PAPAL SURPRISES- twelve wacky pronouncements

Pronouncements marked with a cross  are based on actual statements by the real Pope. The rest might as well be.

#1 Benching Priests -

The Pope has rocked the Catholic world with a drastic solution to Church's gender-equality problem. While saying he supports equal rights for women, the Pontiff cited First Corinthians 14:34 which flatly forbids women from speaking in church.

"I don't see a way around that one," said His Holiness, "but fair is fair, and if women can't lead mass, neither should men."

Therefore, starting next Sunday, church attendees will be on their own for all Catholic services and ceremonies. Priests will be present, but their duties will be similar to those of ushers at weddings. 

"The service will be a time for silent prayer and private reflection, explained the Pope, "We're cutting out the middle man. Call it a do-it-yourself mass." 

Official Vatican law on this matter is based the example of Jesus Christ who chose only men as his disciples, and said women would be ordained to the priesthood, "over my dead body," or something like that.

#2 Skipping Hell - 

The Pope just revealed a loophole in the Bible's reasons for going to Hell, and Satan is not one bit happy about the sudden change.

"The Pope can't say a young boy's atheist father gets a free pass just because he was a good dad," complained the Lord of the Underworld, "That's not the way it works."

While meeting with a group of children, the Pontiff took a question from a boy who had been told all non-believers go to Hell. His Holiness consulted with the other kids who said God wouldn't send a good dad to Hell, and the Pontiff calmly said, "Well, okay, then."

Which has really pissed off the Prince of Darkness: "My job is hard enough without half the heathens in Hades applying for a Good Dad Exemption."

#3 Blessing Sneezes - 

The Pope has confirmed that the soul really does leave the body when a person sneezes and the spoken phrase, God bless you, offers vital protection.

His Holiness is also pretty sure other bodily eruptions expel the soul and give the Devil an opportunity to snatch it.

"To be on the safe side," suggested the Pope, "we should respond to someone's cough with Jesus loves you and for hiccups, say Praise the Lord.

Saints be praised is the best reply to a burp."

The Holy Father urged everyone to be on-the-spot guardians of loose souls: "When you hear a fart, say Amen or Hallelujah, and for really bad farts I like to shout ¡Dios Mio!"

#4 Making Saints - 

Last week the Pope promoted two children to sainthood because they claimed to have seen the Virgin Mary. This made a big impression on the students at Holy Mother Catholic School and one student in particular.

The next day, young Tommy Williams reported having had a similar vision to his teacher, Ms. Brown, and said he should be made a saint too. The problem was that Tommy didn't see Mary. He saw Noah.

Ms. Brown marched Tommy to the office where Sister Sternworthy explained that seeing Noah did not count for sainthood and besides, Tommy would have to perform a miracle.

Tommy was not discouraged. He pointed to a recent math test on which he had received an "A" and Mrs. Brown had to admit that Tommy's getting an "A" in anything was indeed a miracle. 

Sister Sternweather was not amused. She got the Pope on the phone but His Holiness told Tommy that the rules for canonization are not carved in stone, that seeing Noah was pretty cool, and how would Tommy like to be the patron saint of flood victims?

#5 Upping Sin -

The Pope is keeping one step ahead of Church Authorities as he makes yet another surprising pronouncement. His most recent voltafaccia came in Florence where he said people should keep up with their sinning.

"It's easy to fall behind in these busy times," explained the Holy Father, "but without sin to get the ball rolling, there is no repentance, atonement, forgiveness, and salvation, and without salvation you're a dead duck."

The Vatican quickly issued a statement saying all people are covered by the Original Sin and the impossible-to-obey Tenth Commandment, and that no additional sinning is necessary.

#6 Annulling Marriages - 

Betty and Walter Woosley can finally end their unhappy marriage of thirty-one years, thanks to the Pope's new Express Annulment.

As Betty explained: "I simply asked Walter to order our wedding cake and told him it was to be Red Velvet. At the reception - with our whole family watching - we cut the cake and it was Devil's Food. Who the hell orders Devil's Food for a wedding cake?" 

Betty continued, "Walter said it was a mistake but trust me, he did that on purpose. Well, we were already married, and we didn't want to get excommunicated, so we stuck it out all these years."

The Woosleys won't have to stick it out much longer because they qualify under Catholic Express Annulment Reason #454 - Early Disgust. "I was disgusted alright," said Betty, "and how was I supposed to know Walter would fart so much on our honeymoon?"

#7 Drafting Clergy -

Due to a worldwide shortage of priests the Vatican will soon begin drafting catholic men into the priesthood. All confirmed males must register for mandatory ordination at their local parish and start packing for their assignments.

"We've tried to keep God's call to service on a voluntary basis with incentives like allowing married men to join up," explained the His Holiness, the Pope, "but we still have thousands of vacant posts to fill."

Inductees will receive basic training in catholic liturgy, plus recent doctrine updates like the pets going to heaven and contraception being more-or-less okay now.

Despite the shortage of priests, the Vicar of Christ sees no need to ordain women as long as there is even one man, however unqualified or unwilling, left on the planet.

#8 Seeing Signs - 

On Saturday, the Pope received a sign in the liquified contents of a magic orb. The miracle occurred in response to His Holiness asking a dead saint, "How am I doing?" and then kissing the special sphere.

"It's unclear who should get credit for the miracle," said a Vatican spokesman. "The Pope did kiss the orb, but it was the saint who sent the liquescent message. It's a five-pointer so that's hard to split."

Cardinals will consult a Ouija Board to determine how the miracle points should be awarded. Last Christmas, the Pope caused a flurry of excitement when he shook a snow globe and turned it over causing a small blizzard inside for two points.

#9 Sharing Loot - 

Next Sunday, the Pope will kick off his newest idea to help the world's poor people - the very first Vatican Treasures Holy Lotto™

Can he do that?

All prizes will be taken from the Vatican's vast art collection until everything is gone, or poverty has been eliminated.

This week, five matching numbers will get you Guercino's Portrait of Christ, valued at $14 million and tax deductible. Match four numbers and you score the Sculpture of Saint Longinus by Bernini, shipping not included.

The His Holiness said he expects rich people to snap up Holy Lotto™ tickets at $10,000 each. The Pope hasn't forgotten those who aren't rich. "Poverty shouldn't prevent anyone from getting in on the action," said the Pope, "The poor can win Vatican dishes, utensils, and cookware with Holy Scratchers™ available at any 7-eleven for only one dollar.",9171,833509,00.html

#10  - 

Number Ten was mysteriously deleted from this page, probably by God, and we agree; the topic was not suitable for satire, at least not here. More...

#11 Cremating Bodies -  

The Pope recently declared that cremating your loved ones is okay. However, it is not okay to keep the ashes home, divide them up among relatives, or scatter them around. 

The Pope's instructions are a bit amusing to Mrs. John P. Davis, a life-long Catholic who put her dead husband's ashes in the cat's litter box.

"John hated my cat and he wasn't shy about saying so," said Davis, "so after the funeral I dumped his ashes in with the little kitty turds. Oops, guess I'm in trouble with the Holy Father again."

#12 Downplaying Hell -

Yesterday, the Pope said Hell isn't as bad as most people think. The neoteric cleric explained that Heaven is definitely the better place to spend eternity, but descriptions of Hell have been exaggerated for centuries. "It's more like a run-down city with a corrupt mayor," explained the Pontiff, and pets are allowed."

This latest devine revelation came two weeks after the Pontiff  said Satan is widely misunderstood and asked, "Who are we to judge?"

Church officials quickly issued the following statement: "Holy crap! What th... Look, everyone knows the Pope as an up-beat person who always looks on the bright side of life, but Hell is just as horrible as the Bible says it is, for Christ's sake."

Crossing the Pope - 

A true story...

Since I was going to Rome anyway, my friend, Frieda, asked me to buy a rosary at the Vatican and, if possible, have it blessed by the Pope.

In the Vatican gift shop, I first picked up a refrigerator magnet. Cast in one gaudy lump were the Colosseum, Tower of Pisa, Statue of David, and a Venetian gondola - all hand-painted, rather crudely.

Then I asked a rather stern-looking woman behind the counter for advice on a rosary and about the blessing procedure: "Write your information on this envelope," she said, "put the rosary inside, and leave it with me. After it is blessed, the rosary will be delivered to your hotel."

The woman stepped away as I put Frieda's rosary inside the envelope. I also slipped the refrigerator magnet, thinking it might get a spill-over blessing. But, when the rosary arrived at my hotel, someone had put the magnet in a separate zip-loc with a note: "This item not blessed."

Upon returning home, I put the magnet on the fridge and went to bed. During the night, the refrigerator motor overheated and set off the smoke alarm. The repair bill was $453.

I just hope that's the end of it.