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Saturday, April 02, 2005

As the Pope slowly edges towards death, and a holy and distinguished life sadly nears its conclusion as thousands of devoted Catholics hold a prayerful vigil outside the Vatican, only one important question now remains: can I make my fortune betting on who the next Pope will be? I've checked the runners and riders and there are some tempting odds on offer. This could be a golden opportunity.

There's apparently a saying amongst papists (they love a witty one-liner, those papists) which goes "he who goes in a pope, comes out a cardinal", which roughly translates as "don't back the favourite if you want to make it big on the Pope stakes".

So I've been looking at the outsiders and studying the form. But to give me the edge I decided to enlist the help of a few psychics and prophesiers. After all, I believe in miracles - Lisa's currently in the kitchen cooking me a lasagne. You couldn't have predicted that without the gift of second sight. So with this in mind, I've been trawling the dodgy end of the internet for tips.

I found one psychic who had a vision in February of this year and announced that the Pope would die on March 20th, but hey, weather forecasters never get it exactly right either. It doesn't mean it's rubbish. And the fact is, after nearly half an hour of exhaustive research, I think I've got the winner.

St Malachy apparently told us in the 12th century that the 111th Pope (which is the next one) would be 'Gloria Olivae', or 'The Glory of the Olive'. Sadly there isn't a cardinal called Olive. Or even Gloria. Mainly because they're all men. But there is one with a girl's name - Jean Lustiger, the Archbishop of Paris. And what's more, he's Jewish. And where is the centre of the Jewish faith? Jerusalem, home of the Mount of Olives. It couldn't be more obvious.

Some people also believe the next Pope will be the antichrist (that's if it's not Lisa I'Anson), and you have to admit, Lustiger sounds suspiciously like Lucifer. And let's face it, he's French - how much more evidence of evil do you want? So at odds of 20-1, old Jean's got to be worth ten quid of anybody's money.

So that's that sorted. I can go and eat my lasagne now. It's my reward for keeping Lisa awake half the night with my coughing.