Thursday, August 02, 2007

God Is Carbon Neutral

The Vatican is small as states go, but the home base for the Roman Catholic faith is taking a big step to reduce pollution. They've only just finished cleaning the statues at St. Peter's, and already the marbles are going spotty from the exhaust of all the cars. It is time to act, the church leaders decreed, and so they have set in train a brilliant strategy that will do absolutely nothing to keep the statues cleaner.

Some group of laborers and a plant nursery will benefit over in Hungary, once the order is placed. The Vatican is going to have trees planted in a national forest in Hungary, to offset the carbon emissions that are choking Vatican City. The carbon atoms that puff out of tail pipes in Italy will be attracted to these trees in Hungary, and fly on the prevailing westerlies to their new trees. Once the carbon atoms reach the newly installed foliage, they will be sucked up and turned into Hungarian chlorophyll.

Rome and Vatican City are crowded, congested places with no room for trees, so the carbon atoms will be forced to emigrate. Perhaps photosynthesis is cheaper in Eastern Europe than in Italy, and the Vatican has chosen to outsource its carbon off-setting. There may even have been a quid pro quo with some Hungarian cardinal, the promise of jobs given in exchange for a vote on the Vatican Council. As the Church operates in secrecy, we may never know, but suffice it to say, the Vatican is going to be declared carbon neutral by some watchdog group, and the College of Cardinals can pat themselves on the back with pride at doing their bit. Makes them appear quite modern scientifically, up to date and "with it", in direct contrast to the days of Galileo.

When your pastor gets up in the pulpit this year to shill for Peter's Pence, don't expect him to say a word about your contribution paying for carbon offsets. Bad enough that the faithful are keeping a close eye on the finances, making sure that they don't get stuck with the bill for the sexual abuse crisis. But to tell people that His Holiness in Rome needs more money for a worthless gesture? The sound of purses being latched shut would reverberate throughout the land.

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