If you haven’t seen, the big news of the morning is that Pope Benedict XVI will step down effective Feb. 28, the first Pope to cede his post in nearly 600 years.* Benedict XVI cited declining health preventing him from fulfilling his duties as the reason for stepping down – and really, considering he was elected as a 78-year-old, serving nearly eight years in a position he never wanted to begin with is pretty good.
But nevertheless, his time in the position is ending, and the Church needs itself a new leader. Who will it be? well, no one knows yet, obviously, but there are some favorites, as well as some longshots. And you know what happens where there are favorites and longshots for something…
… you can lay some str8 ca$h down on it! The above two screengrabs come via Colm Finlay, a “sports and betting manager for [an] independent bookmaker in Ireland,” and as you can see, as you go down the list, the choices get… unconventional. As enticing as the 2500/1 odds on SIlvio Berlusconi seem, I’m pretty sure that’s still just money down the drain.
And it makes me wonder: what would the odds on me be? I mean, I’m not Catholic, which probably hurts my chances a bit, but I’d be a much more youthful choice, and I’m pretty sure I have just as much of a shot as the Berlusconis and Tony Blairs of the world. And just think: the question “Is the Pope Catholic?” would finally no longer be rhetorical! Any way I can get an estimate on this, Colm? Given the rest of the odds, a solid 25000/1 or so seems reasonable.
Getty photo, by Franco Origlia
*Question for those who might know more about this than I do: how does one refer to a former pope? Is he still Benedict XVI, or is he “Joseph Ratzinger, a.k.a. Pope Benedict XVI” again now that he’s not officially serving as Pope anymore? Does anyone even know, given that we haven’t had this situation arise since the invention of the printing press? The one person I’ve asked thinks it’s the former, which was my guess too, but let me know if your thinking’s different.