VATICAN CITY – Reacting to Pope Francis’ condemnation of sexual abuse at a Vatican summit last week, indulgence trading desks at the Holy See expect strong demand as many more Catholics are officially sinners than before. Investors believe that after the pope summoned church officials from the four corners of Christendom to discuss the “scourge” of abuse against parishioners, alter boys and nuns, the market to reduce the temporal punishment for sin will spike precipitously.
The history of plenary indulgences is fraught with controversy, most notably inciting the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century. Holy See market makers, however, are preparing for boom times as more Catholic officials than ever are being held accountable for sexual crimes that span decades. Cardinal Richard Hogan, Archbishop of Cincinnati and Vatican Bank Indulgence Portfolio Manager, anticipates the sharp demand curve. “Indulgences draw on the treasury of merit accumulated by Christ’s super-abundantly meritorious Sacrifice on the Cross and the virtues and penances of the saints,” explains, Cardinal Hogan, “and so when priests keep sticking their supposedly-celibate dicks into alter boys and raping nuns, we can draw against the equity that Jesus developed to keep these monsters out of the hellfire. The glut created by calling them all out at once definitely raises the premium we can charge for this absolution; it’s a win-win for everyone, except maybe the victims.”
Since the summit, the Vatican Bank has bolstered its trading desks to develop and sell options against indulgences for specific, high-profile priests whose track records of abuses have been covered up or officially denied; investors are eager to purchase these indulgence derivatives, at-risk should the abusers deny their sins through the Last Rites, but potentially resellable at high-markup as Pope Francis holds many more accountable throughout the Roman Catholic Church.
Although investors expect high indulgence sales to buoy Vatican coffers, few anticipate that these monies will be used to feed the hungry or clothe the poor.