VATICAN CITY -- While admitting that he's "no scientist," Pope Francis is preparing to issue a papal encyclical (not to be confused with a Popsicle or an icicle) concerning global warming "and other celestial matters."
An encyclical is a lesson of sorts, a Vatican spokesman explained, which is coauthored by God, acting as the pope's Holy Ghost Writer. God dictates, and the pope, assisted by top aides, transcribes His Word, in a manner similar to that in which the Bible was originally written.
However, critics fear that the pope is listening to "other voices" than that of "the Deity," and that the pope may be "more intent on political correctness than he is on holiness."
Speaking from the Holy Sea, the pontiff has been concerned "for longer than God can remember, that the Earth is becoming hotter than hell," he whined, and he wants to do his part "to cool things off."
Privately, he has admitted to Vatican insiders, "God has revealed to me that the whole damned planet is going to hell in a hand basket!"
Skeptics claim that Pope Francis "may well have gotten a whiff of fire and brimstone," but, if he did, they insist, "it wasn't because of global warming." Some of his declarations are "perilously close" to blasphemy, they claim, adding, "we are afraid for His Holiness' infallible soul."
According to the pope's first draft of his encyclical, "environmental cleanliness is next to godliness," and should, therefore, be a "moral concern" for the faithful.
"We have slapped Mother Nature in the face," Pope Francis writes, "and it is not nice--or wise--to fool with her."
In an effort to keep his encyclical "free of the clutter of technical jargon," the pope has decided not to mention anything "of a scientific nature" in his encyclical. However, he does plan to quote the maxim, "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows," and he may include a Bible verse or two or an "ode to the goddess Gaia."
"It should be quite a document!" church officials fear.