Pope Offered Job as Tobacco Lobbyist

VATICAN CITY (TheSkunk.org) — Ending days of speculation on what Pope Benedict XVI will be doing in retirement now that he has announced his resignation, the Pontiff today told reporters he has accepted a job with RJ Reynolds Tobacco, and will be working to help Congress draft laws that are “sensible for the tobacco industry.”

He said he thanks God for giving him a “fresh start with this American institution” and for no longer having to bear the weight of 2000 years of tradition.  “To be honest,” he lamented, “I’m excited to have some me-time.”  Toward that end, he has already put a down payment on a “wonderful little townhouse” in Washington, DC.  “It has three bedrooms, two baths and no crypt!”

A spokesperson for the Reynolds company said they were delighted to have such a prominent individual advocating for their brand.  “We look forward to working with His Holiness on legislation lowering the smoking age to nine.”

The Pope, whose birth name is Joseph Ratzinger, brushed off any criticism about a man of God associating with a product that has been linked to lung cancer and death.  “God created tobacco,” he stated. “He also created lung cancer and death.  Therefore, will I not be doing God’s work in spreading his wonderful crop amongst all nations?”

Although he has never smoked, himself, he believes he was guided to the tobacco industry “on the back of God’s hand.”

“That fact this all came to pass on Ash Wednesday,” he said, “cannot be taken as a mere coincidence.”

“Besides,” he added, trying to keep his lips from curling into a sheepish grin, “who knows more about smoke than a Pope?”