What lies behind Pope Francis’ recent violent outburst, where he assaulted a woman in St Peter’s Square on New Year’s Eve? Has he been taking too many steroids? Was he drunk? Speculation is running wild over the incident that left the Catholic world shocked and reeling, with some experts predicting the end of the reigning Pontiff’s papacy. “I just don’t see how he can carry on after decking that poor old woman,” opines ecumenical expert Harry Futtock, writing in the Catholic Observer and Car Trader. “I should imagine that his resignation is imminent – we’ll be looking at a new pope before the year is out.” Bertram Hollybank of the Weekly Illustrated God Botherer disagrees. “Look, the reality is that he only slapped away the hand of some mad old biddy trying to touch him,” he claims. “But the press have blown it out of all proportion. If you were to believe them, then Pope Francis might as well have punched them in the face and given them a kicking while they were down. Really, the whole thing was a non-event. I see no reason why the Pope should resign over this.” Indeed, Hollybank argues that the whole incident needs to be put into an historical context. “I don’t know why the media were acting all shocked about it – after all, it isn’t as if the papacy doesn’t have a track record when it comes to violence,” he muses. “Let’s not forget the Borgias, after all.”

Harry Futtock, however, still believes that there is more to the incident that a mere lapse of judgement on the Pope’s part, he also doubts the relevance of the Vatican’s record on violence highlighted by his rival. “That stuff with the Borgias was centuries ago – things have changed since then and the Vatican has become devoted to peace. Even when they have a former Hitler Youth member in charge,” he says. “But this latest violent outburst from the unlikely source of Pope Francis – does it have any significance that his target was an old lady?” Futtock contends that the woman could, in fact, have been a papal groupie, an obsessed fan of the papacy, desperate to gain the Pontiff’s attention. “ Could it be that the Pope is becoming tired of those groupies who keep throwing themselves at him?” he asks. “It’s long been a problem, you know – all those old biddies desperate to touch the Pontiff in the hope having their lumbago cured, or their continence restored. They’ve always been a problem, but with this Pope – who is seen as a bit ‘Rock and Roll’ with his radical approach of, well, being guided by the actual teachings of Christ – it has reached epidemic proportions.”

According to Futtock, amongst the worst offenders are nuns, who are forever throwing themselves at His Holiness. “You wouldn’t believe the number of sex starved nuns with erotic fixations upon the Pope there are,” he reveals. “Shagging him would be the next best thing to bedding Jesus himself.” Some of these nuns have gone to extreme lengths to try and get their hands on the Pope. “Back in the time of Pope Benedict, one of them secreted herself in his wardrobe and leapt out, clad only in her wimple, when His Holiness entered his bedroom,” Futtock recalls. “It’s one of the reasons he resigned – the shock nearly gave him a heart attack and didn’t want to go the same way as the John Pauls, both of whom had succumbed to fatal seizures following similar incidents.” Futtock suspects that the hordes of crazed women throwing themselves at the Pontiff might have informed Pope Francis’ views on homosexuality. “It’s entirely possible that, having experienced first hand the extent to which the Vatican is awash with spare poon-tang, he has come to believe that there is no excuse for homosexuality, especially in the Priesthood,” he says. “There’s clearly enough to go round for everyone.”

Writing in the Monthly Christian Conspiracy Reader, defrocked vicar and Vatican expert George Ping advances another theory to explain Pope Francis’ uncharacteristic outburst of violence. “It’s all part of a bigger plan,” he declares. “Pope Francis is clearly planning to become the ‘Two Fisted Pontiff’, using his martial arts skills to fight evil. Who knows, perhaps the person he swatted away was actually an assassin, planning to off him?” Ping believes, though, that the Pope’s strategy is farther reaching than just foiling assassination attempts. “He’s probably tired of the limitations of trying to fight evil through the power of prayer and doing good deeds – it’s so time consuming and, at his age, he needs to see instant results,” he moots. “So what better way to get them than by taking the good fight directly to the bad guys by kicking their arses?” While the Pope could simply go out on the streets of Rome and beat up a few pimps and drug dealers, Ping is betting that he has bigger plans than that. “Beating up Trump, for instance,” he suggests. “I’m expecting him to challenge the ambulatory tub of lard to a no holds barred fist fight, with world peace as the prize.”

Ping speculates that His Holiness might then choose to give the adulterer and fornicator Boris Johnson a good kicking for a follow up. Both contests would, of course, just be warm ups for the main event: taking on the Prince of Darkness himself, Vladimir Putin. “Perhaps he could follow all this with a challenge contest against other world religious leaders in order to establish, once and for all, which faith should have global hegemony,” he says. “It would be the logical conclusion of his campaign of faith through the power of the fist – letting God guide his fists to victory over the various Mullahs, Rabbis and Bishops to establish whose was the one true God. Personally, I think it would come down to a straight fight between him and the Buddhists – good honest bare knuckles against their tricksy martial arts shit.”