ITALY: The offices in Rome of Il Messaggero, one of Italy's leading newspapers were evacuated early yesterday. What is believed to have been a nuclear bomb was found on the premises, in the editor's office. Army bomb disposal experts were called in to defuse the device while the entire population of Rome and surrounding villages were evacuated.
A Turkish Islamist Jihad sect has claimed responsibility saying that Islamists would no longer tolerate fun being made of their "divine prophet" Jesus Christ. This was in retaliation for a cartoon in last Monday's edition depicting Jesus as Santa Claus in the guise of an American tourist. "Who needs Jesus when ya got me? Ho, ho, ho!" ran the caption.
Clearly, the group considered this to be in very bad taste. "We intend from now on to exact full revenge for blasphemy, past, present or to come against our Prophet Jesus," ended the statement.
The event has sent shock waves throughout The Catholic Church and elsewhere in the free world. Pope Benedict made a quick television broadcast appealing for calm, saying that although he could sympathize with the "criminals" who committed the act, Islam, the religion, had nothing to do with Islamism the political ideology. As Pope, it was his duty to uphold the fundamental democratic rights of all nations.
His Holiness ordered his chief publicity officer Fr. Carlo Capone to contact a legal team to see what sort of legal force short of assassination could be applied to Il Messaggero to get it to "shutta fuck up!". And he ordered an immediate Vatican convention of all of Italy's media executives to explore what measures can be taken. In the meantime, the whole of Rome lies silent as one of its brothels on a Monday morning.
Liberal Catholic theologian "Fr. Frank Spoke" of Washington University was summoned to explain the Pontifical view. In a paper despatched within hours of the Papal broadcast he stated that "Theologically, it can be proved from many miracles and instances in the bible such as the changing of over seven hundred litres of water to wine for a wedding binge in a small village, picking Judas Iscariot for a disciple, and the raising of Lazarus who was known to be massively in debt before his demise, that Jesus had a very good sense of humour indeed".
Bishop O'Dowd however, of Dublin Ireland, responded differently. "It's about time," he announced in an RTE broadcast that went around the world, "that somebody stood up to these freewheeling media demons, these denigrators of what most devout Christians hold dearest. We should be ashamed of ourselves that it was left to foreign heathens to clean up our own backyard." Outsiders said the bishop had been badly affected by Ireland's recent slide into bankruptcy and the resultant depletion of church donations from the elderly. This may have clouded his thinking and his mother, who is Ireland's leading opponent of contraception, said "he must be forgiven for his untimely insertions".
Many Catholic nuns, priests and monks, finding themselves deeply divided have joined Islam. More are expected to follow over the coming weeks. Worse could well come as many nuns, it has been disclosed, particularly the more attractive ones and those living near monasteries, prefer the burkah to their tradional habits.
In America and the UK, the threats have been taken more seriously than just about anywhere else outside of Italy. The makers of the very popular and lucrative UK "Father Ted" series have gone into hiding. They issued a statement from their hideout in Finland to the effect that they never wrote the stuff at all but it was written by a chap from Derry, in the North of Ireland whom they "had ripped off", and that "they would be delighted to furnish the Jihad with his address if they could be allowed to return home." Many others in the UK have fled or simply disappeared. In Hollywood, hundreds of film and television executives have skipped town.
Surivors of the famous "Monty Python" team, responsible for such controversial film satires as "The Life of Brian", "The Holy Grail" and "The Meaning of Life" are nowhere to be seen. But, from his hideout somewhere in Australasia, Eric Idle, spokesman from the group, sent out a brief message on Twitter: "Have these bastards no sense of humour?" he asked. "God will be my Judge... but I strongly object to having my court appearance brought forward by this bunch of irresponsible, juvenile, attention-seeking lunatics."
In a desperate bid to exonerate himself Idle has put on his popular website a link to one of his songs taking the piss out of Santa Clause. His followers however, do not believe it will do any good and "are expecting to see his severed head being displayed on their TV screens any day soon".