THE LOOSE CANON - 5 papal surprises

Here is a satirical take on real and recent pronouncements actually made by the Pope. 

1. Vatican makes limited-time offer -

In December of 2015, His Popeness announced a Year-of-Bygones Special for qualifying women who committed the canonical crime of abortion, a "grave and moral" sin that has resulted in automatic excommunication for centuries.

During this Limited-Time Offer any Catholic woman could be granted absolution by getting a local priest to notify God of her repentance, thereby cancelling her reserved seat on the bus to Hell.

Update - In November of 2016 the pope extended this popular policy to forever, or as forever as anything can be in Papal Pronouncements.

2. Annulment now piece of cake -

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

Betty told us how trouble started: "So, 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? Walter said it was a mistake but trust me: he did that on purpose. Well, then we were married, and we didn't want to get excommunicated, so we stuck it out for thirty-one miserable years."

The Woosleys won't have to stick it out much longer because they now qualify for an Express Annulment under 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?"*

*Express Annulment Reason #982 - Unanticipated Flatulence.

3. Condoms now okay for Catholics -

Speaking with the press aboard his airplane, the Pontiff said the use of contraception is the less evil than other evils, and not an "absolute" evil, necessarily. His words were taken to mean the use of condoms is a semi-sin.

Meanwhile, Sister Mary Agnus is getting a bit perturbed with these Papal Surprises. "I think His Holiness needs his knuckles rapped with a ruler," she said.

4. Holy See Sees Sign -

A miracle occurred yesterday at the Vatican as the Pope conducted a ceremony of some kind. Thousands watched as His Holiness held aloft a gold and glass orb that contained a dead saint's dried blood. As the Pontiff kissed the orb the blood changed from dried to liquid. Cardinals who witnessed the event declared it a bonafide miracle and a sign of the dead saint's approval of the Pontiff.

"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."

Last Christmas, the Pontiff caused a flurry of excitement when he shook a snow globe causing a small blizzard inside. However, that was not deemed a miracle so no points were awarded.

 5. Grave Concern not so grave after all -

His Holiness just declared that cremation of your loved ones is okay. However, it is not okay to keep the ashes at home, divide them up among friends and relatives, or scatter them just anyplace. 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."

The pope said burial of an intact corpse is still preferred by The Church, adding that cremating would diminish the impact of burning in Hell, which was the Fourth-century penalty for cremating a body according to Previous Pope, Leo II.

The following are not a real Papal Pronouncements... yet.

Pope announces draft - 

Due to a worldwide shortage of priests the Vatican will begin drafting catholic men into the priesthood immediately. 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 recent incentives like allowing married men to join up," explained the pontiff, "but we still have thousands of vacant posts to fill."

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

Pope gives hope to the poor -

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

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 Pontiff said he expects rich people to snap up Holy Lotto™ tickets at $10,000 each. His Holiness 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."

Pope says Hell could be worse -

Expect for the Pope to say Hell isn't as bad as most people think. The neoteric cleric will explain that while Heaven is definitely a better place to spend eternity, descriptions of Hell have been exaggerated over the centuries. "It's more like a run-down city with a corrupt mayor," explained the Pontiff.

The Holy Utterances will follow a statement by the His Holiness in which he will tell the world that Satan has been misunderstood and people who would judge the "Evil One" (air quotes) should remove the beams from their own eyes.

Pope urges: Don't be a slacker -

The Pope, keeping one step ahead of his critics is planning yet another surprising pronouncement. His voltafaccia will declare that people should keep up with their sinning.

"It's easy to fall behind in these busy times," the Pontiff will say, "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 will probably follow up with a statement saying all people are sufficiently sinful as they are now because of the Original Sin and the impossible-to-obey Tenth Commandment, and that no additional sinning is needed at this time.

A personal report:

My trip to the Vatican -

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 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.

A woman behind the counter offered advice on a rosary and explained the blessing procedure: "Write your information on this envelope, put the rosary inside, and leave it with me. After it is blessed, the rosary will be delivered to your hotel."

The envelope was large and padded. I put Frieda's rosary inside and also the refrigerator magnet, thinking it might get a spill-over blessing. But, when the rosary was delivered, someone had put the magnet in a separate bag with a note: "This item not blessed."

Back 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.