Breaking News from Vatican City: Protestors Demand Change in Pope Selection Process (or not)
Vatican City, April 13th, 2005 – Over a quarter of the population of the Holy See (also called Vatican City) flooded into St. Peter’s Square to protest the secrecy in the election of the new pope.
In what is being called “The Blue, Red and Yellow Tunic Revolution”, after the clothing of the Vatican’s legendary Swiss Guards, the 247 people, mostly senior citizens, occupied a corner of the steps of St. Peter’s Basilica, significantly disrupting the tour book sales of vendor Giovanni Lorenzetti, a 2nd-cousin of the great-great-great-great-grandson of Michelangelo’s brother’s barber.
Mr. Lorenzetti said, through a translator, “The death of the Pope, such a great man and a true hero of the 20th century, is already enough of a tragedy. I wonder if God is punishing me for something by making it bad for business, too. Look how well Luigi is doing selling miniature Pope hats on that corner of the staircase.”
The protestors are clamoring (though not in a way which is audible over the sound of the footsteps in the Square) for more openness in the election process, including demanding the right to veto any American nominee. Said Mario (last name not given), “Not only did they lie about weapons in Iraq, but they have the nerve to sell more pizza than we do. How can we trust such a country?”
Additionally, there were strident complaints against the rule that only Cardinals under the age of 80 are allowed to vote for the new pope. Again, quoting Mario, “This is plainly a biased, ageist rule. John Paul II did some of his best work after he was 80 even if he couldn’t really tell anyone what that work was.”
Mr. Marco Zendi, a fireworks expert who works in Rome, was protesting by nailing a letter to the door of the Sistine Chapel when he was impaled by a Swiss Guard using a 14th century pike pulled from a display case in the corridor. After Mr. Zendi’s death, his letter was read. It expressed Mr. Zendi’s displeasure with the use of black and white smoke to message results of balloting and had attached his business card with a request for the Cardinals to contact him (or his partner Alberto Fusco) for a cost-efficient way to make the messaging more colorful, entertaining and meaningful to today’s youth who have never even seen a black and white television. The 23-year old Swiss Guard expressed remorse for killing Mr. Zendi, saying he really liked fireworks but that actually getting to use a pike “was quite a rush.”
In fear of the protestors, Christoph Schönborn, the Archbishop of Vienna, has fled the Vatican, returned to Austria, and refused to participate in the voting. He said, through a spokesman, that he believes “there is potential for significant violence against me as a Cardinal from these rogues. I am fairly certain this protest was organized by a hidden cabal of Jews.” When reminded that there are only two Jewish residents in the Vatican and that one of them is 6 years old and the other 87 years old, Cardinal Schönborn’s spokesman ended the news conference. However, later in the day, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan clarified the comment, saying that “the Cardinal simply meant that the Israelis’ treatment of Palestinian freedom fighters is the cause of almost every problem the world faces today...and who, other than people who value freedom, peace and democracy, would dare disagree?”
Despite fear of broken glass from dentures being flung through stained glass windows by protestors, the Cardinals have guaranteed that they “will continue with the process, honoring tradition going back centuries, to even before there were Palestinians.
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