Pope Benedict has resigned his position as the Lord's representative on earth over a list of startling allegations leveled at the organization. Documents recently uncovered have brought to light a laundry lists of scandals within the Roman Catholic Church ranging from past programs of inquisition to evidence showing the church engaged in a systematic cover-up of sexual abuse committed by clergy against children worldwide.
"This is a terrible shock," a spokesman for Pope Benedict said in a statement issued earlier today. "In light of these allegations, I can no longer in good conscience represent an organization responsible for such heinous persecutions and immoral acts."
Some of the incidents are reported to have occurred as far back as the 15th Century with the willful suppression of scientific research by then-astronomer Galileo Galilei. In response to the accusation that the Roman Catholic Church sought to force Galileo to recant his support of a theory that the Earth rotated around the sun and not the reverse, Cardinal Leonardo Sandri defended the church's position of the day by explaining "we can't judge the past by the standards of today, it just LOOKED like the Sun revolved around the Earth."
In addition, it has been purported that Roman Catholicism engaged in a series of violent military campaigns to claim vast territories in the middle east, and led a violent program against people of the Jewish faith including annual massacres on the Easter Sunday. The crimes even carried over into the North American continent with the Salem witch trials and a modern day evangelical "faith healing industry."
Bill Donahue, president of the American Catholic League remained adamant that the Church has been a force for good in the world. "Catholics have only acted in self-defense against the endless attacks from the secular community!"
Mr. Donahue of the American Catholic League.
Mr. Donahue had no comment on a disturbing document entitled the Reichskonkorda which was also unearthed outlining a pact between Adolf Hitler and the Vatican promising control over the education system of Nazi Germany in exchange for complacency in the persecution of European Jews. Images depicting SS guards with "God on our side" inscribed on their belt buckles accompany the document.
Defenders of the Church tried to play down the more recent scandals as hearsay, however contemporary transcripts show that in addition to impeding the fight against AIDS in Africa (one memo was entitled Aids may be bad, but Condoms are worse) and mountains of evidence showing the Church made a concerted effort to cover-up the rape of children by priests in every corner of the world. All this comes to light along with evidence the church held a strong interest in the sexual activities of all people worldwide, in particular a discriminatory stance on homosexuality and issuing decrees as to who it determined should be allowed to love whom.
Cardinal Bernard Law responding to accusations he moved pedophile priest from parish to parish.
A long-time critic of religion, Richard Dawkins, reached for comment this afternoon, observed that "Even the most lazy, cynical, pot-head teenager has more morality in his little finger than in the entirety of that organization."
The Pope is expected to hold a press-conference this week in which he will announce his cooperation with a UN investigation into the human rights violations. In the meantime, sources close to his holiness added "the Pope will continue to pray for people of faith, even if the church has failed to be the moral example it once sought to be."