Millionaire Catholic Tony Blair has been revealed as the next Pope, a role he's described as 'quite an honour really I suppose, if you think about it'.
Pope Tony I will carry out his duties on a part-time basis to begin with, while he winds down his other business commitments. Cherie Booth welcomed the news and explained that she would stand in as His Holiness, while her husband wrapped up his 'valuable work' at investment banks across the US, Israel and Switzerland.
"I've been a big fan of Catholicism ever since I was head-hunted by the Vatican in 2007", explained Tony. "I suppose I felt an affiliation with their belief in telling lies, without having to apologize for them." Benefiting from a 'fast track' programme Blair made the board in less than five years, a record he puts down to his vision for a New Roman Catholicism.
Recruiting Tony Blair to head up the Vatican was seen as a 'real coup' for the beleaguered religion, which has struggled to look stubbornly medieval recently, in comparison with its competitors.
"His Holy Tone has a lot of experience working over the Middle East", explained a Junior Press Cardinal. "The speech he gave us about 'hearts and minds' helped him stand out during the interview process." The board were impressed with Blair's record on killing thousands of people while claiming he was trying to help them, a technique pioneered by the church's policy on condoms.
Pope Tony I has vowed to continue his work in oil-rich, third-world countries, but this time with a shift in focus to recruitment, instead of arbitrary annihilation. "The key to getting people to invest properly in their afterlife is to create a hell on Earth", explained Blair, "and that's something I can promise to bring to the no-negotiating altar."
With many in the church secretly wishing for a properly financed Holy War, Pope Tony I is seen as something of a crusader. "It's surprising how efficiently a fear of death can bring liquidity to a person's assets", decreed the pop-eyed Pope. You need to plan for the future. Would you like to buy one of our new Halliburton indulgences?"