THE VATICAN - Though Pope Francis' turn at the papal office is still in its infancy, he has already become widely regarded as the most progressive in the Vatican's long history. But while doubters criticize many of his recent viewpoints as being "un-Catholic" - such as his blasphemous refusal to banish the world's homosexuals to pits of fire and spiders - he has recently announced a new initiative that is sure to remind all of his followers that he has his eye on the prize.
This morning, the Vatican announced that they will be working with Europe's leading Christian scientists to pilot a program that would see infants baptized while still in the uterus. This revolutionary procedure will allow for Catholic priests to bless the amniotic fluid of a pregnant woman, ensuring fetuses will be Baptized "from the moment of conception."
"This procedure is integral to our expansion goals in the next decade," the official Vatican statement read, "as it will create a sustainable natural resource for burgeoning Catholic harvests the world over." Further elaboration revealed that "once a womb is blessed, it's blessed for good. Mothers are still free to change their faith at will, but every baby that is conceived in that womb can from then on be claimed as members of God's army in the glorious Catholic church."
"I think it's the most sensible idea I've heard from this current administration," says Jamie Sprouse, Catholic mother of 16, while holding two infants and breastfeeding neighborhood children. "If you look back at the history of the church, we've always been about procreation and servitude in the name of our Lord, and I feel like this is the perfect way to get 'em while they're young."
But the news isn't sitting well with everyone. "I fail to see how this is going to be a positive for us Catholics in the long run," says 37-year-old Leah Armstrong, who lives alone with her five cats and has not enjoyed the warm embrace of a man since one cold subway ride many years ago. "I can have my uterus blessed by the entire Vatican staff at the top of Mount Sinai and it won't make a lick of difference if I don't have a man to fill me full of babies."
Armstrong continued, criticizing the church for not having their priorities straight. "The way I see it, women like me will continue to be subjugated by the church as a lost cause unless actions are taken to ensure powerful virile husbands are provided for us if we're still single past the age of 35." Failing that, she sees baptism opportunities for kitty cats as "the only other option."
On the whole, Catholics who are not looking for such clerical handouts seem excited for this new approach to religion, and speculations are already beginning to surface that the Vatican's next move will involve in utero iPod implants as a way to introduce Catholic fetuses to audio versions of the Bible.
Human trials are set to begin within the next fiscal quarter.