Who Will Be the Next Pope? Bookmakers Place Their Bets

Just hours after Pope Benedict XVI's surprising Feb. 28 resignation, bookmakers have already started placing odds on his successor

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Pope Benedict XVI arrives at the altar for an open-air Mass in Silao, Mexico, on March 25, 2012

Just hours after Pope Benedict XVI’s surprising Feb. 28 resignation, bookmakers have already started placing odds on his successor.

Quickest off the mark was the Irish bookmaker Paddy Power, which has already gone through three favorites for the position, starting off with Nigerian Cardinal Francis Arinze, before shifting to Ghanaian Cardinal Peter Turkson and then to Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet — who at the time of this writing is the most favored option, with odds of 11 to 4. A rival bookie, Ladbrokes, currently has Turkson as the slight favorite at 3 to 1, followed by Arinze (7 to 2) and then Ouellet (4 to 1).

(MORE: Pope Benedict XVI Retires: How They’ll Elect a New Pope)

The 80-year-old Arinze is an Igbo Nigerian who spent 25 years in the Vatican and was once the world’s youngest bishop. The 64-year-old Turkson was appointed by the current Pope four years ago to become president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace — although he did spark controversy last year over a YouTube clip he screened at an international meeting of bishops on the rise of Islam in Europe. Ouellet is the Vatican’s main staff director, but unless he’s a master at political dissembling, the 68-year-old doesn’t seem to be actively pursuing the job. He has been quoted as saying that being Pontiff “would be a nightmare,” and told Quebec City’s Le Soleil newspaper that a Pope’s duties “are perhaps not very enviable,” with the responsibilities “crushing.”

Media-relations manager for Paddy Power, Feilim Mac An Iomaire, told TIME that the bookmaker had been prepared for Monday’s bombshell. “We’ve actually had betting on the next Pope for eight years, since Benedict was named,” he explains. “But now, the money has been absolutely flying in. We’re comfortably into five figures and that does have a massive effect on the odds.”

(MORE: How to Bet on Prince William and Kate Middleton’s Baby)

Bookmakers are also taking bets on the next Pope’s country of origin: the current favorite is Italy at 6 to 4, followed by any African country (2 to 1) and anywhere in South or Central America (10 to 3). (The United States, a long shot, comes in at 12 to 1). A market has also been opened on what name the future Pontiff will take; Peter is the 2-to-1 favorite.

Paddy Power is in no doubt as to how seriously this is being taken by bettors. “We think it’s probably going to be the biggest nonsporting market we’ve ever had,” Mac An Iomaire says. “Last time out, we took over a million euros on the Pope betting back in 2005, and we’re expecting to at least exceed that this time around. And that really does put the U.S. presidency betting in the shade.”

At the longest of long shots, massive odds of 1,000 to 1 is available on U2 front man Bono stepping into Benedict’s red papal loafers. (Technically, any baptized Catholic male is eligible for the job, although historically the Pope has been chosen from among the College of Cardinals.) “I suppose the next step for him is either sainthood or to become Pope,” Mac An Iomaire says of the rock star and philanthropist. However, he adds, “he probably has a better chance of becoming a saint, to be honest.”

MORE: Irish Bookmaker Declares Obama Win — Two Days in Advance

21 comments
DalVI
DalVI

i correctly guessed the new pope! scroll down to February 12 comments below =) 

matpuk
matpuk

the pope stated last Sunday that it was gods wish that he resign.. Benedict opened a twitter account before last Christmas so im wondering was it through that medium that god sent his wish to the pope?

matpuk
matpuk

will there ever be an openly gay pope?

LeslieMichael
LeslieMichael

Imagine this! In December 2012, I sent a copy of my book, "The Angel With A Broken Heart" to Pope Benedict XVI as a Christmas gift. Along with the book, was a covering letter in which I told his Holiness that Genesis should not be the first book in the Bible. In January 2013, I received an official acknowledgement. A week or so later, the Pope announced his intention to resign. Did my book have an impact on his decision? Perhaps, it was the last straw that broke the camel's back.

My book clearly explains why Lucifer, the most magnificent of the angelic hosts, chose to challenge the power and majesty of God. It wasn't just pride. There was a deeper reason for his rebellion. So deep and powerful that a third of the angelic hosts chose to follow him. Reading the book, will give you a clue as to whom should logically be the next pope.

ArthurOConnor
ArthurOConnor

The next Pope will be Archbishop Moussa Al-Hage - born in 1954 - a Maronite rite bishop who is expected to usher in marriage for Catholic clergy.

YeOldeSnark
YeOldeSnark

Cardinal Turkson of Ghana is my pick. Arinze is too old and made tons of enemies.  The man's is too outspoken and something of a cranky crackpot.  The Italians will try to rally around one or two, probably Scola of Milan.  Ouillette of Quebec is the only North American with a ghost of a chance and I still think he'll fall short.  He's too close to Benny and anyone tarred with the Benny Brush won't be selected.

TrajanSaldana
TrajanSaldana

and here i thought it was the Holy Spirit which selected the Pope...anyone got odds on the Holy Ghost's choice?

DalVI
DalVI

could be Bergoglio (Argentina) or Scola (Italy) . .  I don't like either of them though

Tomás
Tomás

Arinze cannot be elected Pope as he is over 80 years old, and is thus excluded as a candidate, no?

Ocsicnarf
Ocsicnarf

A non european non white seems a good bet, just to show how international and interracial the church is, but will they choose a good new pope?

MichaelHorn
MichaelHorn

It's perhaps interesting that this information was published in 1987 (and has been online since at least 2006):

"After the turn of the millennium, the papacy will exist only a short period. Pope John Paul II is the third from last in this position. After him, only one additional pontificate will follow. Then a Pontifex Maximus follows who will be known as Petrus Romanus. Under his religious rule, the end of the Catholic Church will come, a total collapse becoming inevitable. That will be the beginning of the worst catastrophe that will ever have befallen the human beings and the Earth. Many Catholic clerics, priests, bishops, cardinals and many others will be killed and their blood will flow in streams. But also the reformed version of Christianity will become just as infinitely small, as does Catholicism."

http://www.theyfly.com/prophecies-predictions/henoch-prophecies

rmol74
rmol74

Could we please have someone born after 1960?  Imagine your grandpa trying to understand the world today.  Not very possible...as smart as he may be, a man in his 70's and 80's is not going to #1 RELATE to the majority of Catholics, #2 live long enough to establish himself as Holy Father to a generation. We need someone that deeply understands the world we live in while providing religious and spiritual guidance desperately.  The cardinals need to step outside the politics of it all, and who has been around the longest and really look at what the church NEEDS.

julietsweetie2011@yahoo.com
julietsweetie2011@yahoo.com

@ArthurOConnor Marriage for Catholic clergy? wooowh! Im sure, too many mixed reactions will somehow follow the trails of comments with this topic: priests being allowed to marry; which gender do we see future priests marrying? opposite gender to theirs? or same? hahaha. Are there really no gay priests within the churchyard? or within the yardstick of their rules and policies in the long priestly process?why is it I often see effeminate behaviors of priests in our locality?

Hisremnant
Hisremnant

@MichaelHorn well, satan knows a bit of what will happen, since meyer is obviously talking to fallen angels ..semjase is an angel that fell and continues to plague mankind with his lying tongue. so yes the papacy will fall since it is satans ... and when he is done with his dumb servants he kills them!

MichaelHorn
MichaelHorn

@Hisremnant I see, "Satan" and "fallen angels", more manmade nonsense from a...book, of course. 

Please note that ALL religions rest on the childish, illogical and inadmissible premise that:

"What's in this book is true because...this book says it's true."

Any actual EVIDENCE for Mr. Satan and the fallen angels? Of course not.

MichaelHorn
MichaelHorn

@JohnBowie For centuries, so-called adults have been led around by their noses and cowered in fear of an imaginary "God" and his degenerate earthly representatives. An amazingly mind-nuimbing thing to contemplate.

JohnBowie
JohnBowie

@MichaelHorn @Hisremnantny evidence of your wild predictions? nope of course not..... >.> bible has more proof than you know but of course you never seek the kingdom of God nor study the word so you would not know, for my people perish for the lack knowledge. and not catholic just believe they are very well tied with end time matters just christian and have a relationship with God.