VATICAN CITY --- Sources close to Pope John Paul II have revealed that the pontiff has been begging Vatican officials to be released from his official duties that he may enter retirement. However, the governing council remains adamant in its position that all popes, once elected, must remain in their position until death.
The Holy Father's close friends and confidantes are outraged by what some have called "a supreme callousness on the part of the College of Cardinals." Cardinal R. E. Negado, whom many Vatican City higher-ups consider somewhat of a maverick, pleaded for managerial clemency, and pointed out John Paul II's many contributions on behalf of the Catholic Church.
"The Holy Father played a crucial role in toppling communism. He has been a true champion for global human rights, during a time when is was just not cool, as you Americans say it, to advocate for human rights. I mean the Reagan Era," he said. "Not only that, he ended four hundred years of worldwide ridicule by the scientific community when he conceded that Galileo was right, after all. And it takes a truly noble soul to publicly apologize for the Church's crimes throughout Her history. Now he is suffering from Parkinson's disease. I say, let the man retire."
But Cardinal Negado's position is not shared by the College's majority. According to Cardinal Torquemada Scrooge, Vatican City's policies and procedures do not provide for Papal retirement. Cardinal Scrooge further said that, while John Paul II's unorthodox practices were welcomed by certain segments among Catholic liberals, they were by no means reflective of the entire Catholic community, especially the more conservative elements in the church.
"We already broke with a 200 year-old tradition when we elected a non-Italian to occupy St. Peter's throne," he said, dourly. "I mean, there are only so many concessions one ought to make for the sake of political correctness. What's next? Should we elect a Jew as our next Pope? Or worse, a black man? In addition, his continued refusal to reinstate the Holy Inquisition and to publicly execute convicted witches, warlocks, and heretics at the stake -- even within the confines of our sovereign city-state -- do not particularly move me to show him any clemency, at all. Managerial or otherwise."
Meanwhile, some the Pope's confidantes have told reporters that the College of Cardinal's obstinacy in the matter has nothing at all to do with His Holiness's alleged liberalism.
"It's about sweatshop practices, plain and simple," a source speaking under the condition of anonymity, said. "They just want to work him to death, just like the rest of us."