Cocky Pope-Hopeful Ready To Make Some Changes Around Vatican

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Vol 41 Issue 09

Meek Coworker Taken Down A Notch

MT. VERNON, IL—Patty Walther, a passive, mousy administrative assistant at Datalock Inc., was put in her place Tuesday by sales representative Martin Challey. "Oh, thank you for coming all the way over to my desk to return that valuable pen," Challey said sarcastically. "I don't know how I could've gotten any work done without it. I might've had to use one of the other 20 pens right in front of me." Challey last berated Walther Monday, when the quiet coworker brought in a plate of homemade brownies.

Knife-Throwing, Plate-Spinning Congressman Dominates Newscasts

WASHINGTON, DC—The cries of political grandstanding that have followed him throughout his career do not discourage Rep. "Fantastic" Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ), the knife-throwing, plate-spinning congressman. "Don't blink, Koppel," the blindfolded congressman said on Nightline, tossing knives over his shoulder at balloons held by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). "These are real knives, folks!" Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) denounced the wild and wonderful show, saying that "the nation should be focusing on the Social Security crisis, not cheap tricks—no matter how spine-tingling they may be." In response to Frist, Pallone said, "The GOP would attack anything that didn't further the regressive Republican political agenda," and then placed a spinning plate atop a pole balanced on his chin.

Heroin Addict Better Off Than Poppy Farmer

NEW YORK—In spite of his debilitating addiction, junkie David Spellman is safer, warmer, healthier, and happier than nearly every poppy farmer in Afghanistan, sources reported Monday. "Mr. Spellman shoots up three times a day and squats in a filthy Bronx apartment, but at least he isn't slaving away in the Kabul poppy fields 18 hours a day before coming home to a meal of moldy bread in the tiny shack he shares with 14 relatives," said Dr. Terrence Arven, professor of sociology at NYU. "When Spellman finally decides to get clean, he'll have many options for counseling. The only support network available to a poppy farmer is the 'protection' of local warlords." When asked for a comment, Spellman curled up and vomited.

Schiavo's Right To Die

Last week, a judge gave Florida resident Michael Schiavo permission to remove the feeding tube of his brain-damaged wife Terri. What do you think?

New Bush Science Policies

Recently, scientists expressed concerns that scientific research is being stifled by the Bush administration. What are some of the areas of funded research that the Bush administration cited to counter the charges?

Getting A New Place Sucks!

Hola, amigos. What's the deal? I know it's been a long time since I rapped at ya, but I've been having a heaping helping of problems. First off, the bill collectors from the hospital have been on my ass about the money I owe them for fixing up my leg earlier this winter. I didn't have insurance, so I owe them a shitload. I told them I didn't have any money and they were going to have to open the cut they sewed up if they wanted any more blood from me. The way I figure it, I got a few months before they send it over to a collection agency. And, if I give them a hundred bucks or so, that'll buy even more time.
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Cocky Pope-Hopeful Ready To Make Some Changes Around Vatican

VATICAN CITY—With Pope John Paul II's health in decline, there is speculation as to who will succeed him as the head of the Roman Catholic Church. Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga announced Monday that he is more than ready to accept the challenges of the papacy.

Maradiaga, who is ready and willing to replace Pope John Paul II (below).

"When the Sacred College of Cardinals names me pope, I'm gonna shake things up," Maradiaga said. "And I'm not just talking about giving the Popemobile a new coat of paint. I'm talking about big moves that will reconfirm the Catholic Church's position as the supreme, full, and immediate power in the sectarian world, may God grant us peace."

Maradiaga, a charismatic cardinal from Honduras, said he is "not afraid to goose the stodgy rituals" of the Catholic Church.

"First thing, let's get the online theological tour done," Maradiaga said. "We were slated to have Phase II complete in December 2003, but click on 'altar' or 'cross' and you still get nothing. Let's get our Sunday Mass and special liturgical celebrations online, too. As pope, I want to touch as many people as I can, and streaming video is just the ticket for that."

Maradiaga said he would like to upgrade the pope's public image by reviving the more formal title, The Supreme Pontiff.

"I'd like to re-establish that sense of respect for the high seat at the Holy See," Maradiaga said. "We need to emphasize that I—assuming the inevitable happens—am in charge of the spiritual lives of more than one billion Catholics worldwide. It's mainly a public-relations thing—no big deal, God willing."

Maradiaga said he is also planning to farm out some of the "less Pope-y duties" after his election, to free up some of his time.

"Does the Pope really need to be the bishop of Rome?" Maradiaga said. "I'll have enough on my plate already, so I'm pretty sure I'll have one of the other cardinals take care of that. Also, I have some great changes I want to make to the Sacrosanctum Concilium of 1963. Nothing in the body or the message—just some gentle massaging to bring some of the wording up to date."

Many Vatican insiders have said that Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi of Milan is more likely to be named Pope John Paul II's successor, but Maradiaga said he is confident there will be an upset.

"The Church already had 450 years of Italian popes," Maradiaga said. "After 27 refreshing years with a Polish pope, do you really think people are going to want to go back to Italian popes again? Just because the Vatican is in Italy, that doesn't mean the pope's got to be Italian. With so many Catholics in South America, the times call for a Latin man of God to don the miter. And that Latin man of God is going to be me, may He strengthen my faith with proofs."

Continued Maradiaga: "I'm not saying Tettamanzi's not a good cardinal, but if you spent a couple minutes in the same room with him and me, I think you'd have a pretty good idea which one of us is better suited to be the Vicar of Jesus Christ and Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church."

Maradiaga bounces some ideas off of a few of his fellow cardinals.

Maradiaga said he would not change the things that people love most about the pope.

"The robes, the hat, the staff—all that benevolent-father stuff is going to stay," Maradiaga said. "Hey, I'm not crazy. Also, the day-to-day operations of local churches will continue apace. So don't worry, Catholics. I've got your back."

Rumors have spread that, should he be installed as pope, Maradiaga will effect a number of immediate changes, moving the Vatican from Rome to Barcelona, modernizing the doctrine of apostolic succession, and streamlining the stations of the cross from 14 to 10.

"I don't want to comment on any of that," Maradiaga said. "Those ideas came out of a brainstorming session and were all merely speculative. I will say, though, that if Vatican City is looking for some fresh, new ideas, I've got plenty."

Even though Maradiaga has supporters, some say that his swagger is not what Catholics are looking for in God's representative on earth. Maradiaga shrugged off such criticisms.

"I know what I want and I'm not afraid to go for it, may He direct my steps to Himself," Maradiaga said. "It's like Pope Pius IX used to say: 'It's not the sin of pride if it's true.'"

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