VATICAN CITY — Just in time for Christmas, bestselling author Pope Benedict XVI is set to release “Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives,” promising that the third volume in his widely popular “Jesus” trilogy will blow the doors off the conventional thinking behind Christmas, The Virgin Birth, and two-thousand years of Christian history.
“The Good Lord knows that you must raise the stakes in the final volume of a trilogy,” bespoke the pope through an interpreter at a recent book signing. “I prayed for guidance from The Lord on how to top the shocking twist at the end of ‘Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week.’ When I didn’t hear back from him, I decided to wing it.”
Many early reviews have focused on Pope Benedict’s debunking of numerous Christmas traditions, such as His Holiness’s belief that the Christian calendar is inaccurately based on a mistake made by a sixth century monk regarding the date of the birth of Jesus, the incorrect claim that angels sang at Jesus’ birth, and the fact that animals being present at His birth is not supported by the Gospels.
However, it is in the later chapters that His Holiness really gets going.
“The whole idea of a virgin birth is a crock,” reads one particularly shocking passage. “The Apostle James, son of Zebedee, came up with that nonsense a few years after Jesus died on the cross (and don’t get me started on that whole resurrection silliness). He’d been doing a genealogical study for a tell-all he was planning and discovered a few things about Mother Mary that needed to be swept under the rug. That The Faithful have believed that bullpucky for two centuries just shows you how gullible people are.”
Additional revelations include the true identities of the so-called Three Wise Men (Spoiler: Melchior was a dung-shoveler!), the fact that Jesus was actually born in mid-August, and that Joseph wanted to name him Achan, which in Aramaic means to besmirch or change in a negative manner.
“With the right marketing, this thing’s going to be bigger than Fifty Shades of Grey” said Father Joseph Fessio, founder and editor of Ignatius Press, the pope’s primary English-language publisher. “The scene when Mary pushes out Baby Jesus is incredibly vivid. You really feel the Holy Placenta fall in your lap. And then there’s the whole Identical twin thing he throws in! This is going to rock the publishing world!”
New York Times critic Michiko Kakutani was less than enthusiastic in her review, stating, “The Pope tries to limn something earth-shattering, but instead of writing The Good Book, he wrote The Good Enough Book.”