Race for the Papacy 2013 Sweepstake
As Pope Benedict XVI steps down and the race for the top job begins, a Papal Conclave simply wouldn't be the same without a sweepstake. As well as having a flutter on your favourite cardinal, give yourself a second chance of a windfall by pooling together with work colleagues, or a combination of family and friends, and having a lucky dip. It looks like an open race, so best of luck! (Words by Christina Martin & RA Editors)
Cardinal Angelo Scola – 3/1 F
Pros: A front-runner in 2005, lost out to Benedict XVI. Has written about “Satanic Rites in the Church’s Judgement”, so knows his enemy
Cons: Vatican expert John Allen has written: "If you like Benedict XVI, you’ll love Scola”. Erm…
Cardinal Peter Turkson – 3/1 F
Pros: Joint favourite with the bookies. Pundits think it could be time for a black Pope, and at 3/1 the going looks good for the Ghanaian.
Cons: Not all that up for it. Reckons the first black Pope would have "a rough time”. In St Malachy’s Prophecy of the Popes, it is predicted that the election of a Pope named Peter will herald the End Times.
Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone – 4/1
Pros: Outspoken criticism of The Da Vinci Code suggests discerning literary taste.
Cons: Publicly blamed the child sex scandal on homosexual infiltration of the clergy. Advanced age may count against him after last Pope pulled up before finish.
Cardinal Marc Ouellet – 7/1
Pros: This Canadian hopeful once had a summer job fighting forest fires, a skill which may serve him well as Pope.
Cons: Thinks abortion is a “moral crime” even in cases of rape. Reform-minded punters may wish to steer clear.
Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco – 9/1
Pros: The Italian Cardinal will be expected to run well on home ground.
Cons: Needed an armed guard after comparing homosexuality to incest and paedophilia in 2007.
Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi – 12/1
Pros: Thinks Darwin can be reconciled with the Bible, quotes Amy Winehouse on Twitter and says Church is boring.
Cons: Sounds like he’s in the wrong job.
Cardinal Leonardo Sandri – 14/1
Pros: Well practiced – used to read speeches on behalf of Pope John Paul II in his final years.
Cons: According to insiders, he is more of an administrator than a theologian.
Cardinal Péter Erdő – 16/1
Pros: One of the younger Cardinals in the race, this colt could stay well as older runners tire.
Cons: Is it too soon to race in the Conclave? Along with Peter Turkson, his name means his election risks fulfilling the St Malachy End Times prophecy.
Cardinal Christoph Schönborn – 16/1
Pros: Wasn't a member of the Hitler youth.
Cons: Once called for an open discussion of priestly celibacy. If not fitted with blinkers, sight of nuns could take his eyes off the race.
Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga – 20/1
Pros: Viewed as a moderate; has stood up to oppressive regimes in his native Honduras.
Cons: Once claimed that, in order to divert attention from the Israeli-Palestinian crisis, Jews influenced the media to exploit the controversy regarding sexual abuse by Catholic priests.
Cardinal Francis Arinze – 25/1
Pros: If enthusiasm for a black Pope shows, Nigerian Arinze could come through to challenge Turkson in the final furlongs.
Cons: No spring chicken, may lack staying power.
Cardinal Odilo Pedro Scherer – 25/1
Pros: With both the World Cup and the Olympics heading to Brazil in the coming years, can the man from São Paulo make it a hat-trick for the South American powerhouse?
Cons: Has said that "Priests aren't showmen". Does he have the flair for the big stage?
Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle – 25/1
Pros: Hailing from one of Catholicism's great global strongholds, Tagle would help the Church consolidate on firmer ground away from increasingly godless Europe.
Cons: At 55, a win for the youthful Tagle would buck the the trend, but does he have the strength to out-run the more experienced in the field?
Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio – 33/1
Pros: A man of the people, renowned for his humility – lives in a small flat, does his own cooking and takes public transport.
Cons: Pros may leave him ill-suited to dominion over a vastly wealthy global Church and city state.
Pope Formosus, the Pope whose skeleton stood trial in 897AD – 150/1
Pros: Previous experience of the job
Cons: Dead – but if his skeleton was considered fit for trial…
All of One Direction – 200/1
Pros: Appealing to the youth. Instant fan base. Oh, and they weren’t members of the Hitler Youth.
Cons: One of them, probably Styles, will want to go solo before long. Schism alert!
Bishop Brennan off Father Ted – 250/1
Pros: Would bring some much needed comic relief to the role.
Cons: Is a fictional character, but then…
A horse – 500/1
Pros: They seem to be getting everywhere lately. Fits well into this attempt at Grand-National-based humour.
Cons: Is the Church ready for a non-human Pope?