The Vatican, ITALY: Today Pope Benedict XVI blessed several new titles being published by the Vatican Press. The books, four in total, are directed towards children with the intention of polishing the Church’s somewhat tarnished reputation with that demographic.
“The time has come to turn over a new leaf. We say, let bygones be bygones.” Says Cardinal McFronty, “Not that anything happened. Or that we did anything wrong. Just to be clear, you know,” he added, quickly.
The first of the titles, Holy See, Holy Do, follows the adventures of young “Benny” and his guide, baby Jesus, as they travel to distant cultures to show them the error of their ways. Along the trip, Benny teaches an atheist morality, convinces a Muslim that pork is delicious and laughs at a Hanukkah ceremony.
“It’s multicultural, really. The Church has always been inclusive,” Cardinal McFronty explained before adding, “So long as you believe in the right God, of course.”
Reflecting this multicultural approach, the second book being released is titled, Hola Jesus! The story follows a Latino boy whose appearance borders on copyright infringement. To avoid lawsuit, he is named Pablo the Conquistador. He travels through South America saving the natives from improper use of their land. The press release calls it a “children’s history”, explaining that “it’s not right for kids to be hearing about slaughter. If, you know, any of that ever happened.”
The next two titles have aroused a bit of controversy. The first, Baby Jesus’ A-B-C, is directed towards children just starting to read. Some of the problematic pages include “W is for Women, who make babies and dinner” and “M is for Marriage, between a man and a woman, otherwise it’s wrong and you should tell them so”.
Although there have been a few complaints about these pages, they have lacked the forcefulness of past contention with the Church. When shown the book, Kira McPheeny, president of the Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, reportedly shrugged and said, “The Church is kind of like that annoying kid in High School. It’s better to just ignore them and hope they go away.”
The last book has aroused considerably more contention. It is entitled A Children’s Guide to Keeping Quiet. It is essentially a step-by-step guide for how to keep to yourself. One of the notable quotes is, “Jesus went through a lot, and you didn’t hear him tattling about it!”
Due to pressure from critics, the book has been put on hold. “I don’t understand,” said Cardinal McFronty. “What’s the problem? Dealing with kids’ problems is hard. It’s better if people just keep tough questions to themselves. That’s what being Catholic is all about.”