His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI has sent an Easter gift of sacred oil to the devastated archdiocese of l'Aquila, the Vatican reported today.
The spirits of the 28,000 homeless survivors shivering in flimsy tents were briefly lifted when an 18-wheeled papal tanker rumbled into the ruined city. Faces fell, however, when Archbishop Giuseppe Molinari ceremonially pumped the single litre of holy oil into a gold bucket and regretfully explained that each tent would only receive 0.15 of a cubic centimetre, enough to burn for approximately four seconds.
"We nearly lynched Berlusconi the other day, when he had the bare-faced cheek to come here and compare the destruction of everything we own in the world to going on a camping trip," said one shocked victim. "But when it comes to taking the piss, the Pope's fatuous gesture has really raised the bar."
"I can understand why the Pope may be reluctant to get up off his bony arse and minister to his traumatised children, stuck in squalid tent cities a mere hour's drive from his enormous palace," commented one haggard rescue worker. "If he was soaked in his stupid oil, tied to a stake and lit, he could provide enough heat for several hundred people for an entire evening."
"And char-grilled pontiff would make a pleasant change from emergency rations for a lucky few," he added.
"Happy Easter, everybody," said the Pope.