RoboPopeROME (The Skwib) — Last night more than 75,000 faithful assembled in St. Peter’s Square to worship at a special ceremony. Instead they witnessed the beginning of a new schism in the Catholic church.

All seemed to be going to plan as Cardinal Camillo Ruini, vicar-general for the diocese of Rome, read the liturgy of the rosary. Then the lights went out dramatically, and Pope Benedict XVI appeared in the papal apartments, a scarlet cloak draped over his white soutane.

Before he could say anything, a spotlight came on, pointed towards the entrance to St. Peter’s Basilica. The whir of motors and the clanging of metal feet thumped for a moment before RoboPope appeared before the astonished masses.

Its deep, robotically augmented voice blessed the crowd, and then proceeded to accuse Benedict XVI of usurping papal authority, and pronounced him ultra vires, or without powers.

The light went out in Benedict’s apartment, and members of the Papal Swiss Guards appeared in the spotlight near RoboPope. (The guards were not dressed in their traditional uniforms, but wearing modern combat armor and bore automatic weapons.)

When they appeared, RoboPope said, “alea iacta est” and opened fire with its automatic pistol.

Its sonorous voice could be heard even above the screams of the crowd, as it blessed the guard amongst the staccato rhythm of its eerily accurate marksmanship, sounding like: “brrrrr-at-at-at … dominus vobiscum … brrrr-at-at-at … ego te absolvo ….”

The surviving guards in the papal palace were able to rally and, using the terrified crowd as cover, were able hold off the robotic pontiff with massed small arms fire. When the Swiss guard managed to set up heavy machine guns and their rocket-launchers, even the high-impact titanium exoskeleton of the resurrected cyber-cleric could not withstand the firepower, and it was driven from St. Peter’s Square.

There are reports that RoboPope and his “Bishops of Death” have set up a rival court in Avignon, reminiscent of the Papal Schism in 1378.

Now, more than ever, we need a RoboPope. Alltop says amen. Originally published October 2007.

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