ROME, Italy – In another precedent-shattering move, the Vatican announced today that Pope Francis, fed up with Western capitalism and media, has formally excommunicated from the Catholic Church “all of Western Civilization – all of it!”

Pope Francis was reported as saying at a private audience: “We will have a smaller, poorer Church, but a stronger Church. The West obviously went apostate a long time ago. It is fitting for the Church to make canonical what in practice is already the case.”

When asked if the excommunication was meant to be understood as applied to all those living in “Western Civilization” regardless of their beliefs or practices, Francis replied, “Yes, everyone. Absolutely everyone. You’re all a part of it.”

A follow-up question asked if that included Francis himself. Witnesses report that Francis, visibly annoyed, muttered something under his breath, the only distinguishable phrases being “modernist logic” and “you know I meant,” before declaring the question “absurd” and abruptly leaving the room. However, apparently flustered, Francis left by the wrong door and quickly had to re-enter and cross the room to the correct door.

In a quick survey of Catholics leaving Mass in New York City, most thought that the excommunication either “changes nothing” or welcomed it: “I for one am glad to get the Pope off our backs – good riddance,” one worshiper said before excusing himself, saying that he was late for his liturgical dance practice.

But conservative Catholics who have long called for a tougher response to dissent within the Church expressed concern.

“I appreciate the intent to ‘clean out the Church’ so to speak, but this goes too far,” George Weigel said in a phone interview. “After all, I live in Western Civilization, too. Does that mean that I’m excommunicated now?

“It must be narrowed, at least just to continental Europe.”

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[See also: QUIZ: Modernist Church or Communist Building?]

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