The world is just getting used to the new pope, but that hasn’t stopped Irish bookmaker Paddy Power from posting odds on whether he will resign. And the odds aren’t as high as you’d think.
The College of Cardinals elected Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio on Thursday to lead the Catholic Church following Benedict XVI’s resignation last month.
The resignation of a pope is nearly unprecedented, with Benedict being the first pontiff to retire in 600 years.
Will Pope Francis pull a Benedict? Paddy Power is giving 5-to-2 odds (or 2 ½-to-1) that Francis will follow in Benedict’s footsteps and resign.
Francis, 76, is the former archbishop of Buenos Aires. With his election to the papacy, he became the first Jesuit to hold the office, and first pope to hail from the Americas.
Entering morbid territory, Paddy Power also listed odds on the chances that 2013 will be a year where the Catholic Church has three popes. Those odds, at 16-to-1, take into account whether Francis will resign or die by the end of the year.
Foreign visits are one of the highlights of a pope’s tenure, and the world is waiting to see which country Francis will visit first.
The frontrunner, according to Paddy Power and British bookmaker Stan James, is Bergoglio’s native Argentina.
Paddy Power is giving 5/6 odds that Francis’ first foreign visit will be to Argentina while Stan James has slightly higher odds of 1-to-1.
The election of a Latin American pope is seen as a signal that the church recognizes its future is outside Europe.
To that end, Brazil is listed as the second most likely destination for Francis. Paddy Power is giving 6-to-1 odds that the country will be the first to host the pontiff. Stan James’ odds are 11-to-2.
How many foreign visits will Francis make in his first year as pope? “Three or four” is the frontrunner at both Paddy Power (5-to-6) and Stan James (6-to-5.) That is followed by “five or six” and “two or fewer.”
Popes have been known for their messages of spreading peace and advocating for human rights. Yet no pontiff has won a Nobel Peace Prize, and that fact is reflected in odds as to whether Francis will be bestowed that honor during his tenure.
Paddy Power is giving 14-to-1 odds that Francis will win the Nobel Peace Prize. It’s even less likely that he’ll win the Nobel Prize for Literature at 40-to-1 odds, according to the Irish bookmaker.
All the media attention may be on Francis at the moment, but Paddy Power hasn’t forgotten about his predecessor.
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI indicated he would retire to Mater Ecclesiae, a monastery in Vatican City. According to Paddy Power’s odds, chances are Benedict will live out the rest of his life there (1-to-7 odds.)
But the bookmaker still has odds posted should Benedict change his mind about a retirement home.
The most outlandish choice Paddy Power lists is the Playboy Mansion. The bookmaker realizes the chances of Benedict cozying up to Playboy bunnies are virtually non-existent, giving 1,000-to-1 odds that the former pontiff will become roomies with Hugh Hefner. Just as unlikely at 1,000-to-1, if not as sinful, is the Big Brother House, according to Paddy Power.
Less unlikely, but still long,. shots include Benedict’s native Germany at 12-to-1, Italy at 14-to-1, Rome at 14-to-1 and Spain at 16-to-1.
Paddy Power also posted odds on Francis’ successor.
Cardinal Angelo Scola of Italy, the frontrunner by most papal observers’ standards during the most recent conclave, continues holding that status, according to the Irish bookmaker. His odds are 5-to-1 of being the next pope.
Another favorite as Benedict’s successor, Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana, has a 6-to-1 chance of being the next pope. Other candidates include Canada’s Marc Ouellet and Boston’s Sean O’Malley at 8-to-1.
For giggles, Paddy Power also listed the chances that U2 frontman and humanitarian Bono will be the next pontiff (1,000-to-1, and technically he could be: he's a Catholic male.)
Shockingly, those odds are higher than those listed for evolutionary biologist and staunch atheist Richard Dawkins, at 600-to-1.