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VOLUME 1 • ISSUE 10   |   Release date: March 15, 2004

In This Issue
Ol' Dirty Bastard to Host Dove Awards
Just Stop Saying "Just"
Mom Thinks "Blog" A Euphemism For Sex
Pope's Comments Spark Controversy
Survey Results
March Church Sign of the Month

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Pope's 'Left Behind' Comments Spark Controversy
Vatican Denies Papal Praise of Final End Times Novel
Pope John Paul II

VATICAN CITY – A spokesman for the Vatican has released a statement denying that Pope John Paul II had high praise for "Glorious Appearing" — the 12th and final installment of the wildly popular "Left Behind" end-times fiction series by Tim Lahaye and Jerry B Jenkins.

The controversy started after an unnamed female Vatican staffer claimed she overheard the Pope say, "It is as it will be" upon finishing the book – an autographed prerelease copy of which he received from the authors in the mail earlier this month.

The comments were taken by many as an unequivocal Papal endorsement of the book, which sent ripples of anxiety and confusion through the ranks of the Catholic Church, largely because the "Left Behind" series is fiction written from a pre-tribulation standpoint, meaning that the rapture happens before seven years of tribulation, after which Christ returns to reign over all the earth for 1,000 years. This interpretation of scripture's account of the end times is diametrically opposed to the traditional Catholic view, which asserts that the rapture will be immediately followed by the second coming, and that both events will happen after seven years of tribulation (a post-tribulation view).

"When I first heard these comments, I was absolutely dumbstruck," said an American Catholic Bishop speaking on the condition of anonymity. "I knew the Pope was getting old, but if he's now basing his theology on hackneyed Christian fiction, then I'm afraid it is officially checking out time at the Vatican. Next thing you know, he'll be naming Pat Robertson as his successor! Man, this anonymity stuff is the bomb. I can say whatever I want! Fart! Butt! Weiner!"

Following a flurry of calls, letters and e-mails from concerned Catholics around the world, the Vatican released a statement saying, "Pope John Paul II has no recollection of making the favorable remarks widely reported in the press about 'Glorious Appearing' or any other book in the 'Left Behind' series. Furthermore, neither the Pope, the Vatican, nor the Catholic Church have any official opinion on the books."

But that statement has done little to quell the controversy, and speculation in the press and in the rank and file of the Catholic Church about whether or not the Pope actually spoke those words about "Glorious Appearing" rages on.

"It seems like they're just trying to distance themselves from the whole thing. The denial is pretty soft, and it doesn't even come directly from the Pope. He has no recollection? At his age, I think he has no recollection of a lot of things," said Lenore Rohn, a lifelong Catholic from Boston. "Besides, the statement doesn't even bother to deny that the Pope read this book. That's probably the most disturbing part to me! Why is the Pope reading this crap to begin with?"

For their part, Lahaye and Jenkins are just happy that the culminating book of their collaboration is getting so much international media attention.

"We really feel that this series hasn't gotten the play in the press that it really deserves," Jenkins said. "We just hope that this controversy will get more people around the world to read this book…and the Bible, of course."

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