Ancient Religious Tradition

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Here's a history lesson for the day!

Every time a new Pope is elected, there's a whole lot of rituals and
ceremonies that have to be gone through, in accordance with
tradition. Well there's one tradition that very few people know about.

Shortly after the new Pope is enthroned, the Chief Rabbi seeks an
audience. He is shown into the Pope's presence, whereupon he presents
him with a silver tray bearing a velvet cushion. On top of the cushion
is an ancient, shriveled parchment envelope.

The Pope symbolically stretches out his arm in a gesture of rejection.

The Chief Rabbi then retires, taking the envelope with him and does
not return until the next Pope is elected. John Paul II was intrigued
by this ritual, whose origins were unknown to him. He instructed the
best scholars of the Vatican to research it, but they came up with
nothing. When the time came and the Chief Rabbi was shown into his
presence, he faithfully enacted the ritual rejection but, as the Chief
Rabbi turned to leave, he called him back.

"My brother," the Holy Father whispered, "I must confess that we
Catholics are ignorant of the meaning of this ritual enacted for
centuries between us and you, the representative of the Jewish people.
I have to ask you, what is it all about?"

The Chief Rabbi shrugs and replies: "But we have no more idea than you
do. The origin of the ceremony is lost in the traditions of ancient

The Pope said: "Let us retire to my private chambers and enjoy a glass
of wine together, then, with your agreement, we shall open the
envelope and discover at last the secret."

The Chief Rabbi agreed.

Fortified in their resolve by the wine, they gingerly pried open the
curling parchment envelope and with trembling fingers, the Chief Rabbi
reached inside and extracted a folded sheet of similarly ancient
paper. As the Pope peered over his shoulder, he slowly opened it.

They both gasped with shock.

It was the bill for the Last Supper.

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