Finance Minister Bill English today announced a massive bailout of the Catholic Church.
Mr English would not confirm the scale of the assistance being provided by the government, but it is understood to be worth billions of dollars.
The move by the government came after concerns were raised by Church officers that it might not be able to meet all potential claims made against it.
The potential claims relate to the hundreds of thousands of spiritual insurance policies entered into between the organisation and its customers. Under those policies customers are entitled to eternal life in Heaven in the event of death, whether sudden or otherwise, in return for a commitment of loyalty and a suspension of all disbelief.
A number of these claims are now at risk of being dishonoured. It is understood that the Church did not obtain adequate reinsurance to cover a large-scale catastrophe, such as the possibility that their god isn’t the right one, and that the only true god is Allah.
It is also feared that the policies may prove worthless in the event that the souls of deceased customers do not ascend into the heavens but instead simply cease to exist.
Mr English also confirmed that there were serious concerns about the viability of the Church’s internal staff insurance scheme.
The scheme, open to employees of the organisation, promises policyholders an eternity amongst the angels. However, some experts have expressed concern that the policies may be worthless.
In particular, it is feared that a number of priests have been so wicked that if there is indeed life after death they are probably going to Hell for all of the abuse, hatred and intolerance they have encouraged and fostered.
Mr English said that the bailout was unavoidable, and that not acting quickly would have jeopardised the souls of too many people.
“At the end of the day we were left with no other option,” said Mr English.
“If we did nothing the Church would have continued its slide into decay and irrelevance. As a good Catholic that is something I just couldn’t let happen.”
Mr English confirmed that the bailout would come with stringent performance criteria to be met by the Church.
The Finance Minister also said that the organisation would be required to make some tough business decisions in order to get its spiritual balance back into the black.
But experts have questioned the need to bail the Church out.
Vivienne Straw, a professor of theology at Wanganui Polytechnic, said that the teachings of the Church were so contradictory and nonsensical that just about any policy could be legitimately nullified for some reason.
“If you read the fine print it says you can’t work on a Sunday, so that knocks out most people. And how many new mothers nowadays bother to follow Chapter 12 of Leviticus?”
Joseph Ratzinger, the Church’s CEO, refused all requests today for an interview. However, he issued a press release confirming details of the bailout and expressing gratitude for the government’s assistance.
The main points of the bailout plan are as follows:
- The government will have the right to appoint all new cardinals.
- The Church is to undertake a full review of all spiritual insurance policies over the next 12 months, with a view to reducing the amount of smallprint and legalese from the current several hundred pages to just three or four.
- New policies will be issued with warnings explaining to customers that God may not exist and that customers need to seek independent spiritual advice.
- All priests will need to be licensed under the Spiritual Advisers Act 2010 before being allowed to offer salvation to customers.
- The Church’s head office will be moved from Rome to Wellington. The Church’s current Vatican headquarters are to be sold to property developers and converted to apartments.
- Jesus and other senior managers will take early retirement, making way for a more dynamic and forward-thinking management team.
- Naming rights for a number of cathedrals and other Church venues are to be sold.
- John Key is to have his sainthood fast-tracked. The requirement for him to perform any sort of miracle or to be dead is to be waived.
- A new corporate logo will be developed to replace the dated cross symbol. The government has confirmed that the cross symbol was not even trade marked.