Surprise result in papal election

ROME (Rooters agency) — Taking surprisingly little time, the College of Cardinals, on only the second day of its gathering, today elected as its new head US President Barack Obama.

The election of Pope Barack I will undoubtedly shake things up in the Catholic Church, which last had to deal with an unexpected situation when a quasi-heretic named Galileo raised ideas that cast doubt on the literal truth of the book of Genesis.

In the United States, there is a possibility that Pope Barack’s election will lead to a flowering of ecumenicism, since a large part of the US Christian population is convinced that Pope Barack is a Muslim. Added to that, many US supporters of Israel are equally convinced that the new Pope is a Zionist even if not a Jew.

On the other hand, the Obama is the Anti-Christ Movement will probably see the College of Cardinals’ decision as confirmation of its worst fears and hopes.

In the rest of the world outside the United States, where rationality occasionally has a fighting chance, fewer changes were expected.

“So what?” asked Balthazar, a Pakistani farmer who asked that his full name not be given — “and I lied about my given name.” “When his bombs kill my cow or my child, does it matter which God he says told him to kill them?”

“Pope who?” wondered Jose, a Salvadoran would-be immigrant to the United States expiring from dehydration in the Arizona desert near the US-Mexican border. “Ask him to pray for me.”

“I suppose this means they’ll move the Vatican to Washington,” said Giovanni, an Italian Catholic. “Maybe all of Rome too. They might as well: the US bought it all years ago.”

Pope Barack’s election surprised many observers perhaps mainly because of an erroneous belief that Church rules require the Pope to be a cardinal, or at least a Catholic. That view is “ridiculous,” Cardinal Hamlin Ratchaser responded to reporters’ questions. “Historically, at least half the Popes have been atheists. Get real.”

Still, the unexpected election has raised numerous questions about the cardinals’ reasons for their decision. Traditionally, the papal election deliberations of the College of Cardinals are a closely guarded secret. However, a cardinal who asked not to be named because “If God knew I was telling secrets, I’d be spending the best part of eternity in a tub of very hot shit” agreed to provide some insight into the deliberations if we could promise him a starring role in a US TV network religious program.

This insider explained that the cardinals generally were worried that the Church was getting out of touch with current moods and trends. “We have to find a way to relate to what’s going down with the public,” he said. “If the election had been held a few years back, before all that unfortunate marital stuff, Tiger Woods might have been the choice. It’s the Celebrity Age now, you know? That’s not new for the Church: Jesus was our first celeb.”

A few cardinals did express doubts about what they considered “such a radical departure” during the conclave. Could Pope Barack, they wondered aloud, be relied on to act in the best interests of the Church? Should they ask him first to perform a miracle of some sort, or at least convert to Catholicism?

These skeptics were answered, said the cardinal, by the observation that Obama had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on the strength of no more than one speech after a few days in office. “We figured, if the Nobel committee can get away with doing that purely on the basis of pious hopes, why can’t we? After all, we have a bit of control over the piety franchise.”

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