Ottawa, Canada - In keeping with his push for global warming to be more widely recognized as a threat to all humanity - especially the poor - Pope Francis has solemnly pronounced an ecclesiastical sanction against comet H-3249.
Astronomers associated with the Vatican Academy of Science said that there is a slight chance the comet will come within 100,000 kms of the Earth in early June of 2015. The comet is estimated to be about 5 kms in diameter and were it to impact with Earth might have a significant environmental impact.
"Unless it hits California, in which case the massive ball of ice might actually do some good toward alleviating drought conditions in that state," said Guiseppi Gordani, S.J., chief astronomer at the Vatican Academy.
Although scientists estimate that there is less than a one in one trillion chance that an impact will occur with what journalists have now dubbed 'Helly's Comet,' the pope feels that any threat to the world's ecology should be taken seriously.
"It's time for airport bishops to do their thing and spread the word in their travels: threats to our environment are threats to the people of God" said the Roman Pontiff before an assembly of Third Order Franciscans.
"And that is why I formally declare the sentence of excommunication on comet H-3249."
When asked to comment on precedence for this papal act, first-year canon law student at St. Paul's University in Ottawa, James Stout, said he was "almost sure that Halley's Comet is excommunicated every 76 years."