Pope Benedict XVI is said to be heartbroken that a long running ‘virtual romance’ on Facebook with someone pretending to be God has turned out to be a scam perpetrated by a 54 year old plumber from the UK.
‘I simply cannot believe that I have been fooled,’ said the Pope, ‘He assured me he was God, he posted a photograph of God, he even used the language of God. Every day he would issue me with all sorts of strange commandments – admittedly, most of them involved me sending him saucy photos, but at the time it all seemed very convincing.’
The deception came to light when a Vatican cardinal saw the correspondence. ‘I thought it was a bit strange that God would choose to meet the head of the church at an abandoned playground in Frinton-on-Sea,’ he said, ‘I know he moves in mysterious ways but this looked very suspicious.’
‘We are seeing more and more of this sort of thing,’ said psychologist Dr Raj Persaud, ‘these online predators deliberately target the most vulnerable by creating online i-deities in which they pretend to be omnipotent beings. They manipulate their victims by promising them miracles or simply threatening them with their mighty wrath. The frightening thing is that so many people are taken in.’
Police have arrested 54-year-old Dennis Duggle, a self-employed plumber from Essex. ‘Mr Duggle is a well-known pontiffile,’ said Chief Inspector Freddy Nietzsche, Head of Interpol’s False Gods Squad, ‘He has since made a full confession, but only when the interviewing officer agreed to dress up as the Pope.’
Mr Duggle has been charged with three counts of metaphysical impersonation – the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, plus one additional charge of Pope Grooming. Police say Mr Duggle’s computer hard drive also contained hundreds of pictures of Popes, some of them as young as 75. They are now looking into the possibility that he may be part of a wider network of online pontiffiles, or Papal ring.
The 83-year-old Pope, who is still coming to terms with modern technology, including the internet, electricity and contraception, is said to be embarrassed by the de-revelation. ‘I feel like such an idiot,’ he said, ‘at least I would if it wasn’t for the fact that I am infallible. This sort of thing can really shake ones faith in virtual relationships.’