THE VATICAN — Many religious scholars and American liberals point to Pope Francis as evidence of a man who can be steeped in religious dogma and yet also be quite progressive. Compared to past popes, Francis has been much more willing to condemn the excesses of capitalism and to speak about global climate change as an issue humankind should address, rather than ignore. Many on America’s left side of the political spectrum revel in the news every time the Chief Pontiff makes an announcement that seems to liberalize the Catholic Church, and recently when the Pope announced that starting in December, he was giving permission to his all-male team of priests to forgive women who have abortions.
Reporters caught up with the Pope recently while he was dining in the Vatican cafeteria, a tradition he started on every third Tuesday of the month. “I just really thought I’d lead by example,” the Pope said while eating his tuna salad sandwich on rye, “and so I decided to give my priests permission to forgive a woman for doing what she wants with her sexual organs, just like men do.” Pope Francis said that “while it’s always dangerous to give women the impression they are equipped with the mental and emotional tools necessary to dictate how and when to make sex like men do” that “it’s probably okay at this point to forgive for making a very personal decision none of us have any real right to feel privy to.”
“I’m totally a liberal, progressive guy,” the Pope said as he washed his sandwich down with an Orange Crush, “and that’s why I thought it might be okay to start forgiving women for doing what they want with their bodies.” The Pope said that in 2015 “it’s just silly to think we shouldn’t let women at least think they can have a say in their own procreative decisions” and that “ultimately we men still dominate the governments and institutions that dictate public sentiment toward sexually-free women, so we’ll still be able to slut-shame the shit outta them.”
When confronted with the fact that the Bible itself never mentions abortion, the Pope laughed heartily and continued eating his sandwich. He stopped for a moment, looked up, and asked, “Does the Bible mention abortion specifically?” Then, after another beat, “I don’t know. I haven’t read it myself in years — that shit is verbose y’all — but hey, it doesn’t mention anything about protecting pedophile priests from legal prosecution either, but, YOLO, know what I mean?”
“I mean, sure, I guess you could say that by implying an abortion is something a woman even needs to be forgiven for, we’re still sending the message that a woman’s reproductive autonomy is not her own to control, but you know,” the Pope paused again, thinking intently for the right words before settling on, “Hell…and Satan…and stuff.”
Reporters asked for his thoughts about rape victims in terms of the abortion debate. “Of course I think rape victims should be forgiven for the sin of having a permanent reminder of the time they had some asshole’s hard phallus rammed inside of them in the most personally violating way possible removed from their body,” the Pope said with a dismissive wave. “You don’t make one sin worse by committing another sin against a life form that really has no right to existence and wouldn’t exist but for a horrible, horrible crime being perpetrated on an innocent victim, who would then become a cold blooded murderer if they didn’t want to be constantly reminded of the worst time in their life by having an abortion.”
“Ultimately, as liberal as I am,” Pope Francis said as he was finishing his lunch, “I still am the head honcho of a church. And that church, after thousands of years, still believes in really rigid binary gender roles. It’s why we can be a religion that supposedly thinks of a woman — the Virgin Mary — as a demigod of sorts, but can’t see fit to actually let women be priests, much less a pope. Why? I don’t know. I don’t get it. It’s just the way it is. So on the subject of abortion, even though it makes no sense to tell a woman she must be forgiven for exercising the free will our Lord and Savior gave her, we have to do just that. To not anger the people who truly think their personal opinion should dictate the medical services someone else has at their disposal.”
The Pope wiped his mouth with a Holy napkin, thanked the reporters, and walked the gilded pathway from the cafeteria to his bedroom, where Francis sat and played Solitaire for the next four hours.