The Catholic Church is to be floated on the Stock Market. Cardinal Karl Profiteri of the Holy See's Banca Ambrosiana has announced that the Church is going to be privatised.
At a special conclave of bishops the vote was taken last April during the Feast of the Resurrection but has only now been made public. Two million shares will be floated on the International Stock Exchange next Monday. The Bundesburg Bank, the Dalai Lama and US president Barack O'Bama have all welcomed the move and praised his Holiness for his "inspired forward thinking".
Attending of Sunday mass will now incur a fee called "The Widow's Mite" to be paid at the door. Same applies to evening benediction and feast day celebrations. Confessions will be run on a meter basis like taxis, the longer in the box the more you will have to pay.
Baptism and funerals will be charged by the minute and masses for the dead will be on a scale from a five-minute oration with one altar boy attending to a "Mass Deluxe "appropriate to celebrities, State dignitaries, Grand Master Freemasons and the like that could run into many thousands of dollars. Audiences with the Pope will become ticket-only affairs and priced accordingly, with special lunch by invitation only.
An audience with your local Bishop may set you back a thousand dollars or more with a the kissing of the episcopal ring an additional two hundred and thirty nine dollars. Topping the scale of paid services will be a private Exorcism coming in at a whopping one hundred thousand dollars, non-refundable.
Cardinal Profiteri promised that "...with God's help, the shares are set to rocket." Asked why the Vatican had opted for this decision that many may frown upon, he replied. "When people get stuff for free they don't really appreciate it. That is how you get crucified in this world."