ROME, MONDAY - Rumours have been leaking from inside Vatican City throughout the weekend that the newly-elected pontiff, pope Benedict XVI, intends to get tough on other religions who don't share the Roman Catholic view of spirituality. These appear to have been confirmed this morning by the announcement that the Holy Father has purchased a nuclear first strike capability for the Swiss Guard.
The pope's official spokesman read a short statement to a press conference at around 10:00 a.m., outlining his plans - "In line with his wish to increase his church's level of influence in the world today, his holiness has instituted a thorough root and branch overhaul of Vatican City's military capabilities. Preliminary findings have shown that the Swiss Guard's traditional uniform of skirt, tights and pompom slippers has left it with an image of ridicule in the modern world. The holy father has therefore decided to make changes. With immediate effect, the skirt and slippers will be replaced with a more efficient design of grey cloth and stout boots, very much as could be seen on certain troops during the second world war - although this is entirely coincidental, I assure you. In addition, our army is to be equipped with the very latest in military hardware. A first step in this has already been taken with the purchase of first strike intercontinental nuclear missiles, which are in the process of being housed in silos under St Peter's basilica. His holiness wishes me to emphasise that these should not be seen as posing any threat to non-Christian countries or groups, but would like it to be known that they are part of his redoubled effort to impress the true power of God upon all non-believers."
Unofficial enquiries to sources at the Vatican indicate that the weapons were supplied from a contact in North Korea who " wanted to get rid of them in a hurry, no questions asked".
Since this morning's shock announcement, frantic activity has been seen at the United Nations in New York, where an emergency session of the Security Council has passed a resolution calling for the removal of "God's Rottweiler" from the papal throne. Further unsubstantiated rumours are now circulating that Hans Blix and Mohammed el-Baradei are en-route to Rome, where they will try to gain access to inspect the nuclear weapons, and assess the Vatican's true intent.
George W. Bush has addressed a special session of the US Congress, and has called for immediate sanctions against Vatican City, including a ban on air travel and exports. In the UK, Tony Blair has said he is right behind his ally Mr Bush (shortly before asking the reporters if any of them knew exactly what George planned to do about it).
Other rumours that deliveries of biological growth medium, tankers of "industrial chemicals", and long steel cylinders "for our new oil refinery" have been seen entering through the back gates to Vatican City are being strongly denied.