Monday, May 23, 2005

Rumble in the...Bascilica?

VATICAN CITY -- During a recent general audience Pope Benedict XVI reminded the faithful that Satan is no match for God. This speech marked a significant departure from the gentle approach of his predecessor Pope John Paul II and was read by many as an an effort to win laymen back to the church with a cutting edge, in your face attitude that's more reflective of the new millennium.

The Pope went on to say that Satan is still at work in the world unleashing "evil energy" but that God will be the final arbiter of history. "History, in fact, is not in the hands of dark forces, left to chance or just human choices," he told thousands of people in St. Peter's Square. "Above the unleashing of evil energy, above the vehement interruptions of Satan, above the so many scourges of evil, rises the Lord, supreme arbiter of history," the pope said in an address reflecting on the Book of Revelation in the Bible.

However, things took an unexpected turn when he urged Catholics to look for and recognize what he called "hidden divine interventions in history," thereby unwittingly setting off a DaVinci Code like frenzy to uncover proof of God's existence. At one point, it appeared that the elusive evidence had been found, but those hopes were quickly dashed when experts cited eyewitness accounts along with the deaths of 19 million soldiers and 31 million civilians as proof that it was the Allied forces, not God, that had defeated the Axis powers in World War II.

Later that afternoon, Satan called a news conference to respond to the recently installed Pope's speech. Reading from a prepared statement, the Anti-Christ said he was angered by the "hostile" tone taken by the Pope and that he felt "disrespected" by the unprovoked attack. He went on to say that God had been lucky to win their first battle, but that the Lord had let himself "grow old and soft" over the last few millennia. Finally, he closed by criticizing God for speaking through an intermediary rather than "having the balls to say those things" and offered to fight the Lord "any time and any place."

God immediately accepted the challenge and Vatican officials hastily arranged what they billed as "The Ultimate Battle of Good and Evil," which was held last night before a packed house in St. Peter's Basilica. The Church, which had been converted into an arena for the evening, was filled to overflowing with Angels, Demons, and church officials. Due to concerns about security and overcrowding no others were permitted to attend.

The undercard, featurning the Archangels Raphael, Gabriel, and Michael versus three of the Four Horsemen of the apocalypse*, was a harbinger of things to come. In the opening bout, Raphael easily outboxed Famine to win a unanimous decision. The second bout belonged to Gabriel who TKO'd Pestilence in the eighth round. Finally, in the last bout Michael knocked Death down three times before finally backing him into a corner and unleashing a flurry of punches to score a tenth round knockout.

The fights were much closer than the results would seem, a fact that most ringside observers attributed to the work of the Archangels cutman, Jesus Christ.** While the Four Horsemen's cutman scrambled furiously to stop his fighters' bleeding via the traditional methods of vaseline, an enswell and Avitene, Jesus was able to instantly heal His fighters by laying His hands on them.

After a brief intermission, the excitement of the preliminary bouts gave way to the elaborate introductions of the fighters preparing to do battle in the main event. As the Rolling Stones' "Sympathy for the Devil" blared over the arena, Satan emerged from a wall of flames wearing a red silk robe and red shorts with black trim.

Not to be outdone, God whipped the crowd into a frenzy with a glorious thunder and lightning show. The crowd gasped as a blinding beam of pure light shone from the tunnel, and broke into a deafening roar as God emerged wearing a white silk robe with white shorts and dancing to Stomp by Kirk Franklin.

Unfortunately, the bout failed to live up to the pre-fight hype. After feeling each other out for the first two rounds the fighters got down to business in the third, standing toe to toe in the center of the ring and unloading on each other. Finally, at the 1:30 mark, God unleashed a thunderous right hook that put Satan down for the count and ended the bout.

During the post fight press conference, Satan claimed to have been slowed by an injury caused when he backed into a pitchfork during training. When asked why he didn't postpone the fight, he said "I didn't want to make any excuses. But now that I lost, I think I need to let people know why I lost. Have you ever gotten burned in the ass by a hot poker? That shit hurts like a motherf***er."

For his part, God expressed his trademark gratitude and humility saying "I couldn't have done it without the support of my main man and representative on earth, Pope Benny. I also want to thank the Angels, Cardinals, and Bishops for coming out to support me. This one's for you, dawgs. Finally, I'd like to thank Me for blessing Myself with the talent to do the things I do. Everything I have, I owe to Me."

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*War was unable to attend due to a previous commitment in Iraq

** Noted pacifist Jesus elected not to take part in the undercard much to the relief of His Father who said "He's always talking about turning the other cheek, which is a good way to get your ass kicked in a boxing match."