Thursday, 30 December 2010

Pope’s New Year Encyclical: Dissimulavero Moderari Meo Mensam Nefastam

Not what it looks like at all
Just a day ahead of an EU deadline requiring him to clean up his financial act, Pope Benedict XVI has confirmed the moral authority of the Roman Catholic church with a message of hope for the New Year contained in his latest encyclical, ‘Dissimulavero moderari meo mensam nefastam’, (‘I shall pretend to run my crooked bank properly’).

The somewhat belated step towards the moral high ground comes after Italian judges ordered the seizure of £19m which the Vatican had tried to deposit in a commercial bank in St Peter’s Square, without any explanation of where it had come from or who it was intended for, and began a criminal investigation into the sacred bank’s director and his deputy.

The Pope then tried to evade international laws on money laundering by claiming that his bank was not really a bank at all, but an Institute for Works of Religion. Financial regulators then sang the response, ‘Pa aliam filiolus Jacobus in eo campanae’, (‘Pull the other one, sonny Jim - it’s got bells on’), and dismissed him with a demand to clean up his act by 31st December or else.

Successive popes throughout the ages have maintained a tradition of pretending that things are not what they might appear to be to the simple, unenlightened layman. For example, the Vatican is not just a big church with rather a lot of administrative wings tacked onto it, but an important nation state with embassies and a seat at the UN, while a doddery old bloke in a big hat is actually God’s personal spokesman on earth and a Nazi anti-aircraft gun is in fact Christ’s Blessed Finger of Thunderous Mercy.

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