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Vatican Putting Out Feelers For How Public Would React To Another Children’s Crusade

VATICAN CITY—Saying they had been giving some thought recently to the idea of sending legions of Christian boys and girls to retake the Holy Land and wanted to gauge the level of support, Vatican officials reportedly began putting out feelers Wednesday to determine how the public might react to another Children’s Crusade, much as was attempted in the year 1212.

John Kerry Scrambles To Stop Bunker’s Self-Destruct Sequence As Russian Oligarch Taunts Him From Bank Of Monitors

BOGDARNYA, RUSSIA—Working frantically to gain access to the system’s override settings at the computer terminal controlling the impending implosion, Secretary of State John Kerry scrambled to stop the self-destruct sequence of an underground bunker located thousands of feet below the Russian countryside Tuesday while oligarch Dmitry Granovsky taunted him from the numerous banks of monitors positioned throughout the facility, sources confirmed.

Islamic Awakening Inspires Man To Defect From ISIS

MOSUL, IRAQ—Telling reporters he had renounced his role as a militant and would soon be relocating in order to seek out an environment more conducive to fully devoting himself to his newfound religious faith, 24-year-old Huzaifa Quraishi confirmed Tuesday his recent Islamic awakening had inspired him to defect from ISIS.

CIA Orchestrates Coup D’État To Replace Entire Population Of Venezuela

Agency Installs Pro-American Populace Of 30 Million Venezuelan Citizens

CARACAS, VENEZUELA—Sources are confirming that the Central Intelligence Agency has orchestrated a coup d’état in the South American nation of Venezuela, toppling the country’s 30 million residents and replacing them with an entirely new, pro-American populace.

A Primer On North Korea

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea remains largely unknown to Americans due mainly to the secrecy and isolationism upheld by its government. The Onion provides a primer on North Korea’s people and culture

‘People Are Inherently Good,’ World Halfheartedly Mutters

NICE, FRANCE—Following yesterday’s terrorist attack in Nice, France that left over 80 people dead and scores more injured, sources reported that a dazed and utterly dejected global populace halfheartedly muttered the phrase “People are inherently good” to themselves Friday.

Louvre Curators Hurry To Display Ugly Van Gogh Donor Gave Them Before Surprise Visit

PARIS—After retrieving the eyesore from amid a clutter of unused display cases and movable stanchions in the back of the facility’s basement where it had been stowed ever since the museum received it, curators at the Louvre hurried to display an ugly Vincent van Gogh painting before the artwork’s donor made a surprise visit to the museum Friday.
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Excited Catholics Already Lining Up For Pope's Funeral

VATICAN CITY–Their numbers reaching into the hundreds, excited Catholics are lining up in front of St. Peter's Basilica in the hopes of scoring a seat for the upcoming funeral of Pope John Paul II.

Diehard pope fans wait patiently outside St. Peter's Basilica.

Sipping hot cocoa Monday while seated in a folding chair, Salvatore Bruni, 56, a Florence tailor, said he has been in line since Feb. 10.

"I don't know how much longer I'll have to wait, but whether it's five days or five months, it'll be well worth it," said Bruni from his position near the front of the queue. "This is going to be a funeral I'll never forget."

"The pope is a great man who has done wondrous things for the world," said Seamus O'Halloran, a Dublin pub owner who missed the Mar. 15 wedding of his nephew to avoid losing his spot in line. "So to have a chance to be there when they finally put him in the ground, man, that's something I'll tell my grandkids about."

Despite persistent rumors that the pope has Parkinson's disease, the Vatican continues to deny that his death is imminent, insisting that the pontiff is in excellent health for a man his age. Nevertheless, the line of faithful "Pope Deathwatchers" that wraps around the cathedral continues to swell by the hour.

Many of those waiting in line hope to catch a glimpse of the pope before he dies.

"I'm sure he'd love to come down and talk to us, but he's probably too weak by this point," said Maria Tineo, a Venezuelan nun who recently jumped 10 spaces in line when she correctly spelled the pope's real name–Karol Joseph Wojtyla–in a contest sponsored by a Rome radio station. "Some people near the back of the line thought they saw him on the balcony, but that turned out to be false."

Though no pope sightings have occurred in the last few weeks, periodic glimpses of cardinals entering and exiting St. Peter's have kept the crowd juiced.

"I've seen Cardinal Sadano twice," said Milan resident Sofia Cucino, who runs the pope fan site Johnpaulrules.com. "I also saw Cardinal Grantin once and wanted to ask him to get the pope to sign my copy of Crossing The Threshold Of Hope, but I couldn't get his attention. I just hope it's not my last chance."

Pope John Paul II, whose funeral is expected to take place sometime in the next few months.

While portable radios and TVs keep the crowd up to date on the pope's health, those in line have mostly entertained themselves. Among the most popular ways to pass the time include discussing the revised criteria for sainthood, trading pope-sighting stories, singing "Ave Maria," quoting the scripture, playing Catholic Trivial Pursuit, and, most of all, discussing the life of Pope John Paul II.

"Pope John Paul II was the first non-Italian pope in more than 455 years and the first Slavic pope ever," said William Strand, an Omaha, NE, priest. "He had to struggle every step of the way, right from his start as a young priest in the godless, communist country of Poland. Before he became a priest, he belonged to an experimental theater troupe, worked as a stonecutter, and was a published poet. He also enjoyed mountain climbing and kayaking. He was–I mean is–truly one of a kind."

While nearly everyone in line intends to wait as long as it takes until the pope dies, many do not plan to remain for the naming of a successor.

"I'm here to lend my faith and devotion to a very holy man in his final days," said Mario Battaglia of Genoa. "After he departs, so shall I."

For all the faithful's enthusiasm, some observers say the queued Catholics are wasting their time, insisting that they will be squeezed out of the funeral by the countless heads of state and other dignitaries that will descend upon the Vatican from around the world.

"When [the pope] dies, it will be an unbelievable event. Everybody who's anybody will be there," said Dr. Lawrence Shear, dean of the Yale School of Divinity. "The media requests alone could fill that basilica. Since the Vatican is always looking for the kind of coverage the death of a major leader brings, the devoted will be out of luck."

Continued Shear: "I think the best those poor Catholics can hope for is to be interviewed about their feelings on the pope's passing by local TV news affiliates while wailing in St. Peter's Square."

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