April 13, 2005


Who the Next Pope Will Be Is Up for Speculation (Jeffrey Fleishman, April 13, 2005, LA Times)

Cardinals will enter the Sistine Chapel next week and ask God to guide them in selecting the Roman Catholic Church's 265th pope. In less religiously devout realms, oddsmakers, numerologists and those with supernatural proclivities are following their stars, their hunches and their bookies to predict which name will be announced when white smoke curls from the chapel's chimney.

Rome has been the crosscurrent of the spiritual and the commercial for centuries. The capital of an empire inspired by pagan mythology, the city went through blood, martyrs and fire before the liturgy of Christ was imprinted upon its architecture and soul. The selection of a new pope is a time of reverential anticipation for the world's 1 billion Roman Catholics, but for others it is an ecclesiastical parlor game in which the pages of the Bible mean less than the whisper and wink of a bookmaker.

"The response for papal bets has been brisk, shall we say," said Graham Sharpe, a spokesman for William Hill, a British-based international gambling service. "We've done papal betting before so we've got a reputation for this and there's certainly a demand for it."

The favorite for the new pontiff, according to William Hill, is Nigerian Cardinal Francis Arinze with 9-4 odds. The agency calculates the Archbishop of Milan, Dionigi Tettamanzi, with 7-2 odds and Honduran Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga at 6 to 1. More distant prospects include German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger at 9 to 1 and Brazilian Cardinal Claudio Hummes at 10 to 1. The dark horse, according to other betting firms, is Cardinal George Pell of Australia. His odds of becoming a successor to St. Peter are 139 to 1.

Posted by at April 13, 2005 12:01 AM


I only got 2 to 1 from my catholic housemate but Intrade has it at 7.5 to 1. I think Intrade is closer to the actual odds.

Posted by: Pat H at April 13, 2005 7:39 AM

Intrade is probably the most reliable and has Tettamanzi in front. However, Richard John Neuhaus thinks Ratzinger has the best shot, or else one of the other Italians: Angelo Scola, Tarcisio Bertone, Giovanni Battista Re, or Camillo Ruini (a good friend to the US). Bergoglio of Argentina is another strong candidate he thinks.


Posted by: pj at April 13, 2005 8:16 AM

Just so long as Cardinal Law is a zillion-trillion to one shot, and stays that way.

Posted by: daniel duffy at April 13, 2005 8:54 AM


Posted by: oj at April 13, 2005 8:58 AM

OJ, you should be ashamed to think that any subject touching upon the rape of children is fodder for your comedic world view. Imagine one of your own children as a victim and see if you can still find this to be funny or as a means to goad posters such as myself.

Posted by: daniel duffy at April 13, 2005 9:12 AM

All of a sudden you can cast stones? Ah, sweet hypocrisy...

Posted by: oj at April 13, 2005 9:19 AM

Let's say then that Cardinal Law has an administrative blind spot when it comes to addressing difficult and thorny issues, and has demonstrated that his ability to care pastorally for the flock has been shown to be lacking. These are things which might make him a less than ideal candidate for the position.

Posted by: Dave W. at April 13, 2005 10:02 AM


That's certainly true--in fact he should be prosecuted for obstructing justice.

Posted by: oj at April 13, 2005 10:15 AM

Law is not going to be pope but the hatred towards him is a little extreme. He didn't rape anyone after all. Didn't our friend Daniel say earlier he was without hate?

Law has not been indicted even, let alone convicted. So, in the eyes of the law he is not a criminal. Is he a moral criminal, the conventional wisdom says yes. He has certainly been convicted in the court of public opinion. Yet, his side of the story has not been fully explored. Perhaps he is morally blind, not morally culpable. Perhaps he just did not believe the accusations.

People should wait to pass judgment. Didn't Jesus say so Daniel?

Posted by: Bob at April 13, 2005 10:29 AM


Not just without hate, but that none of us can judge anyone else nor punish them because we too have sinned. And that hypocrisy is intolerable. How quickly our tunes change, eh?

Posted by: oj at April 13, 2005 10:35 AM

Saw Cardinal George on EWTN last night. What a mensch. Too bad they'll never elect an American. Altho no one thought they'd elect a Pole either.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at April 13, 2005 11:15 AM