VATICAN CITY—Pope Francis fielded questions today from a small crowd of mildly-annoyed protesters gathered in St. Peter’s Square. The group alleged that John Paul II’s rush to sainthood, while arguably valid, failed to look at the real miracles he had achieved.

“Don’t get me wrong here. I liked Johnny as much as anybody—but he was no miracle worker,” said Luca Badin, “except with a deck of cards.”

Badin, a small-time bookie, lay the blame for the botched canonization squarely on the Vatican.

“They talked to the wrong crowd. Johnny was a prophet in much the way that Jesus was. He walked and talked and lived and worked with the lowest of the low. These are the people who knew the man he was.”

Others in attendance, most of whom claimed to have lost their shirts in poker games with the Pope, nodded in firm agreement.

“That nice nun in France whose Parkinson’s got better? She never knew Johnny,” Cinzia Lucciano cried. “Besides, if Johnny could have cured Parkinson’s, he certainly would have cured himself of it. He was no fool. I still owed him money. He would never have gone quietly without collecting.” Murmurs of assent greeted her account.

“With no disrespect intended to that lady in Costa Rica, praying to a magazine picture of John didn’t cure her brain aneurysm,” added Lino Toscano. “It’s more likely that the repeated exposure to tabloids had already damaged enough of that part of her brain that the aneurysm couldn’t do much more.”

We all knew Johnny cheated at cards but I guess we rationalized it as tithe. A donation to the church with entertainment thrown in… a Vaticasino, if you will.

~ Cinzia Lucciano

Toscano, who owed the pontiff the equivalent of nearly 3,700 Euros and the ownership papers to his car at the time of John Paul’s death, says he has been continuing to look over his shoulder since 2005.

“My theory of the ‘miracle of John’ is that he faked his death,” Toscano explained. “I still wake up everyday expecting to see him at my kitchen table with his staff raised and his hand out.”

Vincenzo Lori agreed. “I lost my wife in a game of Texas hold ’em. John never took her, which I agree was rather saintly of him.  But he did warn me that I owed him a favour. He hasn’t collected. Not yet.”

Pope Francis, while characteristically attentive and sympathetic, held out little hope for a revision of the Vatican-approved canonization.

“While I appreciate a masterful sleight of hand as much as the next guy,” Francis said, “culling, stacking, and second dealing—while miraculous to behold—are not miracles.”

He was eventually able to compel the crowd to disperse voluntarily with repeated attempts to engage them in a hand of “Go Fish”.

Photo: Dennis Jarvis, flickr

By Sebastian Panache

Editor-in-Chief. You can follow him on Twitter @SebPanache, except he quit posting there after Elon bought it. Search for Mooseclean's on Mastodon instead.

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