This post was modified from its original form on 13 Feb, 1:25
From THE ONION - this is SATIRE!!! Don't confuse it with "News" - !
VATICAN CITY—Citing his advancing age and deteriorating health, Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation from the papacy Monday, saying he no longer possessed the strength and energy required to lead the Catholic Church backward.
According to the 85-year-old pontiff, after considerable prayer and reflection on his physical stamina and mental acuity, he concluded that his declining faculties left him unable to helm the Church’s ambitious regressive agenda and guide the faith’s one billion global followers on their steady march away from modernity and cultural advancement.
“It is with sadness, but steadfast conviction, that I announce I am no longer capable of impeding social progress with the energy and endurance that is required of the highest ministry in the Roman Catholic Church,” Benedict reportedly said in Latin to the Vatican’s highest cardinals. “While I’m proud of the strides the Church has made over the past eight years, from thwarting AIDS-prevention efforts in Africa to failing to punish or even admit to decades of sexual abuse of children at the hands of clergy, it has become evident to me that, in this rapidly evolving world, I now lack the capacity to continue guiding this faith back centuries.”
“Thus, I must step down from the papacy,” he added. “But let me assure every member of the Church that the Vatican’s commitment to narrow-mindedness and social obstruction will long live on after my departure.”
Word of Benedict’s resignation—the first for a sitting pope in nearly 600 years—reportedly stunned the world’s Catholic faithful, many of whom believed the German-born pontiff still had years of stymieing female advancement in Church roles, opposing stem cell research, and inflaming tensions with Jews, Muslims, and Anglicans left in him.
Other members of the faith, however, said they recognized the Holy Father had, as of late, grown slower and more feeble in his ability to block measures regarding scientific discovery and same-sex rights. Many believers expressed appreciation that Benedict recognized his limitations at obstructing society’s advancement, and admitted feeling a sense of excitement that a new pontiff could reinvigorate the faith’s obsolete ideology and guide the Church toward bold social norms unseen since the Middle Ages.
“I’ll always appreciate what Benedict XVI did for limiting my ability to receive basic health care services,” said devout Catholic Ana Maria Fernández of Buenos Aires. “He was a visionary leader who was undaunted by modern realities and social trends, always vowing to triumph over modern ideals of fairness, equality, and in many cases, even basic human compassion to achieve a darker, far more regressive world for all of us.”
“I doubt we’ll ever find another leader so committed to reversing society’s natural progression of post-Enlightenment values,” Fernández added. “He will truly be missed.”
Responding to the widespread outpouring of shock and sadness surrounding his resignation, Benedict issued a brief statement Monday afternoon consoling his followers, assuring them that “the Church’s most ignorant and regressive days still lie ahead of us.”
There is every possibility this generation is witnessing the beginnings of the decline and fall of the Roman Catholic Church. After a mere 8 years in the position of Pope, Joseph Ratzinger is only one of two Popes to resign although there is speculation that number is five. An interesting parallel is that the other confirmed resignation was Gregory XII, who resigned in 1415 in the midst of an intense political schism in the church. Rumours abound that it has been inter-political machinations which have brought about Joseph Ratzinger’s demise.
David Nicholls, president of the AFA, said, “No matter what the reason is for the resignation, the trail of death and suffering left by Joseph Ratzinger’s adherence to and reinvigorating of antiquated Catholic traditions has brought the Church’s reputation amongst its own adherents and the wider community to a low and possibly irrecoverable position.”
The raft of socially naive and dangerous edicts emanating from the Pope include reinforcing the second-rate status of women, acute hostility to homosexuality, continuation of the hard line on abortion, opposition to voluntary euthanasia, obstruction to the use of condoms in HIV/AIDs-ravaged countries and fortifying that artificial birth control is wrong.
Nicholls said, “Under this Pope, socially-progressive programs have been vehemently opposed against the wishes of the people, at least in developed nations. By various surveys it is known that the majority of RC adherents in these countries do not support such antiquated dictates.”
The Roman Catholic Church is losing its members in the West at a rapid rate not only because of lack of progressive thought but mainly because of its sullied reputation. The gains in developing nations outstrip this loss and it would be no surprise if the Vatican were to cut its Western losses and choose a Pope from Africa, South America or the Philippines. The numerical advantage is obvious.
Nicholls added, “The Catholic Church has crossed swords with modernity and has lost that battle. Its power-base may linger, supported by developing nations for some time to come, but the writing is on the wall that the ensuing schisms will eventually mean the total downfall of this anachronistic institution.”
Atheist Foundation of Australia Inc