He was the first pope to resign in "god" knows how long when Benedict XVI quit his papal duties in February 2013, saying that he no longer had the strength to perform his role. Now in an unprecedented interview with The Spoof's religious correspondent Paxton Quigley, the former pontiff has revealed the shocking truth about his sudden departure from the Vatican hot seat.
It was not caused by the constant stream of law suits and claims of world-wide ritual child abuse which he failed to investigate thoroughly before becoming pope, it wasn't the "Vatileaks" scandal, it was not the criminal activities of the Vatican bank, it was not the refusal to admit the domination of the clergy by a homosexual "mafia" nor indeed was it the claims of Nazi sympathies during his youth. It was in fact a secret weekend spent carousing with three English atheists which finally convinced Cardinal Ratzinger to stand down.
The ex-pontiff tells the story in his own words.
"I know that in recent years the church has been losing the arguments for God to celebrity atheists. They write well-reasoned books using logic, deriding blind faith and ignorance which after all are the bedrock of organised religion. I mean how could the church exist if people seriously thought about it? So I decided to invite some famous atheists to the Vatican for a friendly weekend to convince them of the error of their ways. David Attenborough, Richard Dawkins and Stephen Fry leapt at the chance to meet me and I arranged for them to stay in my guest apartment.
"It was an eye opener for me to meet some real people for a change, instead of the flunkeys and scheming lickspittles with which I usually surround myself, but I was surprised when they arrived from the airport on Friday evening and fell out of a taxi, all of them roaring drunk. Messrs. Attenborough and Dawkins began eyeing up the nuns who wait on me hand and foot and started to clap and chant 'get your tits out for the lads' while I saw Mr. Fry was squeezing a Swiss guard's buttocks. They were completely out of order, but their zest for life was truly exhilarating.
"Well the next morning at breakfast they were all a little subdued. I think you English call it 'the morning after the night before' so we didn't really start our debate until after lunch. Well, we swigged a few bottles of Chianti and started to chew the fat and soon I was amazed by what they told me. Did you know that we are descended from apes? Well, I didn't. Apparently an Englishman by the name of Charles Darwin theorised about this 150 years ago and scientific evidence is proving it. The latest scientific theory is that life came to Earth from Mars. Can you believe it? Bugger me. Sorry, that just slipped out.
"I must admit that my confidence was severely shaken when they asked how could I, as an intelligent man, rely for my faith on a book which was compiled nineteen hundred years ago and which has so many different accounts, factual errors and mistranslations, and which not to say the least is full of scientific impossibilities and improbabilities? Really, they asked, could fishermen in Galilee even write in those days? They also asked me if I can truly believe in a big brother in the sky who would punish me with eternal hellfire and damnation for my sins yet who really loves me? That made me think.
"Well that night after dinner, the three of them said that we should all go out to an English theme pub which they had found just off St. Peter's Square where the beer was passable. I thought it would be a good idea and went along with it, incognito of course, and I even bought what they called 'a round' of Old Dogfarter, 7.8 per cent ABV apparently. It was while we were at the pub that I heard Messrs. Attenborough and Dawkins whispering about how they were going to give some of the sisters a 'good shagging' and I thought how nice of them to give my ladies a present. They made their excuses and left me with Mr. Fry and it wasn't long before he took me to what he called a 'gay pick-up joint', whatever that is.
"That was very interesting. It was packed with clergy and Swiss guards and everyone was so friendly. They kept asking me if they could take me up the back alley, but I didn't really want to go outside and it would have been rude to leave Mr. Fry there all alone. When we got back to the Vatican I was shocked to find three Filipina nuns, Sister Charity, Sister Pneumatic and Sister Promiscuous, coming out of the guest apartment all flushed and giggling with their habits and wimples all askew. Tsk, tsk. I had to tell them to behave with some decorum and as they were going off I thought that I heard one of them mutter 'get a life you old git'.
"Well, I'm not sure how it happened, maybe it was the seven pints of Old Dogfarter, but the next morning I woke up with a splitting headache naked in the arms of Helmut, the Captain of the Guard, a lovely man who is devoted to me. There at the end of the bed were the nuns from the night before, kneeling with heads bowed, still giggling and begging for my forgiveness, saying that they were no longer vestal virgins. What's more, they claimed that they had partaken of original sin, been taken to heaven and back and, in seeing the light, had realised that there was more to life than just shutting themselves away from men and praying. They were leaving me. I was astonished.
"Well, on consideration I think that was the straw that broke the camel's back. The impassioned views of the English atheists and their zest for life, to see that a little bit of sin could give such pleasure to those women's drab lives, not to say my feelings for Helmut, it all added up.
"It's all just a sham really."