Heaven Less Opulent Than Vatican, Reports Disappointed Pope

HEAVEN-The soul of Pope John Paul, which entered heaven last week following
a long illness, expressed confusion and disappointment Saturday, upon
learning that the Celestial Kingdom of God to which the departed faithful
ascend in the afterlife is significantly less luxurious than the Vatican's
Papal Palace, in which the pope spent the past 26 years of his earthly life.

"Where are all the marble statues, sterling-silver chalices, and
gem-encrusted scepters?" the visibly disappointed pope asked. "Where are the
60-foot-tall stained-glass windows and hand-painted cupolas? Where are the
elaborately outfitted ranks of Swiss Guards? Why isn't every single surface
gilded? This is my eternal reward?"

Heaven, according to the New Testament, has "brilliance like a very costly
stone... of pure gold, like clear glass..." with "twelve gates... each gate
a single pearl." Yet the pope, who spoke from the afterlife, said heaven is
nothing like the "solid-gold city" detailed at length by John of Patmos in
the Book of Revelations.

"Evidently, the Bible was not intended to be taken literally, after all,"
John Paul II said. "Don't get me wrong: It's very nice up here-quite
beautiful and serene. It's just not as fancy as what I'm accustomed to. If
I'd known heaven was going to be like this, I would've taken one last tour
through my 50 rooms of velvet-draped thrones and priceless oil paintings
before saying 'Amen' and breathing my last."

According to the pope, heaven is merely a place of unending peace and
happiness, wherein all the spirits of the Elect live together forever in
perfect harmony and goodness, basking in the rays of God's divine love.

"Up here, everyone is equal," John Paul II said. "No one has to go through
an elaborate bowing ritual when they greet me. And do you know how many
times my ring has been kissed since I arrived? None. Up here, I'm mingling
with tax collectors, fishermen, and whores. It's just going to take a little
getting used to, is all."

The pope said it is amusing to think that he has been waiting for this
"so-called Paradise" his entire life.

"I spent almost 84 years reciting novenas and Hail Marys to get to this
restful place," John Paul II said. "If I'd wanted peace, quiet, and pretty
clouds, I could've moved to the Italian Riviera. Frankly, this afterlife
represents a significant drop in my standard of living."

"Well, they always said you can't take it with you," he added.

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