According to Vatican sources serious thought is now being given to identifying a suitable successor to ailing Pope John Paul II. In an unprecedented move, consideration is apparently being given to the idea of retiring the current pontiff and appointing a younger successor, rather than waiting for the present incumbent to die. It is not just the present incumbent’s obvious physical frailty and ill-health that have raised doubts as to his ability to carry on the job, his mental faculties have also recently been called into question. There was consternation amongst church elders when, on a recent visit to London, the Pope wandered away from his official entourage and was later found in a Soho lap-dancing club, saying “I bless you, my child” to the dancers whilst a semi-naked woman sucked the end of his crook – another allegedly fondled his mitre. Club staff apparently did not recognisee him as the Pontiff. “We get a lot of old blokes in here”, Marcie Header, a dancer, told us. “I thought nothing of the fact he was wearing a pointed hat, long robes and was carrying a big hooked pole – I just thought that he was an experienced old gummer who had come prepared for some exotic action.”

According to some reports there have been similar incidents in Paris and Bangkok. The Vatican moved swiftly to defuse the situation, explaining that the Pope was taking his ministry to where it was most needed, and was attempting to “save” the fallen women of Soho from a life of depravity. However, in reality, the incident has allegedly made the Church authorities more determined than ever to replace the current Pope sooner rather than later. “We must have a Pope who is able to fully perform the very demanding official duties, and in whom the masses can have confidence”, a confidential source in the Catholic Church told us. “Being Pontiff in the Twenty First Century is clearly a young man’s job”.

A leading contender to take on the mantle of Pope for the new century is Cardinal Rock Chopper. Chopper, aged 32, is a controversial figure in the Church, having come to prominence by starring in a series of Christian feature films financed by the Catholic order – Eroici Furori – of which he is a senior member. The best known of these is a series of action-orientated movies in which a former secret agent takes holy orders to become an undercover operative of the Vatican – carrying his crucifix in a shoulder holster. These films drew criticism from traditionalists for their violence – a scene in “Cathedral Royale”, for instance, features Chopper strangling a villain with his rosary beads, whilst in the Swiss-set “View to a Crucifixion” a diabolist is nailed to cross before being slid to his death down a bob-sleigh run. Sex also rears its ugly head in several of the films, with a prostitute disguised as a nun attempting to seduce him in “Forgive and Get Baptised” and he is forced to watch pornographic films whilst trapped in a roomful of erotic dancers in “Absolution is Forever”, as the villains (Godless communists) attempt to undermine his faith. Nevertheless, these films have proven hugely popular and their profits have left the order in a financially powerful position.

Indeed, emboldened by this success, the Eroici Furori decided to begin a series of films – also starring Chopper – which openly espoused their highly controversial views on sexuality. “The Divine Penetration” features Chopper as a priest who, as part of an exorcism ceremony, has sex with a young trainee nun. The demon is successfully cast out of her body at the moment of orgasm. Prior Bede Mumbler, an elder of the order, explains that this equation of sexual and religious ecstasy is central to the Eroici Furori’s beliefs. “True religious enlightenment is possible only through sexual congress”, he told “The Sleaze”. “The moment of orgasm is the gateway to true enlightenment, as it is at this moment ecstasy that one is closest to God”. Although advocating sex as a form of worship for its lay followers, Mumbler is quick to point out that, as Catholic priests themselves, the leaders of the order are bound to observe the traditional vow of celibacy. “The sexual intercourse indulged in by Cardinal Chopper in our films is, of course, merely simulated”, he assured us.

Obviously, such beliefs are not popular with the leadership of the Catholic Church. However, Chopper believes that they are mistaken in their attitude toward sex. “The Christian faith has always been about sex”, he claims. “I mean, it has at its centre the image of a semi-naked man draped on a cross (clearly a phallic symbol) – what can be more erotic than that? Also, who did the resurrected Saviour first reveal himself to? Mary Magdalene – a prostitute.” He believes that sexual imagery runs deep in the Church – even in its traditional architecture. “The gothic arches which adorn many cathedrals are clearly symbols of female sexuality”, Chopper believes. “The arches, which draw the worshipper into the body of the church, evokes the vulva, whilst the large rose-motif windows which top the arches obviously represents the clitoris”. Over the centuries the church has come to deny this aspect of its nature and suppress all references to sexuality. Nonetheless, he argues that the Grail legends contain important clues to the sexual origins of the Christian faith. “The Holy Grail is characterised as either a cup from which one drinks – obviously representative of the vagina and oral sex – or a spear – clearly a phallic symbol”, he enthuses. In fact, the order claims that the so-called “Spear of Destiny” is actually representative of Christ’s sexual organ.

“The Gospel of St Fanny”, a First Century text long suppressed by the established Church, claims that Jesus frequently used his phallus for the purposes of healing, and that the Romans were jealous and fearful of both its size and power. Moreover, this text also claims that at the crucifixion Mary Magdalene performed one last favour for the Messiah, and collected some of his semen in a cup. “This is clearly the origin of the Holy Communion”, Mumbler believes. “The wine represents the semen of Christ, not his blood, and drinking it from a vaginal cup represents the holy sexual union of man and woman!” When “The Sleaze” approached the Vatican to seek confirmation of Chopper’s status as a leading contender to succeed Pope John Paul II, they reacted angrily, denying that the Eroici Furori was recognised by them as a legitimate Catholic order and stating quite categorically that Chopper and other members of the order were not, and never had been, ordained as Catholic priests. It also described the beliefs of the order as “grossly offensive” and “totally blasphemous”. Despite the attitude of the authorities, the order remains determined to produce a new film of the life of Christ starring Chopper, with much emphasis on the miracles he performed with his magic member