Rome - (Ass Mess): Pope Ratiznger has gagged the name of a Holy Sea official who was fired after cocaine was found in his Vatican sauna room locker.
The employee cut a deal using the Vatican court's ancient priviledges principle which allows felons to plea bargain by naming their criminal partners in exchange for a relatively cushy sentence.
The man received a four month suspended sentence plus absolution after saying thee Our Fathers, Three Hail Marys and a Glory Bee, plus the usual $500 donation to the collection plate at Mass the following Sunday.
His case only came to light because an Italian criminal court had convicted him of other offenses outside the jurisdiciton of the Vatican.
This led to a swoop on the Vatican sauna changing rooms where the man worked as a massage artist. His designated locker was found stuffed with over 100 one gram bags of a toxic white powder that subsequently tested positive for cocaine.
The Vatican judge, Gianluigi Marrone, said the Papal legal code does not jail the organization's dealers but sends them away to other parts of its organization where it is hoped that a change of scenery, atmosphere and investigative police officers will inspire them to turn away from crime.
Cocaine-laced wine was a favourite tipple of Pope Leo XIII, who died in 1903 cirrohsis of the liver.
Joseph Ratzinger is 83.