Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter Greetings!

This morning, before thousands of Christian worshipers, Pope Benedict XVI conducted the traditional Easter Mass at the Vatican. Rain-soaked attendees listened attentively as the Pope spoke to matters of global importance. Here are some of the highlights:

- As a sign of strenthening inter-faith ties, the Pope baptized Italy's most prominent Muslim, Magdi Allam. The writer and oft-controversial critic of extremist Islam said his baptism was a life-defining experience, and that "the miracle of the resurrection of Christ reverberated in my soul." As the water was sprinkled over his head it is rumoured that piercing cries of "Indfidels!!!" could be heard echoing from a remote cave near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

- The Pope then spoke to the Middle East. He espoused Christ's teachings, praying for peace to overcome ongoing violence and unrest. On Iraq his message was particularly poignant, given that the prayer hasn't changed in over 5 years now. Regarding the "holy land," the Pope was mute on the fact that since 1947 God still hasn't got back to us with an answer.

- Papal kudos were given to Canada's very own Jeffrey Buttle, the recent winner of the Men's figure skating World Championships in Sweden. Rumoured to be an avid fan of the sport - because he can totally relate to the attire - the Pope offered sincere congratulations, yet with a caveat. With a smile reminding us that he was, after all, in the Hitler Youth, the Pope acknowledged that Buttle's on-ice accomplishments inspired us all, but that he'll still eternally burn in hell.

- Benedict XVI finally addressed Africa, focusing on Darfur and Somalia (though not Kenya, the Central African Republic or Zimbabwe, of course). He again prayed for peace, shedding light on the redemption felt by millions after converting to Christianity. His overarching, entirely pragmatic appeal to the helpless millions in Africa: find peace in your war-torn, AIDS-ravaged and fiercely tribalistic societies (much the end result of European colonialism), by embracing church-sponsored, anti-poverty initiatives while abstaining from any pre-martital sex. And don't use condoms.

- The service then ended, St. Peter's Basilica a breathtaking canvass behind the throngs departing en mass. Though the rain was still coming down in sheets, most churchgoers were in good spirits, sporting hearty smiles.

Sinning, of course, commences again Monday.

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