LORETO, Italy (AFP) - Pope Benedict XVI hosted a colossal Catholic mass Sunday attended by half a million Italians, telling them to throw away their video games, burn their automobiles and use their cell phones to "take care of the environment."
"We must reinstate a policy similar to the fondly remembered days of the Inquisition - but this time in order to save the environment," he said. "If you see someone littering, or acting carelessly against the environment, don't listen to the numerous voices in your head, pick up your cell phone and report it to me. I'll have the violators burning on a stake by sundown."
The pontiff urged young believers to adopt a "lifestyle that is mostly sober, with mild use of marijuana and with an interest in the common good of all living things including trees, bugs and viral bacterium (but excluding human beings)."
He said that all men are sinners by their nature and that although God could easily fix the so-called global warming problem and other such nuisances with the wave of a hand, He would, much prefer to see men causing each other to suffer by having Al Gore lecture us endlessly.
Members of the congregation received "Green God" kits containing a prayer book printed on recycled toilet paper, a glow-in-the-dark eco-Jesus action figure, a manual automobile battery recharger and a biodegradable pooper scooper.
"I only ask that each of you think, 'What would Jesus do?'" the Pope concluded. If Jesus were here on earth you can bet your Birkenstocks he would be hugging a tree -- even though last time he was here he ended up nailed to one."
The pope departed the ceremony in a cloud of burned jet fuel via private aircraft for his $12 million summer home at Castel Gandolfo on the hills outside Rome after the mass.