VATICAN CITY (Reuters): As Pope Benedict XVI's first major act as Pontiff, the Vatican will initiate the long-anticipated "Papal reboot" process. Some popes will be recreated; others will be dropped entirely.
In a press conference Wednesday morning, Papal spokesman Fr. Anthony del Rico said that "Many people want to get into Catholicism, but 2000 years of back content makes that a very intimidating process. In addition, we're hoping to renew the Papal line for a new generation."
Under the plan, detailed on the Vatican's website, Benedict XVI will be the last Benedict in the current version of the papcy. After his death, according to Fr. del Rico, "We're starting over from scratch - Benedict I, all over again." The plan currently calls for the 23 Johns to be scaled down to 5 or even fewer; the Clements and Leos will be eliminated, and the Vatican will finally bow to pressure to remove Pius entirely. "Paul is definitely sticking around as a name and basic character," Fr. del Rico said, "but the new Paul will be a troubled Nigerian boy with the power to command lightning. We wanted to show a little more diversity in the papacy to reflect the Church's membership."
Among the most controversial moves, however, is likely to be the replacement of Innocents I-VII with a villainous cyborg called Guilty-XXI, while VIII-XIII will be relaunched as a teenage girl from an alternate dimension in which the Cold War never ended. Her miraculous abilities are being kept tightly under wraps by the Vatican, leading to conjecture from some religoius scholars that her appearance may be central to the plot of the relaunch.
The fates of the Urbans, Gregorys, and Clements are still undecided, but the Vatican has hinted that they may see a totally seperate 'spinoff' papcy centered around exorcism and demon-hunting. Adrians II-VI are not expected to return, but the very popular Adrian I may be brought back as comic relief in one or more of the papacies.
In addition, while Sixtus will not be returning to the Papal line after its reboot, most of the Sixtuses will be featured in a film adaptation of the papacy, tenatively titled Infallible, planned for release immediately after Benedict XVI's demise. "When the Holy Father passes, let me tell you, it will be a media event people will talk about for years," Fr. del Rico said. "We're hoping to shake up the theological world and regain our position at the head of the religious pack. And we will, no matter what gimmicks the Protestants think up."