thus the Legislative Cardinals have the right to verify laws before their promulgation. Laws which do not carry the three seals of the Legislative Cardinals and have not been approved by the Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺 must not be carried out by the faithful of God. (Good!) (This is an expression of approval by the Spiritual Pope Lý).
Divine text : If the two groups, (the Pope and the Cardinals) are not in agreement, they (the Legislative Cardinals ) must submit the law to the Hộ Pháp / 護法 who will take it to the Sanctuary of the Divine Alliance (Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺) where he will call on God for modifications to be made or, according to his wish, a complete reformulation.
Commentary : If a Law which derives from the Pope is contrary to the human activity of the adepts, and if the Cardinals consider it inapplicable, the Cardinals must submit it themselves to the Legislative Cardinals and ask them to modify it.
In the same way, if the Pope receives from the Cardinals a Law which contradicts the Divine Laws, he himself must send it back to the Legislative Cardinals for a new examination.
On both sides equally, there must be no abuse of power to reject a law by right of office and cause mutual dishonour. There is a need for conciliation, and for acceptance that these decisions are the concern of the Legislative Cardinals. If the Legislative Cardinals do not succeed in agreeing, they must submit the case to the Hộ Pháp / 護法, which will go to the Sanctuary of the Divine Alliance to ask God to modify the law. Or perhaps the Hộ Pháp / 護法 will create a consensus of the wishes of the two parties, and will propose a new law.
Divine text : Thus they (the Legislative Cardinals) have the right to check the prayer books and other works before they are distributed. If they find works which are harmful to good habits, they must forbid their publication.
Commentary : Checking of religious works before their circulation involves censorship of them before their publication. But though they have the right of censorship, and may forbid the publication of works susceptible of compromising good habits or contrary to the religious Laws, the Legislative Cardinals must submit their decisions to the Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺 for approval before authorising or forbidding a publication. This involves not only religious works published by the faithful, but also those presented by people who are alien to religion. If the works are harmful to good habits, the Priestly Council must help the Legislative Cardinals to destroy them. This is the reason why God has said :
Divine text : You should oblige all Adepts to contribute to the carrying out of human Laws.
Commentary : Although this point involves human Laws, if they make humankind unhappy, the Legislative Cardinals ought to look for ways to lessen their stringency. The temporal power must depend on Religion to be strong, and this means that this power will not be strong unless Religion itself is strong. There can be no thought of taking suffering away from Humankind unless Religion is strong. For this reason God has been constrained to add :
Divine text : I advise all my children to unite their efforts to sustain them.
Divine text : Each legislative Cardinal has his particular seal.
Commentary : The particular sign of the Seal of the Legislative Cardinal of the Buddhist Branch is the Bowl of Charity (to receive offerings); the particular sign of the Seal of the Legislative Cardinal of the Taoist Branch is the Feather Duster of Purification (Phất Chủ / 拂麈); the particular sign of the Seal of the Legislative Cardinal of the Confucianist Branch is the Book of Spring and Autumn (Virtue and Love).
Taken together, these three symbols form the three Archaic Attributes (Cổ Pháp /古法) which the Hộ Pháp / 護法 venerates. He wears them on his head-dress when he wears the Lesser vestment/ordinary vestment.
On the head-dress of the Major vestment/Ceremonial vestment of the Pope there are three other Archaic Attributes :
1° the Fan of Exteriorisation (Long Tu Phiến / 龍鬚扇. Literally this means the Dragon beard Fan).
2° the Sword of Elevation (Thư Hùng Kiếm / 雌雄劍. Literally this means the double Sword : Male and Female).
3° the Feather Duster of Sanctification (Phất Chủ / 拂麈).
These are also the Archaic Attributes of the Thượng Phẩm /上品 and the Thượng Sanh /上生.
Divine text : The three seals must appear together on each law to make each law applicable.
Commentary : Every law or text even if approved by two out of three of the Legislative Cardinals may not be promulgated. This means that the Pope above cannot approve it, and the Cardinals below have no right to put it into practice.
The CỬU TRÙNG ĐÀI / 九重臺 is an Administrative Body, but the Legislative Cardinals depend upon the Legislative Power. Thus they are representatives of the Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺 within the CỬU TRÙNG ĐÀI / 九重臺. This is an innovation of the Religion.
Divine text : The Cardinals have the right to direct the Disciples of God, Spiritually and Temporally.
Commentary : Here God uses the words “Spiritually” and “Temporally” to define the powers of the Cardinals. The Cardinals thus have full powers over the administrative part of the CỬU TRÙNG ĐÀI / 九重臺 and the Legislative part of the the Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺. They thus have the right to represent the Pope (Giáo Tông / 教宗) and the Hộ Pháp / 護法 with the Brotherhood. Representatives of the Pope and the Hộ Pháp / 護法, they depend on both the CỬU TRÙNG ĐÀI / 九重臺 and the Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺. For this reason the Cardinals must submit to the authority of these two Bodies in the exercise of their functions. They should do nothing of their own initiative with receiving beforehand the instructions of the Pope and the Hộ Pháp / 護法.
Divine text : They have the right to enact laws, but they must submit them for the approval of the Pope (Giáo Tông / 教宗).
Commentary : The Cardinals have the right to enact laws suitable for the administration of the Religion, with adaptations from the aspirations of the people and in agreement with the Divine Will. Now it still happens that what satisfies the aspirations of the people is contrary to the Divine Will. For this reason the Cardinals must submit their laws for the Pope's approval, since the Pope is the representative of God, with the task of arranging everything so that the Divine Will may not be opposed by Humanity.
Divine Text : These laws must be examined in every detail, to ensure that they are truly useful to Humanity.
Commentary : This phrase indicates clearly that if the Cardinals enact laws, it is strictly necessary that these laws are useful to Humanity. This is the reason why God has commanded us : The CỬU TRÙNG ĐÀI / 九重臺 and the Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺 must be alert about every detail here : if there is no recognition of any use to humanity, the Cardinals must not enact laws or repeal them.
Divine text : The Pope must convey (these laws) to the Legislative Cardinals for examination before approving them.
Commentary : Even if these laws fulfilled the wishes of the Pope, he could not approve them by right of office. He must entrust them to the Legislative Cardinals for examination beforehand.
Earlier it was stated in the powers of the Legislative Cardinals : The laws which are not approved by all three Legislative Cardinals must not be promulgated.
Thus the Pope and the Cardinals must not agree to infringe the Constitutional Laws. If they passed laws by the Legislative Cardinals without any examination beforehand, they would commit an infringement of the law. In case of infringing the law, whatever the rank of the guilty party, he is subject to the Confessional High Court (the Tribunal of the Three Spiritual Doctrines / Tòa Tam Giáo /座三敎).
When He commands the Cardinals to receive the orders of the Pope before promulgating (the laws), God said:
Divine text : They must obey the orders of the Pope as if these laws came from the Pope himself.
Commentary : The Cardinals only obey the orders of the Pope, although they represent the Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺 as far as legislation is concerned. From the moment that a law is fully examined by the Legislative Cardinals and has received the approbation of the Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺, the tacit order (for its promulgation) by the Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺 is included in this formality.
Divine text : If a law is contrary to the existing practices of the general group of adepts, they (the Cardinals) can demand its repeal.
Commentary : It is not only a matter of the current New Code. Later on when the New Code will have become the Old Code, the Cardinals will still have the right, if a law is contrary to human activity, to demand its repeal.
Divine text : I advise My children to love them and help them.
Commentary : God advises the Sacerdotal Council/ Hội Thánh / 會聖 to take an interest in the weighty task of the Cardinals, to love them and to help them to carry out their mission.
Divine text : I recommend that My children should approach them each time they have an important matter to consider.
Commentary : God recommends his disciples that is to say, all the adepts, to approach the Cardinals each time that they have a matter to decide, because they are the complete incarnation of Religion in this world.
Divine text : The three Branches are different, but the powers (of the Cardinals) are the same.
Commentary : The three Branches are : Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism. These three Branches differ from each other, but comparatively speaking their powers are the same, because they depend on the New Code. This is Unity in Trinity and Trinity in Unity.
Among the three Cardinals, there is no major or minor figure (Good! / Appreciative comment by the Spiritual Pope Lý), their powers are equal. A law, whether it emanates from the Pope or whether it emerges from the assembly of adepts, if it is adopted by the Legislative Cardinals and the Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺, must be promulgated, even if it receives the assent of only one of the Cardinals. Only in a situation where the three Cardinals are agreed in not obeying, should the law be returned to the Pope, who will convey it to the Legislative Cardinals for a new examination. (Good!/ Appreciative comment by the Spiritual Pope Lý)). their powers are equal. For this reason God said:
Divine text : If a law set down by the Pope is the subject of a unanimous rejection signed by the three Cardinals, it must be returned to the Pope, who will hand it back to the Legislative Cardinals for a new examination.
Commentary : This is God's decision : if the three Cardinals convey in writing that they cannot obey, God is absolutely sure that the law is contrary to the interests of Humanity. But it is important that the Cardinals provide the obvious proof of the contradiction between the law and the interests of Humanity to justify their refusal to obey and their demand for repeal. If only one of the three Cardinals considers that he can obey, there can be no proclamation that the law is contrary to the interests of Humanity and if this is so, then the law must be promulgated.
In the light of such a power, such a restriction seems rather severe, but the Divine Will demands that the three Cardinals act as one. (Good! / Appreciative comment by the Spiritual Pope Lý)
Divine Text : They are endowed with the three seals, one for each; for the validity of any document it must have the imprint of the seals. (You understand clearly!)
Commentary : These three seals belong to Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. All executive orders must have the imprint of the three seals of the Cardinals.
Before the Cardinals undertake their functions, they must swear to the Holy See that they will maintain an attitude of impartiality when they carry out their functions, just like the dignitaries of the Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺 who have given their oath.
United powers. After taking the oath, the Cardinals are empowered to exercise both the office of Administrator and the office of Legislator.
Though these wider powers, the Cardinals use all necessary means to prevent Heresy from compromising Orthodoxy. In a dangerous situation, if the three Principal Archbishops are powerless to face up to this, the Cardinals are authorised to make use of these unified powers to direct the Sacerdotal / Hội Thánh / 會聖 . All the dignitaries of the CỬU TRÙNG ĐÀI / 九重臺 and the Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺 must accede to their authority, even the Pope and the Hộ Pháp / 護法 (Good!)
Divine text : The Archbishops of each branch number 12, so that the total is thirty-six. Among these thirty-six, there are three Principal Archbishops.
Commentary : The Three Principal Archbishops must be chosen within the three Branches : Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. These three dignitaries are not only the heads of the thirty-three Archbishops, but they are also the representatives of Cardinals, with the same powers as the Cardinals.
They are the representatives of the Sacerdotal Council of the CỬU TRÙNG ĐÀI / 九重臺 and of all the adepts.
They hold full powers to act and are responsible only to the Cardinals all of whose orders they carry out. They have no right to modify the orders on their own initiative. In all cases and situations they must await the orders of the Cardinals, but the Cardinals must not overstep the powers of these three dignitaries. If the Cardinals encroached on the powers of the Principal Archbishops they would be abusing the powers, and this would constitute an infraction of the Constitutional Laws. (Good!)
Here there is an opportunity to recall the reasons for which once God had given the order to establish the New Code, the Pope confided to the Principal Archbishops the examination and carrying forward of the project which was to be submitted to Him (ie. Pope) . Afterwards the Legislative Cardinals verified the text before presenting it to the Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺 for approval. Finally the Hộ Pháp / 護法 took it to the CỬU TRÙNG ĐÀI / 九重臺 and read it to promulgate it.
Moreover just as the Code was presented by the three Principal Archbishops, the Hộ Pháp / 護法 and the Thượng Phẩm /上品 used mediums to allow the Spiritual Pope to appear openly and to present modifications to it (the thirteenth day of the twelfth month of the year Bính-Dần [Year of the Tiger - 1926]). He (the Spiritual Pope) ordered the three Cardinals and the three Legislative Cardinals to take up their respective seats. Then he brought in the Principal Archbishops to officiate. Afterwards he addressed the Principal Archbishop Thượng-Tương-Thanh in these words : “My good friend, look at how I work so that you can imitate me.” He showed the Principal Archbishops the way of joining their six hands without leaving any space between them, to present the Code to the Cardinals. The Cardinals must also join their six hands to present the Code to the Legislative Cardinals, and the Legislative Cardinals similarly with their six hands should present it to the Pope.
At this moment the Pope told them to come up to the Sanctuary while raising the Code above the head of the Hộ Pháp / 護法 and of the Thượng Phẩm /上品. He lowered the pointed Basket to let the Code go by. (Good!)
After the reception of the Code, the Legislative Cardinals passed it over the heads of the statuettes which represent Khương Thái Công / 姜尚子牙 and Jesus Christ. Later, the Hộ Pháp / 護法 complained to God who answered with a laugh :
“On the spiritual plane, the place of Li-T'ai-Pai is below Sakyamuni, Confucius and Lao-Tsu. Otherwise the Code would have passed over their heads, for they are Divine Laws, my child!” (Laughter ... The value of the New Code is of such importance but the entire Sacerdotal Council underestimated its value, and forced me to set aside my functions as Pope to apply the Divine Laws and to punish. Alas! How many people were carried off to Phong Đô / 酆都 (Hell) for that. [Words of the Spiritual Pope]).
The New Code was set before the Holy Table of the Spiritual Pope for a day and a night for examination. The following day, He made his presence known through the pointed Basket (Ngọc cơ /玉機) and complained in these terms :
“The mysterious Divine Laws of Religion include many gaps.”
He laughed and continued : “But since you cannot grasp the mysteries, you could not make up for the deficiencies… Alas! Without mysteries there would not be any Code, and without a Code there would not be any Religion.”
He laughs and continues : “I asked the Great Master to add to the Code essential mystical clauses. You must also ask with Me. At the end of this month, we will begin the prayers. You will urge all the Temples (Thánh Thất / 聖室) and all the Adepts to pray fervently and to unite their prayers to Mine to get the Holy Laws. The more Religion is valued, the more you will be honoured. Be aware of your importance, have great respect for each other. In this way you will be able to renew the world. I watch over you and if one day I had to take energetic measures, my purpose would always be - believe me! - to raise you spiritually. I ask you never to be discouraged.”
After these words He ordered the Legislative Cardinals to take the Code and present it to the Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺, while Hộ Pháp / 護法 and Thượng Phẩm /上品 were to sit on their Thrones. Hộ Pháp / 護法 himself places his Mystic Seal on the Code as a sign of protection from above, while Thượng Phẩm /上品 covers all of it with his Fan “Long Tu Phiến / 龍鬚扇” (Fan of Exteriorisation - a Symbol of Spirituality).
To finish the Spiritual Pope orders the Legislative Cardinals :
“I give you a month to revise the Code.”
These latter dignitaries took a month to examine the Manuscript and they gave it back to the Pope Li-T'ai-Pai who ordered the Cardinals to take the Code to the Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺 and present it again to the Hộ Pháp / 護法 in His Name for a new evocation of the Eternal. Thanks to the requests of the Spiritual Pope linked with those of the Priestly Council / Sacerdotal Council (Hội Thánh / 會聖 ), Our Divine Master came and revealed to Hộ Pháp / 護法, in actual writing, some passages which have their mystical value in relation to the salvation of souls. (What happiness for Humanity! The Sacerdotal Council has already gained several mystical gifts, such as "Baptism of the Soul" / Giải Oan /解冤, "Opening the Gate of Immortality" / Khai Sanh Mon, "Emission of the Life Fluid" / Ban Kim Quan, and some other secrets but their revelation is forbidden to Hộ Pháp / 護法, because of people's incredulity. [Words of the Spiritual Pope]).
According to what is mentioned above, the only observation that we have made is that the Pope has recommended to the Principal Archbishop Thuợng-Tương-Thanh to follow his example. This proves that He has placed all his confidence in his Principal Archbishops, and that by asking that these great dignitaries link their six hands, He has invited them to remain united forever. The Cardinals and the Legislative Cardinals must do the same thing to symbolise the primordial Unity (This is mechanism of the Union of the Body, the Perispirit and the Soul [Tinh, Khí, Thần / 精 - 氣 - 神 hiệp nhất]. Confucianism represents the Body, Taoism the Perispirit, and Buddhism the Soul. Remember that if the three Religious Branches are not united, the New Religion will not be able to be formed! [Words of the Spiritual Pope]).
Finally why does the Pope entrust the revision of the New Religious Code to the Principal Archbishops? Will this keep on being done?
Earlier it has been said that the Principal Archbishops represent the Faithful to the Sacerdotal Council. Now since they are the direct leaders of the Faithful they are themselves of the Faithful.
In the Bát Quái Ðài / 八卦臺 (Council of the Gods who direct the eight States of souls of the Manvantara), the Heavenly Spirits, from the Thrones to God, occupy the Class of the Perfect or Pure; the Saints and the Virtuous are ranked in the Class of the Purified; in other words, animals, vegetables and minerals fall into the class of the Impure. Thus the divine Beings of the Bát Quái Ðài / 八卦臺 have the duty to lead the worlds, to be in communication with souls which are developing in the Stage of Materiality; they must reach the incarnate so that they can evolve to the rank of the Saints. Those who are in the rank of the Saints reach the Knowledge of Self. If they must be reincarnated to reach Supreme Wisdom, they still keep their virtues and continue to be perfected so as to become perfect, pure and eternal like the Creator.
In the Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺 (Temple of the Divine Alliance), the Hộ Pháp / 護法 represents the Supreme Master and the Great Spirits to supervise the way Religious Justice is administered, and the evolution of Humanity, and the Perfection of souls! He must not misuse his power to impose it on people, but only to ensure that their evolution is not prevented by difficulties. To protect and supervise, there must be Laws and Rules. With these Laws and Rules, He can support and guide all souls in the Way of Good like the perfect Beings which direct and guide the Universe by the Divine Laws.
Symbolising the Class of the Pure, the Hộ Pháp / 護法 entrusts to the Thượng Phẩm /上品 (the Head of the Spiritual) the mission of forming the Religion so that humanity will be gathered together and of guiding evolved souls to the perfect perfection. This means he must defend and protect the Dignitaries and the Faithful in peace in their upward Spiritual Path following the example of the Great Spirits who must assure harmony in the Universe, and thus help Creation and Life in the multiplication of all beings.
The Leader of the Spiritual (Thượng Phẩm /上品) receives all evolved souls who have reached the rank of the priests after conversion by the Thượng Sanh /上生 (the Leader of the Temporal). He symbolises the perfection of the Saints and he is the Leader of the Class of the Saints.
The Leader of the Temporal presides over the secular life of all fellow members of the religion. This means the entire popular religious mass. All converted souls owe him their salvation, whatever their origin (Divine or Incarnate).Since he has received the order to renew the world to lead Humanity out of “the abyss of Suffering”, the duty of the Leader of the Temporal is to be continually close to the Adepts and the non-initiated to bring them consolation and the teaching of the Holy-Doctrine. He symbolises the Temporal and he is the Leader of all Adepts, from the Faithful to the Student-Priests.
In the CỬU TRÙNG ĐÀI / 九重臺, the Cardinals symbolise the rank of the “Địa-Tiên” (Thrones) The Legislative Cardinals, the rank of the “Nhơn-Tiên” (Cherubim), and the Pope, the rank of the “Thiên-Tiên” (Seraphim). Together with the Three Divine Representatives of the Three Ancient Religions “Tam Trấn Oai Nghiêm / 三鎮威嚴”, they represent the Class of the Perfect in this world.
According to this hierarchy, the Pope entrusts power to the Cardinals who share it with the Principal Archbishops, to organise a religious constitution with the aim of saving Humanity. This is the same as the way in which the Hộ Pháp / 護法 delegates his powers to the Leaders of the Spiritual and Temporal (Thượng Phẩm /上品 and Thượng Sanh /上生), so that they can supervise the good progress of souls.
The Principal Archbishops and the Archbishops symbolise the rank of the “Thiên Thánh” (Dominations); the Bishops, the rank of the “Nhơn Thánh” (Virtues); the Priests, the rank of the “Địa Thánh” (Powers) ; the Student-Priests, the rank of the “Thiên Thần” (Principalities); the Lesser Dignitaries, the rank of the “Nhơn Thần” (Archangels) and the Disciples, the rank of the “Địa Thần” (Guardian Angels).
Thus all these religious distinctions harmonise with the Celestial Hierarchy, and the New Religion is born in accordance with the Wish of the Council of the Gods “Bát Quái Ðài / 八卦臺”.
At present the pagans and the ignorant have control of great power in the world. It is opposed to Spirituality, and they abuse their material power to destroy the Good, to allow Evil, to enmesh Humanity in error, and to become absorbed in sensual pleasures. They recognise neither Heaven nor Earth, and think only of their personal interests. They exploit people, and have no belief in the Karmic Law; they prefer Materialism to Spiritualism, and aspire to meaningless honours, with no care for their Evolution, living like vegetables, like minerals, like animals, with no awareness of why they live! These are degraded souls who degrade others, and belong to the Impure World!
How can they understand the beginning and the end in terms which link to God? Intuitive minds would understand that the Manifestations, whether of the beginning or of the end, whether visible or invisible, are all Holy Identities whether of the Abstract Mind or of the Divine Soul.
All these explanations and these words aim to reveal to the Seekers that everything that is not God is mortal, and that nothing exists except for the Eternal. Only the people who conform to the Rules and Laws will be men raised in Spirituality; the Rules and Laws will lead them through their own experience, to certainty at the end of their searches. If they embrace these qualities, the real seekers, who are detached from all human things, will reach elevation; and then they are strengthened by efforts made in God's cause, they will certainly be confirmed in the Divine Paths.
For this reason Our Divine Master has said to the Faithful of this Humanity, to formulate Laws for themselves. The Principal Archbishops represent them, so it is natural that these people are entrusted to set up Laws which must act as a base.
The administrative power belongs to the Cardinals, but the executive power belongs to the Principal Archbishops. Without this clear division of powers the Cardinals could be tempted to go too far, that is, to overstep their already considerable power. They must acknowledge, as is proper, the essential fundamental power of the Pope.
The Cardinals therefore control the administrative and legislative powers, and what is more the Cardinals along with the Legislative Cardinals can set aside their candidature at the time of the election of a new Pope. It can be understood from this that the powers of the Cardinals must be limited specifically to allow their colleagues the Legislative Cardinals a legitimate hope at the time of this election.
Since they are the representatives of the Faithful, the Principal Archbishops have the duty to obey the laws. They can however ask the Cardinals for certain improvements in the laws, but they do not have the power to propose new ones.
It is allowable to foresee the possibility in the future that Our Master may allow disciples to re-edit another Code, when the Archbishops would reorganise it then as they do now. What is more, Our Master has made it clear in the following Text :
Divine text : The Three Principal Archbishops can replace the Cardinals, but cannot ask for the repeal of the Laws.
Commentary : If the Principal Archbishops disobey divine orders and modify the New Religious Code as they please, they are proceeding in opposition to the Divine Will by changing the Holy Doctrine to a human doctrine. Now Humanity is incarnate, while Divinity is pure. For this reason all the acts and deeds of Humanity represented by the Principal Archbishops, must be guided, and if there is opportunity, approvedby the Class of the Pure (Hội Thánh / 會聖 ). Without this, Humanity would always follow the voice of rebellion and would never be able to be saved. To ensure the Salvation of Souls our Master forbids the Principal Archbishops to establish or modify the Laws.
Learned people get up on a limping donkey, while God rides astride the winds and moves swifter than an arrow!
Definition : The Archbishops receive the executive power of the Principal Archbishops. The latter have the same functions and the same rank as the former. Their actions always depend on the orders of the Principal Archbishops and must conform strictly to the rulings, when they receive any change. Every transgression of the Divine Law would involve their appearance before Tòa Tam Giáo /座三敎 (the Tribunal of the Three Spiritual Doctrines).
. Divine text : There are seventy-two Bishops divided into three Groups of twenty four.
Commentary : This number cannot be increased or decreased.
Divine text : They are responsible for the spiritual and temporal education of the Adepts.
Commentary : Although they can be appointed by the Cardinals and Archbishops to direct the Thánh Thất / 聖室 (Temples /Churches) of the large towns, they are only involved in the education of the faithful when directing them in the Way of God and in social life. This is a strict rule, for all the dignitaries of the CỬU TRÙNG ĐÀI / 九重臺 are intended, according to religious principles, to educate the adepts.
God has said that he is Our Master; all the names of dignitaries indicate clearly to us their roles as educators: Giáo Hữu / 教友 (Priests), Giáo Sư / 教師 (Bishops), Phối Sư / 配師 (Archbishops), Đầu Sư /頭師 (Cardinals), Giáo Tông / 教宗 (Pope). From the terms for their roles, we find the words “Giáo” (Education) or “Sư” (Master).
From earliest times till our own, all Religions have sought the same goal: to guide Humanity in matters which concern the life of the Soul which is immortal and not in those which involve the Body which is to disappear. There is a teaching of Confucius which proves this:
(“The duty of all human beings is to know themselves and then to know the Creator, to move continually along the Way of Perfection and to attain Wisdom. This is the aim of Education.”)
The Priestly Council (Sacerdotal Council/ Hội Thánh / 會聖 ), according to the Divine Will, has the same aim: to help Humanity to progress in the path of Love or of Charity, that is the unique duty of the Priestly Council (Sacerdotal Council/ Hội Thánh / 會聖 ).
Divine Text : They are to care for the Adepts the way Elder Brothers do for Younger ones.
Commentary : Bishops devote themselves to the Faithful of their parishes the way elder brothers care for younger ones. They spend time with them, help them, make themselves loved by them, sharing their trials and joys, so that they consider them as their own young brothers.
Divine Text : They keep all the Records of the Adepts.
Commentary : The Registers of births, deaths, marriages, conversions or excommunications of Adepts are kept up to date by the Bishops. In Religion, they play the role of officers of the civil state. This is a definition of their powers, and no other dignitaries can put themselves in the place of the Bishops.
Divine Text : They must be concerned about the marriage and death of each Adept.
Commentary : Since they hold the registers of the civil State, they can easily be involved with the marriage and death of each Adept. Our Master is anxious to entrust the organisation of these two ceremonies only to the Bishops, since they are important events in the life of a man. They must be arranged in such a way that the ceremonies are suitable for the customs and practices of each race, but at the same time they must bring no harm to the reputation of Religion, and there must always be the approval of the Priestly Council (Sacerdotal Council/ Hội Thánh / 會聖 ).
Our Divine Master has said : “each Adept”, but it must be understood that it is a matter of each race, for the customs and practices of races are different.
Divine Text : In large towns Bishops have the right to preside over religious ceremonies the way that Cardinals and Archbishops do.
Commentary : In speaking of large towns, Our Divine Master means the Parishes placed under the apostolic direction of the Bishops. They preside over the great ceremonies of God and the Saints the way the Cardinals and Archbishops do, but they act in accordance with the instructions given by the latter, or by the Sacerdotal Council / Hội Thánh / 會聖 .
Divine Text : They can present requests to the Spiritual Direction with the aim of suppressing or modifying of laws capable of making the Adepts targets of prejudice.
Commentary : Former or more recent laws which cause harm to the Adepts may be annulled or modified at the request of the Bishops.
Divine Text : The Priests have the Mission of propagating the New Religion.
Commentary : To propagate the New Doctrine of God, the Priests must have a sound education and a perfect understanding of this Doctrine. For this reason they must pass the Apostolic Examination so that they can fulfil their mission.
Propagating a religion is a difficult task. Without a profound knowledge of the aim and the principles of Religion, they could lead the popular masses into error and act in contravention of the Divine Will. Moreover the Priests are true friends of Humanity. They must be chosen from among those who have a superior level of morality and who are virtuous, so that they may lead believers infallibly toward the gates which lead to Instruction and Union with God.
Isn't it true that peoples are too often guided by ignorant individuals who lead them where they want? That peoples know little of God besides the name? The Priests alone, the true servants of God, could be relied on to ensure that the chosen are again guided by the Light of Wisdom, for Heaven and Earth will pass away, but the Holy Words will not pass away.
The role of the Priests of the New Religion is thus very important. To remain worthy of their mission, these priests must know all the religious doctrines so that they may lead back to the Paternal Home all souls predestined and still suffering.
Divine Text : The Priests can ask for modification of the laws.
Commentary : They have the right to request from the Higher Dignitaries, modification of the Laws. For a day will come when they will be called upon to propagate the Cao Ðài / 高臺 Doctrine in a country or among some people whose customs and practices will not be adapted to the New Religious Code; they could certainly not convert them, if they did not have this exceptional right, proof of the tolerance and breadth of mind needed for the conversion of souls.
Divine Text : There are three thousand Priests, a thousand for each Branch. This number must not be increased or decreased.
Commentary : The meaning of this text is quite clear. It is useless to explain it, only it must be clear that the class of Priests is restricted to the members from all the peoples of the world, and not exclusively to the people of Việt Nam. In the same way the Throne of the Pope must be accessible to all, whatever people they may derive from.
Divine Text : They preside over ritual ceremonies in the province Oratories.
Commentary : Regions/Provinces are also involved here. Now the regions/provinces are subordinate to the countries or nations just as the Priests are subordinate to the Bishops. When the Priests exercise their office in the Thánh Thất / 聖室 (Temples / Churches), they must carry out the ceremonials according to the Bishops' directives, and they cannot make any changes. From this viewpoint they should always act according to the orders of the Bishops so that they will never infringe Divine Regulations (Pháp Chánh Truyền / 法正傳).
Divine Text : Requests from the Priests must always be examined with good will by the Pope.
Commentary : The Priests are close to the people; the Pope is distant and very remote. How can the Pope hear the voice of the people without the intermediation of the Priests? The Supreme Being wants the pope to be in constant contact with the Faithful, so this advice comes to the Pope to examine requests from the Priests with good will. However to maintain Priestly Discipline, the latter must present their requests to the Pope by way of the hierarchy.
Divine Text : If there are doubtful points, the Priests may be given the office and functions of Inspectors.
Commentary : The Adepts form the temporal mass, the people. In order to be aware of the degree of evolution of the people, closeness to the Adepts is required. By mingling with these latter the Priests will be able to know their harmony or their discord.
In the world as in the entirety of nature the dominant note is struggle for existence; the result is that the most suitable are selected for survival. The law of the survival of the fittest is the source of all difficulties. It causes the struggle, the hatred, the animosity between human beings. In nature : tyranny, egoism, aggression, domination, usurpation of the others' rights are found along with other unworthy attributes which are the vices of the animal world. As a result, for as long as material needs play the leading role in men's lives, spiritual success and prosperity will be impossible.
So when a disagreement arises either among the Adepts or between the co-religionists and the lay people, the Priests have the responsibility to smooth over this disagreement, and to create peace and good will on all sides, so that, through divine education, humanity may be freed of the darkness of ignorance; if humanity is strengthened in its ideal Virtues and its spiritual attributes, then there will be the first dawning of the knowledge of God.
Divine Text : the Student-Priests are chosen from among the well behaved Under/Sub-Dignitaries to celebrate the ritual ceremonies.
Commentary : The Student-Priests are drawn from the most virtuous of the Under/Sub-Dignitaries. They must always appear worthy by their religious qualities and their instruction, for these are future Priests. They must be formed by the Priesthood and act and live in accord with this.
In the case of absence of the Priests, they replace them to celebrate the ritual ceremonies, being particularly careful to carry out the instructions and example of the latter have given them in the daily accomplishment of their duty.
The cultic role of the student-priests is comparable to that of the Deacons in Catholicism.
Divine Text : They may preside over the ceremonies for the installation of an Altar in the homes of Adepts.
Commentary : The Student-Priests must always visit the Adepts, and preside over the “ceremony for the installation of the Altar” at their homes, and they take the place of the Priests for the teaching of the rites.
A time will come when the Cao Ðài / 高臺 Doctrine is propagated abroad, and large numbers of people will not be able to celebrate the cult precisely in the same way as in Viet Nam. Then the role of the Student-Priests will be limited, according to circumstances, to visits to the homes of the Adepts to educate them, console them and guide them, in order to ensure the progress of souls in the Way of God and in social life. This will be in place of the Priests.
Divine Text : Student-Priests are my Benjamins, do not cause them distress!
Commentary : This Divine goodness is very touching! Knowing that the role of the Student-Priests demands great resignation and many virtues, Our Divine Master loves them dearly and forbids the Higher Office-Holders to abuse their power by causing them distress.
Divine Text : To be Dignitaries it is necessary to occupy the rank of Student-Priest. An exception is made in the case of dignitaries who are appointed by the Heavenly Way.
Commentary : This passage is clear, and any explanation is superfluous. However it is necessary to stipulate that the Student-Priests are chosen by the Adepts otherwise they must come from the Seminaries.
These conditions are not required when Our Divine Master Himself choses the Dignitaries through the Mediums of the Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺. (This ceremony is the equivalent of direct investiture.)
Definition : The Chánh Trị Sự / 正治事 are the Lower-Office-Holders formed by the spiritual Pope; they work under the orders of the Student-Priests. They carry out the functions of the heads of parish divisions, functions entrusted by the Pope, and they represent the Adepts of each village just as they represent the Pope to the Adepts.
These are the teachings of the Pope on the importance of the role of the Chánh Trị Sự / 正治事 : (to Hộ Pháp / 護法)
“The Chánh Trị Sự / 正治事 represent me in their small parishes and play the role of elder brothers among the Adepts. My will is that I be present everywhere, from the horizons of the Heavens to the limits of the Seas. I think that you want this too, don't you?
“In the world, ignorant people outnumber the wise; if we do not create an organisation effective in every detail for Our Divine Task, we will never be able to give the Good News to the masses. What difficulties must be endured when We look closely at this Valley of tears and suffering! The first suffering of Humanity, the Real cause of the Broils, is the lack of Justice.
“With this Divine Torch God sheds light on the Universe and directs it!
“To bring about the reign of Peace, even in a small village, I beg you to delegate legislative power to the Chánh Trị Sự / 正治事, so that We may be represented everywhere, in towns as well as in the country.”
The Hộ Pháp / 護法 has carried out this recommendation, for He has grasped the noble thought of the Pope.
According to the papal instructions, the power of the Chánh Trị Sự / 正治事 is defined as follows : The Chánh Trị Sự / 正治事 should look after the adepts placed under their authority. They should help them in case of need. They consider them as their younger brothers, and they settle their disagreements with their best interests in mind. They assist with their secular life, and they have the right to use their legislative power where they are involved, in conformity with the orders of the Priests and the Student-Priests.
Where Adepts have committed sins and have not reformed after several reprimands from the Chánh Trị Sự / 正治事, the latter may instruct the Priests about their situation. If the advice from the Priests does not bring about repentance on the part of the recidivists, the Chánh Trị Sự / 正治事 have the right to ask the Sacerdotal / Hội Thánh / 會聖 to excommunicate them by directing their report to the leaders of the Temples (Thánh Thất / 聖室 / Churches). These reports are made in duplicate, one for the Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺, and one for the CỬU TRÙNG ĐÀI / 九重臺.
If the CỬU TRÙNG ĐÀI / 九重臺 remained silent after several approaches, the Chánh Trị Sự / 正治事 could approach the Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺 to get the next order to be given.
They are forbidden to exercise their functions outside their own parish. They are supported in their duties by the Phó Trị Sự / 副治事 (other Lower-Office-Holders who are subordinate to them). The latter are themselves directors of the various centres of the parish.
Each month in turn they provide thirty people who are dedicated to the religious cause. These volunteer adepts are assigned by the Chánh Trị Sự / 正治事 to make daily contact with all their co-religionists of the parish. If there is a case of sickness, some accident or an event which causes suffering among their co-religionists, then mutual assistance is immediately organised by the Chánh Trị Sự / 正治事 to provide for all needs.
The noble actions of the Chánh Trị Sự / 正治事 provide an epitome of the humanitarian aim of the New Religion at the social level; the beauty of the Holy Doctrine exists above all in the sincere acts of mutual assistance. No man of good heart ever refuses them.
The Spiritual Pope added on this point :
“Acting like this you are treating each other as children of the same family. Help each other, share your sorrows and joys, look after your shared interests, always be united both in normal life and in suffering. Such is your honourable duty.”
The Chánh Trị Sự / 正治事 are required to take an oath before the Altar of the parish about the accomplishment of their functions. They must be impartial in everything and towards everybody, even towards their own relatives.
The Chánh Trị Sự / 正治事 are Cardinals in miniature.
Definition : The Phó Trị Sự / 副治事 are subordinate lower dignitaries formed by the Spiritual Pope.
They fulfil the same functions as the Chánh Trị Sự / 正治事 in the religious centres appointed by the latter. They have administrative but not legislative power. They are entrusted with guiding, teaching and helping the Adepts. They are to bring them consolation but not to judge them.
Each month, in turn, with the other Phó Trị Sự / 副治事, they must provide the Chánh Trị Sự / 正治事 with thirty co-religionists who are dedicated to serving the community. These are the people who give support to the efforts of the Chánh Trị Sự / 正治事, and give them an account of all that goes on in their centre. Every day they provide them with a report about this.
They also inform the Thông Sự / 通事 (other subordinate lower dignitaries) of any facts which may have cause harm to the reputation of the Religion, so that the Thông Sự / 通事 may by juridical means provide some suitable remedy.
All actions which contravene religious rules, and all complaints brought with supporting proof, must be dealt with juridically by the Thông Sự / 通事, and the Phó Trị Sự / 副治事 may not intervene on any point.
It is absolutely forbidden for the Phó Trị Sự / 副治事 to encroach upon the legislative power. The Phó Trị Sự / 副治事 are Popes in miniature.
Definition : These are likewise subordinate lower dignitaries formed by the Hộ Pháp / 護法 based on the advice of the Spiritual Pope.
The Thông Sự / 通事 have the same rank as the Phó Trị Sự / 副治事, but they hold legislative power. They are the subordinates of the Hộ Pháp / 護法 placed under the orders of the Chánh Trị Sự / 正治事. They are to investigate whatever injustices, infractions of rules, disobedience, and violations of the New Religious Code are committed in the apostolic centre directed by the Phó Trị Sự / 副治事.
Although they are dependant on the Chánh Trị Sự / 正治事, they have the duty of righting any mistakes committed by the latter. If the Chánh Trị Sự / 正治事 have been warned several times of their wrong-doing and take no notice, the Thông Sự / 通事 are to make a report to the CỬU TRÙNG ĐÀI / 九重臺. If the CỬU TRÙNG ĐÀI / 九重臺 disregard the issue, they may address the Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺 to ask for justice.
The duty of the Thông Sự / 通事 is to be concerned with the unhappy, to defend the weak (whether religious or not), to bring help to the homeless, the poor, the sick, the crippled, the aged or those with exemptions. (Those exempt from taxes are cripples who cannot work for a living). For love of God and of others, they can ask the Phó Trị Sự / 副治事 for protection and assistance, both moral and monetary.
In the exercise of their functions, where it is a case of urgent difficulty, the Thông Sự / 通事 may ask for help and support from all dignitaries that they meet, whatever their rank.
Any of the Faithful who may have been several times clearly proven recalcitrant, or unwilling to give service, or disobedient towards religious rules, are to be severely punished by the Sacerdotal Council/ Hội Thánh / 會聖 ) when asked by the Legislative Body.
Before exercising their functions, the Thông Sự / 通事 must swear an oath before the Altar of the Parish, in the same way as the Chánh Trị Sự / 正治事.
The Thông Sự / 通事 are Hộ Pháp / 護法 in miniature.
Divine Text : If there still exists the smallest injustice before your eyes, the New Religion will not achieve its aim.
Explanation : In life, the lower class is often oppressed. Fairness and justice no longer exist. So the role of the Thông Sự / 通事 is very important.