The Vatican hosted a conference of physicists and other boffins this week amid claims that its recent musings on the financial crisis constitute a call for the appointment of the long-awaited antichrist.
Participants at the International Symposium on Subnuclear Physics: Past, Present and Future included luminaries from Berkeley, Standard, Oxford and Imperial College, plus assorted figures from US labs. The lineup included no fewer than 14 CERN profs, who took a break from their day jobs of searching for the God particle.
Subjects on the agenda included string theory, nonlinear quantum mechanics, black holes – and lunches and dinners at the Casina Pio IV, otherwise known at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences HQ.
Raphael Bousso, from the University of California Berkeley, told the Catholic News Service that what should be a generally hostile universe might "appear rather carefully tuned to us at first sight".
"Naively it looks like somebody was playing with a lot of dials and turning them exactly to the right places to end up with this large, complex-rich set of phenomena that we see when we look out the window and that, from a scientist's point of view, is a very bizarre situation to be faced with," he said.
However, he continued, this shouldn't be taken as a cue to insert God into the gaps that science hasn't been able to fill in.
For its part, the Vatican does not appear to have issued a statement on the conference yet. This might merely be down to the clerics still scratching their heads over the minutiae of string theory and neutrinos.
Or alternatively, it is keeping quiet because the blogosphere has rumbled that in the week before the conference the Vatican had just called for the appointment of the antichrist.
The Vatican called for a "global public authority" to overhaul the sputtering, chaotic global economy, which it said was putting democratic institutions at risk.
However, US evangelical bloggers have seen through this apparent bit of clerical wishful thinking, exposing it as a veiled call for the antichrist to come forth.
Jake Jones, on examiner.com, said the Vatican initiative had made his "eyes wide with disbelief", adding: "Now at this point, if you are an evangelical christian, you are probably scratching your head and saying to yourself, 'have they lost their mind?' [sic]"
He points to The Book of Revelation, unsurprisingly, which notes that during the reign of the antichrist, "no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name".
"So, whether the Vatican realises it or not, they have called for and formation of global powers that tell us how to live, ie, 'buy and sell'."
Jones' comments echoed those of Chris Perver of the Bible Prophecy Blog, who said that the Vatican's call is just the latest step towards antichristdom on a trail already blazed by the European Union. Whoever ends up heading such an organisation, Perver continues, will clearly be a devil, according to, of course, Revelation.
A further piece of evidence, yet to be seized upon by the evangelical bloggers, is the appointment of a new head of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi – Google Translate renders his surname as... "dragons".
Readers looking for further explanations can consult Revelation here. ®