Metro 54

Richard Herring: Why I should be the next pope
Friday 1 Mar 2013

Atheist he may be but our columnist rates his chances of being the next pontiff. HereÂ’s his caseÂ…

I am sorry to hear that Pope Benedict has stepped down. You must agree heÂ’s done a fantastic job.

The only people who could argue with that are diabolists, homosexuals, people opposed to covering up paedophile sex rings or anyone who wants to stop the Aids virus spreading. YouÂ’d have to be crazy!

Some people have a pop because Benedict was in the Hitler Youth but thatÂ’s not on.

Yes, he once served the most evil man in history but he prefers Jesus now. WeÂ’re all allowed to change our minds. Look at St Paul.

Anyway thereÂ’s a position vacant and IÂ’ve decided to apply. HereÂ’s my letter:

‘Dear Popefinder General,

Hi, IÂ’m Richard and IÂ’d like to be the new pontiff. You might think me an unlikely choice as IÂ’ve never held even minor office in the Catholic Church but I think I might be quite good at it anyway. HereÂ’s why:

1) I am relatively young for a pope. If you keep selecting popes in their seventies youÂ’re going to have to go through this rigmarole every decade or so.

I am only 45 and my grandma is nearly 102, so thereÂ’s a good chance I could reign for the next 50 years, saving you valuable money on cloak and mitre alterations.

2) I really fancy living in a big palace, surrounded by priceless works of art, wearing bejewelled shoes.

Some Christians might be uncomfortable with that, arguing you should sell the treasure and give the money to the poor but I donÂ’t remember Jesus saying anything about that. It certainly wasnÂ’t a major bugbear for Him. Imagine how hypocritical youÂ’d look if it was!

3) I have a really good joke about kissing the papal ring.

4) Although I am not very religious and, if pressed, would say IÂ’m an atheist, I have a lot of experience of church.

My parents are Christians (CofE I’m afraid – hope that’s not a problem). They forced me to go to church about four times a year when I was little.

I hated it. It was so boring and sanctimonious.

By the time I was 25, I actually refused to go any more. Even at Christmas. Even though it made my nieces and nephews cry. I think itÂ’s important to stick up for your principles no matter how clearly wrong they are.

ThatÂ’s another reason why IÂ’d be a good pope.

5) I believe that all people are equal and have a right to do whatever they want as long as theyÂ’re not harming other people.

I understand that Jesus said something similar. But like all the other popes I am prepared to just ignore that and say that I hate gay people as long as I get the big palace, free air travel, ruby slippers etc.

6) I have always preferred Jesus to Hitler. Even when I was a child.

Jesus was amazing and Hitler did some terrible things. The only negative moment for Jesus was when he threw those tables over. But come on, that hardly equates with HitlerÂ’s crimes.

YouÂ’d have to really like furniture to get more upset about that. Plus Jesus was a carpenter and probably fixed it all afterwards.

IÂ’m afraid I wonÂ’t be able to start until Monday because I am on tour with my show Talking Cock in Shrewsbury tonight and Birmingham on Sunday and it would be unprofessional to pull out at such short notice.

IÂ’m looking forward to being your boss.

RichardHerringus I (or II if thereÂ’s been one of those already).Â’

IÂ’ll let you know if I get it.