VATICAN CITY - In a turn of events that stunned Vatican officials, U.S. President George W. Bush has been named to succeed John Paul II as the next leader of the Catholic Church.
For the first time in history, the College of Cardinals employed electronic voting machines to select the next Supreme Pontiff.
Bush won by a margin of 2,528 votes, despite the fact that only 115 Cardinals took part in the process. The machines, which were last used in the 2004 Ohio presidential election also registered 27 votes for Democratic candidate John Kerry.
"It's a miracle!" cried Kenneth Blackwell, spokesperson for voting manufacturer Diebold Corporation. "God has spoken."
Supporters of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, whom early exit polls had leading by a comfortable margin in the voting, demanded a recount. But Blackwell said the voting machines, which had been modified to emit a plume of white smoke when a plurality was reached, are unable to produce a paper audit trail, rendering a recount impossible.
When informed of his victory, President Bush expressed surprise. "I was not aware I was running for the popecy," he said. "I wish people would tell me these things."
However, he added that he would be "honored and privileged to serve as Supreme Pontoon for the rest of my natural life, or until I die, whichever comes first."