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

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
mists of ancient history."  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 check for the Last Supper

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