THE HEAVENS—Emerging from behind a cloud blind in a blaze orange miter and camouflaged vestments, His Holiness Pope Francis reportedly celebrated with fellow clergymen Thursday after bagging a highly coveted prize in this year’s Vatican seraphim hunt: a six-winged trophy angel.
The pope posed for a photograph with the rare specimen, holding up the angel’s limp carcass to display all six of its wings. Witnesses stated that Francis spent hours tracking the seraph through the firmament and then patiently lay in wait, baiting it with nectar and calling it with a device that mimics the sound of an angelic choir singing God’s praises.
When the moment was right, reports confirmed, the pontiff moved in for the kill.
“The second it descended from its heavenly spire and came into my sights, I released the safety on my Remington 700 Long Range, said a few Hail Marys to steady my hand, and took it out,” the pope told reporters as he field-dressed the angel, slicing off its white robes, sinking a knife just below the breastbone to open up its torso, and removing its halo with an expert incision. “They’re stunning creatures. Just look at that shining, beatific face! It’s a true honor bringing down one of these beauties.”
“There’s a great butcher back in Vatican City who will cut this into some really nice steaks, roasts, and chops,” added the pope, wiping the divine being’s blood and feathers from his hands. “This fatty part right here under the forewing is wonderful in stews.”
Held each year on the first day of angel-hunting season, the event is reportedly open to all members of the Roman Curia with a Vatican Game Commission permit, which allows holders to cull up to three seraphim from the celestial herd. According to participants, the morning began with a prayer to Hubertus, patron saint of hunters, who it is said can intercede with God to give a sportsman plenty of good clean shots at the angels as they fly through the Heavens singing, “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole Earth is full of His glory.”
Vatican officials said this year marks the 1,693rd annual seraphim hunt.
“We’re careful not to shoot undersized angels, but occasionally someone will fire off a round and belatedly realize it was just a cherub,” said Francis, adding that it’s always a shame to see an innocent, tiny, round face looking up at you and realize you have to snap its neck to put it out of its misery. “With a seraph, you want to kill it with a shot to the head, because if you nick it in the gut, that stomach matter floods out and gives the meat a real foul taste. You want to get a seraph on the first shot, too—otherwise, you may have an ornery angel barreling down on you and find yourself on the wrong end of a flaming sword.”
“Rough estimate, I’d say this six-winger I got today will yield 100, maybe 150 pounds of meat,” the Vicar of Christ continued. “My mouth is watering already.”
The pope went on to state that a good hunter makes sure no part of an angel goes to waste. Because the trophy he bagged Thursday is on the smaller side, Francis said he most likely will not have the angel’s ethereal remains stuffed and placed in the Sistine Chapel, as he has with others. But the Holy Father indicated he will nonetheless have its shimmering head mounted and displayed somewhere in the papal apartments, in addition to having its fiery locks made into a winter hat.
Cardinal Angelo Sodano, who hasn’t missed the seraphim hunt in 70 years, described the annual outing as a way to control the angel population, which has had few natural predators since Satan and his minions were banished to hell for all eternity.
“Every kill is made with the intent of safeguarding the heavenly ecosystem for generations of hunters to come,” Sodano said. “And that’s really what it’s all about. Each fall, we grab our guns, grab a case of wine, mask our scents with a good dousing of angel urine, and spend some quality time tracking our Lord’s most beautiful creations across the green pastures of Heaven. I look forward to it all year. I really feel connected to the Eternal Kingdom of God when I’m up here.”
At press time, sources confirmed the seraphim hunt had been called off early after an errant shot flew through Saint Peter’s Gate, ricocheted off the Throne of God, and buried itself deep in the shoulder of His Only Begotten Son.