This morning's announcement from the Vatican that 85 year old Pope Benedict XV1 is to stand down as leader of the Catholic church due to advancing years seems almost certain to mean the choice of a much younger replacement.
Pope Benedict XV1's decision to stand down, he was already 75 when he became the 265th Pope in 2005 following the death of Pope John Paul II, makes it likely his replacement will be no older than sixty.
'The only rule is that the person must be a Catholic. In fact there isn't any rule to say a Pope can't be married,' points out Tony Blair.
Commenting on today's shock announcement, Tony, who converted to Catholicism a few years ago and will not turn sixty until May this year confessed,
'I've already posted off a letter to the Vatican to let them know I'm available to take over.' Explained Tony, 'I felt the calling as soon as I heard the news from the Vatican, and I know I'd do a good job of it. God willing I'll be around for many years yet before I pop my clogs so there'd be no more of this constant swapping and changing in my church, and I've already shown how brilliant I am at being the best peacemaker this world has seen for well over two thousand years. One only has to look at the way I brought peace to Northern Ireland to realise that, and of course more recently the peace and harmony I brought to the more hot and sandy parts of this world. But as Pope I'd be in a position to accomplish so much more. This is what God wants,' he said, 'it's bloody obvious.'
'I just wish I'd learned to speak Italian instead of French all those years ago. But Cherie phoned Samantha Cameron this afternoon, and Samantha told her she'd be happy to let us borrow a little book of useful Italian phrases they've been using when on their Italian holidays so there shouldn't be a problem when it comes to choosing a meal from the Italian restaurant menus. I said to Cherie, after we've settled in there we'll have to invite the Camerons over to stay with us at the Vatican as a way of saying thank you. I'm looking forward to it,' he beamed, 'and like Cherie said after we heard about Pope Benedict's decision to stand down to make way for a younger man this morning, she said when I'm standing up and making my speeches I wave my hands and arms around more than most Italian men do anyway.'