Pope hopefuls

Many Scots believe Robbie Coltrane’s The Pope Must Die is a documentary of Vatican life, so how do the bookies view the upcoming papal elections? Well, our leading turf accountants have the Ghanaian Peter Turkson, aged 64, at 3-1 ­favourite, Canada’s Marc Ouellet, 68, at 7-2 and Nigeria’s Francis Arinze, 80, at 4-1.

Turkson is a celebrity cleric almost permanently in front of the cameras. He is not openly homophobic but ominously ­insists moral issues are more ­important than human rights.

Ouellet is an academic and long-time Vatican insider ­devoid of any parish experience and a hardliner best known for insisting that abortion is a “moral crime even after rape”.

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Arinze is just too old. He lost his chance when passed over for Ratzinger. He is the most socially extreme, equating gay love with pornography and infanticide.

I would put my money on Italian Angelo Scola, 71, who would be a popular home win at 6-1, has spent years in the parishes, and is the most humane of all the front runners.

(Dr) John Cameron

Howard Place

St Andrews

Your leader (12 February) says the papacy is the oldest functioning democracy because 160 old, male cardinals elect a Pope. The papacy is more ­accurately called an authoritarian monarchy elected by a small college of senior bachelor clerics.

The billion-plus people who have some connection with the Roman Catholic Church have no say and its ballot and governance systematically ­exclude from senior positions the greater half of its adherents who happen to be ­female. It is a travesty that we, in a democratic Scotland pledged to gender equality, allow this ­authoritarian Church systematically to indoctrinate some of our children in state-funded schools.

Norman Bonney

Palmerston Place


Pope Benedict is to be congratulated in recognising that his age, frailty and poor health are preventing him from fulfilling his arduous duties as head of the Roman Catholic Church.

It is to be hoped his successor will be young, fit and have the drive to push through the necessary changes to restore the standing of the Catholic Church in the worldwide community.

It sometimes seems the Vatican prefers elderly non-controversial Popes who do not ruffle the feathers of the bureaucracy in Rome.

Hugh M Mackenzie

Bonnethill Road