Of course Dr Fraser is not going to be elected. Admittedly, the timing of his giving up his Church Times column is suggestive.On those grounds, however, the former member for Eastleigh, too, is papabile. But although Dr Fraser’s leadership is undoubtedly what those oppressed under the Roman yoke most need, his chances are slim. Apart from anything else, the cardinals will hardly risk electing someone who may still turn out to have been a fictional character all along.
If Rome is looking for an ecumenical appointment (and anything seems possible today) they will go for someone much safer. The Duke of Edinburgh, perhaps, whose sound views on social policy will provide some continuity, but whose very appointment (at the age of 91) will provide the now-traditional implicit criticism of his papal predecessor’s retirement plans.
We respond (in the admittedly unlikely event that there is a public consultation advertised in the Church Times) that the Duke is more valuable where he is. In any case, Benedict XVI is right that under modern circumstances the Church needs fit leaders, and that means those with episcopal experience. No church, surely, would risk appointing to its most senior position someone who had not spent even a single year as a bishop?
Regular readers will not be surprised that our favoured candidate is Theodoros II of Alexandria. We believe that it would be in the interests of Christendom that he should run and be elected. Theodoros is the Pope of Christian Unity.