Vatican City, Vatican — In what one church conservative official is calling “a real blow,” Pope Francis, Bishop of Rome, and leader of the worldwide Catholic Church has delivered a sweeping encyclical officially amending doctrine to move the Christian Sabbath from Sunday to Friday.
According to insiders close to Pope Francis, the move is designed to “bring people together by doing the Christian thing and sacrificing one’s self for the good of the whole.” One of the primary objectives of this edict is to, according to church papers received by Gish Gallop, “bring Christianity and Islam into parity.” It seemed obvious, according to church officials, that Islam had no interest in changing its Prayer Day from Friday to Sunday, or even compromising with the obvious middle ground of Saturday, so the church decided to make the bold decision and move the Sabbath to Friday.
Although not observed by all Christian sects, the weekly day of rest or religious observance, derived from the Biblical Sabbath. Since the 2nd century AD, the observance of a corporate day of worship on Sunday has become commonplace, however some Christians observe a Saturday Sabbath similar Shabbat in Judaism. Popes have traditionally used the vehicle of the encyclical to disseminate new interpretations of church doctrine throughout the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Holy See. While past encyclicals have refined the church’s views on such matters as contraception and marriage, this is move is the first to seemingly appease an entire religion.
Reaction from religious conservative voices was swift and overwhelmingly negative.
“This proves that Pope Francis is a communist, Obama-loving, Muslim-in-disguise,” said Daft Franklin of Roseville, CA in a Gish Gallop telephone interview. “I didn’t like this Pope from the get-go. Actually, I don’t like any Popes being that I’m a Baptist. But still, this guy is bad news.”
Commentary from the intellectual community was more moderate, however even experts were perplexed by this development.
“This is certainly an odd decision,” said Yale University Professor James Badwater. “I think everyone, including his enemies understand what Pope Francis is trying to do here. I think following his mediocre success in declaring new rings of hell this past year, I suppose he’s feeling emboldened to do more aggressive actions. However, I do not see this working out.”
Because the edict does not go into effect until June of 2018, many are seeing this as a “trial balloon” to test the charismatic power of the new Pope.