Pope Vows To Crack Down On Crime In Vatican City Slum

Top Headlines


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.
End Of Section
  • More News
Up Next

Pope Vows To Crack Down On Crime In Vatican City Slum

VATICAN CITY—In response to a rash of illegal activities in the most impoverished and violent neighborhood of the Holy See, Pope Benedict XVI vowed Monday to eradicate crime in the Vatican City’s slum.  

The pope wishes to make the Vatican inner city streets “safe to walk again.”

The slum, dubbed the "Heretic District" by Vatican City residents, has long been infamous for its neglected chapels, dilapidated seminaries, and ramshackle rectory inhabited by hundreds of poor priests dressed in old, tattered vestments. 

Papal sources confirmed they could no longer turn a blind eye to the growing lawlessness within the Vatican's inner city.

"We will be vigilant and swiftly implement new measures to combat crime in this blighted area by enforcing divine law as well as ecclesiastical discipline," Benedict said. "The number of criminal offenses in this destitute stretch of our city has tripled in the past six years, and it is crucial to send a message to the miscreant faithful who have strayed too far."

Addressing hundreds gathered for mass at St. Peter's Basilica, the pope condemned the disturbing crime trend in the notoriously run-down section of Vatican City and unveiled a $235 million initiative that would provide the resources necessary to crack down on violators found counterfeiting relics, burglarizing tabernacles, performing back-alley confirmations, or assaulting rival clergy. 

According to the Holy Father, the new anti-crime program would focus on apprehending, prosecuting, and convicting unlicensed street bishops, racketeering priests, and deacon thugs involved in illicit Church activities. In addition, the proposal  would increase the number of Swiss Guards patrolling the streets of the slum and create a program to dissuade youths living in the neighborhood from ganging up to form their own rogue religious orders.

Benedict also told reporters the Catholic Church would allocate funds and oversee construction of the Vatican City's first maximum-security prison. 

"Too often we have chosen to ignore the grim realities that exist in the forgotten corners of our city," the pope said. "Instead of taking action, the Catholic Church has simply mollycoddled the hoodlums who wantonly transubstantiate on the corner, in plain sight, and turned a blind eye on defrocked priests who steal consecrated bread to administer the Holy Eucharist."

Vatican City officials claim the slum has been a “rough area” for centuries.

"Repeat offenders must receive stiff punishments," the Supreme Pontiff added. "And on our end we must also pray harder to ensure these wicked servants of the Lord find the path to righteousness."

Bishop Luigi Bettazzi, who was born and raised in the slum and is still fluent in the low Latin spoken by a majority of the area's residents, acknowledged that he had a difficult childhood growing up on the "wrong side" of Vatican City.

"It's a rough part of town, there's no doubt about that," said Bettazzi, who still volunteers in the slum several times a week to help remove the "IHS" and "INRI" graffiti spray-painted on the exteriors of abandoned confessionals. "Back in the '60s, the Swiss Guard never even went down there. It was just you, your miter, and your wits."

Father Clark Johnson, an imposing local priest with two tiny crucifixes tattooed under his right eye to symbolize the number of times he has anointed the sick, said that many of the clergy living in the slum are convinced the Vatican is biased against them and would never allow them to rise above the level of monsignor. 

"We all know the pope is from Vatican Heights," Johnson said. "You think His Holiness cares one whit about the clergy from here? Not a chance. I'll be stuck slinging communion for the rest of my life, and that's just the truth."

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone said the majority of Vatican City locals are desperately afraid of the poverty-stricken neighborhood, where nuns loiter outside convents and deacons stumble around with the Blood of Christ in a paper bag. He believes people are so disturbed by the slum's reputation that they fail to appreciate its vibrant citizenry and local history.

"As bad as it is there in terms of crime and financial hardship, the place really is just teeming with culture," Bertone said. "The music is fantastic. Some of the best pipe-organ players come out of there. And if you want to taste the best daily bread you've ever had in your life, look no further."

"Plus, once you get to know the people and see past their tough exterior, they're really quite wonderful," Bertone added. "And they're deeply religious."

Sign up For The Onion's Newsletter

Give your spam filter something to do.

X Close