The Vatican – Hard-line traditionalist Catholic group Opus Dei held a press conference earlier this week announcing a change in group doctrine after praise for Pope Francis. The group cited that although unhappy with Francis’s insistence on gender equality, they admired his progressive stance on homosexuality, his public acts of compassion towards the ill, and his tendency to make out with, rather than kiss, the person whom he is blessing.

“We find he’s really a breath of fresh air that the Church needs,” said Martin Stromgart, spokesperson for the traditionalist group. “It’s about time the Church accepts his enlightened attitude. He’s not afraid to walk with sinners and prostitutes, he embraces humility and compassion, and he uses the perfect amount of tongue when he French kisses. I think I’m not the only one who sees similarities between the Pontifex and Jesus himself.”

While the Pope is not the first to espouse the virtues of helping the needy nor the first to be able to exquisitely perform the dance of lip-against-lip, tongue-against-tongue that characterizes really great kissing, experts believe that the social media explosion of the past decade is what has truly allowed the Pope’s popularity to skyrocket. “He truly has the world’s eye upon him” writes social media analyst Patrick O’Sullivan, “you have BuzzFeed articles about his liberal stances, enlightened tweets reaching millions of followers, and even live stream of Francis locking lips with the poor reaching a wide audience on YouTube. Social media has really garnered the Pope a cult following.” Time has yet to dictate whether other aspects of the Pope’s reformist actions, such as criticizing Vatican opulence or giving sympathetic hand jobs to comatose patients will also become acceptable among previous uncompromising Catholics.

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