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Catholic Church Considers Appointing Jewish Pope
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VATICAN CITY - In an attempt at 21st century reconciliation, an anonymous official with the Vatican confirmed that the first Jewish Pope may be appointed within hours of Pope John Paul II's death. "The Holy Father has intimated that it is time for the Church to expand," said the Cardinal, "We can think of no better way to do that than to offer its highest office to one of our Jewish brothers." Vatican legal counsel admits that this is not outside the realm of possibility. "It's the first I've heard of it," said Cardinal Peter Underfell, "But the first Holy See was himself a Jew, since Christianity was not a religion as such until late into the first century. There would be both cheers and jeers, no doubt, but there is nothing in Church law to rule it out."

"They read the same Bible we do, right?"
-- Opehlia Raye, Catholic layperson
"Preposterous!" exclaimed a lay Catholic visiting the Vatican, "They have rejected the very Head of the Church, how could any Jew possibly be considered a proper candidate?" His attitude was shared by most Catholics interviewed. "I don't see how that would work," said Ophelia Raye, "I guess they do wear those little skull caps, like the Pope does. And they read the same Bible we do, right? But I don't know, it just doesn't sound right to me."

The history of the Church is rife with Popes that have not held to the beliefs of the Church. Pope Gregory IX was known to believe the Bible was largely mythical and held that Adam and Eve were merely allegorical. Another controversial Pope, Pope Leonard, reportedly tried to have the Gospel of Leonard inserted into the Bible. Despite his efforts, including the excommunicating of several Cardinals not amenable to his views, his canonical changes never became a part of Church tradition. "In view of the history of the papacy, appointing a Jewish Pope is possible, but I would still say not probable," explained Catholic historian Edward Charles, "I can't speak with authority in the matter, of course, but the authority of history suggests this is a non-starter."

According to Church tradition, the Cardinals have 20 days to elect a new pope. A balloting with no clear majority choice is signaled with black smoke rising from the Vatican, resulting from the ballots themselves burned in conjunction with a chemical. If the balloting is successful, the ballots alone are burned, resulting in white smoke and signaling that a new Pope has been chosen. "You'll see white smoke, there's no doubt," said one Cardinal, "But you'll not see a Jewish Pope. I don't care what you've heard, that's not going to happen."
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