Pope Benedict XVI announced Monday that he would resign Feb. 28 — the first 600 year old pontiff to do so. (Eds Note: That should read the first pontiff to do so in 600 years. Sorry for the confusion.) The decision sets the stage for a conclave to elect a new pope before the end of March. "You think the NCAA has a corner on brackets?" asked Cardinal Guido Maserati, head of the Vatican handicapping office. "Wait 'til you get a load of us."
The 85-year-old pope announced his decision in Latin during a meeting of Vatican cardinals on Monday morning because "later chumps" sounds better in a dead language.
He emphasized that carrying out the duties of being pope — the leader of
more than a billion Roman Catholics worldwide, some of whom actually listen to him — requires "both flexibility
of mind and adaptability. Nobody told me that ahead of time," the pope added. "All I wanted to do was return the church to the 1500's, but you were all like nooooo, people found out about the prevs; we got uppity nuns; we got...uh...investments to manage. And the Muslims! When did they start to matter."
"After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, and have him go all, 'Holy crap! You did what in 1941?' I have come
to the certainty that my positions due to my ossified philosophy are no longer
suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. And the fact that I used the word 'Petrine' should tell you all that you need to know about what century I'm in," he told the
cardinals. "Besides, Facebook is no fun when all my updates are about court cases. And why can't I tweet in Latin?"
Cardinal Maserati said there was no truth to the rumor that pope Benedict was being traded to the Anglicans for two Bishops and a parish in Kent.
"However, in today's world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken
by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern
the bark of St. Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind
and body are necessary —not to mention degrees in the Law and finance if we're going to get out of this mess with our holy posteriors intact."
The move sets the stage for the Vatican to hold a conclave to elect a
new pope by mid-March, since the traditional mourning time that would
follow the death of a pope doesn't have to be observed. Cardinal Maserati indicated the conclave may start with a Facebook poll. "That California guy, what's his name? Mahony? That dude has a ton of likes on his page."