Grass Valley, CA — In what one local Chamber of Commerce 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 Dante’s Inferno to include several new Circles of Hell, one of which is none other than Grass Valley, California.
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, marriage, and why communion wafers have to taste like twice-baked sawdust, this is believed to be the first to simultaneously revise classical literature and thoroughly douche a small foothill community in Northern California.
“It’s unprecedented,” remarked an excitable Sairhra Ramun, full-time Helper Outer and part-time Papal Historian. “Back in the nineties, some renegade cardinals tried to change Romeo and Juliet to Romeo and Altar Boy, but not only was that in shockingly poor taste, they also couldn’t quite get the meter to work. “Altar Boy” is hard to fit in iambic pentameter.”
The Vatican declined to provide an official press release for the move, opting instead to leverage Pope Francis’s “hip” and “with it” papal image and go with Twitter instead:
@hotpope What’s up with all this smoke in the GV? Too many Dollar stores, too. It’s hell, yo! Check my latest encyclical for deets!
“Well, anytime the leader of the Catholic world decides to create a new circle of hell for your town, that’s a tough day, for sure,” remarked noted Grass Valley booster (and possible situation minimizer), Howard Levine. “But we’ll just get John Pugh on the horn and have him cook up a few edits on the Del Oro mural, maybe add some tasteful hellfire and a few tortured souls here and there, caption the whole thing with that famous ‘Abandon all hope, ye who enter here‘ quotation from The Inferno. I think there’s already a sign that says that over the door to Gary’s Place, so it’s a natural.”
Although some local wags theorized that the Pope was still mad about the closure and subsequent conversion to a wine tasting room of his favorite indoor/outdoor watering hole, Bunce’s Place, others were less inclined to conspiracy theories. “The whole damn county smells like an ashtray right now with all this smoke,” kvetched recent transplant, Tommy Empire. “I’m this close to moving back to Vacaville. It’s hell, too, but at least they have a decent outlet mall.”
In addition to Grass Valley, Pope Francis’s most recent encyclical also created new Circles of Hell for cruise ship vacations, the music of Billy Joel, and Nevada City Planning Commission meetings.