Pope Benedict today admitted that the Roman Catholic Church is 'just an April fool's joke, who'd've believed it would have taken this long for anyone to spot it?!'
The former Nazi finally admitted the joke, as he revoked yet another ex-communication given to a priest who denied the Holocaust ever happened. 'It started with Jesus, sure', he said, 'and was about forgiveness and love, and non-violence and giving up possessions. Hell, Jesus even got angry with the Zealots for wanting him to support their campaign against the Romans! But on April the first, the year after Jesus died, a tent-seller in Syria pulled off the best April fool's joke in history!'
'St Paul, for it was he, told people that Christianity was really about collecting looted art treasures, helping fascist murderers escape justice, mass-murdering non-believers across the planet, and becoming as rich and powerful as possible.'
'But before he could shout 'April fool!' at anyone, sadly he had to go and write lots of letters to his friends, and so never got round to admitting the practical joke. So I, as Holy Anti-Aircraft Gunner, now tell the world it was all just a bit of fun. Come on, when have you ever heard me mention any of Jesus's teachings? Do me a favour ...'
Millions of Catholics were shocked at the Pope's announcement, and many flocked to Vatican City to ask him if it was true that their religion was just a practical joke. 'But didn't Jesus die for our sins, and come back to life after being killed?', said Mrs Georgina Bush, 'and didn't he tell us to fight endless wars for Middle Eastern oil, and to never use contraception?'
'Nope', the Pope laughed, 'see that book in the corner? That's The Bible, have a read of it some time. Of course, I took out all the bits about Jesus in it years ago, but will be glueing the pages back in tonight and taking out all those letters that St Paul wrote. Letters from a tent-seller hardly equal the teachings of Jesus, do they?'
'It was all just a joke', he continued, 'but it got a bit out of hand, I'm afraid. Sorry, gotta dash, need to check my numbered Swiss bank account, and see how my gold bars are doing.' Millions of priests, ministers, evangelists and bishops were suddenly out of a job at the news, but one - American preacher Billy Graham - said: 'We'll just have to make up a new religion to replace Christianity, won't we? One that means lots of people die and we get rich out of it. Yep, sounds good to me, where's George W Bush's phone number?'
Scripts of 'The Little House On The Prairie' were being rewritten after the Pope's announcement, but the one of 'The Life Of Brian' needed no alterations.