The following was sent to me in an email by a friend yesterday. Is it a hoax (as I suspect)? If it's true, why aren't all the newscasters bubbling over with this?
POPE DECLARES HIMSELF "PHYSICALLY IMMORTAL"
VATICAN CITY (AEP) -- In a Papal decree published Monday, John Paul II
proclaimed the doctrine of "Physical Immortality" of the Sovereign
Pontiff. From now on, the bishop of Rome will "possess the temporal
immanence with which the Divine Redeemer wished His Church to be endowed."
For many Catholics, the new dogma comes as a stinging refutation to
recent rumors which described the Pope as lacking the necessary
faculties for his charge. "On the contrary, John Paul II can now preside
over the destinies of the Church for centuries to come," said Jean-Marie
Lustiger, archbishop of Paris.
Lustiger has recently made contact with the mayor of Paris in order to
prepare the celebrations of the Pope's centenary, which will occur in 2020.
Several historians have pointed out that physical immortality is not the
first supernatural faculty with which a sovereign pontiff has equipped
himself. In 1870, the First Vatican Council granted Pope Pius IX the
power of infallibility by a majority of 535 votes out of 1,084 invited
bishops. As a matter of fact, it is that same infallibility which now
enables John Paul II to promulgate the new dogma without going through
the formality of a council.
Among the few dissenting voices, some left-wing Christians have declared
themselves "dismayed" by the Pope's initiative. "This will be
interpreted by the secular media as an exclusionary decision," fears
V+Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¬ronique Lestrade, 54, president of the Belgian "Christianisme et
Dialogue" foundation. Mrs. Lestrade suggests extending physical
immortality to all willing practicing Catholics, "provided they are
up-to-date on their financial contributions to the Church."
Still, Catholic commentators estimate that the new doctrine is only a
necessary prolongation to the Christian faith, which affirms that on
Judgement Day, everyone will receive an inalterable body. As the Italian
theologian Divo Barsotti explains it, the Pope joins those of which
Jesus said in Luke 9:27: "I tell you the truth, some who are standing
here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God."
And the believers remember that the body of Pope John XXIII is said to
have the appearance of freshness, although he is clinically dead.
According to Divo Barsotti, John Paul II will be miraculously preserved
as well, but while still alive.
Cardinal Josef Ratzinger, in charge of the Congregation for the Doctrine
of the Faith at the Vatican, said during a recent interview that the
latest decree is only the first of many doctrinal changes to come. Some
sources even say that the Pope will soon provide a definite answer to
the thorny question of papal omnipotence.
But these new texts are still in preparation. Prostrate on his desk,
John Paul II now devotes himself entirely to prayer and contemplation.
According to his entourage, the concentration of the Pope is such that
he has not made any movement in three days