THE VATICAN — Since ascending to the Catholic Church’s highest and most important post, Pope Francis has often times taken actions that past popes may have not have. He’s spoken out quite strong against the pitfalls of unfettered capitalism, and has delivered speeches and sermons beseeching Catholics to take climate change seriously. Pope Francis has also done his part to keep the church firmly planted in socially conservative territory, however, rejecting calls to modernize the church by completely softening its stances on things like female priests and same-sex marriage.
Apparently, though, Pope Francis is someone who can see new opportunities for the church to market itself in new ways. Today, he announced that the Vatican has begun the manufacture, sale, and distribution of THC-infused products aimed at people who “vape,” or vaporize, cannabis products. The new line will be called “Papal Vape-als” and should start appearing in the Vatican gift shop by the end of the next quarter, with international availability to come at a later date.
“The Catholic Church may respect and depend on old traditions,” Pope Francis told a large crowd gathered in front of the Vatican today, “but that does not mean we are rooted in ancient times in all things. Our hope is that through the use of these new THC products, vapers will be able to sit down with their Bibles and study them for hours at a time, truly learning the ins and outs of God’s holy words.”
Each Papal Vape-al will be personally blessed by the Pope, and will contain “only the finest cannabis the Good Lord has provided.” The Vatican plans to roll out a few different models of vaporizer cartridge, depending on how opulent the vaper wants to be. The carts are designed to have mouth pieces that recall various hats and crowns worn by the Holy See throughout the years.
“Most people know we have valuable, priceless works of art and precious stones, along with tons of gold, silver, and platinum,” Vatican Spokesperson Giuseppe Italiano told reporters when Pope Francis had concluded his announcement. “We wanted our Papal Vape-als to remind those who buy them of those priceless items. Plus, the hats on our carts are just like the hats in our church, the bigger it is, the more powerful it is. In this case, the strain will go up in potency as the cart’s pope hat gets bigger and bigger.”
In addition to the vape carts, Pope Francis authorized the church’s various botanists who work on the grounds of the Vatican to plant, harvest, and cultivate several new strains of cannabis, specifically, especially, and exclusively for use in the Papal Vape-als. There are plans, however, to package the cannabis in its dried and cured form, known in the cannabis community as “flower,” starting some time next year, as well.
“We’re actually quite stoked on the strains we’re developing,” Mr. Italiano told the press. “We think when stoners throughout the world get a puff of John the Bongist, or a hit some Purple Chronic Guilt, they’ll be hooked. Then, once we got ’em good and high, we can fill their heads with fairy tales and stories that are thousands of years old and enforce a strict personal moral code that they must live by. In other words, it’s a true win-win for us.”
The average price of a Papal Vape-al might bring some sticker shock to certain cannabis users, the Vatican admits.
“At $200 for a half-gram of distillate, it might seem like a steep price to pay, and it is,” Italiano acknowledged, “but we’ve got to clear a lot of overhead. Between the farmers, and the production plants, and the airfare to send child molesting priests to remote townships and cities all over the globe, our costs really have skyrocketed over the last few years. In order to keep our various charities going, we need to make a certain amount of profit from these products.”
Papal Vape-als will also play a vital role in selecting the Pope Francis’ successor when the time comes, Italiano announced.
“The next time you see white colored smoke rising from our chimneys, indicating we have selected the next pope,” Italiano said, “it won’t actually be smoke at all. It’ll be our archbishops vaping fat clouds and breathing them out through special tubes we’re having installed here at the Vatican next week. Trippy, huh?”
Former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions (R-AL) has already weighed in on the Papal Vape-als, calling them “disgusting tools of the devil” which make him question Pope Francis’ Christian faith.
“What kind of monster would embrace marijuana, I ask of you,” Sessions said in an interview on conservative talk radio, “I just think it’s a very dangerous thing to accept science and common sense and treat THC products as if they’re safer than alcohol and tobacco, until we’ve made sure the corporate monoliths that control us have gotten their hooks into the market, at least.”
Writer/comedian James Schlarmann is the founder of The Political Garbage Chute and his work has been featured on The Huffington Post. You can follow James on Facebook, Spotify, and Instagram, but not Twitter because Twitter is a cesspool.