Rome (Reuters) – A new Pope has been chosen. Thousands cheered as the new Pope of the Roman Catholic church stepped on to the balcony of St. Peter's in Rome this afternoon. Reuters was able to reach the papal offices shortly after the white smoke appeared in the newly erected smokestack above the famed church and administrative headquarters of the 1.2 billion member church.
We spoke to the papal secretary who replied with laughter when we asked the name of the new pope who will lead his denomination through the turbulent times the church is now experiencing. The laughter turned into hysteria and the secretary dropped the phone, breaking the connection.
A call to the papal quarters was answered by the new pope himself. In a worldwide exclusive (Must credit Reuters) the pope introduced himself as Francois-Marie Arouet, "Better known as Voltaire," he said modestly.
"It did come as quite a surprise," he admitted. "First, because I'm a Deist, or maybe an Agnostic or Atheist, depending on the political winds in Paris. And second because, geez, man, I'm dead. I died over 200 years ago. I mean, c'mon."
Asked what name he would go by as the supreme pontiff Voltaire replied, "It's not like I was prepared or anything. I dunno. Maybe something for the Americans, since they've never really had a shot at getting one of their own into the office. Bob. How 'bout Bob? Pope Bob. Yeah, I kinda like that. Easy to say, isn't it?"
We agreed, and inquired about his plans for the future of the church. "Ya got me," Pope Bob said. "Gimme some time to get used to this, ya know? I'm still coming to terms with the clothes and the red slippers and the ring kissing. That bit was a little disconcerting, lemme tell ya. Kissing my ring? How weird is that."
The world hadn't been aware that Voltaire was even on the ballot, and it turned out neither was he. "There's something a little off about voting for a pope, at least there is to me. Voting? These old guys are supposed to be the closest to their god, right up there, and I figured they'd all just get the same magic word from on high. That would make sense for them. But they had to vote on it? Too weird, man."
We mentioned that it took five ballots. "Exactly!" Pope Bob exclaimed. "The top guys, you gotta figured they all prayed for guidance, right? And they got different answers! What's with that, man? Their god's a jokester? How could anybody follow what these guys say, if they can't even get a straight answer from their god? Did a bunch of them hear wrong? That doesn't make them sound too reliable as conduits of the word, now does it? I don't know, the voting, the miscommunications with their god, it all sounds a little fishy to me. But, what the hey, they ended up making a good choice. Listen, I gotta go now. They want me to wave and say stuff in Latin. Let me give you my cell number. Call me later."
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