Vatican City, Tuesday (Rioters) - A full-scale doctrinal schizm is facing the Holy Mother Church tonight following revelations that the Pope has ordered the ladies of the Polish Ecclesiastical Sewing Tradition (PEST) to desist from stitching up any more ceremonial vestments or altar cloths and to turn to the production of more profitable sidelines to help balance the Vatican's deeply troubled domestic accounts: the sewing of thongs.
This latest development follows the devastating news last month that all the Vatican's bank accounts have been frozen yet again, this time at the Riggs Bank where CEO Jonathan Bush, the US President's uncle, was fined $25 million for doing General Pinochet's laundry in public.
In a further twist, it now emerges that the Osama bounty-hunters that the beleagured Riggs' CEO hired earlier this year to help pay off the fine and who were caught running a private Abu-Ghraib-style jail in Afghanistan are, infact, fully-accredited Papal Pro-Nuncios to the Taleban whose ecumenical brief to convert the heathen masses of the Tora Bora was personally financed by John Paul II 's air miles, accrued from his globe-trotting mercy missions to exiled Rebublicans Abroad worldwide. As such, the mercenaries are claiming full entitlement to Vienna Convention status and diplomatic immunity from any form of prosecution.
Meanwhile, back at the revamped Gdansk shipyard where an unholy thong row is now raging, PEST members are finalising the launch of their website and online customer order book following professional advice from Sloggi, the world's No 1 religious garment manufacturer and holder of the Archbishop Makarios Warrant for Official Ecclesiastical Foundation Garments.
A customer search engine at the site will automatically measure clients' credit ratings and color-match their enquiries to a range of Pontifically-approved styles, which can be despatched for collection at parishes all over the world. Prices range from the relatively inexpensive in the Via Dolorosa range labelled "Going for a Thong" to the immodestly ruinious Sun Set Strip modelled on Sistine Chapel's Lido patrons.
Lech Walesa was unavailable for comment tonight but his spokesman said the ageing ex-President was considering returning his Papal Knighthood as a mark of protest.