In a move that has stunned the Catholic world, which consists of over one billion adherents, the Vatican announced on Monday that Pope Benedict XVI, 85, will be stepping down from the papacy later this month. The Roman Catholic church claimed that declining health is the reason for Benedict's departure, however The Sentinel Dispatch has learned that this is not entirely the case.
Unnamed sources at the Vatican, including four Cardinals, say that the former Joseph Ratzinger of Germany has been in talks with producers of the seventh Star Wars movie for approximately a month. "His Holiness has never kept it a secret that he has been an avid Star Wars fan since the movies first came out in the 1970's. When he read a report that Disney had purchased the franchise and was planning on a movie, he was very excited and sent a congratulatory message to director J.J. Abrams (also director of the Star Trek reboot).
Never in his wildest dreams did Pope Benedict think that Abrams, a devout Catholic, would respond, and with an offer he couldn't refuse: a role in the upcoming Star Wars films.
"His Holiness realizes that he can no longer keep up with the physical demands of traveling around the world as the face of Catholicism, but he can make short, cameo appearances as Emperor Palpatine," said a French Cardinal. "He will donate his salary to the Church, naturally.
In another shocking move, Benedict has decided that upon the naming of his successor, he will stop following Jesus.
The Vatican set up a Twitter account for the Pope last December, and he had gained over 1.5 million followers, including Jesus Christ. "The Holy Father will also "unfriend" the Lord on Facebook," as there can be only one representative of the Divine on earth at one time," said papal historian Francis O'Donnelly.
This is the first time in 600 years that a Pope has resigned the papacy, so it is unknown what Ratzinger's burial plans will be. "There is a good chance that he will be buried at St. Peter's Basilica along with all the other infallible popes. Other options are being buried in space, or being a passenger on a magical ship like Bilbo Baggins."
From our Vatican City Bureau