“Nothing is resolved. Changing leaders like this is a sure sign of desperation,” said Mr Abbott. “It hasn’t worked for the Labor Party and it certainly won’t work for the Catholic Church.”
Various reasons have been mooted for the sudden resignation of Francis’s predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, including ineffective leadership, poor opinion polling and an inability to get key reforms through. According to Mr Abbott, whatever the justifications for the changes at the top, they will not stop him from becoming Pope at the next election.
“I stand by my record on important Church issues, such as abortion, homosexuality and same sex marriage. As the highest profile Catholic in Australia and someone with a demonstrated record of stable, conservative leadership, it’s just a matter of time before the voters get rid of the present rabble and make me Pope Anthony I.”
Behind the scenes at the Vatican, those pushing for Mr Abbott’s ascendancy to the papacy dismiss the idea that the Opposition Leader’s failure to enter the priesthood might count against him.
“To say that it is impossible for an Abbott to become Pope, let alone a Catholic Abbott, is utter nonsense,” said one cardinal. “As any Englishman will tell you, Pope Adrian IV did the very thing centuries ago.”