Fans back Father Ted’s Dougal McGuire for Pope

More than 17,000 fans of the Irish comedy are calling for a radical choice from the conclave in Rome

While the Vatican embarks on the conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI, thousands of Father Ted fanatics have taken to Facebook to lend them a helping hand.

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Fans of the Irish comedy are calling for the sitcom’s hapless young priest, Dougal, to become the next pontiff. And the Facebook page, titled Father Dougal For Pope, has already amassed over 17,000 likes.

While the character seems an unlikely candidate to lead Catholics the world over, this isn’t the first time Father Dougal’s name has been mentioned in connection with the church’s top job. Irish bookmaker Paddy Power offered odds of 1000-1 on the Craggy Island priest taking up the role back in 2002.

Cult sitcom Father Ted ran between 1995 and 1998 and starred Dermot Morgan, Frank Kelly and Pauline McLynn. Father Dougal, played by Ardal O’Hanlon, was known for his dim wit, childlike behavior and apparent lack of knowledge when it came to the Catholic church.

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Pope Benedict XVI controversially announced his retirement last month. He is the first Pope to retire from the position in over 600 years.