Today saw the launch, in the Frauenkirche, Munich of UXORIA, a new movement which is campaigning for the next Pope to be a married man.

Said a spokesperson for the new group: ‘The Holy Father should be just that, a father, the head of a family –  with all the experiences, excitements and disappointment which real fatherhood brings. A leader whose task is to uphold family values should himself be a family man. It just makes sense.’

‘Of course,’ said Sr Magdelena Schlaeger, secretary of the new organisation , ‘we expect a strong reaction from precisely the same group of die-hard celibates in the Curia which has opposed every attempt by the present Pope to modernise the Church. They, as always, will argue from tradition. But there are influential voices on our side as well. As Cardinal Kasper* has pointed out, in his recent book ‘Die Familie der Kirche’, Peter himself was a married man. That surely is precedent enough.’

Preparations are already in hand for a mass rally in St Peter’s Square as soon as the next conclave is announced.

Said one young supporter: ‘Of course we don’t wish Pope Francis dead, but we just can’t wait. He is so forward-looking. We know it’s what he would want too.’

*In a parallel announcement it was also revealed that Cardinal Walter Kasper has become the patron of a small ginger group calling itself GVP – ‘Geschiedenen für einen verheirateten Papst’.

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