BERN, SWITZERLAND (AIP) – A conference between a legation from the Vatican and a Synod representing the Greek Orthodox Church, meeting here in preliminary talks to reunify the Eastern and Western branches of Christianity, broke down into name calling and chest bumping Friday, with spokesmen from both sides saying that there will be no future talks.
“The Orthodox church teaches heresy,” said Cardinal Vincente DeMazio, spokesman for the Catholic legation. “Their doctrine is straight from the pits of hell.”
The crux of what is at issue, which is precisely the same fight over church doctrine that drove Pope Innocent III to excommunicate the Eastern branch of the church in 1205 A.D. in what is known as the Great Schism, remains the same.
“In 1203 Pope Innocent III decreed that it is the will of our Lord that toilet paper shall feed over the top of the roll, in the same way that we are to overcome our sins,” said DeMazio. “To believe otherwise is fundamental error and a mortal sin.”
“Blasphemy, pure blasphemy,” countered Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew. “Even as forgiveness flows from above to below, so should the toilet paper flow from the bottom of the roll. This is a core belief of our church and a vital element of salvation.”
James McPhee, Professor of Religious Studies at St Anne’s College, Oxford, said that this single issue has divided the largest two Christian religions for nearly a thousand years.
“Wars have been fought over the Toilet Paper Flow doctrine,” said McPhee. “Each side feels that the flow of the paper is divinely inspired by God and is therefore fundamental to salvation.
“There have been moves to reconcile the Churches in the past, most notably in the late 1700’s when Frenchmen Marc Andre Jacoud invented the bidet in an attempt to offer a middle of the road solution that took toilet paper out of the equation. Both Churches condemned the bidet as the work of Satan.”
“The Holy Roman Church may find its way to accept Gays and Lesbians and same sex marriage, but we will never accept the under flow,” said DeMazio.
McPhee points out that the Toilet Paper Flow question was one of the leading causes of the Protestant Reformation.
“Martin Luther wrote of it in his famous 95 Theses of 1517,” said McPhee. “He asked ‘what the direction of flow mattered as long as the ass got cleaned?’”